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The 100 Best Jazz Tunes Of The 1950's

The 100 Best Jazz Tunes Of The 1950's


For many, nay most, the 1950s represents the most fertile and exciting period in jazz history. It was a decade in which music in general – and jazz in particular – profited from, and was ultimately enriched by, the introduction of the 12-inch 33rpm long playing record.
For jazz musicians, the LP meant that their creativity, so often limited or inhibited by the short playing time of the LP's predecessor, the 10-inch 78rpm record, had so much more scope. At the start of the 1950s, jazz was the hippest music on the planet. And although that hipness and its popularity would begin to be eroded by the mid 1950s onwards – when Elvis Presley took the world of popular music by storm, spearheading a seemingly all-engulfing rock and roll tsunami – it retained a sense of coolness and style that, for its devotees at least, gave it an intellectual and aesthetic superiority over other forms of music.
While many of the cuts on this 100-track compilation reveal jazz in the earlier 1950s to be still under the spell of Charlie Parker’s mid-1940s bebop revolution, many jazz musicians were driven by an urge for musical exploration; whether it was Miles Davis' desire to liberate jazz from the tyranny of bop chord changes by embracing modal jazz or Ornette Coleman's quest to step into the unknown and free jazz completely from orthodox notions of melody and harmony.
But jazz didn't always have to ride on the precipice of change to be valid, vital and exciting. Many of the performances here exemplify the spirit of jazz in its purest sense, showcasing dazzling feats of solo improvisation, telepathic ensemble playing and scintillating musical spontaneity, all executed by some of the most talented instrumentalists the world has ever seen and heard.
Indeed, all the biggest names from jazz history are featured here – from early pioneers like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie to modern jazz pathfinders represented by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Even so – and despite the wide range of different jazz styles represented on these 8 CDs – this box set doesn’t tell the whole story of jazz in the 1950s. What it does, though, is offer vivid musical snapshots of the American scene during what was undoubtedly its most creative and productive decade.

Tracklist

CD 1: 1950-1954
1. Charlie Parker Quintet - Bloomdido 3:26 (1950)
2. Lee Konitz - Subconscious Lee 2:49 (1950)
3. Bud Powell - Bouncing with Bud 3:04 (1951)
4. Gerry Mulligan - My Funny Valentine (with Chet Baker) 2:56 (1951)
5. Ahmad Jamal - The Surrey with the Fringe on Top 2:51 (1951)
6. Charlie Parker Quintet - Au Privave 2:45 (1951)
7. Thelonious Monk - Straight No Chaser 2:57 (1952)
8. George Shearing - Lullaby of Birdland 2:44 (1952)
9. Lester Young - Almost Like Being in Love 3:33 (1952)
10. Peggy Lee - Black Coffee 3:09 (1953)
11. Django Reinhardt - Nuages 3:18 (1953)
12. Modern Jazz Quartet - Django 7:03 (1954)
13. Miles Davis - Walkin’ 13:27 (1954)
14. Dizzy Gillespie - Caravan 7:21 (1954)
15. Tal Farlow - If There’s Someone Lovelier than you 2:44 (1954)
16. Johnny Hodges - On the Sunny Side of the Street 2:58 (1954)
17. Sarah Vaughan - Lover Man 3:17 (1954)
18. Clifford Brown - Joy Spring (with Max Roach) 6:49 (1954)

CD2: 1955-1956
1. Horace Silver - Doodlin’ (with The Jazz Messengers) 6:47 (1955)
2. Dexter Gordon - Confirmation 7:51 (1955)
3. Kenny Dorham - Afrodisia 5:04 (1955)
4. Ahmad Jamal - New Rhumba 4:41 (1955)
5. Miles Davis - Round Midnight 5:57 (1956)
6. Erroll Garner - Misty 2:52 (1955)
7. Sonny Rollins - St. Thomas 6:47 (1956)
8. Thelonious Monk - Blue Monk 7:52 (1956)
9. Jimmy Smith - The Champ 8:37 (1956)
10. Carmen McRae - I Was Doing All Right 2:49 (1956)
11. Hank Mobley - Avila and Tequila 4:31 (1956)
12. Cal Tjader - Guarachi Guaro 2:59 (1956)
13. Coleman Hawkins - April in Paris 3:57 (1956)
14. Nat King Cole - Route 66 3:43 (1956)
15. Art Tatum & Ben Webster - Have You Met Miss Jones 4:47 (1956)

CD3: 1956-1957
1. Horace Silver - Senor Blues 7:04 (1956)
2. Lee Morgan - I Remember Clifford 7:07 (1957)
3. Louis Armstrong - Mack the Knife 3:24 (1957)
4. Count Basie - The Kid from Red Bank 2:40 (1957)
5. Miles Davis - The Maids of Cadiz 3:57 (1957)
6. John Coltrane - Blue Train 10:43 (1957)
7. Hank Mobley - Funk in a Deep Freeze 6:48 (1957)
8. Stan Getz - I Want to Be Happy (with Oscar Peterson Trio) 7:36 (1957)
9. Dizzy Gillespie - Birk’s Works 4:57 (1957)
10. Blossom Dearie - They Say It’s Spring 3:41 (1957)
11. John Coltrane - Russian Lullaby 5:32 (1957)
12. Thelonious Monk - Well You Needn’t 11:24 (1957)
13. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - One O’clock Jump 3:00 (1957)

CD 4: 1957
1. Gerry Mulligan - Line for Lyons (with Paul Desmond) 3:09 (1957)
2. Yusef Lateef - Playful Flute 4:15 (1957)
3. Red Garland - Billie’s Bounce 9:24 (1957)
4. Frank Sinatra - Come Fly with Me 3:19 (1957)
5. Charles Mingus - Haitian Fight Song 12:01 (1957)
6. Ben Webster - Soulville 8:05 (1957)
7. Sonny Clark - Dial S for Sonny 7:25 (1957)
8. Kenny Burrell - I’ll Close My Eyes 4:49 (1957)
9. Anita O’Day - ‘S Wonderful/They Can’t Take That Away From Me 2:58 (1957)
10. Art Pepper - You’d be so Nice To Come Home To 5:25 (1957)
11. Art Farmer - Farmer’s Market 5:50 (1957)
12. Curtis Counce Group - Landslide 8:36 (1957)

CD5: 1957-1958
1. Benny Golson - Whisper Not 5:59 (1957)
2. Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares For Me 3:38 (1957)
3. Quincy Jones - Stockholm Sweetnin’ 5:42 (1957)
4. Ray Charles - Dawn Ray (instrumental) 5:02 (1957)
5. Duke Ellington - Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue 14:22 (1957)
6. Ahmad Jamal Trio - Poinciana 8:09 (1958)
7. Louis Armstrong - Summertime (with Ella Fitzgerald) 4:59 (1958)
8. Miles Davis - Milestones 5:45 (1958)
9. Sonny Rollins - Way Out West 6:32 (1958)
10. Cannonball Adderley - Autumn Leaves 10:55 (1958)

CD6: 1958-1959
1. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin’ 9:32 (1958)
2. Jackie McLean - Hip Strut 11:16 (1958)
3. Chet Baker - Do It the Hard Way 3:02 (1958)
4. Johnny Griffin - Cherokee 6:46 (1958)
5. Ella Fitzgerald - Let’s Face the Music & Dance 2:57 (1958)
6. Cal Tjader - Ginza Samba (with Stan Getz) 11:00 (1958)
7. Ben Webster - In the Wee Small Hours 3:12 (1958)
8. Billie Holiday - You’ve Changed 3:19 (1958)
9. Chris Connor - The Night We Called It A Day 3:24 (1958)
10. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Along Came Betty 6:11 (1958)
11. Ella Fitzgerald - Cheek To Cheek 3:47 (1958)
12. Bill Evans - Peace Piece 6:43 (1958)
13. Oscar Peterson - It Ain’t Necessarily So 2:46 (1959)

CD 7: 1958-1959
1. Sonny Clark - Cool Struttin’ 9:22 (1958)
2. Jimmy Smith - The Sermon 20:11 (1958)
3. Donald Byrd - Here I Am 8:27 (1959)
4. Ray Charles - Let the Good Times Roll 2:52 (1959)
5. Charles Mingus - Better Git It in Your Soul 7:22 (1959)
6. George Russell - Manhattan 10:35 (1959)
7. Dinah Washington - What a Difference a Day Made 2:30 (1959)
8. Wes Montgomery - The End of a Love Affair 3:16 (1959)
9. Chet Baker - Polka Dots & Moonbeams 7:57 (1959)

CD8: 1959
1. Miles Davis - So What 9:24 (1959)
2. Ornette Coleman - Lonely Woman 5:01 (1959)
3. Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five 5:27 (1959)
4. Wynton Kelly - Keep It Moving 7:32 (1959)
5. Ornette Coleman - Ramblin’ 6:36 (1959)
6. Charles Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 5:44 (1959)
7. Bill Evans - Blue in Green 5:23 (1959)
8. John Coltrane - Naima 4:23 (1959)
9. Dave Brubeck Quartet - Blue Rondo a la Turk 6:45 (1959)  
10. John Coltrane - Giant Steps 4:44 (1959)





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