BEST little know Jazz Album that you ever heard?


DUKE PEARSON THE RIGHT TOUCH 1969. I have it in my top 5 all time!

calvinj

Ed Cherry does not recorded much as solo man ...

He recorded one of my favorite guitar album ..."its all good"

His tone is very nuanced and his melodic sense was top and the music very relax as if he has nothing to prove ...

He was not a side man here ...

 

FWIW-Anyone who lives within striking distance of NYC can see Ed Cherry at Smalls Jazz Club, 1/8/2024. I believe there is a live stream, also.

 

@celtic66, thank you for the heads-up on "NHOP Trio Live." I did not know this one, but I sure am enjoying it now.  I knew of Pedersen and Wakenius from their work with Oscar Peterson but did not know their work elsewhere.

Have experienced phenomenal jazz recordings for decades, but, "The Unforgettable NHOP Trio Live" is off the chain.  Niels does not play bass, he attacks it!  Thank you for the heads up.  He is on another level, along with his mates.  

This is a seminal performance and recording; purely a clinic on musicianship and interpretation.  It cannot be any better.

Thanks i did not know and was lacking in my Johansson collection ...

 Sometimes the sideman matter as much as the main player for us ..

Jan Johansson plays of my favorite but little known Stan Getz record "At Large"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Getz_at_Large

Jan Johansson plays of my favorite but little known Stan Getz record "At Large"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Getz_at_Large

Then you know one of the great creative jazz pianist : Jan Johansson... Almost  unknown in North America ...

Sure, he is great! ”Jazz på svenska” ( Jazz in swedish ) is fantastic!

@wharfy 

Thanks for the heads-up! Just loaded on my Aurender

David I bet Ed Cherry’s trio sounds fantastic through your system .😊

Charles

I will mention what I'm streaming right now it's new to me and not sure if it's a new release or just new on Qobuz. Alex Riel in New York with Michael Brecker. Nieslan Doky, Mike Stern, Jerry Bergonzi, Chris Minh Doky, Eddie Gomez and Kenny Werner. Pretty straight ahead jazz and it swings!

I am from Sweden, started to listen to jazz 3 years ago ( at the age of 70! ) and I love it. It is good to get recommendations.
I love the swedish altosaxophonist Arne Domnerus.

 Then you know one of the great creative jazz pianist : Jan Johansson... Almost  unknown in North America ...

And don’t forget that I was also recommending more "mainstream" period East European & Soviet jazz. Pleasae don’t let that get lost in the shuffle. Guys like Stancko & Komeda have tremendous catalogs that are (OK, just my opinion, but still) belong on a shelf with the best Miles, Coltrane, & Ellington recordings.

I concur... Jazz is a universal  earth phenomena not a north american one for a long time now ... The roots are in Africa the country of  the speaking drums ...And the canopy now enlightened the earth ...

Thank you for this thread! I am from Sweden, started to listen to jazz 3 years ago ( at the age of 70! ) and I love it. It is good to get recommendations.
I love the swedish altosaxophonist Arne Domnerus. You probably know him from ”Jazz at the Pawnshop” but he has made many albums as good or better than JATP!
Here are 4 good examples:

 


I also like the TVseries Bosch based on the novels of Michael Connelly! He has a nice stereosetup and plays jazz! Here I found a new artist for me; Frank Morgan. I just love the album Mood Indigo. Connelly has made a DVD of his life ”Sound of redemption” which I unfortunately am not able yo find here in Sweden.
I also love Chet Baker and a special favorite is the album ”No Problem” recorded in Copenhagen.

@cundare2

The threshold issue here is: "What do you mean by ’jazz’ "? Ellington, Mahavishnu, Wynton, Alice Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Sun Ra, Sinatra? And are you including boots?

But here’s my two bits: In the 1970s & 1980s, I collected a lot of mind-bending "Rock in Opposition" music that combined jazz, classical chamber music, electronics, and sometimes even heavy metal. Lots of Chick, Zappa, even Yes influences. I also traded Western CDs, with penpals in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, for some more conventional jazz records by world-class artists who are little-known here.

I can make a few recommendations. A good first stop would be Komeda’s "Astigmatic," which -- and this is admittedly a poor analogy -- is something like Eastern Europe’s "Bitches Brew." Tomasz Stanko is no Miles, but still great. It’s on Tidal, & you Google Komeda for context. Like Miles, he used to collect young talented players and guide them to become great bandleaders in their own right (when he wasn’t recording soundtracks for movies like "Rosemary’s Baby").

A good place to start for the RiO releases is with the bands Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, and Zao (the French band with Yochk’o Seffer & album "Z=7L" -- there are a lot of Zao’s). Their albums are extraordinarily diverse and often experimental, but you may hear echoes of Weather Report & Pere Ubu. Again, you can find a smattering of these artists’ huge catalogs on Tidal. Another option is Cuneiform’s glorious sampler album "Enneade", which is also on Tidal (Youchk’o’s "Freya" track is pretty hot!)

This is a whole world of jazz that is generally unknown to Americans and most younger Europeans.

Oh, and there are East Europeans who have released a only few albums here, but who have huge catalogs of great records that never made it to our shores. YouTube is sometimes the best (mid-fi) way to sample such artists, like Michael Urbaniak and Iva Bittova (the "Polish Laurie Anderson"!). I see a newly remastered version of Urbaniak’s fusion-y "Inactin" is on Tidal.

 

I am a huge fan of Rock in Opposition (also known as "avant-prog’), and even though many bands use a fair amount of improvisation, I would not include most of them in any jazz subgenre. But of course, with all attempts to put different bands in genres, the lines are fuzzy.

It seems to me, that (evidenced by the majority of posts on this thread), most people that are into jazz on this forum, tend to not be into anything: recent or that may border on avant-garde. So asking them to venture into: atonal, very complex, angular sounding, "difficult" music may be a hard ask.

For your benefit, avant-prog (Rock in Opposition), did not really stop in the 70’s, 80’s. Along with all other subgenres of prog, there has been a constant supply of avant-prog bands since the mid 90’s. Some incredible music from the recent past, and present.

Check out (this is just a very few):

Thinking Plague - In Extremis (1998), A History of Madness (2004)

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening and Closing (2001), Of Natural History (2004) They’re touring the US right now!

Aranis - Made in Belgium (2012), Made in Belgium II (2014)

Yugen - Iridule (2010), Death by Water (2016)

Discus - ...tot Licht (2003)

Zevious - Passing Through the Wall (2013)

miRthkon - Snack(s) (2013), Vehicle (2006)

Avant-Prog - ProgArchives

 

A few, if I may ...

The Jimmy Bruno Trio - Live at Birdland

Craig Buhler - Capistrano Sessions

Carlos Franzetti Trio - Live in Buenos Aires

Sara Lazarus - It’s All Right With Me

Jacam Manricks - Chamber Jazz

Jon Regen - Tel Aviv

Glenn Shambroom - Band Math

Simple Acoustic Trio - Lullaby For Rosemary, and also Habanera

 

I have a long list since this has been a sweet spot for me for the last decade. I don’t know about "best," but some interesting ones include:

Milt Ward & Virgo Spectrum (reissued as a needle drop- the OG is now very scarce and worthwhile if you can find one in unmolested condition);

Ronnie Boykins, The Will Come, Is Now- it sounds like everybody is out of tune but wait-- they pull together beautifully;

Jothan Collins- Winds of Change- Birmingham, Ala educator who studied under Nathan Davis at Pitt;

Nathan Davis-6th Sense In The 11th House- famous for his stints in Paris, followed by his organization of various jazz studies programs when he returned to the States, this is one of his seminal albums, on Segue Records;

Woody Shaw- Blackstone Legacy- not exactly obscure, but hard to find in top condition as an OG. Recently reissued and worth every penny. (So is the OG if you can find a clean copy at a decent price);

Cecil McBee- Mutima- I realized I’ve been listening to McBee since the ’80s and he appears on so many influential post-bop records. This one, on Strata-East, features McBee. One of the most melodic and "inside the track" players, always complementing rather than distracting from the main theme.

Nate Morgan- Journey into Nigritia--killer keyboard player, part of the West Coast scene, on Nimbus West, along with Horace Tapscott, whose

Live at I.U.C.C. (particularly side three) is just stupendous. It’s a large band, not quite as out there as Sun Ra, superb musicianship, lots to engage you.

 

One blues record to leave you with Calvin Leavy- Cummins Prison Farm- originally released as a single, it found its way onto an album released in Japan. Real deal blues, not played by rote, and a good voice.

Enjoy,

Bill Hart

 

This is great. Got out of my standard listening mode and appreciate all these lost classics. Duke Pearson!!!  Just great!

@mahgister 

Here he plays with a delicate fingering and his tone expression are fabulous

Spot on! 👍

Love the accompanying drummer here. Very nice cymbal work. Very nice by all involved on this recording.

Charles

Given the caliber of responses posted here I think most will appreciate the superb jazz guitarist Ed Cherry.

I concur with Ed Cherry...

One of my very loved jazz guitar album with "Formidable" by Pat Martino is Ed Cherry playing "it’s all good" :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsH3Mr0tXws

Here he plays with a delicate fingering and his tone expression are fabulous ...

 

Given the caliber of responses posted here I think most will appreciate the superb jazz guitarist Ed Cherry. This is his trio performing in a small NYC venue in 2016.

@wharfy I believe you’ll really like these guys. They can play!!

 

 

Cecil Taylor Spring of Two Blue Jays; Freddie Redd,The Connection.  The latter was an off-Broadway play I saw around 1960. The record was on Blue Note.

The threshold issue here is: "What do you mean by 'jazz' "?  Ellington, Mahavishnu, Wynton, Alice Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Sun Ra, Sinatra?  And are you including boots?

But here's my two bits: In the 1970s & 1980s, I collected a lot of mind-bending "Rock in Opposition" music that combined jazz, classical chamber music, electronics, and sometimes even heavy metal.  Lots of Chick, Zappa, even Yes influences. I also traded Western CDs, with penpals in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, for some more conventional jazz records by world-class artists who are little-known here.

I can make a few recommendations.  A good first stop would be Komeda's "Astigmatic," which -- and this is admittedly a poor analogy -- is something like Eastern Europe's "Bitches Brew."  Tomasz Stanko is no Miles, but still great.  It's on Tidal, & you Google Komeda for context.  Like Miles, he used to collect young talented players and guide them to become great bandleaders in their own right (when he wasn't recording soundtracks for movies like "Rosemary's Baby").

A good place to start for the RiO releases is with the bands Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, and Zao (the French band with Yochk'o Seffer & album "Z=7L"  -- there are a lot of Zao's).  Their albums are extraordinarily diverse and often experimental, but you may hear echoes of Weather Report & Pere Ubu.  Again, you can find a smattering of these artists' huge catalogs on Tidal.   Another option is Cuneiform's glorious sampler album "Enneade", which is also on Tidal (Youchk'o's "Freya" track is pretty hot!)

This is a whole world of jazz that is generally unknown to Americans and most younger Europeans.

Oh, and there are East Europeans who have released a only few albums here, but who have huge catalogs of great records that never made it to our shores.  YouTube is sometimes the best (mid-fi) way to sample such artists, like Michael Urbaniak and Iva Bittova (the "Polish Laurie Anderson"!).  I see a newly remastered version of Urbaniak's fusion-y "Inactin" is on Tidal.

 

An artist not unheard of, but not that widely known either, is Jimmy Guiffre. Sax, clarinet, composer, arranger, bandleader. Start with his "1961" album by the Jimmy Guiffre 3, comprised of Guiffre, Paul Bley (piano), and Steve Swallow (bass). A two cd album with most tunes written by Guiffre, but Carla Bley composed some of the tunes.  Recording sounds great.

 

@tylermunns 

Thanks for the heads up. I will check the show out.

Only some of my list I would consider avant-garde. Maybe "progressive" would be the best description for most of my list.

I got to say, though, I am constantly surprised on how few jazz fans that post on music forums, are into exploring new stuff. So many great, creative subgenres. So many musicians with chops as good as the masters from the past.

 

 

Charlie Haden "The Montreal Tapes with Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell" (one of several "Montreal Tapes" recordings).  It's essentially the Ornette Coleman quartet without, well..........Ornette Coleman!  They pull it off on a well-recorded piece that's worth exploring.

Frank Morgan "Mood Indigo".  Way, way WAY underrated and relatively little-known alto sax player who was something of a Charlie Parker protege'.

Woody Shaw "In My Own Sweet Way".  Another (underrated) trumpet player who was held in very high regard by none other than Miles Davis.

Not much of a jazz-hound but John McLaughlin's first album: Extrapolation. 

 

Another that might be considered “little known” as a jazz album, but certainly not unfamiliar in terms of the music it contains is “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. 
 

‘Tis the Season!

Mine would be Blue Mitchell's "Step Lightly." It was his first date as a leader for Blue Note. It was recorded in 1963 but by the time I got released in 980, Blue was already dead. That's insane.

For a first date, this is an astounding recording, so assured and polished. And Blue's trumpet playing, as always, was divine. If you live in the New York metro area, you might have already heard parts of the title cut--its opening bars were used as the intro the WNYC-FM's Brian Lehrer show for decades.

My favorite cut is the ballad, "Cry Me a River." When Blue finally starts his solo, it's co clear and affecting that this often covered tune sounds fresh again..

 

My favourite lesser-known jazz album is: 'The Don Ewell quartette'

"Yellow Dog Blues" on the 'Audiophile' label 'AP-66 monophonic"

My original copy is a reddish coloured vinyl. I think the recording

and performances are 'top shelf' There are a couple of 'stereo' re-issues

and I have a later 'Audiophile' reissue which is also pretty good.

I play this on friends systems and Everybody wants a copy!

"None But The Lonely Heart" 1997 release by Chris Anderson and Charlie Haden on Naim. Yes, that Naim. Anderson was Chick Corea's piano teacher but retired from performing due to his blindness and degenerative bone disease that made playing extremely painful. In this collaboration you can hear the effort he makes in voicing every chord, and Haden is at his peak, releasing 'Beyond the Missiouri Sky' with Pat Metheny that same year. Sound quality is as extraordinary as the performance. 

Roger Nelson (Prince) -- "Loring Park Sessions ’77"

Lalo Schifrin -- "Black Widow"

Yuji Ohno -- "Lupin, the 3rd" anime soundtrack

Fish For Fish -- self-titled album and also their "Diving" album as well

And, finally Rhythmstick album which is compilation of various Brazilian artists such as Airto, Flora

These lists give me lots of stuff to listen to.  Thanks 🙏 

Heres a few more:

Rodney Franklin / You’ll Never Know

Al Jarreau / Look to the Rainbow Live

Sea Level / Debut LP

Bob James & Earl Klugh / One on One

Grover Washington Jr / Paradise

Gino Vanelli / Storm at Sunup

Hands down, Nat Adderley’s, The Old Country. Featuring a young Vincent Herring on alto. Released on an obscure label in Japan only. The quintet is really really good, and the entire album is a masterpiece.

It’s been my go to recording for 35 years simply because the album was recorded so well and the music selections are so good.

I of course loaded the entire album on the tube.

Another is pianist Jessica Williams, Joy. Featuring the great Jay Thomas who doubles on Sax and Flugehorn It’s a live album with excellent acoustics Here’s Compassion from that album.

And a personal favorite, Jeannine from Adderley’s Old Country.

And, the great Bobby Shew’s, Breakfast Wine, never released to CD or digital, until I uploaded the album on the tube  :)

 

 


 

 

Philosophy of the spiritual by Richard Davis. LP out of print but on Discogs sometimes.

Jj35 I also have the opportunity to hear those two pair of pioneer sub on Teajay system . I end up buying them too.Teajay was able to integrate them on his system beautifully as well.

Jj 35 if you can stream Don Bennet Sleeping Giant let me know, very dynamic cd , it has all the audiophile quality, it has been my reference cd to test my system for transient and musicality, Because if my system can play this cd right ? It means it can play any music I play including classical,This is the cd I played on Teajay system when we visited Him to listen to PS 12 Tekton. This cd right away I knew Teajay system was musically good and of course I end up buying ps 12.

Little known is tricky, but I thought through my list of recordings that define jazz to me, perhaps one you may not have heard? You can skip the last one :-)

Armstrong - Hot 5 and 7

Blanton Webster band- Ellington

Love Supreme - Coltrane

Ahmad’s Blues - Ahmad Jamal

Quintet live at Massey Hall

Koln Concert - Keith Jarrett

Monks Music - Thelonious Monk  

Miles - Nefertiti

Jimmy Guiffre 3

Miles- Kind of Blue

"Straight Ahead", album by Oliver Nelson with Eric Dolphy, recorded in 1961 by Rudy Van Gelder at the Van Gelder studios.  Sublime.