I took an interest in jazz almost three years ago after watching Ken Burns’ ten-part series on jazz on Netflix. Ever since then, I have explored this genre with great enthusiasm, and being an Apple Music subscriber has enabled me to sample several dozen jazz albums I otherwise would not have been able to listen to, or even known about. After all that listening, several jazz albums have risen to the top, the ones I keep going to back to for multiple listens. I have chosen my ten favorite (so far), although there is still so much I haven’t yet listened to. I am partial to the period of 1956-1966. Eight of my ten favorites were produced during that period. The two outliers are a live recording made by Ron Carter (who used to play bass in Miles Davis’ band) in 1977. The other is an album by pianist Marcus Roberts in 1990. Roberts is an old school musician who is heavily influenced by the early jazz greats, and so his recordings often sound much older than they are. With the rest, only two of the ten are by the same artist, the great Miles Davis. Other than Carter, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock played with Miles Davis at one time or another, so Miles really is the focal point of this list.
Sketches of Spain – Miles Davis (1960)