Suggested Listening: A Jazz Piano Discography Compiled by Roberta

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 Mode I 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.

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.

Check out Roberta’s solo piano CD, Emanation

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)

Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces (Volumes 1-7) (Pablo)
Mary Lou Williams The Zodiac Suite (Smithsonian Folkways)

Big Band

Duke Ellington The Feeling of Jazz (Black Lion)

Duke Ellington And His Mother Called Him Bill (RCA/Bluebird)

Count Basie Count Basie and His Orchestra (Circle)
Count Basie and Duke Ellington First Time: The Count Meets the Duke (Columbia)


Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington (Original Jazz Classics)

Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane (Original Jazz Classics)

Bud Powell The Amazing Bud Powell (Volume 1 and volume 2) (Blue Note)

The Quintet (with Bud Powell) Jazz at Massey Hall
(Original Jazz Classics)

Bud Powell Genius Of Bud Powell (Verve)

Hard-Bop/Funky Jazz

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with Bobby Timmons) Moanin (Blue Note)
Horace Silver Cape Verdean Blues(Blue Note)

Modern Jazz

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

Miles Davis (with Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly) Kind of Blue(Columbia)
Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside
Bill Evans You Must Believe In Spring (Warner Bros.)

John Coltrane (with McCoy Tyner) My Favorite Things (Atlantic)

John Coltrane (with Tommy Flanagan) Giant Steps

Ahmad Jamal At the Pershing (MCA/Chess Jazz)

Phineas Newborn A World of Piano! (Original Jazz Classics)
Lennie Tristano Lennie Tristano/The New Tristano
(Atlantic Jazz)

Post-Modern and Beyond

John Coltrane (with McCoy Tyner) A Love Supreme(Impulse)

Miles Davis (with Herbie Hancock) Nefertiti
Herbie Hancock Speak Like a Child (Blue Note)

Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage (Blue Note)
Herbie Hancock Inventions And Dimensions (Blue Note)
VSOP (with Herbie Hancock) The Quintet (Columbia)

Wayne Shorter (with Herbie Hancock) Speak No Evil (Blue Note)

Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter 1 + 1 (Verve)

McCoy Tyner The Real McCoy (Blue Note)
Chick Corea Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Blue Note)

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)

By The Author

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 some of 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, emotional content and stage presentation of a master.

Early Jazz, Swing and Blues
Fats Waller The Definitive Fats Waller – Volume 1 (Jazz Classics)

Meade Lux Lewis The Blues Piano Artistry of Meade Lux Lewis (Original Jazz Classics)

Albert Ammons Boogie Woogie Man (Asv Living Era)

James P. Johnson Harlem Stride Piano 1921-1929 (Epm Musique)
Dorothy Donegan The Explosive Dorothy Donegan(Audiophile)

Modern Jazz

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)

Post-Modern and Beyond

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 A Simple Matter Of Conviction
Bill Evans
Alone (Verve)

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)

Joe Henderson (with Kenny Barron) The Kicker (Milesstone)
Herbie HancockMwandishi: The Complete
Warner Bros. Recordings
(Warner Bros.)

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)

Post-Bop to Post-Modern

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 [1996] (Delta)

Chick Corea The Song of Singing (Capital)
George Russell Ezz-Thetics(Orig. Jazz Classics)
Miles Davis Miles Smiles (Sony)

Miles Davis The Sorcerer (Sony)
Miles Davis Filles De Kilimanjaro (Sony)
Joe Henderson In ‘N Out (Blue Note Records)

Herbie Hancock The Prisoner (EMI)

Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles (Blue Note Records)

Fusion/Electric Jazz

Miles Davis (w/ Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Larry Young) Bitches Brew (Sony)
Chick Corea Light As A Feather (Polygram)

Chick Corea The Leprechaun (Polygram)
Tony Williams(w/ Larry Young) Emergency! (Polygram)

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)