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

Dave Bailey Quintet, 2 Feet in the Gutter
Epic 16021 (1961)

A finger-popping soul jazz masterpiece, and another favorite album introduced to me by my wife, Ako. Bailey clearly had a talent as a bandleader, making great song selections and surrounding himself with talented musicians.

“Comin’ Home Baby”, “Two Feet in the Gutter”, “Shiny Stockings”

Hank Mobley with Donald Byrd & Lee Morgan
Blue Note 1540 (1956)

As a highly undervalued album that has never been reissued in the U.S. in any format, the Japanese’s all-inclusive approach to reissuing Blue Note has made it more accessible. This frontline triumvirate sounds especially aggressive here, and Mobley’s songwriting features some particularly foreboding, haunting harmonies.

Cal Tjader, Live at The Funky Quarters
Fantasy 9409 (1972)

This is another album recommended to me by way of It’s a Raggy Waltz, and another rare appearance of a ’70s album in my list. This is the only Tjader album I own and it showcases just how fun and easy his music was. I wish I knew more bop albums that used electric piano.

“Leyte”, “Cubano Chant”, “Manteca”

Gil Mellé, Patterns in Jazz
Blue Note 1517 (1956)

My most favorite albums are all highly listenable start to finish. This album is no exception, and it falls into the category of “so seamless that I have a hard time remembering the song titles”. Baritone sax can sometime sound a little too aggressive for me, but Mellé manages to make it fit perfectly into a cooler setting like this.

Miles Davis, ‘Round About Midnight
Columbia 949 (1956)

Despite this version of “‘Round Midnight” never being a favorite of mine, and despite the album lacking a degree of cohesion due to being recorded over three dates spanning close to a year, the music is so good that it still manages to rank very high up on my list.

“Ah-Leu-Cha”, “All Of You”, “Bye Bye Blackbird”

Herbie Hancock, Inventions & Dimensions
Blue Note 4147 (1963)

I was introduced to this album by a jazz musician friend and it was an early favorite Blue Note of mine. Technically falling under “experimental” due to a lack of traditional songwriting, Hancock’s percussive style and use of refrain are key ingredients that keep things very accessible.


Lee Morgan, Candy
Blue Note 1590 (1958)

Morgan shines with inventiveness in this unique quartet-with-trumpet setting. The focus is on standards but the leader manages to make the material sound fresh and engaging regardless. Sonny Clark and Art Taylor backing Morgan is a rare and most welcome combination.

“Since I Fell for You”, “All the Way”

Big John Patton, The Way I Feel
Blue Note 4174 (1964)

Some may be surprised to see an obscure album like this ranked so high on my list. If so, I remind you that this is merely a list of favorites. This album is very close to perfection for me. Patton’s band never take themselves too seriously and maintain a relaxed, playful vibe throughout.

“The Rock”, “The Way I Feel”, “Jerry”, “Just 3/4”

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
Columbia 1355 (1959)

Most jazz classics aren’t personal favorites of mine; this album is an exception. I feel both its popularity and “gateway” status are warranted. Coltrane struggles to fit in at times and “Flamenco Sketches” sounds a tad redundant following “Blue in Green”, otherwise I think it’s perfect.

“So What”, “Blue in Green”, “All Blues”

Horace Silver, Song for My Father
Blue Note 4185 (1964)

Though it doesn’t have as many trophy songs as the rest of the albums in my top five, I have probably listened to this album the most. There is nothing I would change about it. It is a perfect album by my standards, and I can easily play it start to finish every time I listen.

“The Natives are Restless Tonight”, “Lonely Woman”

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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.