Kind of Blue MILES DAVIS (1959): I consider Miles Davis to be one of the mystics and visionaries of music. This album is forever hip, and it continues to be a best-seller. It’s dark and brooding, yet sophisticated, sexy and languorous. Musically, the album doesn’t start with a bang. It sort of wafts in with Bill Evans’ piano and Paul Chambers’ bass, and I love the journey. Buy one for yourself and another for the one you love.
A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE (1964): It’s the closest any artist may have come to spiritual ecstasy. Coltrane and his quartet—including Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison—pushed all boundaries to reach for the divine. It’s a seminal album because, through it, Coltrane opened up the jazz world to a spiritual and mystical dimension. Since jazz is a genre that thrives on rhythm and extended improvization, Coltrane achieved a way of expression that the spoken word couldn’t.
Blues and Roots
CHARLES MINGUS (1959): This is jazz at its most rollicking. Mingus’ bass, along with his four saxophonists and two trombonists, is one of the most unconventional line-ups in jazz. They deliver six sets influenced by gospel and blues music that makes one stand up and swing. The energy and pure soul of this album is unparalleled.
In A Silent Way
MILES DAVIS (1969): It’s a soothing adventure, somewhat reminiscent of Kind of Blue , but here Davis improvized by fusing new guitar sounds. In a way, it’s a highly political album, as it mourns the death of the 1960s. It’s special because I was one of the soloists in the album. It was one of the most meaningful collaborations in my career—the experience inspired me never to give up on experimenting.
THELONIUS MONK (1956): It’s one of those albums that represent the perfect blend of conception and performance. Monk is known for his quirky, yet rigorously planned rhythm patterns and, in this album, he achieves that perfect jugalbandi . He gave the bebop movement, and jazz in general, a sound that was strikingly modern. Must-have for an aspiring jazz musician. (Sanjukta Sharma)