The jazz albums listed below are among the greatest ever recorded. Mostly selected from the "modern" jazz music era of 40's to the 70's, these recordings captured some of the passion and emotion that these musicians spent a lifetime developing.
While it is one of the best selling jazz albums of all time (4X Platinum), many consider this to be THE best jazz album of all time. This may be because this unrehearsed recording session from 1959 marks a great turning point in jazz history as well as showcasing the top form of some legendary musicians. Miles showed up to the Columbia recording studios with some rough melodies and chords jotted down and the band proceeded to track each song in a couple takes. That's how Miles liked to do it, he made sure the music was spontaneous and in the moment. This album also started a departure from bebop as the songs are simple melodies over very simple chord progressions leaving room for the deep improvisational exploration in the spur of the moment. What a treat it is to listen to time and time again.
This album completely revolutionized the jazz scene in 1965 and even today its influence can be found in many musical styles. Instead of showcasing the complex and dense harmonic post-bebop language he had developed with Davis and Monk, Coltrane plays over simple chords freely with raw spiritual passion. The four songs on this album convey emotions of anger, joy, sadness, ecstasy, tragedy and triumph. Many types artists such as writers or painters who use this album to inspire energy and passion from within themselves for their own personal art. This album also marked a turning point in Coltrane's playing as he ventured into performing music from it's deepest, most spiritual roots rather from a technical perspective.
Dave Brubeck created a masterpiece which became the first instrumental jazz album to sell over a million copies. The single, "Take Five" was a number one hit on music charts which is outstanding for a jazz song, especially a song with 5/4 time signature. This album had a strong influence from Eastern European culture as Brubeck used many of their rhythms and time signatures. The complex rhythms he uses sound unique yet very natural and easy to listen to, probably the reason for it's success.