Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Plugged In – Jerome Sabbagh

I’ve been curious about the sax player, Jerome Sabbagh, for a while now.  Then I caught an interview with him on the Jazz Session website, talking about his new recording, Plugged In.  I figured this was enough of a sign to lead me to check out Plugged In.

Apparently, Sabbagh usually plays with acoustic groups, and some heavy hitters, too: e.g. Ben Monder, Daniel Humair, Paul Motian.  So Plugged In was a departure for him, since he employed an electronic keyboardist, Jozef Dumoulin, and an electric bassist, Patrice Blanchard; in fact, it was hearing one of Dumoulin’s recordings (“Trees Are Always Right”) that inspired Sabbagh to do this project.  His drummer for this recording was Rudy Royston, who we already encountered and were impressed by on J.D. Allen’s Victory recording.  But in his interview on the Jazz Session, Sabbagh said he still wanted to keep an open, acoustic feel for the recording, something which I think he succeeded in doing.
“Drive” begins Plugged In with a mid-tempo.  This first cut has Sabbagh playing well with a low-key, laid-back improvisational style and a very good sound.  Sabbagh sounds a lot like Stan Getz, especially in the upper register, though his style of improvising is very different.  (Sabbagh plays only tenor sax on Plugged In.)  On this cut, Dumoulin solos on a synthesizer tuned like a distorted electric guitar.  After his solo, he plays with the group on a spacy electric piano.  “Special K” is a slower, funkier tune.  Dumoulin solos first on distorted electric piano, sort of like Chick Corea on “Light as a Feather” (an oldie but goodie).  Sabbagh again solos in his solid, laid-back style.  “Aisha” is a slow tune, and Sabbagh starts with a pretty, meandering solo.  Dumoulin’s keyboard provides a nice atmosphere but isn’t very compelling.  “Jeli” is a mid-tempo, bouncier tune with a Latin feel, a little like Rollins’s “St. Thomas.”  Demoulin again plays synthesizer with a distorted guitar sound.  His soloing is very slick here, though, unfortunately, it’s broken up by passages where he plays in unison with Sabbagh. 

“Ronny” is another slow tune.  Sabbagh affects his airiest, breathiest tone here.  This cut is just a free-form duet between Sabbagh and Demoulin.  “Walk 6” begins with Sabbagh soloing over Metheney-esque chord changes, the cut ending with a simple melody played over the changes.  “Ur” is an upper mid-tempo, driving tune that has Sabbagh and Demoulin playing the melody in unison.  Sabbagh then plays one of his strongest solos of the recording, freely ranging all over his tenor.  Royston finally gets to step out a bit, playing a nice solo.  He continues his energetic playing while Sabbagh and Demoulin play the melody to end the cut.  “Minor” is a slow, bluesy, noir-ish tune, with a dragging Royston beat.  “Rider” is a pretty, brisk waltz.  Sabbagh’s tone is very much like Stan Getz on his solo.  Demoulin solos on electric piano with a slight reverb, very much like early Chick Corea.  “Rider” is one of the strongest tunes on the album.  “Boulevard Carnot” is a brief, impressionist interlude, with Sabbagh and Demoulin playing in duet. 
“City Dawn” has a slowish mid tempo.  Sabbagh plays very well here.  I think Sabbagh plays better on mid-tempo tunes, having a greater opportunity to ponder and try different things.  On “Walk 3 bis,” Demoulin lays down a mysterioso blanket of background sound over which Sabbagh solos loosely.  “Kasbah” is an upper mid-tempo tune with a slight tango feel.  Sabbagh solos briefly against an ostinato background.  “Slow Rock Ballad” starts out with some chaotic but gentle free form playing from the group.  But it indeed moves into a sort of slow rock ballad, though it’s hard to discern a definite melody here.  Sabbagh plays the only solo of the cut, though it’s a good, rambling effort.  On the version of Plugged In I downloaded, an extra cut was included, titled “Milonga,” a slow tune (nothing like a true, fast-paced Argentinian milonga song).  Here Dumoulin plays straight electric piano, and Sabbagh noddles around against the slow background to end the recording.

Overall, Plugged In is almost like a lighter, more pop-music-oriented version of Chick Corea’s early Return to Forever group (the one with Joe Farrell and Airto Moreira).  At points it has a feel similar to the pop group Zero 7 (a group I like very much).  Sabbagh is a good soloist with a Stan Getz kind of sound, though he uses less vibrato and his phrasing is more impressionistic, laid back, and rambling; also, he tends to stay in the mid-register of the horn and away from the altissimo. 
I didn’t connect with this recording as much as with, say, J.D. Allen’s “Victory,” which we previously reviewed, and I’m not sure why.  Both Allen and Sabbagh are good improvisers with a good sound.  I think it might be because Allen has more intensity and sense of progression in his playing, while Sabbagh tends to stay at a constant, low key level without a clear narrative to his solos.  This could be said of the music generally on the two recordings; while there’s a fair amount of variety in the tunes on Plugged In, the music stays pretty much at one level, while there’s more ebb and flow and tension and release on Victory.  Also, it must be said that there is nowhere near the amount of group interplay on Plugged in that there is on Victory.  Plugged In is really a Sabbagh and Demoulin show, with Blanchard and Royston very much in the background; Victory had nearly equal contributions from all members of the trio, with the rhythm players more seamlessly worked into the music rather than just being background.  For me, Plugged In is a nice but not totally satisfying recording.  Having heard Plugged In, I’m curious to hear Sabbagh’s recording of jazz standards, One Two Three, to see how he handles strong tunes that he probably knows like the back of his hands.  Of course, we have lots of other artists to review before we double back on Jerome Sabbagh, though his playing on Plugged In certainly makes him deserving of another listen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Victory - J.D. Allen Trio

There weren’t many of the 30 Record of the Year vote recipients in DownBeat’s 2012 critics poll that involved up-and-coming sax players, sad to say.  Sonny Rollins (at #2, Road Shows, Vol.2) doesn’t count.  Neither does Branford Marsalis (at #20, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy) nor Gary Smulyan (at #23, Smul’s Paradise.)  Neither does Tim  Berne (at #10, Snakeoil), though that’s a tougher call; Berne belongs in the category of established sax players I need to hear more of.  Rudresh Mahanthappa made the list at #13 with Samdhi, but we just reviewed one of his recordings.  I suppose Miguel Zenon (at #5, Alma Adentro) could be put in this category, but I’ve heard him a bit, and he’s not quite my cup of tea, though I plan to listen to him more in the future to see if my first impression of him was wrong.  One person who is an up-and-comer saxophonist (in my vague sense of the term) is J.D. Allen, whose “Victory” came in as the 12th vote getter on DownBeat’s Best Record list.  I’ve been interested in him for a while, too, so I gave “Victory” a listen.  (By the way, Anat Cohen is definitely an up-and-comer, and she came in at #24 with her siblings, 3 Cohens, with their recording, Family; we’ll give her a listen at some future time.)

The opening tune, “Victory,” is a dirge-like, majestic tune that includes an optimistic, (dare I say) victorious tinge and features a slow, insistent bass line from Gregg August.  Allen plays an elegant solo, showing off a full and big sound that still has a lot of warmth.  Allen’s big sound is one that I associate with metal mouthpieces, and I was struck by how he managed to get such a warm sound from a metal mouthpiece.  Well, I then saw (see discussion of the “Victory” movie below), to my surprise, that Allen plays a hard rubber mouthpiece.  So now the question is, how does he get such a big sound from a hard rubber mouthpiece.  In any case, Allen’s sound on the tenor is one to be envied.
“The Pilot’s Compass” begins with a Rudy Royston drum solo.  Then there is just the suggestion of a melody, mid-tempo, and then Allen double-times it in his solo.  Allen as improviser comes off like a subdued Sonny Rollins.  His solo here is very solid.  Royston plays very busily (in a good way) behind Allen, making it almost like a duet between the two.  “The Thirsty Ear” is a free-form duet between Allen and Royston, with Allen sounding Coltrane-ish.  This tune has even less of a melody than “Pilot’s Compass.”  By comparison, “Sura Hinda” has a full-blown and assertive melody, eventually sounding like a Coltrane-ish tune, a sort of “Lonnie’s Lament” with hints of Miles Davis’s “Nardis.”  This cut has no improvised solos.  “The Learned Tongue” has free-form improvising from all three musicians, and that’s it.  Throughout the recording, the trio’s playing is very fluid, and it’s often difficult to clearly identify if someone is soloing or accompanying or filling in a few bars before the next solo.  This adds to the organic feel of the recording. 
On “Philippe Petit,” Allen plays a slow, stately theme, with August playing arco and Royston again dancing percussive rings around them.  (Petit is, of course, the tight-rope walker who walked between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.  And “Victory” has some images of a tight-rope walker on its cover, though I don’t know the significance of tightrope walking for Allen.  Is it because the tight-rope walker’s success is the ultimate symbol of victory?  Don’t know.)  “Motif” is an energetic duet between Allen and Royston.  Then an up-tempo melody is played with August joining in, then it’s over.  “Fatima” is also up-tempo and includes more straightahead soloing from Allen.  Then August plays what can be identified as a definite solo, and a good one, with a more subdued Royston accompanying him.  “Mr. Steepy” is also up-tempo; Allen plays a good solo here, then Royston takes over, accompanied by August’s walking bass.  Allen soon returns to close the tune.
“Stairway to the Stars” is a standard that the trio gives a straight, though fine, reading, without any improvised solos.  “The Hungry Eye” (what is it with the focus on sensory organs?) has August soloing with very fancy finger work while accompanied by Royston.  Finally, “Recapitulation (The Pilot’s Compass)” alternates between mid- and up-tempo sections, with Allen and August trading brief solos.
It must be said that one notable feature of “Victory” is that it’s…short.  It’s around only 35 minutes long.  (Heck I was complaining about the brevity of David Binney’s “Barefooted Town,” which is 55 minutes long—whopping by comparison with “Victory.”)  Nevertheless, it is very good, and, as good as it is, its brevity doesn’t work against it.  For one thing, there’s a very organic and seamless quality to “Victory,” like it’s a suite rather than a disconnected group of tunes.  (Maybe it should have been called “the Victory Suite.”)  Secondly, the length of “Victory” seems to suit Allen’s style; his playing is pretty subdued, and he doesn’t waste notes. 
Allen made a couple of interesting comments about the brevity of “Victory” in a brief movie about this recording.  He says (I may be paraphrasing a bit), “This recording is not song to song but one piece.  A collection of pieces to make one sound.  Not a samba here or a ballad there….I don’t like things being too long. I get the sense that you’re just babbling.”  If you want to check out the movie, here it is.  (Credit where credit is due: I learned of this movie from glancing at a review of “Victory” on the All About Jazz site)
“Victory” is a great exercise in restraint, elegance, and subtlety.  The members of the trio are so attuned to each other and their project that they seem to be playing only for themselves (which can be a very fruitful approach in jazz).  For saxophone players who think you have to play lots of notes and scream in the high register to be good, Allen’s playing on this recording is a good antidote.  “Victory” is somewhat adventurous given its low-key nature and commitment to terseness, but it’s hard to consider it adventurous since it goes down so easy. 
Whew, unlike “Victory,” this review wasn’t very brief.  I’ll try to learn from J.D. Allen and keep things shorter next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Miles Davis Blindfold Tests

I love blindfold tests, especially when the subjects are on their game and show off how good their ears and knowledge of jazz are.  “A Blog Supreme” kindly provided links for the blindfold tests of Miles Davis for 1955, 1958, 1964, and 1968.  Miles says some pretty wild stuff, but he also shows what an amazing musical mind and ears he had.  Some passages I especially liked:  

1954: "That was Diz and Roy. Sounded like Oscar Peterson on piano. Guitar messed it all up - and the brushes. And one of the four bars that Dizzy played wasn't too good. One of the fours that Roy played wasn't too good. They're two of my favorite trumpet players; I love Roy, and you know I love Diz.

I don't know why they recorded together . . . sounded like something of Norman Granz's . . . one of his get-togethers. It's nice to listen to for a while, but Oscar messes it up with that Nat Cole style; and that kind of rhythm section, with brushes.
It's not that kind of song. You can't play that kind of song like that, with those chords. There's another way to swing on that. It could have been much better.” 

Miles can criticize one of each of the four bars Dizzy and Roy Eldridge played (and Oscar Peterson)?  What an ear!  Also, a few times throughout the blindfold tests Miles notes how things don’t work in a tune or don’t fit together properly; he was apparently very sensitive to how things fit together.
Talking about  a performance of “Stormy Weather” by the Duke Ellington Band: “Oh, God! You can give that twenty-five stars! I love Duke. That sounded like Billy Strayhorn's arrangement; it's warmer than Duke usually writes. Must be Billy Strayhorn.”  And he’s right, it was Strayhorn’s arrangement.  Amazing to think that he could tell who the arranger was by how “warm” the arrangement sounds.
In the 1958 test, talking about a record by Sonny Rollins with Thelonious Monk:  “I know that's Sonny Rollins, but I don't see how a record company can record something like that. You know the way Monk plays - he never gives any support to a rhythm section. When I had him on my date, I had him lay out until the ensemble. I like to hear him play, but I can't stand him in a rhythm section unless it's one of his own songs.”  I’m as much of a Monk admirer as anybody, so I think it’s a hoot to hear Miles criticizing him for not supporting rhythm sections. 

In the 1964 test, Miles seemed in a particularly bad mood.  Here’s what he says about a recording with Duke Ellington, Charlie Mingus, and Max Roach (!), again getting to the idea of how things fit together: “What am I supposed to say to that? That's ridiculous. You see the way they can fuck up music? It's a mismatch. They don't complement each other. Max and Mingus can play together, by themselves. Mingus is a hell of a bass player, and Max is a hell of a drummer. But Duke can't play with them, and they can't play with Duke.”  And the things he has to say about Eric Dolphy and Cecil Taylor--ouch. 
Check out the full text of the tests; they not too long and they’re lots of fun.   

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Apex – Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green

As it happened, the last recording we reviewed was led by the most recent DownBeat Critics Poll “rising star” winner for alto sax, David Binney.  I thought I would continue in this vein and have a listen to something by the poll’s “established” alto sax winner, Rudresh Mahanthappa, who is also new to me.  His recording, “Apex,” with altoist Bunky Green, has gotten a lot of buzz, so that’s the one I chose.

“Apex” starts with “Welcome,” with Mahanthappa improvising in an Indian-tinged mode, affecting a nasal sound.  “Summit” is where the band first digs in.  Green is up first with a meandering solo.  Mahahthappa then plays a driving solo, with a cutting tone.  To my ear, his tone is like Vincent Herring’s, though his phrasing is more aggressive, freer, and less boppish.  Pianist Jason Moran comes in and spices things up with his solo.  Jack DeJohnette then adds a cool, controlled solo on drums.  Mahanthappa and Green then trade bars, Rudresh again sounding angry.  Green’s sound is prettier and lighter than Mahanthappa’s, while Rudresh’s sound is slightly stronger and fuller, with more of an edge.
“Soft” starts with some fancy bass fingering by Francois Moutin by himself.  The tune itself is slow, somewhat dirge-like.  Green plays an emotional solo, wailing in the upper register.  Moran then comes in with an abstract, wild solo that ends with some pretty chords.  Mahanthappa plays a furious, virtuosic solo.  The tune ends with the saxes playing the head in harmony.  “Playing the Stones” is a mid-tempo, funky folk song, sort of like an early Keith Jarrett tune, with Mahanthappa and Moran in unison.  Moran takes a solo that even sounds like Jarrett.  Mahanthappa unleashes another furious solo, using fast patterns like musical daggers.  Green lays out on this one.

“Lamenting” is a slow, sad tune, which is mostly a piano interlude that ends with some gentle playing by Green.  Without any break, “Eastern Echoes” begins (“Lamenting” is more like an intro to “Eastern Echoes” than a separate tune) with Mahanthappa joining Green and then Green taking over again, having more time to stretch out and play a fine solo.  Mahanthappa then unleashes his controlled mayhem in an incendiary solo.  Moran comes in after the saxes play the melody to quietly close out the tune.

“Little Girl, I’ll Miss You” is a pretty song.  This time Mahanthappa is a bit looser and more swinging, but still aggressive.  Moutin then solos, playing interesting phrases with very fast fingers.  Moran plays a brief, pretty solo.  Green again lays out on this cut.  As good as the music is with the two saxophonists, I could have gone for a whole album’s worth of jazz quartet playing of this caliber.
“Who?” is a disjointed snippet of a melody that’s just an excuse for blowing.  Mahanthappa is back in machine gun mode, putting on a fireworks show with his solo.  Moran picks things up after Rudresh, and then Green plays another fast, meandering solo.  Drummer Damon Reid finishes the improvising with an energetic solo.  (Reid and DeJohnette share drumming duties on “Apex.”)  “Rainer and Theresia” is a pretty, simple tune in ¾ time.  Green starts things off with a good, smart solo.  Moran comes in briefly before Mahanthappa, then he and Rudresh trade about a half a chorus each for a few choruses, and then they close with a duet.  Green plays the melody to the end. 

“Who?” would have been a fine way to close out the album, but it continues with “The Journey.”  This is an uptempo tune with a slightly Indian feel that starts with some fancy plucking and strumming from Moutin.  After the head, Moran plays a good solo.  Then Green comes in with his most forceful solo of the album; at first, I thought the saxist might be Mahanthappa.  Green’s solo is in the mode of Billy Harper, with Green holding a note and following it with some fast, slashing phrases.  Mahanthappa comes in with his rapid-fire phrases again.  Then DeJohnette solos over a bass and piano ostinato.  This also would have been a good ending for the recording, but Mahanthappa can’t seem to let go; after about 40 seconds of silence, he continues with another five minutes of playing--a duet with DeJohnette, where he unleashes more of his bumble-bee articulation.  (By contrast with the too-brief 55-minute playing time of David Binney’s “Barefooted Town”—see previous post—“Apex” stretches to almost 80 minutes.)
Mahanthappa is a virtuoso player who never lets his lightning-fast articulation overcome his musicality.  His playing is aggressive but not to the point of being slashing, like, say, Billy Harper’s (that’s not meant to be a criticism of Harper, just an observation).  And “Apex,” like “Barefooted Town”, has a really interesting supporting cast who spice up the recording with their own distinctive playing.    

Mahanthappa is a blast to listen to, and I look forward to checking out his other projects. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Barefooted Town - David Binney

I’ve been wanting to check out David Binney’s work for a while.  I decided to review “Barefooted Town” rather than the more balleyhooed “Graylen Epicenter” because I read somewhere that the latter work had a larger ensemble and was heavy on composition, and I wanted to hear Binney in a more casual context with more improvisation.  (But I do love that title, “Graylen Epicenter,” whatever that’s about.)  As a matter of fortunate coincidence, Binney and another player on “Barefooted Town,” Ambrose Akinmusire, were prominent in the recent DownBeat 2012 Critics Poll, with Akinmusire winning for established trumpet player and Binney for Rising Star alto saxophonist.  (The poll was mentioned and linked to in the previous post.)  

“Barefooted Town” starts out with “Dignity,” which is more a full-blown jazz composition than a tune.  It has a quiet, quick section that alternates with a slower one using longer tones (Binney likes to mix things up in his writing), with Binney and Akinmusire in unison throughout.  Akinmusire commences the improvising with an elegant solo.  Binney then comes in with a full and dry sound and a strong approach, somewhat like Gary Bartz.  Binney doesn’t limit himself to patterns of notes; his lines are angular and full of rhythmic variety, including fast, Dolphy-esque arpeggios from the bottom of the horn to the altissimo range.  Late in the tune, Binney adds an interesting element to the composition by wordlessly vocalizing in unison with the horns on the melody.
“Seven Sixty” is just a sketch of a tune, with Binney beginning his solo soon after playing the melody.  His solo is smooth and fleet, mostly in double-time.  Akinmusire starts his solo slowly, but then he also displays rhythmic variety in his playing, jumping all over the range of the trumpet.  Pianist Dave Virelles makes his first solo appearance, choosing to play mostly clusters of chords throughout his solo instead of melodic lines.  “Edge of Seasons” slows things down, starting with a quiet solo by Eivind Opsvik on bass.  The tune then moves first into a gentle march section and then a more energetic one.  Virelles solos over the march rhythm, beginning with a single melodic line and then focusing on chords.  At this point in the recording, it’s becoming evident that these musicians are incredibly well suited for each other and for Binney’s music.  They all have fresh approaches to their instruments and a very compositional approach to improvisation.  After Virelles, Binney plays a probing solo of his own.  Overall, this composition has so much rhythmic and melodic variety that it has an orchestral, classical feel.

The title tune is a slow one, with drummer Dan Weiss starting things off with a quiet solo over a stately, dissonant piano and bass ostinato.  Mark Turner makes his first solo appearance on tenor over the ostinato with an abstract improvisation incorporating bursts of fast runs.  At the end of his solo he is joined by Akinmusire and what sounds like a choir of voices (recordings of Binney’s voice, I assume).  The vocal section is quite a surprise but is pretty and effective.  Binney then lightens things up with a more straightforward blowing tune, “Secret Miracle,” with Binney soloing effortlessly over tricky chord changes.  Akinmusire then plays a fine solo and Turner plays well, too, spending a lot of time in the tenor’s upper register.  Again, all these guys are really on the same page.  At the end of the tune, Binney vocalizes in unison with himself on alto.
“A Night Every Day” is a slower mid-tempo tune that begins with a contrapuntal section, the three horns each playing a different line, then coming together in unison, then separating again.   Turner does a fine job of integrating his altissimo lines seamlessly with those in the natural range of the tenor, displaying great control.  His is the only solo on this tune.  The recording ends with a slow ballad, “Once When She Was Here,” with just the altoist and the rhythm section.  Binney’s tone here is breathy and buzzy, and his solo is lovely.  While this last tune is a fine performance, I wish Binney had added one more tune with the full ensemble to involve the whole team; the recording isn’t very long at 55 minutes, and the music is so fine it seems even shorter.

For me, “Barefooted Town” was a good introduction to David Binney.  It’s clear from this recording that Binney, having written all seven pieces, is an excellent composer who takes interesting chances in his writing and gives it a lot of thought and effort.  And he is just as interesting, refreshing, and risk-taking in his improvising.  This was also a good introduction for me to Akinmusire, who is getting plenty of buzz these days (just look at that DownBeat Critics poll!).  I plan to hear a lot more of him.  Overall, this an excellent recording.           

Friday, July 6, 2012

2012 DownBeat Critics Poll

Along the lines of the previous post’s list, here’s a list of the woodwind winners in the 2012 Annual DownBeat Critics Poll.  I snagged this list from DownBeat’s website; I’ll try to check out the print copy of the magazine this weekend to get more details.  As usual, DB has two groups of winners, the “established” musicians and the “rising stars.”

Soprano Saxophone: Branford Marsalis
Alto Saxophone: Rudresh Mahanthappa
Tenor Saxophone: Sonny Rollins
Baritone Saxophone: Gary Smulyan
Clarinet: Anat Cohen
Flute: Nicole Mitchell
Rising Star Soprano Saxophone: Marcus Strickland
Rising Star Alto Saxophone: David Binney
Rising Star Tenor Saxophone: Anat Cohen
Rising Star Baritone Saxophone: Greg Tardy
Rising Star Clarinet: Evan Christopher
Rising Star Flute: Jamie Baum
Some interesting choices here.  (Branford Marsalis on soprano?  Isn't Dave Liebman still playing?  I thought Greg Tardy was strictly a tenor man; I didn’t even know he played baritone.  Yikes, I’ve never even heard of Evan Christopher.)  As far as this blog goes, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Anat Cohen, Marcus Strickland, David Binney, and Greg Tardy are all fair game in the quest to stay abreast of up-and-coming players, and it’s part of the plan to review some of their recordings here.  In fact, a recording of David Binney’s is next on tap; a review of one of his CD’s should be available here early next week.  In the meantime, have fun pondering DownBeat's list.  As always, comments welcome.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The 50 Most Important Tenor Saxophone Albums in Jazz History

I love lists, especially “best of” lists.  In the June 2012 issue of JazzTimes, there is a list of “the 50 most important tenor saxophone albums in jazz history."  I’m reproducing here this list from JazzTimes.  It provides a nice “canon” for aspiring tenor players.  It's not exactly a "best" list; the compiler (Evan Haga) didn't have specific criteria for the voters for this list but sent this direction: "The albums simply need to be great performances that helped shape the jazz tenor saxophone tradition.  Influence and innovation are important."  

I’ve heard a lot of these recordings, probably most, but I’ve got some catching up to do.  If anybody thinks some recording belongs on this list as much as any of the others, please send a comment here.  Even better, if you think a recording deserves to be on the list more than one of the others, send a comment with the artist and title of both your preferred recording and the one that should be removed.

1.       A love supreme – John Coltrane
2.       Saxophone colossus – Sonny Rollins
3.       Giant steps – John Coltrane
4.       Body & Soul – Coleman Hawkins
5.       Classic Columbia, Okeh, and Vocalion – Lester Young
6.       Speak no evil – Wayne Shorter
7.       The bridge – Sonny Rollins
8.       Ellington at Newport – Duke Ellington (Paul Gonsalves)
9.       Crescent – John Coltrane Quartet
10.   Way out west – Sonny Rollins
11.   A night at the Village Vanguard – Sonny Rollins
12.   Lester Young Trio
13.   The complete live at the Plugged Nickel – Miles Davis (Wayne Shorter)
14.   Sonny side up - Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Rollins/Sonny Stitt
15.   Kind of blue – Miles Davis (John Coltrane)
16.   Ornette on tenor – Ornette Coleman
17.   Inner urge – Joe Henderson
18.   John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
19.   Picasso: 1929-1949 – Coleman Hawkins
20.   Go – Dexter Gordon
21.   Our man in jazz – Sonny Rollins
22.   Mode for Joe – Joe Henderson
23.   JuJu – Wayne Shorter
24.   The complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings – John Coltrane
25.   In ‘n out – Joe Henderson
26.   Sonny meets Hawk – Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins
27.   Forest flower – Charles Lloyd
28.   Our man in Paris – Dexter Gordon
29.   Getz/Gilberto – Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto
30.   The state of the tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard – Joe Henderson
31.   Cottontail: The best of Ben Webster 1931-1944 – Ben Webster
32.   Blowing in from Chicago – Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore
33.   Coleman Hawkins encounters Ben Webster
34.   Soul station – Hank Mobley
35.   People time: The complete recordings – Stan Getz and Kenny Barron
36.   Page one – Joe Henderson
37.   Live at the Village Vanguard – Joe Lovano Quartets
38.   Tough tenors – Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis
39.   The chase! The complete Dial sessions, 1947 – Dexter Gordon (with Wardell Gray and Teddy Edwards)
40.   Lush life – John Coltrane
41.   Jazz samba – Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd
42.   Spiritual unity – Albert Ayler Trio
43.   Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio
44.   Karma – Pharaoh Sanders
45.   Savoy jam party – Don Byas
46.   Classic Chu Berry Columbia and Victor sessions – Chu Berry
47.   Subconscious-Lee – Lee Konitz (Warne Marsh)
48.   Complete original quintet/sextet studio recordings – Al Cohn/Zoot Sims
49.   Fuchsia swing song – Sam Rivers
50.   The In Sound – Eddie Harris

On edit: Though I pulled this list from a print issue of JazzTimes, I learned from A Blog Supreme that JazzTimes has the list on their website as well, and, well, it looks prettier than mine, and it includes some commentary from the pros.  Here it is.