12 Jazz Piano Albums

| Filed under: Music

This is the second post in a series on jazz albums. You can check out the previous post previous post for saxophone albums, including some thoughts on shopping for vinyl.

I've included both traditional and electronic albums on this list, with a range of 50 years between the oldest and most recent album. And since these posts are more of an entry-level introduction, I like to include a quick overview of the styles mentioned:

Swing Simple, clear melodies with a strong, danceable beat
Big Band Large ensembles with an emphasis on arrangement
Bebop/Bop Fast and complex with lots of improvisation
Hard Bop An extension of bebop with a rhythm and blues influence
West Coast/Cool Jazz A calmer, more formal response to bebop and hardbop
Post-bop Mixes elements of bop and hard bop with free jazz
Fusion Extensive use of electronic instruments and technology

As always, hit me up and let me know about your favorites or any that I might have missed.

  • Piano Starts Here

    Art Tatum

    Years Recorded: 1933 & 1949

    Label: Columbia

    Style: Swing

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Handful of Keys

    Fats Waller & His Rhythm

    Year Recorded: 1938

    Label: RCA Victor

    Style: Swing

    Collaborators: Herman Autrey, Gene Sedric, Al Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • The Amazing Bud Powell

    Bud Powell

    Year Released: 1952

    Label: Blue Note

    Style: Bebop

    Collaborators: Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter, Roy Haynes, Curly Russell, Max Roach

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Ellington at Newport

    Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

    Year Released: 1956

    Label: Columbia

    Style: Big Band

    Collaborators: Cat Anderson, Quentin Jackson, Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Hamilton, Jimmy Woode, Sam Woodyard

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Brilliant Corners

    Thelonious Monk

    Year Released: 1957

    Label: Riverside

    Style: Hard Bop

    Collaborators: Ernie Henry, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Paul Chambers

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • The Atomic Mr. Basie

    Count Basie

    Year Released: 1958

    Label: Roulette

    Style: Big Band

    Collaborators: Thad Jones, Al Grey, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Eddie Jones, Freddie Green, Sonny Payne, Joe Williams

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Time Out

    Dave Brubeck Quartet

    Year Released: 1959

    Label: Columbia

    Style: West Coast

    Collaborators: Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, Joe Morello

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Sunday at the Village Vanguard

    Bill Evans Trio

    Year Released: 1961

    Label: Riverside

    Style: Post-bop

    Collaborators: Scott LaFaro, Paul Motian

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs
    Buy vinyl on Amazon

  • Night Train

    Oscar Peterson Trio

    Year Released: 1963

    Label: Verve

    Style: Swing

    Collaborators: Ray Brown, Ed Thigpen

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • The Real McCoy

    McCoy Tyner

    Year Released: 1967

    Label: Blue Note

    Style: Post-bop

    Collaborators: Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Return to Forever

    Chick Corea

    Year Released: 1972

    Label: ECM

    Style: Fusion

    Collaborators: Stanley Clarke, Joe Farrell, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs

  • Head Hunters

    Herbie Hancock

    Year Released: 1973

    Label: Columbia

    Style: Fusion

    Collaborators: Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, Bill Summers

    Listen on Spotify
    Buy vinyl on Discogs