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 1, 1964 | Blue Note Records

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Pianist and composer Andrew Hill is perhaps known more for this date than any other in his catalog -- and with good reason. Hill's complex compositions straddled many lines in the early to mid-1960s and crossed over many. Point of Departure, with its all-star lineup (even then), took jazz and wrote a new book on it, excluding nothing. With Eric Dolphy and Joe Henderson on saxophones (Dolphy also played clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute), Richard Davis on bass, Tony Williams on drums, and Kenny Dorham on trumpet, this was a cast created for a jazz fire dance. From the opening moments of "Refuge," with its complex minor mode intro that moves headlong via Hill's large, open chords that flat sevenths, ninths, and even 11ths in their striding to move through the mode, into a wellspring of angular hard bop and minor-key blues. Hill's solo is first and it cooks along in the upper middle register, almost all right hand ministrations, creating with his left a virtual counterpoint for Davis and a skittering wash of notes for Williams. The horn solos in are all from the hard bop book, but Dolphy cuts his close to the bone with an edgy tone. "New Monastery," which some mistake for an avant-garde tune, is actually a rewrite of bop minimalism extended by a diminished minor mode and an intervallic sequence that, while clipped, moves very quickly. Dorham solos to connect the dots of the knotty frontline melody and, in his wake, leaves the space open for Dolphy, who blows edgy, blue, and true into the center, as Hill jumps to create a maelstrom by vamping with augmented and suspended chords. Hill chills it out with gorgeous legato phrasing and a left-hand ostinato that cuts through the murk in the harmony. When Henderson takes his break, he just glides into the chromatically elegant space created by Hill, and it's suddenly a new tune. This disc is full of moments like this. In Hill's compositional world, everything is up for grabs. It just has to be taken a piece at a time, and not by leaving your fingerprints all over everything. In "Dedication," where he takes the piano solo further out melodically than on the rest of the album combined, he does so gradually. You cannot remember his starting point, only that there has been a transformation. This is a stellar date, essential for any representative jazz collection, and a record that, in the 21st century, still points the way to the future for jazz. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Ten

Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Blue Note Records

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Jason Moran's 2010 effort Ten features more of the jazz pianist's smart and forward-thinking jazz. Backed by bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, Moran reveals himself once again to be a nimble improviser with an ear toward atmospheric and often fractured hypnotic post-bop jazz on tracks like the lilting "Blue Blocks" (commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and "RFK in the Land of Apartheid," along with ruminative numbers buoyed by the band's laid-back blues inflections and ever-so-subtle funk grooves. Other tracks, such as "Feedback Pt. 2" and "Old Babies," reveal Moran's more experimental edge, mixing sound effects and his son's voices with more straight-ahead jazz stylings that bring to mind both Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson. As always with Moran, there is a heavy classical influence, and compositions like his own "Pas de Deux -- Lines Ballet" and his rambunctious take on Leonard Bernstein's "Big Stuff" do evince, much like the rest of Ten, both a romantic and modernist point of view. ~ Matt Collar
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

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One of the New Thing's extremely few trombonists and a greatly underappreciated composer of tremendous evocative power, Grachan Moncur III got his first major exposure on Jackie McLean's groundbreaking 1963 masterpiece, One Step Beyond. Toward the end of the year, most of the same musicians reconvened for Moncur's debut as a leader, Evolution; McLean, vibist Bobby Hutcherson, and drummer Tony Williams are all back, with Bob Cranshaw on bass and an extra voice in trumpeter Lee Morgan, moonlighting from his usual groovy hard bop style. While Moncur takes a little more solo space here, the main emphasis is on his talent as a composer. The four originals are all extended, multi-sectioned works (the shortest is around eight minutes), all quite ambitious, and all terrifically moody; much of the album sounds sinister and foreboding, and even the brighter material has a twisted, surreal fun-house undercurrent. Part of that is due to the accuracy with which the musicians interpret Moncur's vision. Hutcherson provides his trademark floating chordal accompaniment, which is crucial to the overall texture; what's more, the album features some of McLean's weirdest playing ever, and some of Morgan's most impressively advanced, as he makes the most of a situation he longed to be in more often. Of the pieces, "Monk in Wonderland" is the most memorable; its whimsical, angular theme is offset by Hutcherson's mysterious vibes, which create a trippy effect in keeping with the title. "Air Raid" is alternately ominous and terrifyingly frantic, and the funereal title track keeps time only in the pulse of the horns and the backing, which is based entirely on whole notes. With such an inventive debut, it's a shame Moncur didn't record more as a leader, which makes Evolution an even more important item for fans of Blue Note's avant-garde to track down. ~ Steve Huey
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz songwriter and pianist Patricia Barber's 2006 album Mythologies, a song cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphosis, is a sprawling work of poetic and musical adventure. Upon its release, it garnered universal acclaim from critics and responsive concert audiences across the United States and Europe. After this rigorous undertaking, Barber could have been forgiven for taking a breather. And on its surface, that seems to be what the Cole Porter Mix is. But in Barber's case, this is far from true. While she claims in her bio that she's been singing his songs for years, and that he's her favorite songwriter, she does anything but a "standard" read on his tunes, though she never undermines their integrity. The album is called a "mix" because Barber has woven three of her own tunes -- written after the manner of Porter's -- into the fabric of the album. Given her austere yet highly original readings of his songs, they fit in seamlessly. She is accompanied here by her longtime backing group of Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), and Eric Montzka (drums), with drummer Nate Smith alternating on three tunes, and guest saxophonist Chris Potter appearing on five. Commencing with the opening number "Easy to Love," with its skeletal bossa nova rhythm (Barber doesn't play in the body of the tune and only contributes a wonderfully economical piano solo), and the relative austerity of her voice, it's obvious this isn't an ordinary standards set. She is faithful to the intent of these songs both lyrically and musically, but she shifts their arrangements in such a way that they are more suited to her deliberately restrained singing voice, and her own vocation as a songwriter. It's the songwriter she is paying tribute to here -- not the tradition. "I Concentrate on You" also carries within it the kernel of bossa, but this time, with her piano fills and artfully incisive manner of accenting, to quote Porter, "how strange the change from major to minor" without invoking the blues (the standard for doing so). Barber's pianism is elegantly idiosyncratic, even enigmatic. Her "cool" singing voice peels away the weight these songs have borne over the years, and instead returns to them their subtlety and gentle sense of humorous irony. There are some wild moments here -- such as the Latin polyrhythms at the heart of "In the Still of the Night," that set up a space for some serious blowing tenor by Potter -- but the spirit of "song" is never compromised. Barber's originals are truly canny, empathic evidence of her true understanding of Porter. "Snow," with its minor-key piano intro opens with: "Do you think of me like snow/cool, slippery and white? Do you think of me like jazz/as hip, as black as night?" The mysterious, dull ache of love and lust in "New Year's Eve Song" evokes the forlorn aspect of Porter but the strange, covert voyeurism of poet Robert Lowell's "Eep Hour": "Will he/peek in the mirror while she/knowing he's watching her tease/stripping the gown with ease/bare as the New Year, she/so in love with her is he..." All the while, the sense of a taut harmonic melody is inseparable from the lyrics, unveiling the secret intent in the song for both listener and singer. The Cole Porter Mix is a very modern form of imitation, as evidenced not only by interpretation but in her evocative compositions too; they mark the greatest form of flattery. But it is also an ingenious manner of reconsidering Porter -- and Barber -- with fresh ears. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography