Ten (More) Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die
William P. Gottlieb Louis Armstrong
By Matthew Kassel and Alex W. Rodriguez
Yesterday's much celebrated "Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die" post was a starter course, an easily digestible, rudimentary entry into the storied genre that not one person on the planet disagreed with. But today, we go further. Because for every Blue Train or Kind of Blue there's a jazz album that's as good, or better, but infinitely more obscure. Here are 10 of them, culled from about 100 years.
10. Louis Armstrong
Satchmo at Symphony Hall
Louis Armstrong's triumphant return to the small-ensemble format came with the trumpeter at the peak of his powers, and surrounded by virtuoso sidemen. In addition to Armstrong's updated renditions of his classic repertoire, clarinetist Barney Bigard and trombonist Jack Teagarden give inspired performances during their respective features, making this a singular document of these original jazz giants at their absolute best.
9. Sidney Bechet
Moasic Select: Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet's completely inimitable style is in full force on these remastered takes of his work with Columbia from the 1920s to the 1940s. Really, any record that features Bechet's wild virtuosity and shuddering vibrato is worth a listen; this boxed set just happens to feature some of the most carefully-restored examples of it, which can be difficult to find. Or, you can hear his "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" as the opening cut on the Midnight in Paris soundtrack -- we can always leave it to Woody Allen to give the early jazz greats their due.
8. The Quintet
Jazz at Massey Hall
On May 15, 1953, the world heavy weight champion Rocky Marciano knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott to defend his title in a boxing match in Chicago. That same night Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach got on a stage in Toronto and played bebop standards with the same vigor with which a pugilist might throw his prize-winning punch. More people watched the boxing match 50 years ago, but you'd do well to check out this album now. Listen to Gillespie impetuously shrieking "salt PEE-nuts!" as Parker enters his solo.