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The Ten Best Jazz Christmas Albums Of All Time

Read "The Ten Best  Jazz Christmas Albums Of All Time" reviewed by Peter J. Hoetjes

As temperatures drop and days grow short, Winter is once again upon us. For those looking to listen to the sounds of the season without resorting to December's relentless slew of glossy, generic cash-grabs, jazz can be a breath of fresh, wintry air. You won't find (many) singers on this list, since most people already know and have records by Frank, Dean, Ella, Karen, and more. Instead, I've put together jazz's greatest Christmas albums from the golden age to today. ...


Top Ten Lee Morgan Recordings

Read "Top Ten Lee Morgan Recordings" reviewed by Jason Innocent

These albums represent a diverse range of Lee Morgan's musical output and showcase his virtuosity, innovation, and contribution to jazz trumpet. The Sidewinder Blue Note Records 1963 Morgan's most famous and commercially successful release is this album. It features the catchy title track, which became a major hit and is now considered a jazz standard. Cornbread Blue Note Records 1965 This album showcases Morgan's exceptional ...


Duke Ellington's Top Ten Albums

Read "Duke Ellington's Top Ten Albums" reviewed by DIG 9000

Duke Ellington, the legendary jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader, released numerous albums throughout his illustrious career. It's challenging to narrow down his extensive discography to just ten, but here are some essential Duke Ellington albums that showcase his incredible talent and contribution to jazz: Ellington at Newport Columbia Records 1956 This live album is one of Ellington's most famous and significant recordings, featuring the iconic performance of “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" with an ...


Jazz For The Serious Connoisseur

Read "Jazz For The Serious Connoisseur" reviewed by Phillip A. Haynes

In tackling this top ten list for serious students of jazz, the focus was on works that shocked and intrigued upon first and successive listens, striving to understand their meaning, materials, historical context, and influence on contemporary improvisation. “Blackbird" (1980) by Bobby McFerrin, The Voice (Elektra, 1984) When released, McFerrin's astounding virtuosity represented the first revolution in scat since Ella Fitzgerald. His entertaining and breathtaking “man chorale" approach utilizes rapidly juxtaposed tessituras, changeable vocal characters, integrated ...


Pat Martino Top Ten Albums: More Than Meets The Eye

Read "Pat Martino Top Ten Albums: More Than Meets The Eye" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Hugely admired by his peers, guitarist Pat Martino never really enjoyed the high profile accorded the likes of John McLaughlin, John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny or John Scofield, though in that esteemed company the Philadelphian guitarist, who passed away in 2021, surely belongs. In a sixty-year career, interrupted for the guts of a decade by a near fatal brain aneurysm--see Ian Knox's documentary Martino Unstrung (Sixteen Films, 2008)--Martino recorded twenty-seven albums as leader for labels such as Prestige, Muse, ...


Top Jazz-Rock Fusion Recordings

Read "Top Jazz-Rock Fusion Recordings" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

The emergence of jazz-rock fusion in American music in the late 1960s was controversial. To some, those who played it were traitors to the cause of jazz. Others thought it has saved jazz from extinction. Sometime in the 1960s, rock had eclipsed jazz in popularity in America, and many jazz aficionados were none too happy about that. Even folk had gone electric when Bob Dylan plugged in his guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. At that, some shouted ...


B.B. King: Through the Years

Read "B.B. King: Through the Years" reviewed by Alan Bryson

Sixty-six years passed from the time in 1948 when Riley King auditioned for a spot on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program, until his final performance at the House of Blues on October 3, 2014 in Chicago. His life was a remarkable odyssey from a sharecropper's cabin to the pinnacle of success. We'll never know how many millions of miles he logged on his tour bus in the 50s and 60s --he and his band essentially lived on the road in ...


Filmmaker Joerg Steineck's Top Ten John Scofield Albums

Read "Filmmaker Joerg Steineck's Top Ten John Scofield Albums" reviewed by Michael Ricci

In his All About Jazz interview, Berlin-based filmmaker Joerg Steineck discusses the making of his documentary Inside Scofield. As the title suggests, the film takes a look at guitar icon John Scofield's career and life on (and off) the road as a touring jazz musician. After the interview we asked Joerg to identify his favorite “Sco" records. Interviewer Mike Jacobs also chimed in with a half dozen of his own. 1. A Go Go (Verve, ...


Top Ten Horizontal Guitar Players

Read "Top Ten Horizontal Guitar Players" reviewed by Alan Bryson

Who could have imagined that a few serendipitous events on a remote Pacific island in the 19th century would fundamentally change American music. In 1832 Hawaii's king brought Mexican cowboys to the Big Island to teach native Hawaiians how to gain control of their rapidly increasing cattle population. As luck would have it, some of these cowboys brought along their Spanish guitars. Around 1880 Portuguese sailors and workers from Madeira introduced the steel string guitar to the islands.


The Book of Neil (Young): How the Godfather of Grunge Became an Influencer of Jazz

Read "The Book of Neil (Young): How the Godfather of Grunge Became an Influencer of Jazz" reviewed by Kelley Suttenfield

As a child of the '70s, Neil Young's music was some of the first I heard played on the radio. Heart of Gold must have been piped into every café, truck stop, and grocery store in Central Virginia, where I spent my formative years. And if you were taking a road trip, scanning the stations meant you could easily hear it multiple times in one afternoon. Astonishingly, it remains his only number #1 hit to this day. Out of such ...

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