10 Jazz Albums to Listen to Before You Die

Categories: all that jazz

2. John Coltrane, Blue Train

John Coltrane is clearly one of the leaders of the jazz identity.  If you think about the course of hip hop, then can you really imagine groups like Tribe Called Quest or even someone like Tupac without a cultural and musical prophet like Coltrane?  Of course, A Love Supreme is an incredible album, but Blue Train just has so much life and color that it's impossible to ignore  before you kick the bucket.  Recorded back in 1957 on Blue Note, Blue Train was Coltrane's favorite album.  And if you haven't heard it, then it will surely be one of yours soon, too. 

1. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

I can still remember the first time I heard this album.  I was 17, and I was driving my Subaru Legacy Wagon in the rain.  I drove the car to my grandparent's house, and I put on the album.  It was only about a five-minute drive, but I ended parked outside of their house, the windshield wipers swatting away rain -- the album blaring.  I sat in the driveway until the album ended, and, well, music was never the same for me.  It's a composition, released in 1959, that is often considered the definitive jazz album.  Honestly, there are some jazz purists who probably would die if they found out our generation was unfamiliar with this album.  Just listen to who was featured on this album: Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb.  If you're about to go sky diving, and you're not sure if you're going to survive, then play this album on the car ride over to the airport. Kind of Blue is an album many critics try and define why it is so great, but everything you need to know comes across when you hit play.  Let's not try to put it into words.  It might be something unsayable.  

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