These albums show how truly great trumpeters transform durable pop standards. The first six are undisputed giants; the others are too often overlooked. Each album is a classic, an A or A+.
Louis Armstrong Master of Jazz, Vol. 1 (Storyville/Rounder)
This little-known ’62 concert includes Armstrong’s characteristically radiant transformations of standards from Tin Pan Alley and New Orleans
Bix Beiderbecke Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer, Vol. 1 (JSP/Rounder)
Beiderbecke had a gorgeous, pure sound; the first to record a jazz ballad, back in 1927.
Roy Eldridge, with the Gene Krupa Orchestra (Columbia)
Fiery, explosive solos on songs like ”Rockin’ Chair” and ”Skylark.”
Dizzy Gillespie (and Sonny Stitt) Sonny Side Up (Verve)
The bebop master dishes out intricately witty variations on standards and the blues.
Miles Davis Someday My Prince Will Come (Mobile Fidelity)
No one could dissect a ballad with more originality and feeling.
Clifford Brown (and Max Roach) Daahoud (Mobile Fidelity)
Brownie had it all: rhythm, melody, a big, brassy, beautiful sound.
Kenny Dorham 2 Horns/2 Rhythm (OJC/Riverside)
Inspired ’57 session by an inventive, impetuous bebop stylist.
Bobby Hackett Live at the Roosevelt Grill (Chiaroscuro)
His golden tone was often co-opted for mood music, but he remained an incisive improviser.
Thad Jones The Fabulous Thad Jones (OJC/Debut)
The melodic surprises in his improvisations were overshadowed by his composing and band-leading, but not on this reissue.
Clark Terry Memories Of Duke (OJC/Pablo)
The most ebullient of stylists explores the songbook of his former employer, Duke Ellington.