Now for those who dig jazz, you know that the magic of improvisation is best found in a live set, where spontaneity fuels the groove. Here are a few choice live recordings of some of our favorite jazz artists:
1. Hugh Masekela, Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga - a compilation of tracks recorded at the Village Gate, NYC, 1965; Masekela weaves stories from his native South Africa among stellar covers (’Cantelope Island’) and Afro-centric originals.
2. Jimmy Smith, Live At Club Baby Grand Vol. 1 -2 - The master of the Hammond B3 shows his stuff from these intimate dates recorded in 1956. A small trio with a big sound, Smith’s group delivers the goods.
3. Miles Davis, Live at the Plugged Nickel, Chicago, 1965 - this series of shows recorded in late December, 1965, features the one of the most exciting quintets ever assembled, with Wayne Shorter on sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. Fierce yet cool at the same time, this 8-disc set is worth the investment.
4. Kenny Burrell, On View at the Five Spot, 1959 - great live date from one of the leading soul jazz guitarists of the genre. Though sticking more to his hard bop guns, Burrell still conjures enough blues to keep it grounded. Featuring Tina Brooks on sax, genius pianist Bobby Timmons, and the great Art Blakey on drums, this date has all of the planets aligned for a remarkable performance.
5. Sonny Rollins, A Night at the Village Vanguard, 1957 - one of the greatest jazz improvisers of all time, Rollins heads this trio with Wilbur Ware on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Leaving more than enough space for himself, Rollins levels his horn at the crowd and never lets up, constantly reinventing new approaches to his music.