JAZZIZ Time Capsule Playlist: 1959, The Year that Changed Jazz

August 17, 2019, marked the 60th anniversary of the release of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, the trumpeter’s immortal masterpiece and the best-selling jazz album of all time. For Miles, the album represented the first step in a path toward new ground, with harmonies that broke free from the constraints of bebop and an artistic vision that held creativity and group interplay in as high regard as technical skill. In those ways, the album is a good representative of 1959 as a whole, the year most critics and scholars agree was the start of a new “Golden Age of Jazz.”

It’s a justified notion, given the sheer number of great albums and artistic movements that emerged during those 365 days, and countless investigations have been made into why 1959 was so special. Esquire devoted a feature article to this very phenomenon on New Year’s Day in 1959. More recently, the year was the subject of a documentary film, 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz. And today, jazz writer Natalie Weiner maintains a captivating blog dedicated to chronicling every single day of this pivotal year.

Some may argue as to the merit of other years in jazz history, but still, it’s hard to deny that 1959 served as some sort of jazz threshold. After all, it’s a year that began with the release of Art Blakey’s hard-bop landmark Moanin’ and ended with Dave Brubeck’s groundbreaking Time Out. In between, it saw the release of timeless classics such as John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Bill Evans’ Portrait in Jazz, Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz To Come and Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um. You’ll find tracks from all of those seminal albums in our playlist, but you’ll also find a host of tracks from albums of equal import and influence by artists such as Duke Ellington, Abbey Lincoln, Sun Ra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Stan Kenton and many more.

It would be impossible to show in just 32 tracks the magnitude of 1959’s impact on jazz. This is just a taste. Whatever you’re preferred vintage, it’s clear that 1959 was a good year for jazz.

Listen on: qobuz

So What
Miles Davis
Kind Of Blue (Legacy Edition)

Giant Steps
John Coltrane
Giant Steps

Take Five
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Time Out

Better Get Hit In Your Soul
Charles Mingus
Mingus Ah Um

Lonely Woman
Ornette Coleman
The Shape Of Jazz To Come

Art Blakey
Moanin’ (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
Chet Baker
Chet [Keepnews Collection]

Someone To Watch Over Me
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George And Ira Gershwin Song Book

Whisper Not
Wes Montgomery Trio
The Wes Montgomery Trio

Peace Piece
Bill Evans
Everybody Digs Bill Evans

Lotus Blossom
Kenny Dorham
Quiet Kenny

Malletoba Spank
Duke Ellington
Jazz Party

Three Little Words
Milt Jackson, John Coltrane
Bags & Trane

On Green Dolphin Street
Wynton Kelly
Kelly Blue (Keepnews Collection)

Top Shelf
Blue Mitchell
Blue Soul [Keepnews Collection]

Stan Kenton
Standards In Silhouette

Yusef Lateef
Cry! – Tender

Afro Blue
Abbey Lincoln
Abbey Is Blue

Sun Ra
Jazz in Silhouette

Jimmy Smith
The Sermon (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Time After Time
Ben Webster
Ben Webster and Associates

Someday My Prince Will Come
Bill Evans Trio
Portrait In Jazz

What A Diff’rence A Day Made
Dinah Washington
What A Diff’rence A Day Makes! (Expanded Edition)

It Never Entered My Mind
Miles Davis Quintet

Tommy Flanagan, John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell
The Cats

Jackie McLean
New Soil

On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins
Sonny Side Up

Thelonious Monk Quintet
5 By Monk By 5

Cookin’ At The Continental 
Horace Silver Quintet
Finger Poppin’ (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

The Cat Walk
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster

Birth Of The Blues
Oscar Peterson Trio
A Jazz Portrait Of Frank Sinatra

Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
Miles Davis
Porgy And Bess

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