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Since we started the Building a Jazz Library (BAJL) series, we've assembled more than sixty collections, and that number continues to grow. We thought it might be interesting to see what readers would recommend, so we asked AAJ Bulletin Board members to provide a short list of recordings they considered essential, and the 159 different lists that came in over a six-month period added up to a tremendously diverse collection of music.
The following thirteen recordings (listed in rank order) were most frequently mentioned by readers in their BAJL lists. Most of them were released over the ten-year period from 1956-65, which appears to be the concensus Golden Age of jazz among those who voted. Curiously, this list closely resembles a collection of Masterpieces selected by the AAJ editorial staff, and you can read more about each individual record there.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.