Always inventive, always funky. Maestro, no question. Respect from England. Mal Waldron should just be in the top 5. And I am surprised that Brad Mehldau was not mentioned …. One of the main proponents of the Herbie Hancock school of jazz who played with everyone, including the Marsalisis and Kenny Garrett is a loser!
And rock no less! Go clean your ears and learn some lineage!! I knew Kenny very well when we were students at MSM…Most important he was a wonderful soul who made you feel important…. Whenever I scroll through these lists I am pleased to find my CD collection has so many of the folks listed!!
The great Jessica Williams. Mine as well, John. No Eddie Higgins? No Eliane Elias? I have listened to most on the list and they are all good….
Everybody goes ape over Art Tatum. But he was all arpeggio and flash. Teddy Wilson and fats should be a lot higher on that list. Apart from that: Nobody misses Cedar Walton? Oscar Peterson 5?? Teddy Wilson 21 WTF? What about Milt Buckner?
Ahmad told me this personally many times. Nat King Cole, was probably better known for his vocals, than being a piano player. His piano playing, to me was rather too simplistic and mundane when compared with the likes of Red Garland and Oscar Peterson. To put Erroll Garner at 17 is ludicrous-if you listen extensively he is really unparallelled musically-also had a great technique and he was certainly the greatest composer among all the jazz giants.
I happened to meet Erroll on tour in and he was the most self effacing lovely man you could meet. Junior Mance told me in that everyone was blown away by Erroll in the early days in NY and they all wanted to play like him, Erroll is justifiably living a second life on the net and part of the problem for fans now is that Erroll died long ago and may have got overlooked somewhat. So he has to be right up there and is my favourite primarily because of his unique musicianship and his unmatched intros-beat that!
And note Erroll looked and sounded like he was having the time of his life-tragically died too young from lung cacer at 55yrs.
I assume you mean the TOP 36? That is a strange number? I shall say it again Tristano is 50!! Duke Ellington was known more as a composer. As good as Duke was at composing, I believe that most people have not noted that he wrote the simplest tune melody in the history of music. I play and little piano and guitar and fancy myself as fairly knowledgeable in guitar, bass and drums……Maybe Midnight Creep - Various - 50 Years Of Jazz And Blues (CD) know just enough to get into trouble……no one can ever agree on any list……ever.
Have to agree that these names could fit in there somewhere. They also seem to find the perfect balance between restraint and expressivity while the others are simply on another level. Hey Daniel, yours is one of only few comments I could subscribe. Jarrett behind Monk? The very underestimated Dave MacKenna could be mentionned here. And Abdullah Ibrahim. And, of the younger generation, Robert Glasper.
And, and, and…. Grusin and James nice people! Hill, Cables and Hersch should be higher. And how about Jess Stacy? Both Teddy W and Earl Hines felt he was their equal, and both are rightfully on this list.
I personally think Mary Lou Williams should be somewhere on the list, maybe even Elaine Elias but there are a lot more great male jazz pianists than female.
This is not the case with concert classical pianists. And Bill Evans really was the Master of them all. I do have some issues with some on list but the top 5 in a different order is very good but is debateable in some people. His Commodore recordings are one of the great pinnacles of jazz.
Gonzalo Rubalcaba should be on list, somewhere near the top. And Brad Mehldau, of course. Thanks Herman. And then I saw your post. I love Tete. And George Gershwin! Lists are silly. You can always make the case for any of these folks but as time goes on people forget the greats of a somewhat earlier day.
Duke should be in the top ten…wish he had recorded a solo album…. I disagree with the order of the entire list with the exception of Art Tatum. An I would move Bill Evans to 2 in front of Monk. The next time a poll like this is conducted, it should be taken among all the living jazz pianists. I mean Brubeck should be in the top 5, and Dave Grusin in the top 10 just based on the contribution they have made to jazz over the years.
Other than that, might as well throw darts. I rate him up with Monk and far better than Art Tatum in his jazz input. Whats the reason for his omission. How does one compare pianists with different styles?
Monk could have played like Tatum. Rather the genius opted to define his own style that fitted his original compositions and his improvisations. And the arguing goes on! If that surprises anyone. My interest is in most classical piano but admire jazz pianists who possess a solid thorough technique AND play with something resembling a pleasant singing tone. I have no use for the percussive style virtually devoid of dynamics that many exhibit.
I agree with a couple of dozen on the list, but I would have thought that Maryanne McPartland deserved an entry somewhere. I agree with the guy who thought Iturbi was a better jazz pianists than many on this list. Wow -as a Jazz piano lover I could care less about the order, though it might be nice to see a list of living piano players.
You should see the list I put together with the additional pianist mentioned in the comments here. My list is at 90 players, some of whom I have not heard before. I will enjoy the ride of just listening and enjoying….
Scott Joplin is on this list. Hmmm, has anyone ever actually heard Scott Joplin play?? No, is the answer. How laughable is this list, Midnight Creep - Various - 50 Years Of Jazz And Blues (CD). Scott Joplin made about 6 hand played piano rolls, including a composition by W. C Handy but he certainly should not be on this list. A great list, but as many people already said, loads of pretty good pianists are missing!
Gil Evans? Andre was a young European hanging around LA at the time. One guess where Previn got his inspiration!! There are so many great Jazz Pianists!!!! They cannot possibly all fit in a list of 36 musicians!!! I guess the first 36 pianists are some of the best! Lists are a good way of focusing the mind, by making us consider who else could be there.
Duke Ellington! What makes a great pianist, in any style of music, is not how fast or how many notes he can play, but his ability to develop the richest variety of colors. I say: No way Jose! Awesome list! Take Five is consistently regarded as the greatest Jazz tune of all time by many. Dave was also the second Jazz artist to be on the cover of Time Magazine, only second to the venerable Louis Armstrong.
Barry Harris? Nina Simone on keys as great a pure pianist as anyone? Billy Taylor? Randy Weston? I really think this is difficult work. In time, Benny Green will need to be on the list as well. Maybe the original list was only 36 men. The best of all Jazz Pianist ist Keith Jarrett! In the combination of musical technique und being a great composer. Great list. WK is top ten for me. But the big name often overlooked is Sonny Clark — unmatched feel.
Erroll Garner is a forgotten genius, should be placed at no. Ketil Bjornstadt 3. Ahmad Jamal 4. Joe Zawinul 5. Herbie Hancock 6. Claude Bolling 7. Mc Coy Tyner 8. Hiromi 9. Oscar Peterson Gonzalo Rubalcaba These are the pianists who define jazz today.
And it introduced modes and greater freedom to jazz. Next Bill would form a jazz trio that revolutionized the piano trio by making each instrumentalist, not merely supportive of the pianist, but a contributor of equal importance.
Moreover, Bill kept the flame going, traveling round the world, too busy to go into a recording studio. Coltrane has always been the first—though after Elvin and McCoy left him, the music of his last year was chaotic, obvious, cacophonous—leading to mass exits. Bill, on the other hand, completed his archetypal journey be going full circle. Never forcing a things while maintaining the same body and hand position during loud or soft passages Keith simply lacked this physical advantage, making things worse when Midnight Creep - Various - 50 Years Of Jazz And Blues (CD) stood up while playing.
He was one of the few remaining, one of the last, groups in jazz that continued to carry the flame. The lives of other Romantic composers—Schubert, Schumann, etc. But the sublime beauty and powerful emotion often thunderous in his last period, to Sept. You forgot Kenny Drew and Cecil Tayler should have had a higher range. And Scott Joplin on the list? Being an Old Cool Cat, I think that it is difficult to choose the top 50 let alone 36! Also worth a mention was Joshua Midnight Creep - Various - 50 Years Of Jazz And Blues (CD) playing Scott Joplin.
Diana Kroll mentioned by others continues to grow in stature, and should make the top Old hands playing very sweet music. She is much admired by jazz pianists and the few jazz radio stations that still exist e. I think she should have made the list. No one has a timeless list of The Greatest. For instance we could compile a list of the best percussive players the list would completely change — if you get my drift. Alan Broadbent, Aaron Diehl, Hiromi, there are so many out there.
A list of the ten greats certainly would include Tatum, Evans, Bud Powell. Shearing, Oscar, Michele Le Grand for the few of us who have heard him live. Bill Charlap deserves recognition. Monk is in the Pantheon, not for his playing, but for the totality that he brings to the genre.
They surely must be up there with the best. Brubeck was one of the most innovative pianists of his time. Nat king Cole was a jazz pianist before he became a singer.
So please give credit where credit is due. I think there are two important ones missing. First, Lennie Tristano had a bigger influence on jazz piano than most people think about. Tristano contributed some extremely interesting rhythmic perspectives. Secondly, Clare Fischer had a huge influence, and no one as far as I could see has mentioned him.
Herbie Hancock, several times during interviews, has given Clare credit for a significant part of his harmonic knowledge. And the list has 36 pianists because there are 36 black keys on the piano? Wow, Bill Evans before Oscar Peterson. Certainly Fats Waller should have been further up the list, and what about James P. How Nat King Cole was left out boggles the mind, he was only crucial in developing the Jazz trio, a format that made Bill Evans and so many others so popular.
Bill Evans is the greatest of all jazzpinaist. Oscar Petersson as you mentionedmissused his tecnical ability. Bill evans had an nusicality creativity and a deep the is unmatched by any player. His beautifully sound and inovativ chord and sofisticated rythm was outstanding. He manged to allways play with such an high level despite his drug problem. He was a genious that contributed to the music as the great classical composers.
Bill is overrated. Herbie ranks higher as a complete pianist. And there is no way he should be higher up the list than Bud Powell. Lenny Tristano? Oh, I know.
Lenny Tristano! How about Lenny Tristano? Or Dave McKenna. Don Shirley? Not sure Midnight Creep - Various - 50 Years Of Jazz And Blues (CD) category he goes in.
Nat King Cole was marvelous. And now heresy time. Second to none. But his playing is mechanical and soulless. After hearing a few songs I just want to move on to someone with with some heart in their playing. The top 10 is MINT………. McPartland because apart from her undoubted talent she was very gracious when I spoke to her between sets at the Hickory House. At 88 yrs I have heard most of the musicians on the various lists.
By the way nobody has mentioned George Zack, his contribution to Muggsies Someday Sweetheart and others really pleased me. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, everyone hears beautiful music as it appeals to their ear. This amazing musician has got to be the most overlooked jazz pianist of all time!
Agree with many comments,especially Marion MacPartland. And did I miss Dr Billy Taylor? What about George Gershwin? And Nat Cole? The list goes on ,doesnt it? Between Chucho and Art Tatum a toss up as I would have included John Lewis and everybody has their own list but this is YOUR list so there should be no criticism at all.
Nobody can make a favorite list for someone else. If you made this list top there would still be people with their favorites not on it. You explained that in the beginning so there should be no complaining.
I did pick up a few names that I will make an effort to find for my own listening pleasure. Johnny Costa is comparable to Art Tatum. My list: 1. Meade Lux Lewis 2. Pete Johnson 3. Albert Ammons 4.
Jimmy Yancey 5. Mary Lou Williams 6. Freddie Slack 7. Alan Toussant 8. Pinetop Smith 9. Hazel Scott Art Hodes. Who conducted this survey? A bunch of rock musicians????? You made an attempt that is insurmountalble for each have left an indubitable mark on jazz from Tatum to Evans to Brubeck to Jamal………but Chick……come on. No Kenny Barron but you have that crackpot Keith Jarrett on this list?
As with all harmonic instruments and probably even melodic ones there are so many elements in playing them. Greatest how; for what? There are a few names missing on your list, such as Vince Guaraldi, Russ Freeman, Dudley Moore, Egberto Gismonti, Claude Bolling; each of these have special talents that deserve mention. In short, I suggest you might devise a poll based on categories — such as as harmonic creativity, melodic creativity, originality, interpretation, composition and form building, playing technique, influence on other musicians etc etc.
I love Monk, but respectfully disagree about placing him at 2. If there is one piano player who, in my opinion, comes out tops in all categories it has to be the astounding Bill Evans. And from the older but still highly active! The problem with lists like this is that they draw a stagnant picture of a very vibrant art.
Plenty more good jazzpianists! Art Tatum definitely 1. I would not put Monk at 2. Also, McCoy should be higher ranking than 6. Maybe swap with Monk… But, still a pretty good list of all the greats I know of. Thank you! Of course then there is Erroll Garner. Downgraded by some because he was accepted by the unwashed masse and not given to pontification about the very real profound nature of jazz, he is hardly to blame that playing piano came so effortlessly to him or that he always believed audiences should be entertained.
Hell, he was playing the most complex chords and rhythmns long before self-described experts got around to giving them names. Sometimes I think Garner was not human. He did not have to rely on playing set riffs and pretending it was improvisation. He merely heard a song in his head and made up the new melody using that tune alone.
He was completely ambidextrous and playing three against fours etc a horror to most human pianists was like taking candy from a baby to him. He swung like no other. Sure some of the more obvious and elememtary things he did on piano could be imitated by lesser pianists. Taken as a wholehowever, I doub t there has ever been as spontaneously creative a pianist as Erroll Garner. Some scientists claim if you put a monkey at a typewriter and gave himyears or so, he would eventually write MacBeth or Romeo and Juliet.
Probably top ten. There were better pure piano players. But Art definitely deserves to be number one. Lists such as these are never definitive but are made to be debated and argued; to think of them in any other way is pointless. Ok, you gave us a Braxton and Threadgill set. Another vote for Al Haig. Have never really understood the Art Tatum worship.
A list like this is never going to please anyone. A brilliant musician like Marian McPartland being left off is inexcusable. And no Billy Taylor? Anyway, the list is an interesting exercise because it makes one think.
Pianists are musicians and musicians are artists and not marathon runners, tennis players or race car drivers. Second, nobody remembers Mel Powell and Johnny Guarnieri? The list should be extended to at least 88 names without ranking them. Pianists as any other professional musician are certainly competing with their art yet not for being ranked but for getting loved, respected, and paid well for their performances! Oscar Peterson number 2 after Art Tatum.
I am glad that The Count and the Duke are in the top. It seems that they get forgotten as pianists Piano has so many fantastic players that for me I have a huge amount of favorites. Any list without Billy Taylor has no credibility. To me, Keith Jarrett is very overrated. Myra Melford is missing, and yes Diana Krall belongs there. Mulgrew Miller needs to be in there definitively. Fred Hersch is missing.
We are all very lucky and should be grateful for so much great music!!! A beautiful filigree touch, consistent and even fingering, and excellent pedalling Swings effortlessly at any tempo, never thumps the instrument, as do inferior pianists.
Disappointing to see that no one has mentioned Satoko Fujii so far. I agree with the many serious ommissions mentioned by others. First and foremost, Phineas Newborn Jr. When Memphis musicians and friends of Newborn first heard players like Bud Powell, they were not impressed because anything Bud did, Newborn could do more easily. I also am shocked that there are no women on this list. Also some pianists from outside the U. Not mentioned by anyone in this threadMarian Petrescu unbelievableMichel Camilo.
How to compare Oscar Peterson and Thelonious Monk?! It is actually not a bad list. Oscar Peterson is much too high for my taste. Post-bop US jazz-pianism was not all about gospel-drenched funk, as played by Horace Silver and his disciples.
Like Al Haig, Ahmad Jamal was a leading light of an alternative school. But while Haig pursued harmonic exploration, Jamal favoured simpler, stripped-down melodicism.
He was assiduously championed by Miles Davis at a time when most critics were writing the Chicago-based musician off as a lightweight. Both musicians learnt their art in rural Mississippi. A less urbanised stylist than Waters, Wolf tapped into raw Delta-voodoo roots and his best performances possessed shamanistic intensity.
The French composer Jean-Jacques Perrey was an early master of the Ondioline, a proto-synthesizer from the s. The instrument has a monophonic vacuum-tube keyboard, the keys themselves mounted on springs, so that they can be manipulated to create a vibrato effect whilst playing. Its suite of slow-paced lullabies was intended for mental hospitals to use as a sort of audio sedative. Kwela aka pennywhistle jive was the link between the South African township-music marabi in the s and the mbaqanga and sax jive styles which emerged in the s.
In the street, kwela was typically played on three or four pennywhistles, with the lead musician playing the melody and improvising around it while his colleagues riffed in the background. In the recording studio, a stand-up bass was sometimes added. Spokes Mashiyane was the most popular performer, rivalled only by Lemmy Mabaso.
King Kwela is a collection of previously issued singles and is authentic kwela at its best. Just when most contemporary observers were writing off big-band jazz as an anachronism, in need of radical retooling by the likes of Gil Evans, the venerable Count Basie recorded this stomping celebration of the classic sound.
Still kicking? He was revered by the new generation of bossa nova singers and his songs were staples of the genre. The album was recorded at a frat party at Cornell University, an Ivy League institution whose students could afford to finance mementos such as this. But Gaynair was born in Jamaica and moved to Germany inat a time when the best jazz was widely considered to come exclusively from the US. Gaynair made only three albums as leader before his death in Blue Bogey was the first.
The second, Africa Calling, was recorded inbut the demise of Tempo that year led to it staying unreleased for decades. Both albums were recorded in London with British rhythm sections and reveal a saxophonist who had clearly been listening to Benny Golson and Lucky Thompson, but who had infused those influences with a twist of the Caribbean. As good as anything Hank Mobley recorded and, for the moment anyway, available for a lot less money.
Bywhen this compilation was released, Brown had developed an equally affecting stage-routine to go with it — pleading, begging, falling to his knees in apparent exhaustion and having to be ushered towards the wings by a member of his entourage, only to break free and return to the mic for an extended reprise. Great song, great theatre. John, The Night Tripper persona was still almost ten years away and the clean shaven, year-old guitarist and pianist was working as a session man.
These two originals show little of the psychedelia and voodoun with which Dr. Allen Toussaint is on back-up piano.
Rebennack later had to give up guitar, having had one of his fingers injured by a gunshot in a dancehall, which is why Dr. John played keyboards. On his own label, Takoma, in the s and beyond, Fahey himself became a formative influence on roots and folk-based guitarists in the US and Britain. Blind Joe Death was his debut album and only around copies were pressed for its first release.
If one of those proves too hard or too expensive to get hold of, the Takoma reissue is also collectable. Its release was sandwiched between those of Porgy And Bess and Sketches Of Spainboth recorded with large ensembles under the direction of arranger Gil Evans.
Kind Of Blueby contrast, was made with a sextet in which Davis shared the frontline with Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, rising stars of post-hard-bop jazz.
Reissued by Columbia a dozen times during alone, the original pressing is a precious slice of history. This box set is a recording of a tribute concert at New York Town Hall in The performance was produced by modernist painters Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, the audio recording by George Avakian best known for his work on Columbia with Miles Davis.
The Music From Peter Gunn collects the main-title theme and incidental music from the private-eye series Peter Gunnwhich ran in the US from — To get the authentic s experience, avoid stereo reissues of the original mono album.
A medium-tempo boogie-shuffle, the track was produced by Clement Dodd for his own Worldisc label, which preceded the Studio One imprint. I Had a Dream. Willie Kent. Midnight Creep. Big Joe Williams Trio.
Dark Is the Night. Jesse Fortune. Hesitating Blues. Edith Wilson. New Role Soul. Robert Ward. Bang Goes My Heart. George Prayer. The Moroccos. Got My Eyes on You. Otis Smokey Smothers. Lurrie Bell. Boggie Woogie Prayer. Bad Luck. Little Milton. Track Listing - Disc 2. My Woman Is Gone.
Everything's Gonna Be Alright. Magic Sam. Kickin' Motor Scooter. Roosevelt Sykes. You Were a Good Old Ride. Steve Freund. Help Me. Karen Carroll. So Hard to Leave You Alone. Carey Bell. Swampy Lee. Reginald R.
Scooby Snacks - Fun Lovin Criminals - Come Find Yourself (CD, Album), Toute Reesemblance - Various - Le Pop Encore! (File, MP3), Bad Trip - Various - Cream Of The Cats Vol. 2 (Vinyl, LP), Mad About You - Belinda Carlisle - Belinda (CD, Album), Celebration (Dance Mix), محمد عبد الوهاب* - كل أخ عربي (Vinyl), Family Picnic Waltz - Big Daddy Lackowski - Toast You Big Daddy Lackowski (Vinyl, LP, Album), Haitian Fight Song - Rune Gustafsson - Young Guitar (Vinyl, LP), Tu Ca Nun Chiagne - Giuseppe di Stefano - Torna A Surriento (Songs Of Italy & Sicily) (CD)