Do you like jazz?

In an attempt to enhance my career (ie, boost my wages) way back in the 1990s, I started reading a lot of Visual C++ books. Visual C++ is a coding language used for creating applications and remains a sought after skill. To be sure, that particular skill’s had a dramatic impact on my life’s trajectory. Anyway, while I do enjoy reading such books, the task requires serious focus. Upon spending increasing time in a favorite book store, perusing the content of various Visual C++ books, I couldn’t help but detect some low key jazz consistently playing in the background. Upon Google search, there’s plenty of hits as it relates to an association of improved reading comprehension while being exposed to certain music genres. Personally, and curiously, that book store’s subtle jazz music supported Google’s findings. Now, many years later, as I scrutinize code, there’s likely to be some saxophone, trumpet, and piano sounds playing, helping me to make sense of it. Correspondingly, the following’s my top 10 jazz album list (alphabetically, otherwise in no particular order). Links below deliver you to Spotify’s album offerings and presently their sign up’s free if you can live with the occasional advertisement. What’s missing from the list below? Reach out and let me know!

1. The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out <- Classic rhythms.

2. John Coltrane: Blue Train <- A pleasure. Often leave it playing for days.

3. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue <- There’s a reason many declare it the greatest jazz album. Like, ever.

4. Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain <- For me, as unique as it is good.

5. The Vince Guaraldi Trio: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus <- Ever wonder if Guaraldi did anything great unrelated to Charlie Brown? (Yes, he did.)

6. Hank Mobley: Soul Station

7. Hank Mobley: The Turnaround

8. The Thelonious Monk Quartet: Monk’s Dream

9. Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder

10. Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus

Tier 2:

1. Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers: Moanin’

2. Clifford Brown and Max Roach

3. Cannonball Adderley: Somethin’ Else <- Consistently smooth.

4. John Coltrane: Giant Steps

5. The Best Of Miles Davis & Gil Evans

6. The Miles Davis Quintet: ‘Round About Midnight

7. Miles Davis: Highlights From The Plugged Nickel

8. Miles Davis: In A Silent Way <- Just shy of my top 10.

9. Dexter Gordon: Go!

10. Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um

11. Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section <- Upbeat. Mood boosting.

Tier 3:

1. Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers: A Night in Tunisia

2. Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk <-Too bluesy for my liking.

3. Ornette Coleman: The Shape Of Jazz To Come <- Uneven noise. Don’t quite get the hype.

4. The Best Of The Miles Davis Quintet (1965 – 1968)

5. Bill Evans – Everybody Digs Bill Evans

6. Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage

7. Sonny Rollins: A Night At The Village Vanguard

8. Wayne Shorter: Speak No Evil

9. McCoy Tyner: The Real McCoy

Not For Me:

1. John Coltrane: A Love Supreme <- Prefer jazz without vocals.

2. Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool <- See above.

3. Thelonious Monk: Genius Of Modern Music, Volume One <- A far cry from “Monk’s Dream”.


During the holiday season, Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a must!