Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Jazz - Released January 29, 1958 | Fontana

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released March 24, 1993 | Columbia - Legacy

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Head Hunters was a pivotal point in Herbie Hancock's career, bringing him into the vanguard of jazz fusion. Hancock had pushed avant-garde boundaries on his own albums and with Miles Davis, but he had never devoted himself to the groove as he did on Head Hunters. Drawing heavily from Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, and James Brown, Hancock developed deeply funky, even gritty, rhythms over which he soloed on electric synthesizers, bringing the instrument to the forefront in jazz. It had all of the sensibilities of jazz, particularly in the way it wound off into long improvisations, but its rhythms were firmly planted in funk, soul, and R&B, giving it a mass appeal that made it the biggest-selling jazz album of all time (a record which was later broken). Jazz purists, of course, decried the experiments at the time, but Head Hunters still sounds fresh and vital decades after its initial release, and its genre-bending proved vastly influential on not only jazz, but funk, soul, and hip-hop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released October 2, 1984 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released March 1, 1976 | ECM

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Jazz - Released November 4, 1985 | ECM

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Jazz - Released January 20, 1986 | ECM

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Bassist Gary Peacock contributed all six originals to this set which also features pianist Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette. These musicians (who are equals) have played together many times through the years and their support of each other and close communication during these advanced improvisations is quite impressive. It's a good example of Peacock's music. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released June 26, 1986 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

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This contains some of Rypdal's jazziest music -- "Per Ulv" even verges on bebop, despite its chattering rhythm box -- alongside the more characteristic free-fall rhapsodies. ~ Michael P. Dawson
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Jazz - Released February 1, 1981 | ECM

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Capitol Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Jazz - Released September 1, 1987 | RCA Bluebird

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | RCA Bluebird

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Carmen McRae, a good friend of Thelonious Monk, sang 13 of his songs (two of which are also heard in different live versions) on this memorable project. Half of the lyrics are by Jon Hendricks, while the remainder were written by Abbey Lincoln ("Blue Monk"), Bernie Hanighen, Sally Swisher, or Mike Ferro. On all but the two concert performances, McRae is assisted by tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, pianist Eric Gunnison, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Al Foster; Mraz's solos are particularly impressive, although everyone is in sensitive form. The live recordings give listeners two more chances to acknowledge the uniqueness of tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse's tone. As for McRae, her phrasing has rarely sounded better than on this classic set, and it is a particular pleasure to hear her interpret the intelligent lyrics and unusual melodies. "Dear Ruby" ("Ruby, My Dear") and "Listen to Monk" ("Rhythm-A-Ning") are among the high points of the essential and very delightful CD. An inspired idea and one of the best recordings of Carmen McRae's career. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Pacific Jazz

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released January 11, 1988 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 1, 1974 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

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Jazz - Released November 1, 1988 | Columbia

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Michel Camilo was one of the most stimulating jazz pianists to emerge in the mid- to late '80s. His powerful two-handed attack (full of impressive technical skills), his knowledge of both jazz and Afro-Cuban music, and his willingness to constantly take chances make each of his solos into an adventure. This Portrait set, his first date as a leader to be made available domestically, features Camilo in a pair of trios with either Marc Johnson or Lincoln Goines on bass and Dave Weckl or Joel Rosenblatt on drums; Mongo Santamaria makes some guest appearances on congas. On the spirited outing, Michel Camilo sticks to originals, with the exception of "Blue Bossa." ~ Scott Yanow
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Traditional Jazz & New Orleans - Released January 1, 1990 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

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Jazz - Released November 5, 1990 | ECM

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Jazz - Released September 15, 1991 | Columbia - Legacy

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While greatest-hits albums from jazz artists are sometimes dubious propositions, Dave Brubeck is the rare exception to the rule. Brubeck concentrated on the song as much as the performance, which is one of the reasons why he appealed to such a wide audience and it's also the reason why Greatest Hits is such an entertaining and effective sampler. Featuring such familiar items as "Take Five," "In Your Own Sweet Way," "The Duke," "Trolley Song," "Unsquare Dance," and "Blue Rondo à la Turk," the collection provides a fine introduction to Brubeck's collegiate jazz for the uninitiated. Time Out remains the best place to start a Brubeck appreciation, but this is an excellent single-disc sampler. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Verve

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In 1951, Bud Powell was still at the height of his considerable powers. Included here are two sessions from that year: a trio with Ray Brown and Buddy Rich (three takes of "Tea for Two" and a super-fast "Hallelujah") and eight solo piano tunes from a different date. On "Tea for Two," Rich's drumming brings out the charming show-off in Powell, and on "Hallelujah," Powell plays with a hysterical clarity. "Oblivion" and "Hallucinations" are the most masterful of the eight solo cuts. Here Powell swings effortlessly and seems to be speaking his own, true language. The elegance of another era pervades the Gershwin-esque "Parisian Thoroughfare" and "Dusk in Sandi." And one can imagine a young Bill Evans listening to "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and taking note of the rich, logical voicings coupled with a wonderful singing tone.