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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.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.