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The 20 greatest jazz albums of all time

No. 1 Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (1959)


It’s almost too obvious a pick for the No.1 spot. But how can an album this perfect, this essential, this influential and this timeless be denied? Still the best-selling jazz album of all time, it is as close as one can get to a “definitive” Miles Davis album. Its the jazz album. If you’ve never explored the genre at all–this is where you undeniably have to start. This is brilliant virtuosity on full display–and the spontaneity of the band’s performance only adds resonance to classics like “So What” and “Flamenco Sketches.” And the band includes a who’s-who of jazz legends: John Coltrane, Paul Chambers, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Cobb. It’s a musical masterpiece of the highest order and one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

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