Jazz is different from other genres and once you understand why jazz lovers love it, you’ll be changed for life. Listening to a record is like going on a journey, with the musicians as your hero. You never know where exactly you’re headed however, or if you’ll ever get back home- but the twists and turns are sure to bring surprises!
Today I am sharing with you guys what I consider to be the best sounding jazz albums on vinyl. This is not a list of tips or another opinion – it has been taken from one site and regurgitated a million times.
These are my own choices for the best vintage jazz albums that I listened to. Some of those albums might sound better with a vintage speaker setup like the ones mentioned in an earlier article, but they all still sound good on vinyl!
Top Sounding Jazz Albums on Vinyl Review
I wanted to share some jazz albums that I think sound really good and give people an idea of what is out there. This is not an official list, but these are a few of my favourites. I still love collecting vinyl for a lot of jazz artists, though. Jazz is a genre and type of music I listen to, but some jazz releases are so honest and raw that they really do get me. These albums just do it for me.
1. Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
This show is really funny! I was really surprised to hear a social media post about how there’s a show about talking about sex that features the ghost of Duke Ellington. Yep, that’s very true! I recommend watching it if you want to laugh your pants off and definitely not for those who are easily offended. I thought I would start with where my collection began and that is with this fantastic album by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane.
My favorite jazz album of all time is this one. It just sounds tremendous on my stereo speakers. I listened to this album so many times and it has almost brought me to tears. It is such a beautiful piece of work and I love the way it feels when I’m listening.
This can vary depending on where you’re shopping from. There is a significant difference between $29.99 and what Amazon may have at the moment, but it will be around $25-30 in your general area.
2. Kind of Blue(Miles Davis)
Did you know Miles Morales from Spider-Man is named after the great Miles Davis? This along with the offering from Duke Ellington and John Coltrane will appear on every list I do about great jazz albums! Hmm, I reviewed the best jazz albums for beginners and they’re kinda both on there huh?
“Kind of Blue” is the perfect album for any music lover. It has a timeless quality and will completely blow you away if you’ll just take the time to listen. No matter how many people have written papers on why this album is great, it’s a million other people who couldn’t write Oxford English essays with more intelligence than me have writing something that they don’t care enough about.
When I put it on my turntable and played it, I didn’t think twice about how much sound this would produce. Knowing the quality of the record, that was no surprise. While listening to that record, I realized why this was such a special release.
On Amazon, the album is only $28. Of course this album also comes on vinyl which I think is just fantastic. The CD version is only a few dollars less but come one – there’s no excuse not to get vinyl!
3. All Time Greatest Hits(Louis Armstrong)
It’s hard to believe that 50 years after his death, Louis Armstrong is still being revered as one of the best jazz musicians of all time. There are many Louis Armstrong compilation albums out there, but I only have the All Time Greatest Hits and I am very happy with it. What made me buy this one over any other album, well it is simple.
Out of the three, this wasn’t the only one with “What a Wonderful World” on it! This is the very first song you hear on the record and it just made me say WOW! I was very happy with my purchase, I thought this could be the best song in his catalog. I learned about a couple more songs that were amazing, not long after that too!
if you look on Amazon, this is the most expensive Louis Armstrong album. It goes for around fifty-five dollars! I think it’s so expensive because that includes the song “What a Wonderful World”–it’s a classic. You can get 3 discs for 25 bucks as of writing and it comes on a nice white vinyl LP.
The Very Best Of Louis Armstrong is available on Amazon, but it’s currently priced at $32 as of writing. I can’t say what they sound like because I have not listened to them yet, but they are a cheaper option for you.
4. Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes(Ella Fitzgerald)
For Father’s Day last year, my wife and son surprised me by getting me this record. And I was blown away! The best of both worlds: The famous hits + rare songs you may not be familiar with.
Her voice is so iconic, even her albums or best-selling hits are worthy additions to a collection. This album is special, however. She is just nailing every single song on this album, there is just something about live music that always sounds better. Someone To Watch Over Me is probably my favorite song on the album.
Hey, this is expensive! I am sure my wife mentioned she paid about $30 for it and the current price on Amazon is around $50! Guess you better get your order in quick! For fans of vinyl, this is a huge deal because unlike CD’s, vinyl records are not just easier to find but also cost less.
5. Billie Holiday (The Platinum Collection)
My grandma used those antique vinyl records to keep the party going while I was growing up. I often search for them and check what they’re worth on eBay so I can buy more of them. This might sound like a good idea, but I don’t think it is. I know a lot of people who dislike greatest hits albums, so they may not be interesting to you. If you want, you can always read more about the artist and explore their whole discography or buy new albums from them.
This is a really great album, and all of the songs sound excellent. I know that some people say that white vinyl has its issues, but I have listened to this record many times and never once had any sense of distortion. If you’re looking to get a great collection of Billie Holiday’s work, be sure to purchase this record. The music is perfect and the performance doesn’t sound anything like the 1957 remastering!
Great! The price for this item is still in your favor! It’s only 30 bucks and hopefully the price will stay that way until you order it! For $50, there’s no question that this jazz LP is worth it if you’re a lover of classic hard bop. This is just one platinum-labeled collection in the series that are well worth looking into.
6. Herbie Hancock (Maiden Voyage)
Herbie Hancock has made more classic albums than what most people have in their entire lifetime. His skill on piano is nearly unmatched, and he can play with such heart and soul that it’s impossible not to acknowledge his greatness.
There are countless jazz standards, but “Dolphin Dance” and the title track are considered two of the greatest by groups of jazz musicians. Some people argue that their best work is the result of Head hunters, a fusion of funk, rock, and jazz. They describe the music from Maiden Voyage as being pure and that’s why it’s on this list.
7. Eric Dolphy (Out To Lunch!)
If you had to choose one jazz musician to bring back because they left us too early, Eric Dolphy would top most people’s lists. He passed away at the young age of 36 due to a complication with his diabetes, but he left us with some of the best free jazz the world has ever seen.
Out to Lunch! was Dolphy’s first album as a leader. Before this, he made a name for himself as a musician in the big band scene with John Coltrane and Charles Mingus.
Dolphy was a virtuosic bass player who played the Bill Evans music. On this record, he helps organize and sequence the improvisation process with a group of top-notch musicians (Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis, and Tony Williams) while playing himself. Jazz was a fine event to end the singer’s career with and it beautifully blended improvisation and composition.
8. Ornette Coleman (The Shape of Jazz to Come)
Ornette Coleman made two records for Contemporary Records in the late 1960s. (Something Else!!!!) and (Tomorrow Is The Question). This was his first big label recording, following a couple of smaller releases. Atlantic Records followed a change in the industry in 1959 when Jackie McDuffie Coleman switched to their record company.
The Shape of Jazz to Come may sound like it’s bragging, but Coleman didn’t have the same level of influence as guys like Coltrane or Davis. But he still had his own influences. Coleman’s music was tough and raw, sounding like nothing else before it. This album is also his best example of that.
9. Charles Mingus (Mingus Ah Um)
Charles Mingus was one of the more interesting jazz artists to grace the scene and is also known for his amazing album titled Mingus Ah Um. This was the first record he would make at Columbia Records and served as his greatest work.
MINGUS’ sound was mostly influenced by Gospel and Blues, with a twist of his own. His tracks were created using the instruments he admired like bop drums and electric guitar.
The album is both intensely personal and political at the same time. Tracks like “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” pay tribute to the late saxophonist Lester Young, while “Fables Of Faubus” directly goes after Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus at the time.
Regardless of what draws you into the record, it’s going to be something you don’t want to miss.
10. John Coltrane (Giant Steps)
A lot of this list could go to John Coltrane, he’s influenced and impacted generations of jazz musicians and enthusiasts alike. Some pieces really stand out and might take up a lot of space.
Few songs have had the level of influence that Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” has. The record as a whole is loved just as much, but the title track is in another league because it did so well commercially and messaged such a strong message.
Many jazz students use the cyclical chord pattern of “Coltrane Changes” when they practice. This pattern is a constant presence at jazz jam sessions, too. In addition to the track’s influence, the rest of the album is really special. It re-released in 2019, so people are still able to enjoy it for years to come.
11. Cannonball Adderley (Somethin’ Else)
If you’re looking for some of the best jazz music ever recorded, this album is one to check out. Incorporating Miles Davis in a supporting role, the album is still one of the most notable releases on Blue Note.
Adderley, Davis, & Co. are not new to anyone with a serious interest in jazz. Listen to “That’s You All Over” or “Round Midnight” and you’ll understand why this album is an absolute classic. It’s well-worth the investment for anyone who’s looking for something that stands out from the rest.
12. Bill Evans (Sunday at Village Vanguard)
Bill Evans was one of the most famous jazz pianists ever. He was also fortunate enough to be part of a fantastic trio that, in 1958, recorded one of the best live albums ever made, “Sunday at Village Vanguard.”
The three were all playing really well that June Sunday-the last time they recorded together before LaFaro died the following week. You can hear the three of them just having a great time, bouncing musical ideas off of each other throughout the performance.
It’s an enlightening, captivating piece that many feel like they need after the first time it’s been heard.
13. John Coltrane (A Love Supreme (Impulse!))
A love supreme was one of the first jazz records to have a hyper spiritual focus. You can really feel how Coltrane wrestled with spiritual elements of his soul when you hear it. This isn’t the type of album you would typically listen to at a coffee shop. From the very first note, it grabs your attention and pulls you into Coltrane and co.’s world.
Coltrane had a lot of other records before and after this one, but something stands out looking back–the musical intensity, the concept, or the sheer talent on display. This record is considered one of Coltrane’s absolute greatest.
14. Miles Davis (Kind of Blue)
For example, it’s hard to find a better album than “Kind of Blue.” It holds the title of best jazz album ever made. This is due to its talent and high production value. The sales numbers didn’t matter as much. The list is hard to find without this album on the top of it. Miles Davis is one of the few legends of jazz, and this record is a huge reason for that.
Davis broke the mold on a lot of different levels. He revolutionized modal jazz and paved the way for a whole genre that surrounds him. His album has been called the most influential in jazz history. His records became the blueprint for what would come to be known as jazz and those who came after him modeled themselves on his smooth, laid-back grooves.
Jimmy Cobb, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and John Coltrane! This album’s success is definitely accentuated by this lineup. This particular album had a significant contribution not only to jazz, but also to some of the most influential albums in today’s history. It’s known as one of the best jazz albums ever made, and that’s why it has our #1 spot for best jazz albums.
15. Frank Sinatra (In The Wee Small Hours)
Sinatra is indisputably one of the most important and influential singers of 20th-century American music. He was most famous for his romantic swagger and sensational vocals.
Sinatra released this album with a lot of hesitation and based on some really dark concepts. However, over time it has been recognized as one of his most successful albums and both Sinatra and the company received huge benefits from it. We’re wondering what the original pressing is worth now!
Does Jazz Sound Better on Vinyl
I see vinyl is a lot more expensive than CDs these days, but I think it’s worth it. Vinyl is really great for sound quality, but you can’t say that one is better than the other since they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
I love vinyl, not just because of the sound but also because of all the unique features this format has. There’s the crackling sound it makes when you play it, and even if you’ve never had a dog scratch up a record, you know that popping noise on one side is something special and gives vinyl a more authentic vibe.
Streaming services like Spotify are a fantastic way to listen to jazz, but I prefer the sound on vinyl – it has a different characteristic that I just love. It’s definitely worth investing in jazz CDs if you’re looking for some varied listening experience!
It was near-impossible to compile a list of the best albums because there are so many obstacles in doing so. We picked some that were deemed influential and with those qualities, we selected an album for each criteria too. Some examples included [list of albums].
FAQ for Best Sounding Jazz Albums on Vinyl
What is jazz music?
Jazz music is a genre of American music that originated from African and European musical traditions, with roots in blues and ragtime. It has been called “the world’s most popular art form.”
Jazz is often associated with spontaneity, improvisation, and emotional expressiveness. Jazz is typically played by big bands or small combos, which typically consist of saxophone, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, French horn, bass guitar (electric or acoustic), drums (acoustic), piano/keyboards and guitar.
What’s the best way to listen to jazz music?
The best way to listen to jazz music is using headphones while sitting on the floor in a relaxed position.
How can you tell if an album sounds good on vinyl?
The best way to tell if an album sounds good on vinyl is to listen to it. If you like the album, chances are it will be good on vinyl.
How much do albums usually to jazz music cost?
The cost of an album is usually determined by the popularity of the artist.
An average jazz album costs about $50 to $100.
Why are these albums considered to be the best sounding jazz records on vinyl?
Jazz is a genre that has always been associated with vinyl records. With the help of technology, we can now hear the best sounding jazz records on vinyl. This is because the sound quality of these albums are so good that they have been remastered specifically for vinyl.
List of albums considered to be the best sounding jazz records on vinyl:
- Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
- John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
- Louis Armstrong – Hot Five and Hot Seven
What is the difference between vinyl and CDs?
Vinyl is a phonograph record that was originally made in the late 1800s. The disc is a flat circular piece of material, typically made from polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene, with an inorganic coating of carbon black.
CD stands for Compact Disc and it’s a digital audio disc that can play back pre-recorded music and other digital audio files. It has been the most popular type of disc since its introduction in 1982.
Vinyl records are more durable than CDs, scratch resistant and can be played at higher volumes without distortion
What is the difference between digital and vinyl?
Vinyl is a physical medium that comes in various colors and sizes. Digital media, on the other hand, is a form of data that can be stored and accessed by computers.
Digital media has become more popular than vinyl over the past few years. There are various reasons why digital media has taken the lead over vinyl:
- It’s much easier to share digital files with others than it is to share physical ones,
- Vinyl records are expensive and difficult to find,
- Digital files can be easily edited,
- Vinyl records have an expected lifespan of about 40 years while digital media can last for as long as you want.
What are some of the best jazz artists and albums in history?
Some of the best jazz artists and albums in history are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.