RiffShots ~ Jazzybeatchick’s Suggested Jazz Albums to Get Your Groove On!

Per a blogger’s request my dad had a music room filled with hundreds of albums in his library in our house. The albums listed below stood out the most because  I had the privilege of listening to in 1965 when I was eleven years old.  That year became my year of musical thinking as the native daughter of the jazz arranger.  Between going to rehearsals, recording sessions and live performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival ’65  it created a world of awe and wonder.  It is when I fell in love with the sound of words and jazz.  I took sight singing and guitar lessons, but, the integrity and developed ear came from my dad and the musicians that were a part of our Jazz family.  There are so many style selections from New Orleans Jazz, Ragtime to Swing, Bebop, Big Band, Cool and Smooth Jazz I would imagine depending on who you ask would agree on some but all things considered, the most important is to start somewhere and let your heart and imagination do the rest.

I know you may think that selecting my dad’s album is self aggrandized, but truthfully, it was my presence and being a part of the back story that I am using as a frame of reference.  *Wikipedia excerpt description.

Gil Fuller & Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra featuring Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody

The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Blues & The Abstract Truth” ~ Oliver Nelson

*The Blues and the Abstract Truth is a jazz album by American jazz saxophonist Oliver Nelson recorded in February 1961. It remains Nelson’s most acclaimed album and features a lineup of notable musicians: Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy (his second last appearance on a Nelson album following a series of collaborations recorded for Prestige), Bill Evans (his only appearance with Nelson), Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes. Baritone saxophonist George Barrow does not take solos, but still remains a key feature in the subtle voicings of Nelson’s arrangements.  “Stolen Moments” is simply breathtaking.


Time Out by The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Time Out”  by The Dave Brubeck Quartet

*Time Out is a jazz album by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, released in 1959 on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 1397. Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City, it is based upon the use of time signatures that were unusual for jazz such as 9/8 and 5/4.  The album is a subtle blend of cool and West Coast jazz.  It peaked at #2 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and has been certified platinum by the RIAA, the first jazz album to ever achieve that status.


louis armstrong_1

Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven (No Image)

*Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven was a jazz studio group organized to make a series of recordings for Okeh Records in Chicago, Illinois in May 1927. Some of the personnel also recorded with Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, including Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Lil Armstrong (piano), Johnny St. Cyr (banjo and guitar). These musicians were augmented by Johnny Dodds’s brother, Baby Dodds (drums), Pete Briggs (tuba), and John Thomas (trombone, replacing Armstrong’s usual trombonist Kid Ory, then touring with King Oliver). Briggs and Thomas were at the time working with Armstrong’s performing group, the Sunset Stompers.



Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis with his musical groups was at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.  Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.   Davis was noted as “one of the key figures in the history of jazz”. On October 7, 2008, his 1959 album Kind of Blue received its fourth platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of at least four million copies in the United States. On December 15, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution recognizing and commemorating the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary, “honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure”.



Illuminations is a 1974 collaboration between Carlos Santana and Alice Coltrane. Jazz musicians Jules Broussard, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland also contributed to the record, on saxophone, flute, drums and bass. Alice Coltrane delivers some harp glissando, while the string orchestra adds a serene mood to the music. Carlos Santana (whose Indian name “Devadip” appears on the sleeve) plays electric guitar in his own fashion, utilizing feedback, long notes and simple melodies, letting much space to the other instruments. The album is conceived as an instrumental jazz album, with lengthy solos on guitar, saxophone and keyboards. The introduction to “Angel of Air”, with its violins, has been sampled by the Cinematic Orchestra. It is his first of three solo albums (the others: Oneness and The Swing of Delight) to be released under his temporary Buddhist name Devadip Carlos Santana




The albums listed below I feel would appeal to a younger listening crowd.  I listened to them in a jazz appreciation course to keep up with the times.  I recommend listening to jazzradio.com where you can explore the different styles and titles and develop your ears by listening to styles you like that open you up to the imagination and awe that inspires your soul.

 Dave Douglas – ‘The Infinite’

Dave Douglas Album The Infinite

Courtesy of RCA Records

Kenny Garret – ‘Songbook’

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

Dave Holland Quintet Extended Play Live at Birdland

Courtesy of ECM Records

Mark Turner – ‘Dharma Days’

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

The Bad Plus – ‘These are the Vistas’

Courtesy of Sony Records

The list is ginormous!  So, I hope I have given you a place to start.  When I start my Listening series in 2014 I will go into the 7 aphorisms for listening, i.e., rhythm, melody, style, arranging & composition, etc.  Feel free to let me know what got you started, I will do a survey early spring to find out what you have discovered.  Peace Out!

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14 thoughts on “RiffShots ~ Jazzybeatchick’s Suggested Jazz Albums to Get Your Groove On!

    1. No. I learned how to play guitar when I was eight. This changed when I became ill with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. I lost feeling and fine dexterity in my hands? Listening to jazz to me is just as critical as being a musician. JBC


  1. Your blog brought back happy memories of growing up and listening to big band, ragtime and other music with my dad on Sunday. He converted all of his old 78’s into a reel to reel player – pre 8 track and cassette and for you younger people pre CD! Today I have many CD’s of the great artists from a long ago era – I enjoy all types of jazz, old tyme rock and roll, easy listening, and praise and worship along with contemporary Christian…you name it I enjoy it and can also thank my dad for introducing me to the wonderful world of music.


    1. Thank you for sharing your dad introducing you to music. I had so much fun, it didn’t matter what color your skin was and it was a time when jazz was on a more univeral plane. I still have the two albums my dad recorded I have framed them, it is something that will never be lost from my memory. Peace Out! JBC :=P


  2. You also mentioned “Ragtime” music. This music is near and dear to my heart. My grandmother use to play Ragtime music on the piano and everything in the room would move. I loved it!


    1. Yes, but, you are a rarity, a lot of people don’t refer to Ragtime and Joplin very often when talking about Jazz, sounds like you are definitely ahead of the game. Thanks for the comment and insight, JBC 😛


  3. My favorites on your list are “Time Out,” “Kind of Blue,” and Louis Armstrong. These are albums I go back to again and again, and never tire of them. Thanks for the tips–I’ll have to check out the rest!


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