On this page you will find two separate discographies, reprinted from two of the books in Roberta’s Jazz Piano Vocabulary series. These discographies highlight some of the best jazz pianists and the best jazz piano recordings of all time.
PART I: Cross Sectional Jazz Piano Discography
Reprinted from Jazz Piano Vocabulary – Volume 2: The Dorian ModeI am always amazed when a student who wishes to learn to play jazz piano acknowledges that he or she rarely or never actually listens to jazz! Trying to play jazz without listening to the music is like trying to write a book without ever having read one. You must listen to the music you want to learn to play in order to understand what you are trying to accomplish. Eventually you will want to find your own style, but before you can do that, imitation and assimilation of the masters is critical.
Check out Roberta’s new solo piano CD, Solo
[Solo] is a departure, her first solo project. Her strengths carry over: emotional honesty, harmonic ingenuity, taste and discipline.
Solo captures her allusive wit and expansive imagination as she investigates classic compositions by Monk, Strayhorn, Sam Rivers, Chick Corea, and Wayne Shorter.
The rich thoughtfulness that characterizes Roberta Piket’s inventive improvising is immediately apparent on the first track of Solo… The result is an intriguing overview of a jazz pianist who still hasn’t quite received the ovations that her unique talents deserve.
With Solo [Piket] cements a reputation as a top level jazz artist…. Solo features Piket alone with the piano, the most challenging of formats. To say she has risen to the challenge is an understatement.
Roberta Piket is not as well-known as she should be, but “Solo” gives plenty of examples of her deep, rich talent.
SOLO begins sweetly and tenderly and ends the same way — with vigorous questioning and exploring of various kinds in the middle. Roberta is an eloquent creator who takes chances but is true to her internal compass, whichever way it might point for a particular performance.
[Solo] displays a mastery that is frequently striking and always engaging. It’s hard to believe this is Piket’s maiden voyage on solo piano…. Her playing reflects various influences but it’s her own stunning and singular voice that makes this album so memorable.
Towards that end I have assembled a list containing some of the definitive jazz piano recordings of the past as well as some inspiring examples from the present. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, as that would require an entire book in itself. Rather, it is a cross-section of various styles from early jazz to contemporary jazz. It also reflects my own biases and preferences.
If one of these pianists grabs your ear, then seek out other recordings by that pianist.
Early Jazz and Swing
Jelly Roll Morton The Piano Rolls (Nonesuch) (Columbia)
Duke Ellington The Feeling of Jazz (Black Lion)
Duke Ellington And His Mother Called Him Bill (RCA/Bluebird)
Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington (Original Jazz Classics)
Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane (Original Jazz Classics)
The Quintet (with Bud Powell) Jazz at Massey Hall
(Original Jazz Classics)
Bud Powell Genius Of Bud Powell (Verve)
Red Garland A Garland of Red (Original Jazz Classics)
Miles Davis (with Red Garland) Milestones (Columbia)
Miles Davis (with Wynton Kelly) In Person – Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk
John Coltrane (with McCoy Tyner) My Favorite Things (Atlantic)
John Coltrane (with Tommy Flanagan) Giant Steps
Ahmad Jamal At the Pershing (MCA/Chess Jazz)
John Coltrane (with McCoy Tyner) A Love Supreme(Impulse)
Wayne Shorter (with Herbie Hancock) Speak No Evil (Blue Note)
Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter 1 + 1 (Verve)
Chick Corea & Return to Forever Light as a Feather(Polygram)
Cecil Taylor Unit Structures (Blue Note)
Keith Jarrett The Koln Concert(ECM)
Charles Lloyd (with Keith Jarrett) Forest Flower(Rhino Records)
Marian McPartland In My Life (Concord)
Marian McPartland From This Moment On (Concord)
Fred Hersch Heartsongs (Sunny Side)
Joanne Brackeen Live At Maybeck Recital Hall(Concord)
Richie Beirach Elegy for Bill Evans (Storyville)
Richie Beirach Elm (ECM)
Richie Beirach and David Liebman Chant(Creative Music)
Stanley Cowell Live At Maybeck Recital Hall(Concord)
Renee Rosnes Life On Earth (Blue Note)
Roberta Piket Sides, Colors (Thirteenth Note)
Roberta Piket Trio Love and Beauty (Thirteenth Note)
Roberta Piket & Alternating Current I’m Back InTherapy And It’s All Your Fault (Thirteenth Note)
PART II: Supplemental Cross-Sectional Jazz Piano Discography
Reprinted from Jazz Piano Vocabulary – Volume 5
Introduction. In Volume 5 I have supplemented the list above with some additional jazz piano and keyboard recordings which you may find helpful and inspiring to listen to.
There are several artists on this list who were not included on the previous list. I have also added CDs from masters who were included, as well as some CDs with electric keyboard playing such as Wurlitzer and Fender Rhodes pianos and Hammond B3 Organ. Once again I issue the disclaimer that this supplemental list is not intended to be comprehensive, as that would require an entire book in itself. Rather, it is a selection of what I consider to be the greatest jazz piano recordings from early jazz to contemporary jazz. It also reflects my own biases and preferences. If one of these artists grabs your ear, then seek out other recordings by that artist.
Many of the musicians on these recordings are still performing. If you have the chance to hear them live, especially in a smaller venue, there is no substitute for the knowledge you will gain by closely observing the ideas, technique, touch, and stage presentation of a master.
Meade Lux Lewis The Blues Piano Artistry of Meade Lux Lewis (Original Jazz Classics)
Albert Ammons Boogie Woogie Man (Asv Living Era)
Miles Davis (w/ Red Garland) Relaxin’ (Original Jazz Classics)
Sonny Rollins (w/ Tommy Flanagan) Saxophone Colossus(Original Jazz Classics)
Cannonball Adderly (w/ Hank Jones) Somethin’ Else(Blue Note)
Dave Brubeck Time Out(Columbia)
Paul Bley Fragments (ECM)
George Cables Cables’ Vision (Original Jazz Classics)
Fred Hersch Plays Monk (Nonesuch)
Joanne Brackeen Fi-Fi Goes To Heaven (Concord)
John Hicks Naima’s Love Song (Diw Records)
Richie Beirach Trust (Evidence)
Kenny Barron Live At Bradley’s (Sunnyside)
Eliane Elias The Three Americas (Blue Note)
Stanley Cowell Brilliant Circles (Black Lion)
Renee Rosnes As We Are Now (Blue Note)
Bill Evans Intuition (Original Jazz Classics)
Joe Henderson (with McCoy Tyner) Inner Urge (Blue Note)
Joe Henderson (with Cedar Walton) Mode For Joe (Blue Note)
Red Garland Red
Garland’s Piano (Original Jazz Classics)
Wynton Kelly Kelly Blue (Riverside)
Wynton Kelly and Wes Montgomery Full House(Riverside)
Steve Kuhn Mostly Ballads (New World Records)
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with Horace Silver) A Night At Birdland (Blue Note)
Larry Young Unity (Blue Notes)
Dexter Gordon (with Sonny Clark) Go! (Blue Note)
Bud Powell Bouncing With Bud (Delmark)
Walter Bishop, Jr. Speak Low (Muse)
Wayne Shorter The Soothsayer (with McCoy Tyner) Blue Note Records
Et Cetera Blue Note Records
Juju Blue Note Records
Bill Evans The Paris Concert Edition 1 Blue Note
Bill Evans The Paris Concert Edition 2 Blue Note
Chick Corea Early Days  (Delta)
Herbie Hancock The Prisoner (EMI)
Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles (Blue Note Records)
Joe Zawinul Zawinul (Atlantic)
John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra (w/ Jan Hammer) Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia)
Herbie Hancock Headhunters (Columbia)
Herbie Handcock Thrust (Sony)
John Abercrombie (with Jan Hammer) Timeless(ECM Records)