The 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World

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70
Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) - African Marketplace - Elektra/Musician
Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) (ss, kys, p), Gary Chandler (t), Malindi Blyth Mbityana, Craig Harris (tb), Carlos Ward (as), Jeff Jaywarrah King, Dwayne Armstrong (ts), Kenny Rogers (bs), Lawrence Lucie (bjo), Cecil McBee (b), Miguel Pomier and Andre Strobert (d, perc). Rec. 1980

Duke Ellington discovered and recorded pianist-composer Dollar Brand aka Abdullah Ibrahim in 1963 playing in a more or less conventional jazz manner, but it took a long time for the South African township music he evolved in the 1970s to be accepted outside of Africa. This album was one of the very first to be made in America and its impact was immense, its melodicism, warmth and simplicity brought something new and refreshing to the often overheated, testosterone-filled gladiatorial pit of small group improvising to established harmonic patterns. As Jelly Roll Morton had shown 50 years earlier, sometimes the best comes from a truly group effort. (KS)

69
Stan Tracey - Jazz Suite Inspired By Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood - EMI/Columbia
Stan Tracey (p), Bobby Wellins (ts), Jeff Clyne (b) and Jackie Dougan (d). Rec. 8 May 1965

Tracey is indispensable, a one-man mission statement. Here he showed how much could be achieved within the basic jazz quartet format. Reaction at the time seems to have been along the lines of where on earth did this come from? Coherent, vital and mind-stretching, Tracey’s eight pieces provide a remarkable insight into Thomas’ great work but also into the creative process itself and the myriad sources jazz could explore for inspiration. With its jaunty, picaresque tunes and assured playing that reflected Thomas’ saucy, roguish book, the album is a wonderfully humorous work that extended the boundaries in a hugely subtle way. After this, there would always be more to jazz than just blowing. (DH)

68
Esbjörn Svensson Trio - From Gagarin’s Point Of View - ACT
Esbjörn Svensson (p), Dan Berglund (b) and Magnus Öström (d). Rec. 1999

It was not as if the Esbjörn Svensson Trio came out of nowhere. They’ve been around since 1991 refining a distinctive collective voice that prompted a name change to EST. It took the UK, who habitually look to the USA for its jazz heroes, longer than most European countries to come under their spell, but this is the album that did it. Their attachment to deeply felt melody, unhurried intensity, framed with the Nordic Tone, and the comparatively unconventional, pop-like structures of their compositions endeared them to jazz and non-jazz fans alike, in the honest humanity of their playing. (SN)

Feature EST – Three Falling Three

67
John Handy - Live At Monterey Jazz Festival - Columbia
John Handy (as), Mike White (el vn), Jerry Hahn (g), Don Thompson (b) and Terry Clarke (d). Rec. 1965

Fresh from the Charles Mingus band, Handy tore Monterey apart in September 1965 with this startling hypnotic modal performance that got him signed to Columbia, sending shock waves out to Charles Lloyd, Gabor Szabo, Miles Davis and John McLaughlin. Rooted in the free flow of Coltrane’s classic quintet with Eric Dolphy, the two side-long pieces open with Handy’s mesmerising unaccompanied alto statement that, four decades later still sends shivers, before Hahn and White erupt into fiery flamenco, middle eastern and rock-tinged directions unheard of at the time. Little wonder that in December 1965 they were the first jazz act ever to play San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium paving the way for The Fourth Way and the sonic zeitgeist that followed. (JN) Reissued on Koch CD.

66
Gil Evans - The Individualism of Gil Evans - Verve 
Gil Evans (p, arr, comp) with, among others, Johnny Coles, Ernie Royal, Thad Jones, Bernie Glow (t), Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland (tb), Julius Watkins, Bob Northern (Fr h), Bill Barber (tba), Steve Lacy (ss), Eric Dolphy (f, as, bcl), Wayne Shorter (ts), Garvin Bushell, Jerome Richardson (reeds), Kenny Burrell (g), Milt Hinton, Paul Chambers, Gary Peacock, Ron Carter (b) and Elvin Jones (d). Rec. 1963-4

A diffident self-promoter, Evans was only rarely coaxed into the recording studios to deliver albums that reflected fully his own musical visions away from the stars he wrapped in his sonic delights. This album is his most ambitious and deeply satisfying, covering his love of Kurt Weill, the blues, Spanish music and swaggering self-penned pieces, all of them dripping in the translucent arrangements that make you feel you’ve entered a uniquely magical musical land the moment the orchestra makes a sound. Seamlessly featuring soloists like Wayne Shorter, Johnny Coles and Phil Woods, this album is pure musical alchemy from a total original. The CD is a happily expanded version of the original vinyl, adding 27 minutes of excellent previously unreleased new music. (KS)

65
Gerry Mulligan - Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Pacific Jazz
Gerry Milligan (bar s), Chet Baker (t), Bobby Whitlock (b) and Chico Hamilton (d). Rec. 1952

Mulligan first made a significant contribution to recorded jazz through his arrangements for Miles’ so-called Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol, but it was the 1952 pianoless quartet that hit the headlines and made him (as well as trumpeter sidekick Chet Baker) virtually overnight jazz celebrities. This album covers the initial (and best) sides the Mulligan Quartet cut, for Pacific Jazz, including ‘Bernie’s Tune’, ‘Freeway’ and ‘Walkin’ Shoes’, where the uncanny empathy between Mulligan and Baker is constantly underlined by the firmly resilient beat of Chico Hamilton. West coast jazz in its infancy and at its most joyously infectious. This is a Japanese CD reissue which more than doubles the original vinyl playing time. (KS)

64
Brad Mehldau - Art Of The Trio Vol.3 - Warner
Brad Mehldau (p), Larry Grenadier (b) and Jorge Rossy (d). Rec. 1998

Voted best jazz album of 1998 by The Guardian and part three of a musical odyssey that comprises five volumes stretching from 1996-2000. More so than his previous albums, this was the one that put him on the map, as much for a version of ‘Exit Music (For A Film)’ that turned Radiohead into Beethoven as his deeply haunting version of Nick Drake’s ‘River Man’ that hipped a legion of young jazzers to two fresh new sources of repertoire. Here Mehldau’s improvisations appear as variations upon variations upon variations, remote from their source maybe but entirely personal. In the process they lay to rest Bill Evans soundalike comparisons once and for all. (SN)

63
Archie Shepp - Four For Trane - Impulse!
Archie Shepp (ts, arr), Alan Shorter (flhn), Roswell Rudd (tb), John Tchicai (as), Reggie Workman (b) and Charles Moffett (d). Rec. 1964

Shepp was a member of Cecil Taylor’s 1960/1 unit that cut sides for Candid and Impulse!, but his first mature playing on disc is on the virtually unobtainable 1962 Archie Shepp – Bill Dixon Quartet album released on Savoy. Four For Trane demonstrates not only a shift in allegiance to Coltrane but a real gift for arrangement and a thoroughly original approach to his own playing at a time when everyone was copying Trane or Rollins. He may have got more radical later, but this was a 100 per cent proof shot of the new on its initial release. (KS)

62
Count Basie - The Atomic Mr Basie - Roulette
Count Basie (p), Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Wendell Culley, Snooky Young (t), Benny Powell, Henry Coker, Al Grey (tb), Marshall Royal (as, cl), Frank Wess (as, ts), Frank Foster, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (ts), Charlie Fowlkes (bar s), Freddie Green (g), Eddie Jones (b), Sonny Payne (d) and Neal Hefti (arr). Rec. 1957

First issued simply as Basie and illustrated with “a tasteful” mushroom cloud it certainly had an explosive enough impact as it was his first album to capture the rich ensemble sound as well as the beat. Some of the charts wear better than others, but the overall feel is timeless. ‘Kid From Red Bank’ featuring stride piano from the leader and ‘Whirly-Bird’’s shouting tenor saxophone by Lockjaw epitomise the uptempos, while ‘Splanky’ and Newman-and-Thad’s ‘Duet’ do it for the blues. And ‘Li’l Darlin‚’ proves emphatically that smoochy doesn’t have to mean smoo-ooth. (BP)

61
Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool - Capitol
Miles Davis (t), Lee Konitz (as), Gerry Mulligan (bar s), JJ Johnson (tb), Kai Winding (tb), Junior Collins (Fr hn), Gunther Schuller (Fr hn), Sandy Siegelstein (Fr hn), Billy Barber (tba), John Barber (tba), Nelson Boyd (b), Joe Shulman (b), Al McKibbon (b), Al Haig (p), John Lewis (p), Kenny Clarke (d),  Max Roach (d), Gil Evans (arr), Johnny Carisi (arr) and Kenny Hagood (v). Rec. 1949-50

The wonder of Miles’ career is the sheer amount of times he seized the moment, grabbed the right people, and got them to deliver their best creative thoughts for him. The first time was with Charlie Parker, but by the time he landed a contract with Capitol for some modern jazz sides with an augmented group, he was able to operate freely, pulling in the restless writing talents of Gil Evans, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan and John Carisi to create a unified and superbly subtle backdrop for his emergent lyricism. The world is changed, part one. (KS)

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