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100 Greatest Jazz Songs of All Time

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The great Betty Carter!

The great Betty Carter!

Jazz knows no limits and no boundaries. Following such logic, I have liberally placed tunes from "avant-garde" artists on this list. I believe that slightly eccentric creators such as Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders are every bit as important to jazz as are Billie Holiday and Dave Brubeck.

This is not a list that was thrown together lightly, either. It was stitched together one song at a time, minute by minute, hour by hour. It was written, re-written, and revised again. As much as I love jazz, narrowing it down to just the top 100 songs was almost too limiting a task.

I'm sure there are plenty of worthwhile tracks that I failed to include. I know that when I listen to jazz, just like any other form of music, the songs I decide to play are largely dependent upon my mood at that given time.

Anyway, enough idle chatter. Here is my compilation of the top 100 jazz songs of all time. I've written detailed paragraphs for my top 20. Below that are 80 more great tunes. Enjoy.

Greatest Jazz Songs of All Time

Below is my complete list of the 100 top jazz songs of all time. Before I go any further, I need to make a couple of things clear. First, I really love jazz music. It is an important part of my everyday life and I cannot begin to imagine my existence without jazz in it. However, I am not what you would call a "purist."

I firmly believe that artists who are not traditionally labeled as jazz artists can still create amazing jazz compositions. For example, I included a couple of artists on this list that might raise a few eyebrows. Artists like Jeff Beck and Frank Zappa, who are usually classified in the rock-n'-roll genre, have made major contributions to the genre. Their jazz cuts brim with the same creativity, passion, and inventiveness as that which made Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and W.C. Handy the icons that they are.

Top 20 Jazz Songs of All Time

  1. Miles Davis – "So What"
  2. John Coltrane – "My Favorite Things"
  3. Dave Brubeck – "Take Five"
  4. John Coltrane – "Acknowledgement"
  5. Weather Report – "Birdland"
  6. Miles Davis – "Freddie Freeloader"
  7. John Coltrane – "Psalm"
  8. Billie Holiday – "Strange Fruit"
  9. Dizzy Gillespie – "Salt Peanuts"
  10. Cannonball Adderley – "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"
  11. Charles Mingus – "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"
  12. Herbie Hancock – "Chameleon"
  13. Freddie Hubbard – "Straight Life"
  14. Pharoah Sanders – "The Creator Has a Master Plan"
  15. Miles Davis – "Blue in Green"
  16. Count Basie – "One O'Clock Jump"
  17. Wes Montgomery – "Bumpin' on Sunset"
  18. John Coltrane – "Naima"
  19. Jimmy Smith – "Back at the Chicken Shack"
  20. Grover Washington – "Mister Magic"

1. “So What” – Miles Davis

Years Active: 1944–1975 and 1980–1991

Great Albums: In a Silent Way, Seven Steps to Heaven

Associated Acts: John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Philly Joe Jones

"So What" is the first track on Kind of Blue by trumpeter Miles Davis. It is one of the best examples of modal jazz. The song is set in Dorian mode. It consists of 16 bars of D Dorian, followed by eight bars of E♭ Dorian and another eight of D Dorian. This is a phenomenally complex arrangement. The lineup for this composition includes Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball, Evans, Chambers, and Cobb. This is the greatest lineup in jazz history. 'Nuff said.

Interesting Facts:

  • Miles Davis was born on May 26, 1926, in Alton, IL.
  • The piano-and-bass introduction for the piece was written by Gil Evans for Bill Evans.
  • The chord structure for "So What" was later used by John Coltrane for his standard "Impressions."

2. “My Favorite Things” – John Coltrane

Years Active: 1945–1967

Great Albums: Blue Train, Giant Steps

Associated Acts: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis Quintet, Eric Dolphy

My Favorite Things is the seventh studio album by jazz musician John Coltrane, and its title track is one of Coltrane's greatest performances. This interpretation of the Rodgers/Hammerstein classic tune turned on a whole new audience to the brilliance of John Coltrane. It also offered a glimpse of the path that Trane was about to embark upon.

Interesting Facts:

  • John Coltrane was born on September 23, 1926, in Hamlet, North Carolina.
  • Coltrane used to play for the Davis band.
  • My Favorite Things is one of the best-reviewed jazz albums of all time.

3. “Take Five” – Dave Brubeck

Years Active: 1940s–2012

Great Albums: Dave Brubeck Octet, Jazz at the College of the Pacific

Associated Acts: Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, Joe Morello, Gerry Mulligan

"Take Five" is a jazz standard composed by Paul Desmond and originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet for its 1959 album Time Out. It was the first jazz instrumental to sell a million copies. A song everyone, jazz fans or not, have heard. Timeless.

Interesting Facts:

  • Brubeck was born on December 6, 1920, in Concord, CA.
  • The song continues to be revived by television shows and films.
  • Brubeck's composition was inspired by Turkish street musicians.

4. “Acknowledgement” – John Coltrane

Years Active: 1945–1967

Great Albums: Blue Train, Giant Steps

Associated Acts: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis Quintet, Eric Dolphy

"Acknowledgement" appeared on A Love Supreme, a 1965 studio album by American jazz saxophonist and bandleader John Coltrane. This album displays Trane’s spiritual awakening and the start of his ultimate quest to reconnect with the divine. It's one of the most powerful, transcendent songs ever. This is true gospel.

Interesting Facts:

  • His quartet featured pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones.
  • A Love Supreme is a complex four-part suite.
  • His exposure to Ahmadiyya Islam has also been suggested as a source of influence.

5. “Birdland” – Weather Report

Years Active: 1970–1986

Great Albums: I Sing the Body Electric, Mysterious Traveller

Associated Acts: Joni Mitchell, The Zawinul Syndicate

An excellent introduction to the late Jaco Pastorious. This tune pushed Weather Report to the forefront of the fusion movement and into the mainstream. This song marked the height of Weather Report's commercial success.

Interesting Facts:

  • The band was initially co-led by the Austrian-born keyboard player Joe Zawinul, the American saxophonist Wayne Shorter and Czech bassist Miroslav Vitouš.
  • The song is a tribute to the Birdland nightclub in New York City.
  • The song was named in honor of the man whom the club was named for, Charlie Parker, the "Bird."

6. “Freddie Freeloader” – Miles Davis

Years Active: 1944–1975 and 1980–1991

Great Albums: In a Silent Way, Seven Steps to Heaven

Associated Acts: John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Philly Joe Jones

"Freddie Freeloader" has proven to be one of Davis' most enduring compositions. Many other jazz musicians have covered the song in reverence to Davis's brilliance. Another stone-cold classic from the best jazz album (Kind of Blue) of all time. Never to be duplicated, this is jazz at its highest form.

Interesting Facts:

  • Davis employed Wynton Kelly as the pianist for this track.
  • The name may have been inspired by Red Skelton's character, "Freddie the Freeloader," who is a hobo clown.
  • Stanley Jordan honored Davis by recording a version of it for his 1985 album Magic Touch.

7. “Psalm” – John Coltrane

Years Active: 1945–1967

Great Albums: Blue Train, Giant Steps

Associated Acts: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis Quintet, Eric Dolphy

This is another brilliant song off of Coltrane's famous album A Love Supreme. "Psalms" closes out one of the most important albums ever, regardless of genre, on a plateau others could never hope to scale. It's a monumental piece.

Interesting Facts:

  • A Love Supreme is one of Coltrane's top-selling albums.
  • It's another revelation in Coltrane's spiritual development.
  • It's one of the best-reviewed songs of all time.

8. “Strange Fruit” – Billie Holiday

Years Active: 1933–1959

Great Albums: Billie Holiday Sings, An Evening with Billie Holiday

Associated Acts: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne

Written by teacher Abel Meeropol, it protested American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. It's one of the most chilling and haunting, yet utterly compelling, songs of all time. Lady Day poured her heart, soul, and every fabric of her being into this cut.

Interesting Facts:

  • Billie Holiday was born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • The song has been covered by numerous artists, including Nina Simone, UB40, Jeff Buckley, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
  • It was included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America.

9. “Salt Peanuts” – Dizzy Gillespie

Years Active: 1935–1993

Great Albums: Bird and Diz, Afro

Associated Acts: Pablo, RCA Victor, Savoy, Verve

"Salt Peanuts" was recorded by Dizzy Gillespie and His All-Stars on May 11, 1945, in New York City. The lineup included Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Al Haig (piano), Curley Russell (bass), and Sid Catlett (drums). It was one of the greatest lineups in jazz history. If there were a Mount Rushmore of jazz, Dizz would be carved in stone, and this tune would be playing in the background at all times. Go cat, go!

Interesting Facts:

  • Gillespie was born on October 21, 1917, in Cheraw, SC.
  • The song's refrain also appears in the song "Five Salted Peanuts" by Charlie Abbott and Bert Wheeler.
  • A few notes of the song are used in "Tiger in a Spotlight" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

10. “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – Cannonball Adderley

Years Active: 1955–1975

Great Albums: Sophisticated Swing, Cannonball Enroute

Associated Acts: Yusef Lateef, Sam Jones, Joe Zawinul

Proving there was life after Miles Davis, Cannonball hooked up with then little-known composer/keyboardist Joe Zainwaul and churned out this soulful masterpiece. Who says jazz ain’t got no soul?

Interesting Facts:

  • Adderley was born on September 15, 1928, in Tampa, Florida.
  • The title track became a surprise hit, reaching #13 on the Billboard charts.
  • The title track has been covered numerous times by a wide variety of artists across several genres.

11. “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” – Charles Mingus

Years Active: 1943–1979

Great Albums: Mingus at the Bohemia, The Charles Mingus Quintet & Max Roach

Associated Acts: Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy

"Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" is a jazz standard composed by Charles Mingus and was released on his album Mingus Ah Um. The song is one of the cornerstone songs of jazz. Mingus is one of jazz's most covered composers. Mingus could do it all. And he influenced them all.

Interesting Facts:

  • Mingus was born on April 22, 1922, in Nogales, AZ.
  • Mingus wrote it as an elegy for saxophonist Lester Young.
  • Rahsaan Roland Kirk also composed lyrics to the song on his album The Return of the 5000 Lb. Man.

12. “Chameleon” – Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters

Years Active: 1961–present

Great Albums: Head Hunters,

Associated Acts: Clark Terry, Miles Davis Quintet, Wayne Shorter

Funk. Funky. Funkiest. This cut molded jazz into something different. Something more urban and groovy. "Chameleon" is a jazz standard composed by Herbie Hancock in collaboration with Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson, and Harvey Mason. This song marked a transition in jazz music, bringing in more elements of funk.

Interesting Facts:

  • Hancock was born on April 12, 1940, in Chicago, IL.
  • The song has become a standard repertoire in most small jazz ensembles.
  • For the most part, the song is built entirely on a two-chord vamp.

13. “Straight Life” – Freddie Hubbard

Years Active: 1958–2008

Great Albums: Goin' Up, Blue Note Hub Cap

Associated Acts: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ornette Coleman

Straight Life is a soul/funk-influenced jazz album recorded in 1970 by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Its title track is absolutely incredible. After the triumph that was Red Clay, Hubbard proved that he had plenty more left in his trick bag on this 17-minute cut. He swung for the fences and hit a grand slam with this one.

Interesting Facts:

  • Freddie Hubbard was born on April 7, 1938, in Indianapolis, IN.
  • This is also Hubbard's eighteenth overall album.
  • Straight life is over 17-minutes long.

14. “The Creator Has a Master Plan” – Pharoah Sanders

Years Active: 1964–present

Great Albums: Karma, Jewels of Thought

Associated Acts: Coltrane

Thirty-two-and-a-half minutes of pure, freeform bliss. Enough to induce a deep, fulfilling trance-like state. An under-appreciated artist and song. Pharoah was part of creating these new jazz sub-genres called "energy music," "the new thing," "free jazz," and "spiritual jazz." His influence can be found across several genres.

Interesting Facts:

  • Pharoah Sanders was born on October 13, 1940, in Little Rock, AR.
  • Incorporates elements of Indian and African music.
  • AllMusic has rated this album five out of five stars.

15. “Blue in Green” – Miles Davis

Years Active: 1944–1975 and 1980–1991

Great Albums: In a Silent Way, Seven Steps to Heaven

Associated Acts: John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Philly Joe Jones

More from one of the most incredible pieces of art ever fashioned – Kind of Blue. Miles at his most inventive.

Interesting Facts:

  • Jazz fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour covered the song from his 1990 album Stolen Moments.
  • The song incorporates the presence of the Dorian, Mixolydian, and Lydian modes.
  • This is the only song on the album that Cannonball Adderley sits out.

16. “One o’Clock Jump” – Count Basie

Years Active: 1924–1984

Great Albums: Atomic Swing, Memories Ad-Lib

Associated Acts: Lester Young, Herschel Evans, Freddie Green

"One O'Clock Jump" is a 12-bar blues instrumental. It was written by Count Basie in 1937. This is a superb joint from one of the masters of swing. Many were the imitators, yet none could touch the magic of Count Basie and His Orchestra. Then or now.

Interesting Facts:

  • Count Basie was born on August 21, 1904, in Red Bank, NJ.
  • "One O'Clock Jump" became the theme song of the Count Basie Orchestra.
  • It was the last number ever recorded by Earl Hines in 1981.

17. “Bumpin’ on Sunset” – Wes Montgomery

Years Active: 1958-1968

Great Albums: Far Wes, The Wes Montgomery Trio

Associated Acts: Lionel Hampton, Montgomery Brothers, Jimmy Smith

The one, the only, Wes Montgomery burning up the fretboard without a pick. He set the standard for those who chose to follow. Wes was one of the greatest players of all time.

Interesting Facts:

  • Montgomery was born on March 6, 1923, in Indianapolis, IN.
  • Montgomery plays double octaves throughout.
  • It appears on the album Tequila, a mostly Latin-flavored album.

18. "Naima” – John Coltrane

Years Active: 1945–1967

Great Albums: Blue Train, Giant Steps

Associated Acts: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis Quintet, Eric Dolphy

A powerfully beautiful and tender ballad named for Trane's then-wife. This is where Coltrane started to come into his own, composition-wise. As this one proved, the sky was the limit.

Interesting Facts:

  • It first appeared on the album Giant Steps and is notable for its use of a variety of rich chords.
  • Coltrane recorded "Naima" many times. It appears on The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings, The Complete Copenhagen Concert, Afro-Blue Impressions, and Live at the Village Vanguard Again!.
  • It's named after his wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs.

19. “Back at the Chicken Shack” – Jimmy Smith

Years Active: 1956–2005

Great Albums: The Sounds of Jimmy Smith, Plays Pretty Just for You

Associated Acts: Don Gardner, Sonotones

A slice of sweaty Hammond B-3 heaven from the best of the bunch. He created a template that a thousand jam bands would follow 40 years after the fact.

Interesting Facts:

  • Jimmy Smith was born on December 8, 1928, in Norristown, PA.
  • It was cited in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
  • AllMusic rated the album five stars.

20. “Mister Magic” – Grover Washington, Jr.

Years Active: 1971–1999

Great Albums: Mister Magic, Feels So Good

Associated Acts: Bill Withers, Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman

Gone way before his time, this cut is a prime example of the way Grover Washington, Jr. could create a wave and ride it all the way to the sunset. Smooth jazz that was anything but smooth.

Interesting Facts:

  • Washington Jr. was born on December 12, 1943, in Buffalo, NY.
  • The album topped both the soul and jazz albums chart and peaked at number ten on the pop chart.
  • In a review for Allmusic, Scott Yanow gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars.

80 More Incredible Jazz Songs

21. “Giant Steps” – John Coltrane

22. “In a Silent Way” – Miles Davis

23. “Dolphin Dance” – Herbie Hancock

24. “In N’ Out” – Joe Henderson

25. “Resolution” – John Coltrane

26. “Alone Together” – Grant Green

27. “St. Louis Blues” – W.C. Handy

28. “Rocket Number Nine Take off for the Planet Venus” – Sun Ra and his Arkestra

29. “Tipitina” – Professor Longhair

30. “Breakfast Feud” – Charlie Christian

31. “Naguine” – Django Reinhardt

32. “It Might as Well be Spring” – Sarah Vaughan

33. “Captain Fingers” – Lee Ritenour

34. “Science Funktion” – Donald Byrd

35. “Blue Rondo A La Turk” – Dave Brubeck

36. “A Remark You Made” – Weather Report

37. “Black Satin” – Miles Davis

38. “Just the Two of Us” – Grover Washington, Jr.

39. “Minnie the Moocher” – Cab Calloway

40. “Aerial Boundaries” – Michael Hedges

41. “Red Clay” – Freddie Hubbard

42. “Round Midnight” – Thelonious Monk

43. “Bright Size Life” – Pat Metheny

44. “Maiden Voyage” – Herbie Hancock

45. “Portrait of Tracy” – Jaco Pastorious

46. “Mood Indigo” – Duke Ellington

47. “Body & Soul” – Coleman Hawkins

48. “Moanin’” – Art Blakey

49. “Straight, No Chaser” – Thelonious Monk

50. “Right Off” – Miles Davis

Most Famous Jazz Songs of All Time

Artist Song

Thelonius Monk

"'Round Midnight"

Miles Davis

"All Blues"

Dave Brubeck

"Take Five"

Duke Ellington

"Take the 'A' Train"

Benny Goodman

"Sing, Sing, Sing"

51. “Jelly Roll Blues” – Jelly Roll Morton

52. “Stratus” – Billy Cobham

53. “(They call me) Dr. Professor Longhair” – Professor Longhair

54. “Sun Goddess” – Ramsey Lewis

55. “Miles Beyond” – Mahavishnu Orchestra

56. “Fables of Faubus” – Charles Mingus

57. “Room 335” – Larry Carlton

58. “Epistrophy” – Thelonious Monk

59. “The Girl From Ipanema” – Getz/Gilberto

60. “Lonely Woman” – Ornette Coleman

61. “The Perfect Man” – Sun Ra and his Arkestra

62. “Hello, Dolly” – Louis Armstrong

63. “Chasin’ the Bird” – Charlie Parker

64. “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy” – Return to Forever

65. “God Bless the Child” – Billie Holiday

66. “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” – Jeff Beck

67. “Tea for Two” – Art Tatum

68. “Volunteered Slavery” – Rahsaan Roland Kirk

69. “Pharoah’s Dance” – Miles Davis

70. “A Night in Tunisia” – Sonny Rollins

71. “Pursuance” – John Coltrane

72. “Satin Doll” – Duke Ellington

73. “Speak no Evil” – Wayne Shorter

74. “Chitlins Con Carne” – Kenny Burrell

75. “Potato Head Blues” – Louis Armstrong

Brilliant Jazz Albums

Artist Album

Dave Brubeck

"Time Out"

John Coltrane

"Blue Train"

Lee Morgan

"The Sidewinder"

Hank Mobley

"The Turnaround"

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

"Ella & Louis"

Art Blakey


Bill Evans

"Everybody Digs Bill Evans"

Duke Ellington

"Ellington Indigos"

Gregory Porter

"Be Good"

Sarah Vaughan

"Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown"

76. “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now” – Dirty Dozen Brass Band

77. “Cover Girl” – Larry Coryell

78. “Willow Weep for Me” – Wes Montgomery

79. “A Long Drink of the Blues” – Jackie McLean

80. “Three Views of a Secret” – Jaco Pastorious

81. “Places and Spaces” – Donald Byrd

82. “When You’re in Love” – Horace Silver

83. “Lazy River” – Pete Fountain

84. “Tones for Elvin Jones” – John McLaughlin

85. “Icarus” – Winter Consort

86. “Bemsha Swing” – Thelonious Monk

87. “Moon Tune” – Bob James/David Sanborn

88. “Eternal Child” – Chick Corea’s Elektric Band

89. “Out of the Night” – Brian Melvin Trio

90. “School Days” – Stanley Clarke

91. “Five Hundred Miles High” – Stan Getz

92. “Hog Callin’ Blues” – Charles Mingus

93. “My Funny Valentine” – Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker

94. “Race with Devil on Spanish Highway” – Al DiMeola

95. “Moritat” – Sonny Rollins

96. “Son of Mr. Green Genes” – Frank Zappa

97. “Big Chief” – Professor Longhair

98. “Anonymous Skulls” – Medeski, Martin & Wood

99. “The Hong Kong Incident” – Jing Chi

100. “Hamp’s Hump” – Galactic


Christopher Nowak on December 16, 2019:

How could you possibly leave out MISTY!!??

BTW, I am glad that you did NOT include C JAM BLUES.

Sorry Duke. You wrote a lot of good tunes but C JAM BLUES must be the simplest song (melody) in the history of music.

However, a few artists such as OSCAR PETERSON can actually make this song sound quite complicated.

Christopher Nowak on December 15, 2019:

It is interesting that you mention STRAIGHT LIFE by Freddie Hubbard.

Art Pepper wrote about an autobiography of himself by the same title.

This novel and GO BOY by Roger Caron are two of the saddest novels I have ever read!!

CWMann on March 22, 2018:

Where's St James Infirmary? Timeless great song!!!

Winski on March 04, 2018:

I love how people expect you to have the same taste in music as them. This is a great top 100 list with songs I do and don’t agree with but keep doing what you’re doing this has some high quality tunes that I definitely agree with!

Epic donut on February 08, 2018:

Nice list pretty dank

kaylA COLLINS on September 28, 2017:


Luis on July 18, 2017:

I wish I could see the 200 Greatest Jazz Songs of All Time cause there are many I don't see in the 100 list. Good job anyway. Thanks.

Jerome Nashem on June 16, 2017:

Didn't Chick Corea write and perform the most famous version of 500 Miles High with Flora Purim?

Floops on August 31, 2016:

No Dolphy? That's a shame.

swap on July 15, 2016:

Great list man .Kinda upset about Flamenco Sketches missing the top 10

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on February 25, 2016:

Fascinating list.

Ben on January 24, 2016:

Its surprising there is no Dollar brand, Moses Molelekwa,or even Musa Manzini is this list based on legendary base or just simple poor good to ear jazz music?

al carter-bey on January 15, 2016:

how could Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck could even come out of your head....and forget about 'lester left town" "Tanya" "cristor redentor" "happy ground" "no room for squares" "song for my father" or artist "king pleasure" "Carmen McRae" "Gene Ammons" "Horace Silver" "Betty Carter" and least U R learning.

Richard de Mey from Scottsdale, Arizona on May 01, 2015:

gotta love that jazz it will never die. a lot of other music genres evolved from jazz its true

Priya on February 22, 2015:

- I can't believe I'm just now thniking of checking out your website to see if there are pictures of us on here! They look awesome! Thanks so much for putting up with us and getting some great shots out of two such photogenic people

Gmn1 on December 20, 2014:

Great list with one glaring omission--

Bill Evans!!!

Would suggest his Peace Piece.

N.J. Flanigan on November 11, 2014:

"peaches en regalia", "there are other worlds(they have not told you of", "take the a train", "goodbye porkpie hat", "big john's special", "a child is born", king porter stomp", "black napkins", "the moontrane", "blues at midnight", "reactionary tango", "shiny stockings"

gsurvivor on July 23, 2013:

Glad to see a fellow Miles Davis fan and a jazz aficionado here! You've listed some definite all-time classics, loved the hub, I'd vote it up a x1000 if I could :)

tracy on May 16, 2013:

We have very similar taste. Love this list. By the way, you spelled Jaco's name is Pastorius...not Pastorious. (I was married to him so I'm sure.) tracy

Pattycakes on May 02, 2013:

Bravo for putting out this brilliant list which attempts the impossible. Clearly there have been some dissenting voices, but as a newcomer I thank you for opening my ears to some really great stuff.

AJ Long from Pennsylvania on March 17, 2013:

Love jazz too! Found your hub on the web searching for jazz titles!

Nice hub!

frankie cee on March 03, 2013:

check out dizzy gillespi wrote a nite in tunisia

Jack Kline on December 18, 2012:

From a roots and historical perspective two of Louis Armstrong recordings with his Hot Five band around 1926-7 are regarded as milestone jazz: Potato Head Blues and West End Blues

jonas (pinas) on October 19, 2012:

i love jazz just wondering why Basia Swing out sisters Sergio Mendez Angele Bofil David Benoit Noel Pointer Manhattan Transfer Earl Klugh are not included.

jamjam4x4 on September 24, 2012:

Do a top 1000 jazz songs and you'll still have missed quality tunes. All the above mentioned commentary starts to round out those omissions. Many near and dear to my heart. Here's my 2 bits. Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert, or Vince Guaraldi's Cast Your Fate To The Wind. Oh ya, and more Django & Stephane. Heck, how'bout Lou Reeds Walk On The Wild Side.Bad boy bass and sax, right? Thanks illuminatus, for a nice start on top 1000 jazz songs!

Pol on July 10, 2012:

Lots of great tunes but I'm wondering why you didn't include Freedom Now by Max Roach's 5tet. To me, it's the ultimate jazz performance.

Dave (London) on May 27, 2012:

perfect list. I'd have put 3 views of a secret higher!

but love your choices. Opened up more of the sort of music I love to me, thank you!

amir on May 15, 2012:

awesome!!! you made this 2 years ago and i feel cheated not finding your list before...thanks alot.

badmofo from The Universe on May 04, 2012:

Here's one of my top 10 favorite performances of all time and God bless him for letting it stay up there (first saw it at about 600 views).

badmofo from The Universe on May 04, 2012:

Aw man. I LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing!

Bernie on April 09, 2012:

I would make room somewhere for Pop's "West End Blues"

Lonis on April 07, 2012:

No Sing, Sing, Sing? You have a great list, but I don't see how Sing, Sing, Sing or In the Mood could be left off. I also really love Concerto for Cootie/Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

Saxby on April 03, 2012:

Moanin' is by Bobby Timmons, not Art Blakey. Not to nitpick; I just say it because the man could use some more appreciation. Thanks for the list! It turned me on to some new music.

jem on March 21, 2012:

Definitely a lack of Charlie 'bird' Parker and general bebop. Also Charles Mingus' 'moanin' should also be listed somewhere. But otherwise great list.

free wheelin on March 12, 2012:

The list is pretty good. It would be hard to pick. I would have added Jobim (he is the composer of Girl from Ipanema; by the way) and Eddie Harris; but it's your list....

Smooth Jazz Lover on March 06, 2012:

Please, can anybody tell me what is the real name of this song? This is my favourite song, I love her very much but I don't know the real name so I can not found that song on youtube... all I found is this small part of song here on this link :(

I tried to find this song on youtube with this name Love's theme - Love unlimited orchestra but when I hear it on youtube I realise that this name doesn't belong to my favourite song probably it' s mistake of that person who wrote this smooth jazz list :( please help me!!!!

Smooth Jazz Lover on March 06, 2012:

It's number 2 on the list!

Smooth Jazz Lover Girl on March 06, 2012:

Please, can anybody tell me what is the real name of this song? This is my favourite song, I love her very much but I don't know the real name so I can not found that song on youtube... all I found is this small part of song here on this link :(

I tried to find this song on youtube with this name Love's theme - Love unlimited orchestra but when I hear it on youtube I realise that this name doesn't belong to my favourite song probably it' s mistake of that person who wrote this smooth jazz list :( please help me!!!!

trish on March 05, 2012:

great list! but im kinda expecting for chet baker and ella fitzgerald to be in this list..but anyway, great choice though. :)

disgusted on March 01, 2012:

I have never commented on any webpage ever but I am so disgusted that I feel I must. I only have one thing to say. There never was nor will there ever be anyone even close to the father of Jazz. You have two of his songs, not even his best work, listed but listed in the bottom half. Your funny. I guess Michael Jordan is not in the top 50 of the best basketball players either. Your lost. Pops is the best of all time.

Johnny Janis on January 28, 2012:

I'm A singer & Jazz guitarist. How do I get my albums on Pandora?

John K on December 10, 2011:

Nice list. Wouldn't be my top 100, of course. Mine would definitely have some Bud Powell, Clifford Brown, and BIll Evans in there. Also, more tunes by Monk--my fave jazz artist after Miles--Charlie Parker, Art Blakey, and Horace Silver.

Lynetta on November 25, 2011:

I just stumbled across this list while looking for something else - fantastic! Thanks for reminding me of some of the old greats and introducing me to some new vibes!

Etienne Rober' on November 19, 2011:

What I like best is you make me think with a list like this. Great diversity! From the other comments others are thinking hard too. thanks

Francis Colclough on November 08, 2011:

Thanks for pointing me at some great stuff.

Holynegative0 on October 24, 2011:

Great list, save one grave mistake:

There's no Glenn Miller on this list! Surely "In the Mood," or "Moonlight Serenade," or something should make it into the top one hundred?

Other than that it has some of my personal favorites, so it's a pretty good list.

Nick on October 16, 2011:

Greta list, but where is West End Blues?

Jazzus Christ on October 09, 2011:

Sammy Davis Jr.....? But sick list.

Jazz Lover on August 31, 2011:

Land Of Make Believe-Chuck Mangione

Carmen on August 03, 2011:

Wow. Whenever I see these lists of "the best jazz songs" they always end up being rather cheesy. There is real breadth in this list and some quite obscure combinations too. Great inspiration.

Jeff on July 17, 2011:

"A Night in Tunisia" is by Dizzie Gillespie, not Sonny Rollins....still a great tune, though!

Rockindj on July 02, 2011:

Love the list. I would have Butterfly by Herbie Hancock on mine

Steven McCormick on June 14, 2011:

I would have included a few more of Duke Ellington's compositions . . . maybe even some of Hank Mobley.

Cam on June 09, 2011:

I started listening to jazz in 1962 when I was 16. KBCA in LA. While I like many forms of music, jazz is the one. Great list. But everybody is a critic. If you made it 200 you still would disappoint some people. Three of my favorites: All Blues - Miles Davis, Equinox - John Coltrane, Song For My Father - Horace Silver.

John Ledingham on May 27, 2011:

Without Oscar Peterson & Clark Tery and "Brotherhood of Man"? How can that be? And, really, do we HAVE to have "Hello frinkin' Dolly"on the list ? Where is anything by Bessie Smith? "Autumn in New York." Chet Baker's "Time After Time".Nice list, though,overall, and that's why there are 31 flavors of ice cream.

jtyler on May 16, 2011:

Nice list. I agree with a lot of what you're saying (especially #1, which I was actually listening to when I started reading this).

Joanna on May 01, 2011:

Wonderful list. I've picked out a handful to learn. TQ.

MissV on April 21, 2011:

Veryyyy nice list! Although I would've included "In a sentimental mood" by Ellington/Trane - one of my favourites!

TreeAndLeaf from Kennerdell, Pennsylvania on April 18, 2011:

So glad you included Django and Jaco. good taste. fyi, your bird land video says "embedding disabled by request"

schmatto on April 17, 2011:

Its Salt Deanuts! Well that's what my record cover says!

Mark on March 15, 2011:

No Vince Guaraldi Trio in the top 100?

Fay Paxton on March 01, 2011:

An incredible list! I couldn't find anything I would eliminate, but I can think of a few singers I would have added.

Voted up and awesome

A Classicist, Perhaps on February 02, 2011:

While wondering whether Prof. Longhair is "jazz," I then found Jeff Beck and Frank Zappa on the list...and before anything by Sonny Rollins(?!) Oh well. (And was Ellington anywhere???) This cat like fusion and Miles and fusion and is trying to pay lip service to "the history of jazz." It's like a list of baseball greats without any Yankees.

Steve the Breeze on January 26, 2011:

Come on now, How do you miss the Signature songs of jazz A Train and Satin Doll, but even more astounding is how you've missed Dizzy, A Night in Tunisa. As a jazz musciain I have been asked to play those songs more than anything else. Your list is good but it is not accurate.

Arunav on January 26, 2011:

i am a big classic/country rock music fan and have been recently started listening to jazz music. Take five is an awesome song. Keep up the great work

Pedro Martins on January 25, 2011:

Great list man, finaly i found a decent jazz list... You really have a nice taste. Thanx for sharing it!

Chip from Cold Mountain on January 14, 2011:

I scrolled through it rather quickly, did I miss "Sidewinder"? You've got a great list!

kaltopsyd from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on January 05, 2011:

I'm so glad I ran into this Hub! It really came in handy. Thank you!

easyfreerecipes from Atlanta, GA on January 03, 2011:

nice list, we definitely have some of the same taste. what a time consuming task to rate and describe your top 100. good job

Crephiegotcha on December 31, 2010:

Where's django & stephane?? Few partnered better than those 2


plectroman on December 28, 2010:

No Armstrong in the top 50, and then "Hello Dolly'? Fail.

m.tariq8yor a on December 12, 2010:

These are a few of my favorite things. Thank you for the added video clips. Love it!

Ray on December 10, 2010:

Great Stuff here...

I am downloading all of the songs on your list to my new iPhone...No disappointments yet on the ones I have already had a chance to listen to so far.

Well Done

:)s on December 03, 2010:

respect for them:)

can any body tell me where can i find some music sheets with jazz muzic especialy for violin...thanks...:)

aaron on November 25, 2010:

no buddy rich???

blackramzes on November 22, 2010:

i missing chick corea la fiesta and no mystery

Mazwi on October 25, 2010:

i'v got to say;i love the list,regardless of what i'l edit for mine but from the fact that it's jazz i like it!!

kobby on October 16, 2010:

gr8 list m8! Instructs on the best way to put together ma collection. Ma personal favorites include 'little black samba' by grover washington jnr. Take five is another blissful piece. Great stuff!

Mau on September 23, 2010:

Great Post but i Wonder. Was happened to "Aja" Stely Dan is amazing song...........

Harri506 on September 22, 2010:

Great list. I play trumpet myself so I'm a fan of Maynard Ferguson's "Chameleon"

Lazz on September 14, 2010:

Yeah - nice list of TUNES...

But I was drawn here in my search for jazz SONGS - you know, that form wherein music and words are combined.

Not to detract from the value and importance of your choices and my pleasure that there are others here and everywhere who also dig jazz, but let's stick to English and obviate my petty disappointment.

Rob on August 21, 2010:

Nice list. I would put Take Five before My Favorite Things.

That song did more for jazz than almost anything EVER!

And with all due respect ... how could you leave out Horace Silver: Song For My Father? What a timeless classic and still remains fresh today.

Omari on August 12, 2010:

Horace. Silver.

Poodstaaa x on August 11, 2010:


Im shcocked I have especially because I love and know just about all of those songs especially My favourite things by John Coltrane :)

Im surprised though that theres no Glenn Miller :o

Honestly I love Glenn Miller but that's my opinion. Jazz is much better then the pop stuff they play over and over again on the radio this is why I have an ipod

IaintdrunkImjustdrinkin on July 31, 2010:

Nuce list,very diverse but that's to be expected if you truly music. Some of my favorites are "Tanya" by Dexter Gordon, "Spiritual" Coltrane, "Spring can really Hang You Up The Most" David "Fathead" Newman, "Decision" Sonny Rollins and "Compared To What" Les McCann. I could go on.

Miguel on July 21, 2010:

I'm just starting to take an interest in jazz and this list is proving to be extremely useful. But the list is only half of the benefit, your comments to "explain" the importance/relevance of the first 20 is the other half that helps a beginner appreciate/know "what to look for". Thank you very much! (May I suggest you add some comments to #21-50 on your list?)

Kevin on July 14, 2010:

Love the list but where's David Axelrod's Holy Thursday!!!!!!!!

ericsomething on June 20, 2010:

Good list, Illuminatus. This also gives a handle on how you define jazz -- I mean there's some cats around who swear Kenny G plays jazz, can you believe that?

My list would be different, but like you, mine would also be heavy on Miles and Trane. The world will eat itself before there is anyone better. My own list would probably have some of the Duke, Satchmo, Sidney Bechet, Clifford Brown, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, guys like that. But jazz is a learning process; the more exposure a listener gets the more he wants to hear more.

Glad to see you had Mingus' Hog Callin' Blues in the list; that song featured probably the best Rahsaan Roland Kirk solo ever.

Firing up the mp3 player ...

me on May 19, 2010:

where are all the women? Can't believe you left out Ella...are you saying that women's jazz isn't good enough to be in the top hundred, or just that you havnt listened to any

Blessed on May 17, 2010:

In awe . Im 15yearss old and sleep away by Bob Acris has inspired me. Thanks for the list .

Vench on May 10, 2010:

Thanks for the list sir. i'm 18 yrs old and i just love jazz. but my knowledge on the artists of this wonderful genre is limited. so thank you for the list. i appreciate it. =)

Mike on April 25, 2010:

Started listening to some of these songs, instantly fell in love with My Favorite Things with John Coltrane and i'm looking to be amazed again. Thanks.

Saxman on April 05, 2010:

Late to the party as always. I would like to nitpick with you a bit and say that this isn't a list of jazz songs per se, so much as a list of jazz recordings. A list of jazz songs would include songs that many players have played. For example, from the top 10, Acknowledgement and Psalm would be out of the running, much as they are amazing and wonderful and transcendent recordings.

pel on February 23, 2010:

Great list! A few more suggestions: Benny Golson's Whisper Not and his Are You Real, played by Art Blakey.


ed on January 24, 2010:

love the list - love jazz - love people who love jazz


paul desmond wrote take 5 - not dave


cannonball did not write mercy mercy mercy - guess who did from weather report

fdoleac from Hollis, New Hampshire on January 11, 2010:

Thanks for the list. This will be a big help in improving our music library.

Dmitriy bestlife from Moscow on January 08, 2010:

I have a couple of Billie Holiday albums. No matter what a discussion is about I like the songs. And what a warm sound! it's only a guess of mine, that they were recorded on bulb tape recorders. Just some music appeals to some people. Of couse,everybody compares the list with his own, so did I. I found some songs to discover, thanks it was interesting!

Robert J. Carmack from Jurupa Valley California on December 25, 2009:

I was going to light into you at first, but I read the disclaimer by you in the beginning.this is Your top 100 jazz songs. I think its odd you hardly any singers,or,have very limited knowledge of jazz vocalists,ie;Mr.B(rhythm of the riff),Johnny Hartman, Eddie Jefferson- Jennine, King Pleasure,Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald,only one Cannonball Adderley??( Nat wrote several jazz classics, Work Song,Jive Samba, where are Strayhorn tunes, Lush life, Cheslea Bridge,a Flower is a Lovesome Thing,etc. Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man,Dolphin Dance. Bird's Now's the time, heyyy, what about Moody's mood for love. my point being , mine would be different. I'm just staring a new Hub covering the legacy of jazz and the legends who made & make it happen. I like your hub though . Jazz needs all it can get.

Danny Decay from Winter Park, Florida on December 10, 2009:

GOOD BYE PORK PIE HAT!!!! Hail to the Ming, what a madman, that cat could pump!

Sam on December 03, 2009:

This list is great thanks for making it, a really good idea would be to make this a playlist on spotify