The 50 Best Jazz Albums of All Time

When it comes to timeless classics, it's hard to beat the iconic Kind of Blue by quintessential jazz musician Miles Davis. But there are many other jazz albums that have made a lasting impact on the genre, from Ella Fitzgerald's swing era of the 40s and 50s to John Coltrane's modal jazz revolution of the late 1950s. Here is our updated selection of 50 essential jazz albums, or dare we say it, by some of the greatest musicians 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.

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. 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. Tristano's use of recording techniques in the mid-1950s was almost unheard of and some people considered it tantamount to cheating. 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.

Keith Jarrett bridged the gap between legendary musicians of the 50s and 60s with the 21st century. Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins made his claim to be considered one of the most creative improvisers in music through a selection of best jazz-records from the mid-late 1950s. The Cti label is an audiophile's introduction to “jazz to impress your friends”. For a broader and more realistic list, we need to look at gems from the 70s, 80s and 90s such as Brad Melhdau, Wynton Marsalis' septet, Jeff Lorber and Quincy Jones.

Fusion music from the late 60s and 70s is what attracted many people to jazz and Miles Davis expanded the possibilities of electric jazz much to the chagrin of jazz snobs like Wynton Marsalis. We've taken this concept much further with a new release, The 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World, a definitive 100-page guide to the most important and influential jazz albums that have changed and shaped music from the 1920s to present day. It includes an in-depth new editorial on each album from Jazzwise's acclaimed writing team, as well as in-depth articles on creation of three best albums, a look at albums that almost made cut, and guide to buying outstanding titles on LP and CD. Bad Plus break in, do things that a piano and jazz trio shouldn't do like play “Heart of Glass” by Blondie or “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Kurt Cobain.

The Hammond B-3 organ trio has existed in jazz for at least 50 years and pushed limits with vibrant rhythms and extensive keyboard improvisations. Cassandra Wilson's group delights in shaking dominant values, returning to chicken shack in style of 21st century. Diana Krall is genuine item on every level - texture, taste, integrity, inventiveness or musicality - whatever scenario she has chosen for herself in past decade has been appropriate.