Jazz in the key of Rolling Stone

I recently went to the spiffy new library out here in Spanish Springs with the aim of grabbing something semi-intellectual and cranially meaty. I walked out with the fourth edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide.

In order to write off my 75-cent overdue fine, I’ve got to use the Guide in a column. So here’s the deal: I think all the five-star jazz albums (and it wasn’t a comprehensive jazz list by any stretch; this thing is mostly rock-oriented) will fit into my space. Left

out are all the “best of” collections, a lot of which are five-stars. Clip this column and stash it in your wallet/handbag/manbag in between the emergency antidepressants and the morning-after pill, so you’ll have it next time you’re in the mood to financially support a commonly overlooked genre.


Tony Bennett—Jazz, Perfectly Frank

James Carter—The Real Quietstorm, Conversin’ with the Elders, Chasin’ the Gypsy

Ornette Coleman—The Shape of Jazz to Come

John Coltrane—Live at the Village Vanguard, A Love Supreme

Miles Davis—Cookin’, Relaxin’ with Miles, Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Round About Midnight, Porgy and Bess, Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain, Nefertiti, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Pangaea, Live at Montreux

Herbie Hancock—Sextant, 1 + 1

Billie Holiday—The Quintessential Billie Holiday, Volumes 1-9

Antonio Carlos Jobim—Wave, Elis & Tom

Charles Mingus—Mingus Ah Um

Milton Nascimiento—Milton

Eddie Palmieri—Azucar pa Ti, The Sun of Latin Music, Unfinished Masterpiece

Tito Puente—Puente in Percussion, Dance Mania, Tambo, 50 Years of Swing

Sonny Rollins—Tenor Madness, A Night at the Village Vanguard

Frank Sinatra—Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim

Cal Tjader—Soul Sauce, Primo

This does seem like a very abbreviated list. Only one Sinatra?

Here are a few of the five stars in Blues, Soul and R & B:

Bobby Blue Bland—Two Steps from the Blues

Marvin Gaye—What’s Going On

Al Green—Call Me

John Lee Hooker—Plays & Sings the Blues

Lightnin’ Hopkins—Lightnin’ Hopkins, Last Night Blues

B.B. King—Live at the Regal

Charley Patton—all five of his collected works rate five stars

Prince—Dirty Mind, Purple Rain, Sign O’ the Times

Professor Longhair—Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Muddy Waters—At Newport

Stevie Wonder—Talking Book, Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life

Only one album apiece from Muddy and B.B.? Hey, those snotty punks at Rolling Stone ain’t pushovers!