I am hosting the first ever Jazz Poll for the online community active at Robert Christgau’s Expert Witness blog. The rules and parameters for this poll are available here, and the poll closes Oct. 30. This first poll concerns the best jazz albums recorded in the 1960s. If anyone wishes to vote—and I hope you do!—please be sure to read the rules carefully and submit your ballot to the email address listed there. Voters are asked to provide their ten favorite albums within the poll’s parameters (or the ten “best,” or however else you wish to define your ballot). You may either rank these using the Pazz and Jop points system (as explained in the rules), or weight them each equally; either is just fine.
Since a lot of jazz was recorded in the 1960s, I put together this list of recommendations culled from the texts of two book chapters by former Village Voice critic Gary Giddins: “Postwar Jazz: An Arbitrary Roadmap (1945-2001),” as reprinted in his book Weather Bird, and “Collecting Jazz Recordings,” in the appendix of Jazz, written with Scott DeVeaux. For a few of the recommendations below, Giddins had merely mentioned the existence of the album, or only explicitly recommends one song from the album (“Three Little Words” from Sonny Rollins on Impulse! for example). But I’ve sought out enough of these albums to know that when Giddins mentions one, it’s probably worth hearing.
Brief caveats: these are not the only great Jazz recordings of the 1960s. Notice Giddins does not mention Thelonious Monk’s work on Columbia, John Coltrane’s Ascension, or Miles Davis’s In a Silent Way, nor any albums by Davis’s second great quintet in either of these chapters. Don’t get mad; he discusses and recommends each of them elsewhere, if memory serves, but just not in these two chapters. He doesn’t mention any singers either, except Armstrong with Ellington, nor any European recordings, unless you count the albums by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Albert Ayler, each of which is identified with American jazz anyway. He recommends such contenders elsewhere as well, just not here.
If you’re not as familiar with Jazz as you would like to be, or just have some gaps in your knowledge of ’60s Jazz, you’re going to have a good time with this list. Check these albums out, share them with friends, and don’t forget to have fun. Because Jazz is fun, and polls are fun. Most will be available on any one of several streaming services. I use MOG. Now dig in! The list is after the jump (click “Read More”).
Cannonball Adderley, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!
Gene Ammons & Sonny Stitt, Boss Tenors
Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington, The Great Summit
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Eba Wobu
Art Ensemble of Chicago, A Jackson in Your House
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Live in Paris
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Message to Our Folks
Art Ensemble of Chicago, People in Sorrow
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Reese and the Smooth Ones
Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Spiritual
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Tutankhamun
Albert Ayler, Lorrach, Paris 1966
Albert Ayler, Spiritual Unity
Art Blakey, Mosaic
Lester Bowie, Numbers 1 & 2
Jaki Byard, The Jaki Byard Experience
Benny Carter, Further Definitions
Ornette Coleman, Free Jazz
Ornette Coleman, Ornette!
John Coltrane, Live at the Village Vanguard
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
John Coltrane, My Favorite Things
John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman
Chick Corea, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs
Sonny Criss, Sonny’s Dream
Sonny Criss, Up, Up and Away!
Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
Miles Davis, Someday My Prince Will Come
Eric Dolphy, Out There
Duke Ellington, Far East Suite
Booker Ervin, The Blues Book
Booker Ervin, The Freedom Book
Booker Ervin, The Song Book
Booker Ervin, The Space Book
Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby
Gil Evans, Out of the Cool
Stan Getz, Focus
Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd, Jazz Samba
Dizzy Gillespie, An Electrifying Evening with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet
Dexter Gordon, Go!
Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage
Herbie Hancock, Takin’ Off
Andrew Hill, Point of Departure
Roland Kirk, Rip, Rig and Panic
Lee Konitz, Motion
Jackie McLean, Destination Out!
Charles Mingus, The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady
Roscoe Mitchell, Sound
Grachan Moncur III, Evolution
Wes Montgomery, Smokin’ at the Half Note
Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder
Gerry Mulligan, The Concert Jazz Band Live at the Village Vanguard
Sam Rivers, Fuchsia Swing Song
Oliver Nelson, Blues and the Abstract Truth
Sonny Rollins, The Bridge
Sonny Rollins, On Impulse!
George Russell, Ezz-Thetics
Pee Wee Russell, Ask Me Now!
Archie Shepp, Fire Music
Wayne Shorter, Speak No Evil
Horace Silver, Song for My Father
Cecil Taylor, Conquistador!
Cecil Taylor, Unit Structures
Cecil Taylor, et al., The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra
Lennie Tristano, The New Tristano
Tony Williams, Emergency!
- bradleysroka posted this