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iconCounterpoint
penguinPenguin Guide To Jazz©:
"Five Star" Recordings

[Order this from the Counterpoint Bookstore]
(© 2000 Richard Cook and Brian Morton; Published by the Penguin Group, Penguin Books Ltd.)

One of the most authoritative and comprehensive compilations of reviewed jazz recordings from around the world. As with their companion, The Penguin Guide To Compact Discs (which covers the world of classical music), the Penguin Guides use a "star rating" in assessing the relative merits of a particular recording. In a very few cases, the editors have issued a crown, or "Five Stars", which in their own words (". . . to denote records we feel a special admiration or affection for: a purely personal choice, which we hope our readers will deem as such.")

Both the Penguin Guides are essential to any music enthusiast who wishes an intelligent discussion on compact disc releases - a large portion of which are of European origin. They are not afraid to dive head first into the worlds of "free" or "improvised" music; the only conspicuous absence is the lack of space devoted to "contemporary" or "smooth" jazz - an obviously intentional stroke (understandable, nonetheless.)

We, along with the authors of the Penguin Guide, encourage you to sample these following recordings - many of which are obvious choices, and most are lesser-known titles amongst casual jazz listeners. Their list allows us to examine the most significant landmarks in the continuing evolution of jazz and improvised music. (Note: we have substituted US catalogue numbers, whenever possible.)

Explore!
  • Jan Allan:
    • Jan Allan - 70
      Phono Suecia PSCD 130 (1968-69)
  • Louis Armstrong:
    • Hot Fives And Sevens
      JSP LOUISBOX 100 (4CD) (1925-30)
  • Albert Ayler:
    • Spiritual Unity
      ESP 1002 (1964)
  • Count Basie:
    • The Original American Decca Recordings
      MCA GRP 3 611-2 (3CD) (1937-39)
  • Art Blakey:
    • Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk
      Atlantic 1278 (1957)
  • Arthur Blythe:
  • Peter Brötzmann:
    • Machine Gun
      FMP CD 24 (1968)
  • Betty Carter:
    • The Audience With Betty Carter
      Verve 835684-2 (2CD) (1979)
  • Oscar 'Papa' Celestin:
    • Papa Celestin & Sam Morgan
      Azure AZ-CD-12 (1925-28)
  • Ornette Coleman:
    • Beauty Is A Rare Thing
      Rhino/Atlantic R2 71410 (6CD) (1959-61)
  • John Coltrane:
    • A Love Supreme
      GRP/Impulse! IMPD 155 (1964)
    • Ascension
      Impulse! 543413-2 (1965)
  • Miles Davis:
    • Kind Of Blue
      Columbia/Legacy CK 64935 (1959)
    • The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel
      Columbia CXK 66955 (7CD) (1965)
    • Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Sessions
      Columbia CXK 67397 (6CD) (1957-68)
  • Eric Dolphy:
    • Out To Lunch
      Blue Note CDP 7 46524 (1964)
  • Bill Evans:
    • Sunday At The Village Vanguard
      OJC 140 (1961)
    • Waltz For Debby
      OJC 210 (1961)
  • Art Farmer:
    • Blame It On My Youth
      Contemporary CCD 14042-2 (1988)
  • Trio Ganelin:
    • Ancora Da Capo
      Leo LR 108 (1980)
  • Charles Gayle:
    • Touchin' On Trane
      FMP CD 48 (1991)
  • Stan Getz:
    • The Complete Roost Recordings
      Roost/Verve 859622-2 (3CD) (1950-54)
  • Dizzy Gillespie:
    • The Complete RCA Victor Recordings
      Bluebird 66528-2 (2CD) (1937-49)
  • Jimmy Giuffre:
    • Free Fall
      Columbia/Legacy CK 65446 (1962)
  • Al Haig:
    • The Al Haig Trio Esoteric
      Fresh Sound FSR-CD 38 (1954)
  • Herbie Hancock:
    • Maiden Voyage
      Blue Note 46339-2 (1964)
  • Andrew Hill:
    • Point Of Departure
      Blue Note 81467 (1964)
  • J.J. Johnson:
    • The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Volume 1
      Blue Note 81505 (1953-55)
  • Krzysztof Komeda:
    • Astigmatic
      Power Bros PB 00163 (1965)
  • George Lewis:
    • Homage To Charlie Parker
      Black Saint 120029-2 (1979)
  • John Lewis:
    • The Modern Jazz Society presents A Concert Of Contemporary Music
      Verve 559827-2 (1955)
  • London Jazz Composers Orchestra:
    • Ode
      Intakt CD 041 (2CD) (1972)
  • Joe Lovano:
    • From The Soul
      Blue Note 7 98363 (1991)
  • John McLaughlin:
    • Extrapolation
      Verve/Polydor 841598-2 (1969)
  • Shelly Manne:
    • At The Blackhawk, Volumes 1 - 5
      OJC 656 - 660 (1959)
  • Charles Mingus:
    • Mingus Ah Um
      Columbia CK 40648 (1959)
    • The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady
      Impulse! IMPD 174 (1963)
  • Thelonious Monk:
    • The Complete Blue Note Recordings
      Blue Note 30363-2 (4CD) (1947-1958)
    • The Complete Riverside Recordings
      Riverside 022 (15CD) (1952-1960)
  • Lee Morgan:
    • The Sidewinder
      Blue Note 95332 (1963)
  • Sam Morgan:
    • *Papa Celestin & Sam Morgan
      Azure AZ-CD 12 (1927)
  • Joe 'King' Oliver:
    • King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band - The Complete Set
      Retrieval RTR 79007 (2CD) (1923-24)
  • Tony Oxley:
    • The Baptised Traveller
      Columbia 494438 2 (1969)
  • Charlie Parker:
    • The Charlie Parker Story
      Savoy SV 105 (1945)
    • *The Legendary Dial Masters: Volume 1
      Stash STCD 23 (1945-47)
  • Evan Parker:
    • 50th Birthday Concert
      Leo CD LR 212/213 (2CD) (1994)
  • Position Alpha:
    • The Great Sound Of Sound
      Dragon DRCD 307 (10/84)
  • Howard Riley:
    • The Day Will Come
      Columbia 494434-2 (1970)
  • Max Roach:
    • *We Insist! Freedom Now Suite
      Candid CCD 79002 (1960)
  • Sonny Rollins:
    • Saxophone Colossus
      OJC 291 (1956)
    • A Night at the Village Vanguard
      Blue Note 99795 (2CD) (1957)
  • Tomasz Stanko:
    • * Leosia
      ECM 1603 (1996)
  • Sun Ra:
    • Jazz In Silhouette
      Evidence ECD 22012 (1958)
  • Horace Tapscott:
    • The Dark Tree
      hatOLOGY 2-2053 (2CD) (1989)
  • Art Tatum:
    • The Complete Pablo Solo Masterpieces
      Pablo 7PACD 4404-2 (7CD) (1953-55)
  • Cecil Taylor:
    • Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come
      Revenant 202 (2CD) (1962)
  • Kid Thomas Valentine:
    • Kid Thomas - George Lewis Ragtime Stompers
      GHB BCD-5 (1961)
  • Sarah Vaughan:
    • Sarah Vaughan
      Verve 543305-2 (1954)
  • Edward Vesala:
    • *Lumi
      ECM 831517 (1986)
  • David S. Ware
    • Godspellized
      DIW 916 (1996)
  • Bobby Watson:
    • * Love Remains
      Red 123212-2 (1986)
  • Larry Young:
    • Unity
      Blue Note 54616-2 (1965)
  • John Zorn:
    • The Big Gundown
      Elektra/Nonesuch 9 79139 (1984-85)
(Recordings accompanied by an asterisk (*) are not currently available to us at this time)

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