The best jazz musicians of all time. (2023)

The greatest jazz musicians in history are some of the most talented musicians in history. Period. Even though jazz has been around for over a century, some people still see it as the coolest, most modern music out there. Because in jazz, a musical language whose essence is spontaneous creation, anything can happen. What is exciting is its unpredictability, and for this reason jazz has never stopped and continues to evolve and grow, reflecting the lives and times of its countless creators.

Above all, jazz is about extreme musical virtuosity and being the best of the best. But since the genre has produced so many incredible talents over the years, it's impossible to list them all. Instead, we've selected a selection of 40 singers, trumpeters, pianists, guitarists, bassists and drummers who we believe are among the greatest jazz musicians to have ever walked the earth.

Here's a look at some of the best jazz albums on vinyl..

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Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

Born in Newport News, Virginia,Ella FitzgeraldHer unparalleled vocal ability earned her the title of "The First Lady of Song". Combining a soft, caressing tone with clear diction and deep emotional sensitivity, she pioneered scattering, a vocal technique defined by wordless, trumpet-like improvisation. Though he rose to fame in the big band swing era, debuting with the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1939, it was his themed songbook albums in the mid to late 1950s, under the aegis of jazz impresario and producer Norman Granz, that sealed his fame as a soloist. . On Granz's Verve label, a venture created specifically to showcase the singer's talents, Fitzgerald established herself as the leading jazz singer of her generation and remains one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

Essential Album: Sing the Cole Porter Songbook(1956)

Duque Ellington (1899-1974)

Born in Washington DC between 1927 and 1974duque ellingtonHe led one of the best jazz ensembles. A pianist by trade, playing in a unique staccato style, Ellington made his name performing at Harlem's famed Cotton Club in the late 1920s, where his orchestra helped start the big band swing movement. As the most prolific jazz composer of all time, whose repertoire spanned symphonic and sacred pieces, Ellington brought respect to jazz. He also kept abreast of new trends and recorded a famous album with up-and-coming saxophonist John Coltrane (1962s).Duke Ellington and John Coltrane) as well as collaborating with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach on the LP that same yearmoney jungle.

Essential Album: Ellington und Newport(1956)

Luis Armstrong (1901-1971)

Nicknamed "Satchmo" or "Pops", born in New OrleansLouis ArmstrongHe was one of the most important founding fathers of jazz and played a deeply influential role in exporting the music to other parts of the world. He was not only a brilliant trumpeter who could shine with his swing-hard improvisations, but also an expressive jazz singer who had a unique, pebbly voice. He helped popularize jazz in the 1920s and enjoyed a long and prolific career that included notable collaborations with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Bing Crosby. In 1968, in the twilight of his career, he landed a major international pop hit with "What A Wonderful World".

Essential Album: Porgy & Bess(with Ella Fitzgerald) (1959)


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Miles Davis (1926-1991)

A trumpeter and bandleader from East St. Louis, Illinois,miles davisHe is arguably the most influential jazz musician of all time. Renowned for his ability to perform ballads with haunting, bittersweet lyrics, Miles' career has been defined by a relentless pursuit of musical innovation and change. He began his career in bebop with Charlie Parker in the mid-1940s, but ended it by venturing into hip-hop with the album.Doo-Bop. In between, he explored a variety of styles; everything from cool jazz and hard bop to modal jazz, spawning his legendary LPkind of blue– Free bop and electro jazz rock; The latter was epitomized by his influential 1970 albumbitch beer, which started the fusion movement that dominated jazz in the early '70s.

Essential Album: kind of blue(1959)

Juan Coltrane (1926-1967)

Born in North Carolina and raised in Philadelphia,Juan Coltranewas an influential and technically accomplished saxophonist, playing both the tenor and soprano variants of the instrument, first rising to prominence in the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid to late 1950s. He eventually surpassed the band of trumpeters and began forging a solo Career characterized by such classic and stylistically contrasting albums asblue train(1958),huge steps(1960) jmy favorite things(1961). As the '60s progressed, Coltrane's music became much more exploratory; the result of his quest for spiritual enlightenment through music.

Essential Album: a supreme love(1965)

Karl Mingus (1922-1979)

Along with his idol Duke Ellington and Arizona-born pianist Thelonious MonkCarlos MingusHe is one of the greatest jazz composers and musicians of all time. A formidable bassist who attacked his instrument aggressively yet with virtuosity, Mingus championed collective improvisation in the various groups he led, using his compositions as a flexible framework that allowed for individual self-expression. His best songs include the beautifully melancholy "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" and the thundering "Better Git It In Your Soul," reflecting Mingus' deep blues and gospel influence.

Essential Album: The Black Saint and the Sinful Lady(1963)

Ron Carter (born 1937)

One of the greatest jazz session players of all time, no jazz bassist in history has more performances than the Michigan native.Ron Carter, whose borrowing credits exceed 2,000. Carter (who also plays cello) is admired for his rich, full-bodied tone, sharp musical intelligence, and agile virtuosity. He recorded with Eric Dolphy and Milt Jackson in the early '60s before being recruited by Miles Davis, who helped him become a star in his Second Great Quintet between 1962 and 1968. After Carter left Miles' band he became a ubiquitous figure on the American session scene, appearing on records by artists as diverse as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon and Roberta Flack.

Essential Album: Wo?(1962)

Stan Getz (1927-1991)

Although born in Philadelphia, is the tenor saxophonistStan Getz, nicknamed "The Sound," became synonymous with the cool West Coast jazz that emerged in California in the 1950s. Famed for producing a beautifully smooth tone that caressed the ear, Getz also played a major role in unveiling the Bossa Nova sounds to the general American public, first with the LP.Samba-Jazz1962 and then two years later when he was collaborating with Brazilian maestro Joao Gilberto on the historic albumGetz/Gilberto, which included the hit single "Girl From Ipanema" sung by Gilberto's then-wife Astrud.

Essential Album: Samba-Jazz(mit Charlie Byrd, 1962)

sad samba

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Eric Dolphy (1928-1964)

A talented multi-instrumentalist, born in Los AngelesEric Dolphyit was a real musical triple threat; a phenomenally talented alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute teacher who combined technical prowess with innovative musical concepts. Dolphy started out in drummer Chico Hamilton's band in the late '50s and became one of the leading figures of the avant-garde movement of the prestige label New Jazz Seal in the early '60s. Unfortunately, he died just a few months after recording his magnum opus while on tour in Berlin.Go eat!, a groundbreaking album that remains an enduring monument to Dolphy's genius.

Essential Album: Go eat!(1964)

Charles Lloyd (born 1938)

An accomplished tenor saxophonist and jazz mystic who also plays the flute, Memphis-born Charles Lloyd started out as a sideman to blues legends Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King before turning to jazz. He made his name in Los Angeles playing with drummer Chico Hamilton's band, and from 1966 to 1969 he led an innovative quartet that included a young pianist named Keith Jarrett, captivating the counterculture West Coast generation. After fading from view in the '70s, Lloyd revived his career from the late '80s, producing a stellar string of albums that established him as a leading tenor whose deeply lyrical sound is imbued with an otherworldly spiritual bent.

Essential Album: the water is wide(2000)

Chet Baker (1929-1988)

Hailed as the poster boy for cool West Coast jazz in the 1950s for his chiseled movie star looks, he was born in Oklahomachet panaderoHe first made his name playing trumpet in saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's quartet before expanding his fan base by singing in a dreamy, androgynous croon on his records. Although Baker's languid vocals made him a pop idol in the eyes of teenage girls, they were rarely liked by critics, who favored his trumpet playing with its superbly lyrical tone. Unfortunately, drug addiction and prison sentences regularly derailed Baker's career, but he managed to get it back on track in the 1980s.

Essential Album: Chet Baker and crew(1956)

Geleerolls Morton (1890-1941)

Born Ferdinand LaMothe in New Orleans, Jelly Roll Morton was a nimble pianist and composer with a knack for infectious melody. A larger-than-life character, he claimed to have single-handedly invented jazz in 1902; Although his claim has often been disputed, he undoubtedly played a significant role in popularizing the genre with his band, the Red Hot Peppers. Morton began with ragtime and was one of jazz's first notable composers/arrangers, with immortal compositions such as "Black Bottom Stomp", "Wolverine Blues" and "King Porter Stomp" recorded in his heyday in the late 1920s. .

Essential Album: Complete Engravings, 1926-1930(2000)

Black Bottom Stomp (1992 neu gemastert)

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Arte Tatum (1909-1956)

"Tonight, God is in the house" is said to have been adopted by his fellow pianist Fats Wallerthrough artThe presence of in a club where he played. Waller's idolization of Tatum, a visually impaired pianist from Toledo, Ohio, expressed the awe many jazz musicians felt when confronted with Tatum's extraordinary talent. A virtuoso whose ornate style was characterized by flowery right-hand runs, richly embroidered harmonic tapestries, and addictive swing rhythms, Tatum redefined the piano lexicon in the 1930s and 1940s. His influence on other musicians was enormous, including pianist Oscar Peterson, who absorbed Tatum's techniques into his own style.

Essential Album: The Piano Starts Here - Live at the Sanctuary(2008)

Bill Evans (1926-1980)

Born in New JerseyBill EvansHe brought a classically influenced sensibility to jazz piano beginning in the late 1950s when he emerged as an exciting new talent whose jazz sound owed little to the musical vocabulary of his piano-playing predecessors. His penchant for lush pastel chords and impressionistic timbres was not lost on Miles Davis, who recruited Evans for the recording session that produced the classic 1959 album.kind of blue. Evans' preferred setting was the piano trio, which he developed over many years into a platform for musical three-way conversations, in which each musician made an equal contribution.

Essential Album: You must believe in spring(1981)

Bud Powell (1924-1966)

Although mental health issues ended the career of this colorful New York-born jazz musician at the age of 41,Bud PowellHe took up the model for the modern jazz piano and his influence on others, especially keyboardists, was profound. Beginning his recording career in the late 1940s, he was the first pianist to successfully adopt Charlie Parker's bebop vocabulary and use it as the basis for a virtuoso style that combined horn-like melodic lines with complex chords over charged swing rhythms. His genius for spontaneous musical creations led fellow pianist Erroll Garner to describe him as "Art Tatum's second biggest thing".

Essential Album: The amazing Bud Powell(1956)

Sonny Rollins (born 1930)

Though a humble man, his modesty doesn't match his grandiose nickname "Saxophone Colossus" for the Newark-born jazz musicianSonny Rollinsmore than lived up to the title that producer Bob Weinstock first gave it as the album title in 1956. From their debut recording in the late '40s to their last studio album, 2006son please, Rollins combined a penetrating, soulful sound with melodic agility and a seemingly effortless talent for ongoing thematic invention. One of jazz's greatest improvisers, Rollins pioneered a pianoless trio in the late '50s with albums such asway west, which allowed him greater melodic and harmonic freedom in his improvisations.

Essential Album: Saxophone colossus(1957)

Saint Thomas von Sonny Rollins aus „Saxophone Colossus“

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Max Roach (1924-2007)

Originally from North Carolina,Cockroach maxrevolutionized jazz drumming in the bebop era, moving away from a rigid backbeat in favor of creating a more fluid, subtly shifting rhythmic pulse driven by the ride cymbal. This gave him the freedom to use other drum parts to add color, atmosphere and drama. As well as being a master drummer, Roach was a notable bandleader, helping create hard bop with a quintet he co-led with trumpeter Clifford Brown in the early '50s. He was also a vocal civil rights activist who made socio-political statements with his music, especially in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Essential Album: We insist! Max Roach Freedom Now Pack(1960)

Freddy Hubbard (1938-2008)

"You could whistle something and he'd make a symphony out of it." Those were the words of jazz producer Creed Taylor, speaking about Freddie Hubbard in 2008, and surely few jazz musicians could spontaneously compose and blow their trumpet with the technical brilliance of the Indianapolis-born Hubbard, who could shine with his amazing virtuosity. . Moving to New York in 1958 he made some hard bop records for Blue Note while appearing on more flamboyant recordings by Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane. In the '70s, Hubbard ventured into fusion before a lip injury sidelined him for a few years, though he triumphantly returned to straight jazz in the early 2000s.

Essential Album: Roter Ton(1970)

Wayne Shorter (born 1933)

Wayne Shorter of Newark, New Jersey is a distinctively robust-sounding jazz musician who apprenticed in the ranks of Art Blakey's ever-changing Jazz Messengers between 1959 and 1964, where he established himself as one of jazz's leading composers. Brought in from Blakey's band by Miles Davis, Shorter became the lead writer of the 1960s Trumpet Quintet while also enjoying a solo career with Blue Note Records, releasing seminal LPs such asdon't talk bad. Appears on Davis' seminal jazz-rock albumbitch beerIn 1970, Shorter co-founded the electronic fusion group Weather Report before eventually returning to acoustic jazz in his later years. A prolific writer with a penchant for wacky melodies, Shorter is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz composers of the post-bebop era.

Essential Album: don't talk bad(1966)

Speak No Evil (1998 Remastered / Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

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Toni Williams (1945-1997)

A drummer prodigy who joined the Miles Davis Quintet at the age of seventeen, Chicago-born jazz musician Tony Williams was an adaptable stick figure whose repertoire ranged from avant-garde jazz to fusion to rock and roll. He's as adept at holding a disco-funk beat as an intricate symphony of polyrhythmic percussion. He began his solo career recording two exploratory albums of acoustic jazz for Blue Note Records before becoming a jazz-rock pioneer with the Tony Williams Lifetime group, which featured organist Larry. Young and guitarist John McLaughlin. Away from jazz, Williams played drums for Santana, Public Image Ltd and Yoko Ono in the '80s.

Essential Album: the joy of flying(1979)

Benny Goodman (1909–1986)

Crowned the "King of Swing," Chicago native Benny Goodman was a virtuoso clarinetist who led one of the most successful big bands of the swing era. He broke barriers by not only being the first jazz artist to perform at Carnegie Hall, then the sacred oasis of classical music, but also pioneering one of the first racially integrated groups. (His group included African-American guitar pioneer Charlie Christian.) As the popularity of big-band swing music quickly waned after the end of World War II, Goodman wasn't afraid to try his hand at bebop.

Essential Album: The famous 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert(Reissue from 1950/1999)

Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993)

Sometimes perceived as a comedic complement to Charlie Parker's searing intensity.Dizziness GillespieA penchant for injecting humor into his music belied both the seriousness of the South Carolina trumpeter's music and the enormity of his talent. Famed for puffing out his cheeks when playing the trumpet, Gillespie played his instrument with impressive intensity, bringing one of his most iconic and covered tunes to modern jazz with "A Night In Tunisia." In addition to co-creating bebop with Parker, "Diz" was instrumental in the birth of Latin jazz through his Afro-Cuban cross-pollinations in the late 1940s.

Essential Album: Dizzy Gillespie in Newport(1957)

Thelonian Monk (1917-1982)

From Rocky Mount in North Carolina, jazz musicianmonje theloniousIn terms of the number of his recorded compositions, he is second only to the great Duke Ellington. Though he emerged as bebop was gaining momentum, Monk forged a unique stylistic path, blending edgy yet infectious melodic motifs with dissonant harmonies and throbbing swing rhythms. It took a long time for the unique and personal style he created to be truly appreciated by the general public, but by the 1960s he was featured on the cover of Time Magazine and signed to a major record label. Monk composed many memorable songs that are now considered jazz standards; including "Round Midnight", "Blue Monk" and "Straight No Chaser".

Essential Album: bright corners(1956)

Nat King Cole (1919–1965)

Though admired for his sonorous velvet singing with his clear tone and subtle phrasing,Rey Nat ColeBorn in Alabama and raised in Chicago, the musician began his career in the 1930s as a jazz pianist influenced by Earl Hines. After taking up singing in 1940, she scored three consecutive #1 R&B singles with her influential combo, the King Cole Trio, including "Straighten Up And Fly Right." In 1947, he landed his first US solo with "Nature Boy," and by 1950, after disbanding his trio, his solo career blossomed, leading to his dominance of the pop charts until his death from lung cancer. at the age of 45. Cole's influence can be heard in contemporary jazz singers such as Michael Bublé and Gregory Porter, proving that his legacy as one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time is secure.

Essential Album: Unforgettable(1954)


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Herbie Hancock (born 1940)

A highly versatile musician, Chicago keyboard wizard and scholar.Herbie HancockIn his long career, Odisea landed many different musical stations along the way; of acoustic modal jazz (maiden voyage) to spiritual meditations (The author), Electro-Jazz-Funk (headhunter) and techno-funk sampleladelic (future impact). Hancock began his career in 1961 accompanying trumpeter Donald Byrd and two years later joined Miles Davis' seminal quintet, while also enjoying a notable solo career with Blue Note Records. Not afraid to take risks and experiment, Hancock has always embraced the latest technology and strives to push jazz forward.

Essential Album: maiden voyage(1965)

Charlie Parker (1920-1955)

Alto saxophonist from Kansas CityCharlie "Vogel" Parkerblew up the New York jazz scene with atomic bomb effect in the mid-1940s, thanks to a revolutionary new style of small-group jazz called bebop that hastened the extinction of big bands. Parker, along with his co-conspirator, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, created a fresh and radical musical language characterized by fast-playing melodic lines over complex chord patterns and a driving swing pulse. Parker's innovations had a profound impact on jazz musicians around the world, transforming the language of functional dance music into a serious art form.

Essential Album: bird and diz(1952)

Billie Holiday (1915–1959)

With its bittersweet tone and somewhat desolate timbre, this is legendary and very influentialbilly vacationshe certainly possessed one of the most haunting female voices in jazz. Born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia and raised in Baltimore, Holiday found that singing offered her an escape from the harsh upbringing she endured. His career as a jazz singer began at 18 after moving to New York and quickly became a star with his unique sound, phrasing like a trumpeter. His best-known singles were "" from 1939strange fruit', a controversial song about a lynching, and 'God Bless The Child', written by herself, which sold a million copies in 1941. She also released many successful albums includingLady sings the bluesjDame in Satin, both issued in the 1950s.

Essential Album: Canta Billie vacation(1952)

Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)

Frank Sinatrahe had several nicknames, "The President" and "Ol' Blue Eyes" being two of them, but the one that spoke volumes about his talent as a jazz singer was the most descriptive: "The Voice". Sinatra, from Hoboken, New Jersey, rose to fame in the big band era and first appeared on record buyers' radars singing with the bands Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Sinatra phrased melodies like a jazz trumpeter and cemented his fame as a solo artist with Capitol Records in the 1950s, where he released his themed concept albumsIn the early morning hoursjFrank Sinatra only sings for the lonelyshowed that he was a pop innovator.

Essential Album: come and fly with me(1968)

Come Fly With Me (2008 Remastered)

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Jimmy Smith (1925-2005)

There had been electric organists in jazz before.Jimmy Schmied– like Fats Waller and Wild Bill Davis – but the Pennsylvania-born Hammond B3 virtuoso who emerged in 1956 gave the instrument real credibility as a viable solo instrument in the genre. As a showman who wowed on stage with his pyrotechnic mix of blues and gospel elements, Smith redefined the organ in the jazz context. A prolific artist, he enjoyed his most successful business experiences with Blue Note in the '50s and Verve in the '60s, releasing classic soul-jazz albums such asThe sermon!jThe cat.

Essential Album: home cooking(1959)

Art Blakey (1919-1990)

As a drummer, born in PittsburghBlakey Artwas a polyrhythmic powerhouse whose turbulent, hard-hitting rhythms served as the engine room that powered legendary group The Jazz Messengers for 36 years. Blakey was a key architect of hard bop, a hard-hitting offshoot of bebop heavily influenced by blues and gospel that found its purest expression in the music of The Jazz Messengers, an ever-changing ensemble dubbed "Hard Bop Academy." . Among his greatest recorded triumphs are the albumsThe Freedom RiderjDelicia de Buhaina.

Essential Album: Art Blakey and the Messengers of Jazz(also known asMoan, 1958)

Lee Morgan (1938-1972)

A childhood jazz prodigy who released his debut album for Blue Note at age 17, Lee Morgan was born in Philadelphia and rose to prominence in the mid-'50s playing in bandmate Dizzy Gillespie's big band before joining started a spectacular career. Morgan, who also worked with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers between 1958 and 1965, played his instrument in a virtuoso hard bop style and achieved his greatest commercial success with the 1965 hit single and albumThe Sidewinder. His early death at the age of 32 from a gunshot wound deprived the jazz world of one of its greatest up-and-coming talents.

Essential Album: The Sidewinder(1965)

Wes Montgomery (1923-1968)

from indianapolis,Juan "Wes" Montgomeryrevolutionized jazz guitar playing in the late 1950s with a style that built on foundations laid by an earlier innovator, Charlie Christian, in the 1940s. Self-taught Montgomery (who couldn't read music) used only his calloused thumb instead of a plectrum . played melody lines like a bebop trumpeter and also pioneered the use of parallel octaves to emphasize a melody line; a technique borrowed from everyone from George Benson to Pat Metheny. Stylistically, their albums ranged from swinging hard bop (1965sSmoking in the heart note) to gentle proto-jazz with pop overtones (1968Song from the highway).

Essential Album: so much guitar(1961)

I wish I knew

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Conde Basie (1904-1984)

Red Bank, New Jersey was the birthplace ofWilliam „Conde“ Basie, a pianist known for his percussive and minimalist style, but who was also one of the greatest jazz band leaders who ever lived. Like jazz aristocrat Duke Ellington, his career began in the 1930s when he played a leading role in popularizing big band swing music featuring classic tunes like "One O'clock Jump". Basie's longtime band was incredibly tight and well trained; His combination of incendiary solos paired with superbly executed ensemble work over a driving rhythmic pulse became the epitome of swing music at its most impressive.

Essential Album: Mr Basie Atomic(1957)

Keith Jarrett (born 1945)

A child prodigy at the piano, blessed with perfect hearing,Keith JarrettA native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, he grew up listening to classical music before turning to jazz as a teenager. After serving in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the influential bands of Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis in the 1960s, Jarrett established himself as a jazz superstar in the 1970s with the million-selling improvised solo piano album.the cologne concert. Although his name is synonymous with piano, Jarrett is a talented multi-instrumentalist who also plays guitar, flute and drums.

Essential Album: sun bear concerts(1978)

Alicia Coltrane (1937-2007)

BornAlicia McLeodIn Detroit, this influential pianist, organist and harpist was the second wife of saxophonist John Coltrane and played in his band after their quartet broke up in 1965. After her husband's death in 1967, she began her own recording career and pursued her spiritual path. Her husband had begun offering comedic reflections that juxtaposed explorations of post-bop jazz with Indian music. Coltrane's musical settings on his albums have varied, from small intimate jazz groups (a monastic trio) to grandiose orchestral works (World Galaxy).

Essential Album: Journey to Satchidananda(1971)

Sara Vaughan (1924–1990)

Nicknamed "Sassie," this New Jersey jazz singer was known for her smooth contralto voice, with its warm, mellow tone and lively vibrato. After appearing in singer Billy Eckstine's band (whose influential group was the crucible in which bebop was forged) in the mid-'40s, he launched a solo career that thrived into the 1950sIn hi-fi landjswing easily, which demonstrated the singer's unparalleled interpretive ability and her spectacular ability to improvise using a technique called scattering.

Essential Album: Sarah Vaughan mit Clifford Brown(1955)

David Brubeck (1920-2012)

Though sometimes perceived as one of the early architects of California's cool school movement, Concord-born Dave Brubeck was a jazz musician and composer who preferred to forge a unique and unclassifiable path in jazz that was not pioneered by a trend or scene An innovator experimenting with different and often complex meters, Brubeck was also influenced by diverse music from around the world. He had his greatest commercial success in the late 1950s as the leader of a legendary quartet that included alto saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Essential Album: Time is up(1959)

Nina Simone (1933-2003)

Born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina,Nina SimoneShe aspired to be a concert pianist until her dream was shattered by the racism she encountered in the classical music world in the 1950s. Instead, she reinvented herself as a smoky-voiced jazz pianist and singer whose eclectic repertoire veers into folk and blues, pop and gospel music, and jazz. As a sensitive interpreter of foreign songs, Simone also wrote some classics, including "My Baby Just Cares For Me", "Four Women" and "Mississippi Goddam".

Essential Album: blue girl(1959)

Kanonenkugel Adderley (1928-1975)

One of the best alto saxophonists in jazz after the great Charlie Parker,Julian "Cannonball" Adderleywas a Florida-born schoolteacher who became a professional musician after moving to New York in the mid-1950s. He took the Big Apple by storm with his melodious alto playing and joined Miles Davis' band; played in the 1959 Trumpeter classic.kind of bluealbum, but preferred to lead his own soul-jazz-oriented bands and was extremely popular, especially with black audiences, in the 1960s.

Essential Album: Anything else(1958)

Mercy, mercy, mercy

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Ornette Coleman (1930-2015)

born in TexasOrnette Coleman, a saxophonist who later added trumpet and violin to his skills, rocked the New York jazz scene in 1959 with his third album, the presciently titledThe shape of jazz to come. Essentially a free jazz manifesto, the album eschewed orthodox concepts of melody, harmony and structure and ushered in a jazz revolution that ushered in the avant-garde era. Though a controversial figure, Coleman was also hugely influential, and his daring innovations still permeate jazz today.

Essential Album: In the Golden Circle Volume 1(1966)

Here's a look at some of the best jazz albums on vinyl..



Who is considered the greatest jazz musician of all time? ›

Louis Armstrong

He was arguably the first major jazz star, and – with his rhythmically sophisticated, operatic style – remains the greatest jazz musician of all time according to many.

Who is considered the king of jazz? ›

Paul Whiteman, (born March 28, 1890, Denver, Colorado, U.S.—died December 29, 1967, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American bandleader, called the “King of Jazz” for popularizing a musical style that helped to introduce jazz to mainstream audiences during the 1920s and 1930s.

Who is the number 1 musician of all time? ›

Top-selling artists worldwide as of 2022. Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

Who is the father of jazz? ›

Louis Armstrong was born in a poor section of New Orleans known as “the Battlefield” on August 4, 1901. By the time of his death in 1971, the man known around the world as Satchmo was widely recognized as a founding father of jazz—a uniquely American art form.

Who is the greatest jazz guitarist of all time? ›

1: Wes Montgomery (1923-1968)

Topping our list of the best jazz guitarists of all time is a revered and profoundly influential Indianapolis fretboard genius who couldn't read a note of music.

Who is the best male jazz singer? ›

The Best Male Jazz Singers of All Time [Countdown]
  • Gregory Porter. ...
  • Ray Charles. ...
  • Chet Baker. ...
  • Mel Tormé ...
  • Kurt Elling. ...
  • Nat King Cole. ...
  • Louis Armstrong. ...
  • Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra was one of the most famous performers of the 20th Century and not just in the jazz world; he was a movie star, TV personality and best-selling singer.
Oct 4, 2022

Who was a legendary jazz musician? ›

Duke Ellington

In terms of jazz, Ellington's home was New York City, where he connected with many of the top jazz musicians of the time. By the 1930s, Ellington was famous for leading big bands and jazz orchestras, and one of his most well-known pieces of music was “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing).”

Who was the most loved musician? ›

Popularity rankingArtist
01DrakeTrack artist
02RihannaTrack artist
03ColdplayTrack artist
04EminemTrack artist
94 more rows

Who is the biggest music legend of all time? ›

Artists by reputed sales
  • The Beatles.
  • Elvis Presley.
  • Michael Jackson.
  • Elton John.
  • Queen.
  • Madonna.
  • Led Zeppelin.

Who are the top 3 most listened to artists in the world? ›

Ed Sheeran is the most-followed artist on Spotify, while Ariana Grande is the most-followed female artist. Drake is the most-streamed artist of all time on Spotify, while Taylor Swift is the most-streamed female artist.

What is the Big 4 in jazz? ›

The “big four” refers to the emphasis on the fourth beat of each bar in traditional jazz (particularly in second line drumming). The work moves through time beginning with a strong Dixieland flavor, moving to the swing era, followed by 70's fusion, and finally a touch of indie grunge.

What country invented jazz? ›

Jazz developed in the United States in the very early part of the 20th century. New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, played a key role in this development.

Who first made jazz? ›

Nick La Rocca, the Original Dixieland Jass Band's cornet player and composer, claimed that he personally invented jazz – though the cornetist Buddy Bolden had a much better claim, or even the Creole artist Morton, who certainly was the first to write jazz out as sheet music and always said he'd invented it.

Who is considered the #1 jazz piano player of all time? ›

1: Art Tatum (1909-1956)

At the pinnacle of our list of the 50 best jazz pianists of all time is the man regarded as a keyboard deity. Visually impaired from infancy, Ohio-born Tatum learned to play the piano by ear as a child and, blessed with perfect pitch, quickly excelled at the instrument.

Who had the biggest influence in jazz? ›

Monk is considered one of the most significant pioneers of modern jazz because of his unique playing style (characterized as improvisational, playful, and percussive), skillful technique, and legendary collaborations. Monk influenced the trajectory of jazz with his long, masterfully improvised solos.


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