My top 100 jazz tracks

A while ago I wrote a post explaining how jazz works. In response, someone asked me to name my favorite hundred jazz tracks. So here’s my list. It’s totally subjective and necessarily incomplete, but I can guarantee that any of these tunes will make your life better. Hear them on Spotify.

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

  • “Caravan” – Caravan
  • “Moanin'” – Moanin’
  • “Come Rain or Come Shine” – Moanin’

Art Tatum

  • “Just Like A Butterfly That’s Caught In The Rain” – Solo Masterpieces Volume Six

Billie Holiday

  •  “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – Billie Holiday: The Legacy 1933-1958
  • “All Of Me” – The Quintessential Billie Holiday Volume 9 (1940 – 1942)
  • “God Bless The Child” – The Quintessential Billie Holiday Volume 9 (1940 – 1942)
  • “The Way You Look Tonight” – Billie Holiday Love Songs
  • “Willow Weep for Me” – Lady Sings The Blues

Bud Powell

  • “Thelonious” – A Portrait of Thelonious

Cannonball Adderley

  • “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
  • “Autumn Leaves” – Somethin’ Else, featuring Miles Davis

Carmen McRae

  • “Ruby, My Dear” – Carmen Sings Monk
  • “Round Midnight” – Carmen Sings Monk

Cecil Taylor

  • “Piano Solo” – Historic Concerts

Charles Mingus

  • “Better Git It In Your Soul” – Mingus Ah Um
  • “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” – Mingus Ah Um
  • “What Love?” – Mingus At Antibes
  • “Mood Indigo” – Mingus Dynasty

Charlie Parker

  • “Now’s the Time” – Bird’s Best Bop on Verve
  • “Anthropology” – Early Bird

Clifford Brown & Max Roach

  • “The Blues Walk” – Clifford Brown & Max Roach
  • “Daahoud” – Clifford Brown & Max Roach
  • “Joy Spring” – Clifford Brown & Max Roach

Count Basie

  • “One O’Clock Jump” – Ken Burns Jazz – Count Basie
  • “Li’l Darlin'” – Ken Burns Jazz – Count Basie
  • “Everyday (I Have the Blues)” – 1956 Count Basie & Joe Williams

Dizzy Gillespie

  • “Whisper Not” – Birks’ Works: The Verve Big-Band Sessions

Django Reinhardt

  • “Honeysuckle Rose” – Plays The Great Standards
  • “Sweet Georgia Brown” – Plays The Great Standards

Duke Ellington

  • “Midnight Indigo” – Anatomy Of A Murder
  • “Blood Count” – And His Mother Called Him Bill
  • “The Star-Crossed Lovers” – Such Sweet Thunder
  • “Half The Fun (Aka Lately)” – Such Sweet Thunder
  • “Overture” – Three Suites
  • “Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy)” – Three Suites
  • “Misfit Blues” – Three Suites
  • “Lay-By” – Three Suites
  • “The New East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” – The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz
  • “Ko-Ko” – The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz
  • “Concerto For Cootie” – The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz
  • “Cotton Tail” – The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz
  • “In A Mellotone” – The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz

Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus & Max Roach

  • “African Flower (Fleurette Africaine)” – Money Jungle
  • “Wig Wise” – Money Jungle

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

  • “In A Sentimental Mood” – Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

Ella Fitzgerald

  • “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” – The Best Of The Songbooks
  • “Sophisticated Lady” – Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book
  • “I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart” – Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book
  • “Mack the Knife (Live, West Berlin 1960)” – Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song
  • “How High the Moon (Live)” – Ken Burns’s Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald
  • “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” – The Smithsonian Collection Of Classic Jazz

Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass

  • “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You?” – Take Love Easy

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

  • “Stars Fell On Alabama” – Ella and Louis
  • “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – Ella and Louis

Eric Dolphy

  • “God Bless the Child” – Here and There

Hank Mobley

  • “This I Dig of You” – Soul Station (Remastered)

Herbie Hancock

  • “Watermelon Man” – Head Hunters

Horace Silver

  • “Song for My Father” – Song for My Father

Jimmy Smith

  • “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” – Back At The Chicken Shack

John Coltrane

  • “Acknowledgement” – A Love Supreme
  • “Moment’s Notice” – Blue Train
  • “Equinox” -Coltrane’s Sound
  • “Lonnie’s Lament” – Crescent
  • “Giant Steps” – Giant Steps
  • “Naima” – Giant Steps
  • “India” – Impressions
  • “Venus” – Interstellar Space
  • “My Favorite Things” – My Favorite Things
  • “But Not For Me” – My Favorite Things

Max Roach

  • “Drums Solo” – Historic Concerts

McCoy Tyner

  • “Contemplation” – The Real McCoy

Miles Davis

  • “Doxy” – Bags’ Groove
  • “Venus De Milo” – Birth Of The Cool
  • “Shhh/Peaceful” – In A Silent Way
  • “In A Silent Way/It’s About That Time” – In A Silent Way
  • “So What” – Kind Of Blue
  • “Freddie Freeloader” – Kind Of Blue
  • “Milestones” – Milestones
  • “Round Midnight” – ‘Round About Midnight
  • “All Of You” – ‘Round About Midnight
  • “Bye Bye Blackbird” – ‘Round About Midnight
  • “Someday My Prince Will Come” – Someday My Prince Will Come
  • “On Green Dolphin Street” – ’58 Sessions

Miles Davis & Gil Evans

  • “Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)” – Porgy And Bess

Nat Adderley

  • “Work Song” – Work Song

Oliver Nelson

  • “Yearnin'” – The Blues And The Abstract Truth

Sidney Bechet

  • “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” – Sidney Bechet

Sonny Rollins

  • “St. Thomas” – Saxophone Colossus
  • “You Don’t Know What Love Is” – Saxophone Colossus

Thelonious Monk

  • “Played Twice” – Big Band and Quartet in Concert
  • “Round Midnight” – The Composer
  • “Ask Me Now” – Genius Of Modern Music Vol. 2
  • “Bye-Ya” – Monk’s Dream
  • “Sweet And Lovely” – Monk’s Dream

Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane

  • “Bye-Ya” – Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
  • “Blue Monk” – Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall

Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins

  • “Work” – Thelonious Monk And Sonny Rollins
  • “The Way You Look Tonight” – Thelonious Monk And Sonny Rollins

Wayne Shorter

  • “Witch Hunt” – Speak No Evil

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