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Top 100 jazz songs, The 100 great jazz songs of all time

By: illminatus

1. “So What” – Miles Davis

Miles. Trane. Cannonball. Evans. Chambers. Cobb. The greatest lineup in jazz history. ‘Nuff said.

2. “My Favorite Things” – John Coltrane

This interpretation of the Rodgers/Hammerstein classic tune turned on a whole new audience to the brilliance of John Coltrane. It also offered a glimpse of the path that Trane was about to embark upon.

3. “Take Five” – Dave Brubeck

The first jazz instrumental to sell a million copies. A song everyone, jazz fans or not, have heard. Timeless.

4. “Acknowledgement” – John Coltrane

Trane’s spiritual awakening and the start of his ultimate quest. One of the most powerful, transcendent songs ever. This is true gospel.

5. “Birdland” – Weather Report

An excellent introduction to the late Jaco Pastorious. This tune pushed Weather Report to the forefront of the fusion movement and into the mainstream.

6. “Freddie Freeloader” – Miles Davis

Another stone-cold classic from the best jazz album (Kind of Blue) of all time. Never to be duplicated, this is jazz at its highest form.

7. “Psalm” – John Coltrane

Closes out one of the most important albums ever, regardless of genre, on a plateau others could never hope to scale. Monumental.

8. “Strange Fruit” – Billie Holiday

One of the most chilling and haunting, yet utterly compelling, songs of all time. Lady Day poured her heart, soul and every fabric of her being into this cut.

9. “Salt Peanuts” – Dizzy Gillespie

If there were a Mount Rushmore of jazz, Dizz would be carved in stone. And this tune would be playing in the background. Go cat, go!

10. “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – Cannonball Adderley

Proving their was life after Miles Davis, Cannonball hooked up with then little-known composer/keyboardist Joe Zainwaul and churned out this soulful masterpiece. Who says jazz ain’t got no soul?

11. “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” – Charles Mingus

One of the cornerstone songs of jazz from one of its most covered composers. Mingus could do it all. And he influenced them all.

12. “Chameleon” – Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters

Funk. Funky. Funkiest. This cut molded jazz into something different. Something more urban and more groovy.

13. “Straight Life” – Freddy Hubbard

After the triumph that was Red Clay, Hubbard proved that he had plenty more left in his trick bag on this 17-minute cut. He swung for the fences and hit a grand-slam with this one.

14. “The Creator has a Master Plan” – Pharaoh Sanders

Thirty-two and a half minutes of pure, free form bliss. Enough to induce a deep, fulfilling trance-like state. An under-appreciated artist and song.

15. “Blue in Green” – Miles Davis

More from one of the most incredible pieces of art ever fashioned – Kind of Blue. Miles at his most inventive.

16. “One O’Clock Jump” – Count Basie

Superb joint from one of the masters of swing. Many were the imitators, yet none could touch the magic of Count Basie and his Orchestra. Then or now.

17. “Bumpin’ on Sunset” – Wes Montgomery

The one, the only, Wes Montgomery burning up the fretboard without a pick. Set the standard for those who chose to follow.

18. Naima” – John Coltrane

A powerfully-beautiful and tender ballad, named for Trane’s then wife. This is where Coltrane started to come into his own, composition-wise. As this one proved, the sky was the limit.

19. “Back at the Chicken Shack” – Jimmy Smith

A slice of sweaty, Hammond B-3 heaven from the best of the bunch. Created a template that a thousand jambands would follow 40 years after the fact.

20. “Mister Magic” – Grover Washington, Jr.

Gone way before his time, this cut is a prime example of the way Grover Washington, Jr. could create a wave and ride it all the way to the sunset. Smooth jazz that was anything but smooth.

21. “Giant Steps” – John Coltrane

22. “In a Silent Way” – Miles Davis

23. “Dolphin Dance” – Herbie Hancock

24. “In N’ Out” – Joe Henderson

25. “Resolution” – John Coltrane

26. “Alone Together” – Grant Green

27. “St. Louis Blues” – W.C. Handy

28. “Rocket Number Nine Take off for the Planet Venus” – Sun Ra and his Arkestra

29. “Tipitina” – Professor Longhair

30. “Breakfast Feud” – Charlie Christian

31. “Naguine” – Django Reinhardt

32. “It Might as Well be Spring” – Sarah Vaughan

33. “Captain Fingers” – Lee Ritenour

34. “Science Funktion” – Donald Byrd

35. “Blue Rondo A La Turk” – Dave Brubeck

36. “A Remark You Made” – Weather Report

37. “Black Satin” – Miles Davis

38. “Just the Two of Us” – Grover Washington, Jr.

39. “Minnie the Moocher” – Cab Calloway

40. “Aerial Boundaries” – Michael Hedges

41. “Red Clay” – Freddie Hubbard

42. “Round Midnight” – Thelonious Monk

43. “Bright Size Life” – Pat Metheny

44. “Maiden Voyage” – Herbie Hancock

45. “Portrait of Tracy” – Jaco Pastorious

46. “Mood Indigo” – Duke Ellington

47. “Body & Soul” – Coleman Hawkins

48. “Moanin’” – Art Blakey

49. “Straight, No Chaser” – Thelonious Monk

50. “Right Off” – Miles Davis

51. “Jelly Roll Blues” – Jelly Roll Morton

52. “Stratus” – Billy Cobham

53. “(They call me) Dr. Professor Longhair” – Professor Longhair

54. “Sun Goddess” – Ramsey Lewis

55. “Miles Beyond” – Mahavishnu Orchestra

56. “Fables of Faubus” – Charles Mingus

57. “Room 335” – Larry Carlton

58. “Epistrophy” – Thelonious Monk

59. “The Girl From Ipanema” – Getz/Gilberto

60. “Lonely Woman” – Ornette Coleman

61. “The Perfect Man” – Sun Ra and his Arkestra

62. “Hello, Dolly” – Louis Armstrong

63. “Chasin’ the Bird” – Charlie Parker

64. “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy” – Return to Forever

65. “God Bless the Child” – Billie Holiday

66. “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” – Jeff Beck

67. “Tea for Two” – Art Tatum

68. “Volunteered Slavery” – Rahsaan Roland Kirk

69. “Pharoah’s Dance” – Miles Davis

70. “A Night in Tunisia” – Sonny Rollins

71. “Pursuance” – John Coltrane

72. “Satin Doll” – Duke Ellington

73. “Speak no Evil” – Wayne Shorter

74. “Chitlins Con Carne” – Kenny Burrell

75. “Potato Head Blues” – Louis Armstrong

76. “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now” – Dirty Dozen Brass Band

77. “Cover Girl” – Larry Coryell

78. “Willow Weep for Me” – Wes Montgomery

79. “A Long Drink of the Blues” – Jackie McLean

80. “Three Views of a Secret” – Jaco Pastorious

81. “Places and Spaces” – Donald Byrd

82. “When you’re in Love” – Horace Silver

83. “Lazy River” – Pete Fountain

84. “Tones for Elvin Jones” – John McLaughlin

85. “Icarus” – Winter Consort

86. “Bemsha Swing” – Thelonious Monk

87. “Moon Tune” – Bob James/David Sanborn

88. “Eternal Child” – Chick Corea’s Elektric Band

89. “Out of the Night” – Brian Melvin Trio

90. “School Days” – Stanley Clarke

91. “Five Hundred Miles High” – Stan Getz

92. “Hog Callin’ Blues” – Charles Mingus

93. “My Funny Valentine” – Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker

94. “Race with Devil on Spanish Highway” – Al DiMeola

95. “Moritat” – Sonny Rollins

96. “Son of Mr. Green Genes” – Frank Zappa

97. “Big Chief” – Professor Longhair

98. “Anonymous Skulls” – Medeski, Martin & Wood

99. “The Hong Kong Incident” – Jing Chi

100. “Hamp’s Hump” - Galactic


Unknown said...

I dont get it, how ella fitzgerald isn't in the list?! and why louis armstrong isn't in the first 50 song of this list?!

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