Samara Joy: Linger Awhile (Verve)
The second studio album from the double Grammy award-winning singer mixes nostalgic swing standards with deep cuts from the Great American Songbook. The 24-year old singer from New York is probably one of the most acknowledged contemporary jazz artists, garnering critical acclaim and fan love simultaneously.
For lovers of: classic soul music, gospel divas, #JazzTok
Read on: Samara Joy – Joyful and Triumphant
The Robert Glasper Experiment: Black Radio (Blue Note)
Jazz pianist Robert Glasper’s breakout album from 2012, gathering a wide array of guest artists, from Erykah Badu to Meshell Ndegeocello, and covering songs by David Bowie and Nirvana. Representing a generation shaped by hip-hop and sampling culture, Glasper is a true trailblazer, mixing jazz with influences from rap and soul music.
For lovers of: 1990s hip-hop, street art exhibitions, hoodies & beanies
Donald Byrd: Places and Spaces (Blue Note)
One of Pharrell Williams’ favourite albums of all time – in 2012, he even published a photo book with the title “Places And Spaces I’ve Been”, referencing this mid-1970s soul jazz classic produced by the legendary Mizell Brothers. It’s one of those albums that you play to people who say they’re not into jazz at all, but then see them nodding their head and tapping their feet to those infectious grooves.
For lovers of: dance parties, 1970s R&B and funk, Blaxploitation movies
Pat Metheny: 80/81 (ECM)
The young virtuoso guitarist had already released some strong albums in the second half of the 1970s, but this double album grew his credibility in traditional jazz circles massively. Going against the still dominating electric trend, Metheny enlisted Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden, who had both played with his hero Ornette Coleman, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, to create a romantic folk-jazz fusion set for ECM.
For lovers of: folk music, guitar heros, big hair
Alice Coltrane: Journey Into Satchidananda (Impulse!)
Alice Coltrane’s music has been heavily rediscovered over the past few years, and this is the perfect album to get into her catalogue. Originally released in 1971, this spiritual jazz classic prominently features Coltrane’s late husband’s pupil, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. It’s a meditative fusion of post-bop and modal jazz with Indian classical music and Eastern instrumentation.
For lovers of: healing harp sounds, Nag Champa incense sticks, yoga & meditation
Read on: The Art of… Jazz Harp
Nina Simone: Great Women of Song (Verve)
Nina is arguably the greatest jazz singer the world has ever seen, and this is a sure-shot compilation of some of her best works. Her music can be life-changing, and she has influenced everyone from Elton John to Madonna, Adele to David Bowie, Lauryn Hill to Lana Del Rey. If you’re not familiar with her catalogue at all, just start right here.
For lovers of: good music
Read on: The Soul of Miss Simone
Need more ideas?
Try these hand picked collections from the Everything Jazz team.
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Get ready to sleigh!
Whether you’re wishing for the bumper box of Verve’s classic Christmas gems, Norah Jones’ Christmas Dream, or Samara Joy and Gregory Porter duetting like a pair of turtle doves, our holiday collection is a banquet of seasonal delights.
Header photo: Donald Byrd. Francis Wolff/Courtesy of Blue Note Records.