50 Essential Jazz Albums: The Most Valuable Records of All Time

Jazz music has been around for over a century, and it has been shaped by some of the greatest musicians of all time. From Ella Fitzgerald to John Coltrane, these legendary artists have created some of the most iconic jazz records in history. In this article, we'll take a look at 50 essential jazz albums that are considered to be some of the most valuable records of all time. Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, providing many of the definitive versions of classic jazz songs.

For many, the swing era of the 40s and 50s personifies the emotion and power of jazz music. Ahmad Jamal's Trio had a residency at Chicago's Pershing Hotel in the late 1950s, which allowed him to put together several sets of music into one live album. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins made his claim to be considered one of the most creative improvisers in music through a selection of the best jazz-records of the mid-late 1950s: The Sound of Sonny, Way Out West, Tenor Madness, Newk's Time and Freedom Suite are all brilliant, but Saxophone Colossus, from 1956, is probably his most famous album. One of his most memorable, Tales From The Hudson, was released in 1996 and won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album and Best Instrumental Jazz Solo.

John Coltrane was deeply involved in the modal jazz revolution that took place in the late 1950s, joining Miles Davis to move away from traditional chord functions into a more static harmonic landscape. Chet Baker rose to fame as a lyrical and oscillating trumpet player, but it was his decision to start singing in the mid-1950s that really put him on the map. In 1956, Armstrong partnered with Ella Fitzgerald, 'The First Lady of Song' and one of the best jazz singers in history. While Tristano's use of recording techniques was almost unheard of in the mid-1950s, some people considered it to be tantamount to cheating.

Perhaps no musician better bridged the gap between the legendary musicians of the 50s and 60s with the 21st century than Keith Jarrett. Soul Station may not change the rules of the game in the way some albums on this list charted the journey of jazz itself, but it presents some of the most serious and vibrant bop versions of jazz standards you'll ever hear. This masterpiece of Art Blakey's hard bop & The Jazz Messengers is an absolute classic and can be found in the record collection of jazz fans of all stripes. Jazz is a type of music that originated in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The title track is still a song studied by jazz musicians around the world, almost a rite of passage for students, but it is also an exciting listen for jazz fans.

As with all the albums in this top 10, music is not only a favorite of jazz fans, but it has made its way into the consciousness of millions of listeners around the world. The title track, “Inner Urge”, has become a jazz standard and has provided countless jazz students with complicated technical training. The first vinyl recordings of jazz were made in 1917, but it wasn't until the 1920s that jazz became popular on vinyl records. However, these albums do not stand out just for the music they contain; their popularity is long-lasting (both commercially and critically) and each captures definitive moments in jazz-history. This is undoubtedly true for Dizzy Gillespie's 1954 big band album which shows his main role in introducing Afro-Cuban music to the jazz arena. Developed over a long residency at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City, Rosenwinkel brings together Berklee alumni Mark Turner (saxophone), Ben Street (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums) to create a set of melodies that have become something like modern jazz standards for an entire generation of students. Another classic jazz album from 1959 is Mingus Ah Um which was his first for Columbia Records and contains a series of musical tributes. So here's our updated selection: 50 essential jazz albums by some of the greatest musicians ever! These records are not only considered to be some of the most valuable records ever made but also capture definitive moments in jazz history.