If you had to make a list of the best jazz albums of all time, which artists would make the cut? Jazz isn’t necessarily the most popular style of music amongst the younger generations, but what would it take to convince a non-fan that the genre’s legends are supreme musicians whom you should give the time of day? Well, for starters, you can do no harm with reaching into the classics box and finding the biggest names in the industry. While in some genres, like rock or punk, it might make more sense to classify albums and bands according to their era, things in the jazz world work a little different. What sets an album apart is its melodic composition and rhythmic intention, differentiating a Miles Davis from a Duke Ellington, for example.
Great musicians, like the 9 most famous drummers of all time, which we compiled in a previous article, deserve recognition. In fact, some of the most famous music legends in the world developed their craft at the hand of jazz, so don’t be surprised if you recognize a name or two on this list. So, let’s take a look at the five best jazz albums of all time and why they stand out.
5. The Thelonious Monk Quartet – Monk’s Dream (1963)
To an untrained ear or someone unfamiliar with jazz dynamics, this album may be hard to digest at first. But after a second or third listen to this record, even the newest fan will likely appreciate the Monk’s extraordinary composition. A piano master with a knack for undiscovered notes, Thelonious manages to shake you awake with his odd soundscape.
4. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Ella and Louis (1956)
There’s no denying that Ella Fitzgerald’s voice can effortlessly transport you to a different time and place, with her sulky sound and beautiful vibrato. But add Louis Armstrong’s raspy tone and his trumpet solos to the mix, and out comes an unforgettable album for any rainy day or Sunday dinner. Romantic and dreamy to the core, be sure to add this one to your latest jazz collection.