Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Benny Goodman Picks the 60 Greatest Jazz Records of All Time



We always look for ways to expand our jazz library, including open our ears to recommendations, especially when it comes to obscurities, rarities, and discoveries. Listing is one of the most popular games played towards that aim which is never entirely devoid of edifying values.

This list of the 60 Greatest Jazz Records of All Time is hardly an addition to any library, as by now, most of them are standard components of any serious jazz collection. However, it is so rare that a musician like Benny Goodman comes forward and shares his list of must-have albums with you.

"Unfortunately, the triumph of jazz in the U.S. as a whole is a little incomplete," Goodman bemoans in the introduction to the list, "the American people - especially the teenage population which has been weaned on rock 'n' toll - are losing sight of that very jazz heritage."

Compiled for Los Angeles Times (November 12, 1961), Goodman commits to enlighten the reader who is not quite sure where to start: "Over the years many of these people have asked me to draw up a list of 'the greatest jazz albums ever made.' I believe there is now a crying need for such a guideline."

In fact, the list was a sequel to an LA Times article by Leopold Stokowski, selecting his dream library of classical recordings.

Goodman lists has its own surprises and unexpected picks. Categorised according formats and instruments, he doesn't bother to allocate any space to bass players. Saxophonists are present, but there is no mention of John Coltrane. However, at the end of the list, under the amusing title of "Far Out", suddenly Ornette Coleman appears (Goodman's most surprising moment here) and even a Thelonious Monk who, by 1961, was a established figure and in the light of latest developments in jazz could have been seen as a traditionalist rather than a Far Out musician. More surprisingly, Goodman opts for a big band recording of Monk's instead of his trio or quartet works.

Going through the history of jazz, Goodman gives little criteria over his selection except consciously omitting big dance bands (Glen Miller, Dorsey Bros., Harry James, Les Brown, Claude Thornhill) as in his mind, they are already known by public. While many great instrumentalists are missing in the list, Goodman claims that this list is derived from a need to acknowledge the individual soloists. Finally, the old master introduces no less than three of his own records (one under Charly Christian) and saves Fats Waller for the vocalists section.

One last message from Mr. Goodman before we go ahead with the list:




Benny Goodman Picks the 60 Greatest Jazz Records of All Time

ANTHOLOGIES


1
Spirituals to Swing (Vanguard)

2
Encyclopedia of Jazz (Decca)

3
Open House (Camden)
[In fact, this is a Lionel Hampton reissue with many great soloists involved and not exactly an anthology.]

4
Modern Jazz Gallery (Kapp)

BIG BANDS


5
Jimmy Lunceford: Jimmy Lunceford (Decca 8050)

6
Fletcher Henderson: A Study in Frustration (Columbia)

7
Duke Ellington: In a Mellotone (Victor)

8
Count Basie: Count Basie (Decca 8049) + One O'Clock Jump (Columbia 997)

9
Artie Shaw: Swings Show Tunes

10
Benny Goodman: The Golden Age of Swing

11
Woody Herman: Bijou (Harmony)

12
Stan Kenton: Milestones (Capitol)

FAMOUS COMBOS


13
Bud Freeman and Summa Cum Laude Band: Comes Jazz

14
Benny Goodman: Combos (Capitol T-669)

15
Red Norvo: Music to Listen to Red Norvo By

16
Dave Pell: Jazz and Romantic Places

17
Dave Brubeck: Time Out

18
Gerry Mulligan: Paris Concert

19
The Modern Jazz Quartet: Third Stream Music

20
Horace Silver: Blowin' the Blues Away


SOLO INSTRUMENTS: PIANO



21
Earl Hines: Oh, Father!

22
Art Tatum: The Genius of Art Tatum

23
Oscar Peterson: Plays George Gershwin

24
Ahmad Jamal: The Ahmad Jamal Trio (Epic 3212)

25
Erroll Garner: At the Piano (Columbia 535)

26
Bud Powell: The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 1

27
Bill Evans: Portraits in Jazz

SOLO INSTRUMENTS: ALTO SAX


28
Benny Carter: Jazz Giant

29
Charlie Parker: Swedish Schnapps

30
Sonny Stitt: Sonny Stitt Plays (Roost 2208)

31
Cannonball Adderley: In the Land of Hi-Fi


SOLO INSTRUMENTS: TENOR SAX


32
Coleman Hawkins: The Genius of Coleman Hawkins

33
Lester Young: Lester Young Memorial (Epic 3576)

34
Don Byas: Jazz From St. Germain de Pres

35
Stan Getz: At the Opera House

36
Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus


SOLO INSTRUMENTS: SOPRANO SAX


37
Sidney Bechet: Jazz Classics (Blue Note 1201)

SOLO INSTRUMENTS: TRUMPET & CORNET


38
Bix Beiderbecke: Bix and Tram (Columbia 845)

39
Louis Armstrong: Louis Armstrong Favorites (Columbia 854) + Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines (Columbia 853)

40
Roy Eldridge: Little Jazz

41
Bobby Hackett: Jazz Ultimate

42
Dizzy Gillespie: For Musicians Only

43
Miles Davis: Miles Ahead + Birth of the Cool


SOLO INSTRUMENTS: GUITAR


44
Django Reinhardt: The Best of Django Reinhardt (Capitol 10226)

45
Charley Christian: With the Benny Goodman Sextet & Orchestra (Columbia 652)

46
Barney Kessel: Plays Standards

47
Tal Farlow: The Tal Farlow Album

48
Wes Montgomery: The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery


VOCALISTS


49
Nat "King" Cole: The Nat King Cole Story

50
Fats Waller: Ain't Misbehavin' (Victor 1246)

51
Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz

52
Frank Sinatra: Swing Easy

53
Jimmy Rushing: Rushing Lullabies

54
Billie Holiday: Lady Day (Columbia 637) + Billie Holiday (Commodore 30008)

55
Mildred Bailey: The Mildred Bailey Story
[For his album picks, Goodman has selected two to-be-released LPs one of which is this Bailey compilation which was never released under the given title. It is probably what Columbia released as I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart.]

56
Ella Fitzgerald: Lullabies of Birdland + Ella Sings Cole Porter

57
Peggy Lee: Jump for Joy

FAR OUT


58
Gunther Schuller: Brandeis Jazz Festival

59
Ornette Coleman: The Shape of Jazz to Come

60
Thelonious Monk: At Town Hall



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