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16 Coleman Hawkins: Body and Soul: The Complete Victor Recordings 1939-56 (RCA) deleted Hawkins was the first to make great jazz on the tenor saxophone and the first master of the romantic ballad, never more opulently than in his 1939 performance of Body and Soul.
17 Sidney Bechet: Jazz Classics Vols 1 & 2 (1939-51) deleted Bechet, a clarinettist and soprano saxophonist, had, to a greater extent than any other performer, that mixture of arrogance, elation and power known as the 'rooster crow’.
This compilation contains some of their most delightful encounters, plus one poignant reunion.
12 Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli: Swing from Paris (ASV 1935-39) £6.84, RRP £8.99 Reinhardt’s Roma guitar and Grappelli’s lilting violin both draw on European musical traditions, but fuse with American jazz in a combination that is propulsive, filled with joie de vivre and is just irresistible.
His music flew fast as thought and with a buttonholing urgency. Louis Armstrong 22 Louis Armstrong: Complete New York Town Hall and Boston Symphony Hall Concerts (1947) £22.50, RRP £22.99 Satchmo fronts a band – with Jack Teagarden on trombone, Sid Catlett drums – that deserves the name All-Stars.
Everyone’s on magnificent form; Armstrong himself is sublime.
18 Jelly Roll Morton: The Library of Congress Recordings (Rounder 1938) deleted Jelly Roll’s reminiscences, spoken, sung and played into a microphone are a unique autobiography in sound – colourful, outrageous, boastful, beautiful and a piece of Americana to rank with Huckleberry Finn.
25 Bud Powell: The Amazing Bud Powell Vols I & 2 (1949-51) Vol 1 £8.80, RRP £8.99, Vol 2 £8.80, RRP £8.99 More audibly driven by demons than any pianist in jazz, Powell’s music was fast, intense and sometimes, in the words of one title, Un Poco Loco.
7 Fletcher Henderson: Tidal Wave (GPR 1930) £9.78, RRP £10.99 With performances such as Down South Camp Meetin’ (included on this), Henderson’s band led the way to the big era.
He also employed some of the best soloists in New York, Coleman Hawkins among them.
He and his trio glide through these standards as if floating on air.
30 Errol Garner: Concert by the Sea (Columbia 1955) £8.80, RRP £8.99 Self-taught and unable to read music, Garner came up with a style that was all his own, seeming sometimes to strum the piano like a gigantic guitar: jovial and hugely entertaining.
Recorded jazz is still under a century old, but in a little over nine decades an enormous quantity of music has amassed.