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The Ten Best Live Jazz Recordings (1953-65)

C. Michael Bailey By

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Having recently completed a survey of the Best Live Rock Albums, I have learned a couple of valuable things. One is a list of this sort should be presented in descending order starting with number 10 and descending to number 1. Second, it is better to poll a group for their opinions and develop the list from an analytical (or pseudoanalytical) evaluation of the results. This is how the Top Ten Best Live Jazz Recordings (1953-65) were selected. I polled the writership of All About Jazz, combined the results and ranked the recordings. For recordings that tied in number of votes, I arbitrarily selected the order (I had to exert editorial control somewhere!).

Live Jazz is perhaps the most natural creative state in music. Performing jazz means a musician must create a work of art on the spot, composition in real time. In this series, I hope to highlight historic events where this invention has not been merely successful, but transcendent.


#1
At The Village Vanguard
Bill Evans
(1961)


#4
At Antibes
Charles Mingus
(1960)


#7
At Birdland
John Coltrane
(1963)


#10
At Massey Hall
The Quintet
(1953)

#2
At The Village Vanguard
John Coltrane
(1961)


#5
At Newport 1956
Duke Ellington
(1956)


#8
At The Half Note
Wes Montgomery
(1965)

#3
At The Plugged Nickel
Miles Davis
(1965)


#6
At The Village Vanguard
Sonny Rollins
(1957)


#9
Concert By The Sea
Erroll Garner
(1955)


#11 -The Best of the Rest...

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