Essential Listening

The absolute best way to develop a musical concept is through listening to the masters. Below you will find a list of resources that are simply STARTING points. The depth of music is extreme, and sometimes overwhelming. Sample everything as you grow, but for the ultimate education try to pick one artist you love and dig into everything they have to offer. 

Feel like an artist is missing?...Obviously! There are so many profound musicians and this list is always growing. Send any missing suggestions to

Big Band

Count Basie - Blues in Hoss's Flat / Corner Pocket
Duke Ellington - Flirtbird / Such Sweet Thunder / Sunset and the Mocking Bird
Joe Henderson Big Band  - Without a Song / Isotope
Roy Hargrove Big Band - Roy AllanSeptember in the Rain
Thad Jones / Mel Lewis - Groove Merchant / Us / with Joe Williams
Stan Kenton - 23o North 82o West / Portrait of a Count
Mingus Big Band - Moanin' / Nostalgia in Times Square
Buddy Rich - Basically Blues / Love for Sale
US Military Big Bands - Airmen of Note / Army Jazz Ambassadors / Army Blues


Gene Ammons - There is No Greater Love /  My Romance
John Coltrane Blue Train  Giant Steps / with Johnny Hartman
Kenny Garrett -  Night and Day  /  In Your Own Sweet  Way
Joe  Henderson -  Blue Bossa / Beatrice
Branford Marsalis - St. Thomas / Random Abstract (Diddle - it)
Charlie "Bird" Parker* - Confirmation / Now's the Time
Sonny Rollins Without a Song / St. Thomas
Sonny Stitt - I'll Remember April / How High the Moon
Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil / Footprints
Dick Oatts -  Stella by Starlight / Like Someone in Love



    Charlie Parker

    Johnny Hodges

    Phil Woods

    Cannonball Adderley

    Lee Konitz

    Paul Desmond

    Benny Carter

    Sonny Stitt

    Dick Oatts

    Ornette Coleman


    John Coltrane

    Sonny Rollins

    Coleman Hawkins

    Lester Young

    Don Byas

    Ben Webster

    Melissa Aldana

    Dexter Gordon

    Stan Getz

    Hank Mobley


    Gerry Mulligan

    Harry Carney

    Pepper Adams

    Dennis DiBlasio

    Cecil Payne

    Gary Smulyan

    Joe Temperley


Louis Armstrong  - West End Blues /  Ella and Louis (full album)
Chet Baker  -  It Could Happen to You  / Never Be Another You
Clifford Brown -  Sandu  Joy Spring
Miles Davis - So What  /  Straight, No Chaser
Dizzy Gillespie On the Sunny Side of the Street / Hot House
Roy Hargrove - Strasbourg St. Denis / Bongo Bolivia
Freddy Hubbard  - Birdlike / Bolivia
Wynton  Marsalis  - What is this thing called love
Blue Mitchell - I Wish I Knew / Turquoise
Woody Shaw - You Stepped Out of A Dream / Rosewood 


Wycliffe Gordon  - Afternoon in Paris  / On the Sunny Side of the Street
Slide Hampton - Last Minute Blues / Autumn Leaves
J.J. Johnson - Stella By Starlight / My Funny Valentine
Frank Rosolino - Pennies from Heaven / Ragamuffin
Kai Winding -  Kai + JJ(full album)


Geri Allen 
Chick Corea 
Joey DeFrancesco 
Bill Evans
Red Garland
Herbie Hancock
Ahmad Jamal
Wynton Kelly
Harold Mabern
Mulgrew Miller 
Oscar Peterson
Jimmy Smith
McCoy  Tyner
Cedar Walton


Sasha Berliner
Chris Dingman
Lionel Hampton
Bobby Hutcherson
Milt Jackson
Tito Puente
Joel Ross
Cal Tjader


George Benson 
Bill Frisell 
Grant Green
Russel Malone 
Pat Metheny 
Wes Montgomery
Django Reinhardt
Kurt Rosenwinkel


Ray Brown
Ron Carter
Paul Chambers
Christian McBride
Charles Mingus
Neils Henning Orsted Peterson 
Rufus Reid 


Brian Blade
Art Blakey
Jimmy Cobb
Elvin Jones
"Papa" Jo Jones
Philly Joe Jones
Victor Lewis
Max Roach
Art Taylor
Tony Williams


Louis Armstrong
Chet Baker
Tony Bennett
Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday
Cecile McLorin-Salvant
Nina Simone
Frank Sinatra
Sarah Vaughan