Deep Groove Mono’s All-Time Favorite Classic Jazz Album List

John Coltrane, Blue Train
Blue Note 1577 (1957)

When I first got into jazz I prematurely dismissed this album because Coltrane goes so hard in his opening solo and it was too much for me at the time. Years later I have come to love that very solo, and I probably listen to this album more than any other Coltrane album.

“Moment’s Notice”

Larry Young, Unity
Blue Note 4221 (1965)

Here is yet another great album I ignored at first. I don’t think I liked the dissonance in Woody Shaw’s writing. Today I hear those moments merely as tension leading to release. This is a masterfully recorded LP with a mellow, calming vibe that I return to all the time.

“The Moontrane”

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things
Atlantic 1361 (1960)

It should be obvious why Coltrane’s reading of such a fun Rogers & Hammerstein showtune appeals to most jazz newbies, present company included. Over time that appeal has not waned in the slightest.

“My Favorite Things”, “Everytime We Say Goodbye”

Herbie Hancock, Empyrean Isles
Blue Note 4175 (1963)

I listen to this album a lot, and though I usually skip “The Egg”, I have been warming up to post-bop on the very edge of the avant-garde lately. Side 1 is one of my favorite sides in all of jazz. Tony Williams is a big favorite of mine and he sounds superb on this.

“One Finger Snap”, “Oliloqui Valley”

Hank Mobley, No Room for Squares
Blue Note 4149 (1963)

The album’s first four tracks comprise a brilliant sequence. “Carolyn” went from ignored by me to being a big favorite over the years. “Up a Step” also took some time to appreciate, and I love the loud horns in the A-section and the beautiful bridge.

“Three Way Split”, “Carolyn”, “No Room for Squares”

Hal Galper, Now Hear This
Inner City 3012 (1977)

My list doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of jazz outside of the 1950s and ’60s, but this is a big exception. Galpert’s quartet is firing on all cylinders for the duration of the programme. Slightly lo-fi but the high energy level more than makes up for it.

“Now Hear This”, “Mr. Fixit”, “First Song in the Day”, “Red Eye Special”

George Wallington Showcase
Blue Note 5045 (1954)

I’m not usually a fan of big bands, and while this septet is far from that, they manage to tastefully toe the line between swing and modern styles. This version of “Summertime” gets heavy rotation when in season, and Frank Foster’s even-handed, precise delivery made me into a follower.

Curtis Fuller, Vol. 3
Blue Note 1583 (1957)

Somehow I bought and sold a copy of this before realizing how brilliant it is. Fuller’s writing is emotive, Sonny Clark is in top form, Farmer’s trumpet provides somewhat unexpected harmonic balance, and Louis Hayes makes his presence fully known.

Conte Candoli, Little Band, Big Jazz
Crown 5162 (1960)

This album was recommended to me by Tarik Townsend through a post on his jazz blog, It’s a Raggy Waltz. This is a killer hard bop band led by Conte Candoli that also features the playing and composing of Vince Guaraldi. Recording quality is exceptional as well.


Cookin’ with The Miles Davis Quintet
Prestige 7094 (1956)

This is one of the first vintage jazz LPs I ever got my hands on and an incredible mono recording made at Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack home studio. The room sound is breathtakingly dry, and all the musicians sound close, present, and natural.

“My Funny Valentine”

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Thank you for sharing your all time favorites! This has me relistening to/rediscovering records I already have, as well has sent me off to Discogs/eBay, etc. for new additions to my collection.