Alex Stephenson

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Last Active 07-26-19 7:57 pm
Joined 04-17-17

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08.08.19 Long Shot's Top 75 Albums of 196407.03.19 Sam Cooke -- RANKED
06.27.19 Long Shot's Top 60 Albums of 196306.05.19 Long Shot's Top 60 Albums of 1962
05.19.19 Long Shot's Top 50 Albums of 196105.06.19 Sputnik Users with 2000+ Album Ratings
04.25.19 Long Shot's Top 50 Albums of 196004.13.19 Long Shot's Top 100 Albums of the 1950s
04.12.19 Long Shot's Top 50 Albums of 195903.26.19 Long Shot's Top 50 Albums of 1958
03.20.19 Billie Holiday -- RANKED03.17.19 Long Shot's Top 40 Albums of 1957
03.05.19 Long Shot's Top 30 Albums of 195602.26.19 Clifford Brown -- RANKED
02.25.19 Long Shot's Top 15 Albums of 195502.24.19 Long Shot's Top 10 Albums From Pre-1953
02.24.19 Long Shot's Top 15 Albums of 195402.22.19 Long Shot's Top 10 Albums of 1953
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Long Shot's Top 15 Albums of 1954

Second verse, same as the first. The LP is on the cusp of really coming into its own as an art form at this point, with jazz in particular benefiting from some really terrific releases. Also note the increasing prominence of Latin music, both in a more traditional form and merged with jazz/African traits. (I promise there will be more interesting anecdotes/write-ups in future lists, but I'm sort of trying to catch up to where I actually am in the deep dive, so we'll have to make do for now, eh?)
1Clifford Brown and Max Roach
Clifford Brown and Max Roach


Probably the gold standard of ensemble playing until the first classic Miles Davis lineup started recording. Brown and Roach are standouts here, but they don't dominate the record so much as contribute to an overall ensemble feel that is nigh untouchable.

Track pick: "Delilah"
2Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk Trio


Why, oh why, do so many sleep on this man when rattling off the list of all-time jazz greats? Maybe he wasn't as innovative as Parker and Davis, but damn if his music isn't equally as enjoyable, and arguably more so at this stage.

Track pick: "Monk's Dream"
3Dizzy Gillespie


One of be-bop's architects takes a swing at Afro-Cuban jazz, and boy, does he do a mighty fine job with it.

Track pick: "Caravan"
4Lester Young
With The Oscar Peterson Trio


Absurdly good saxophone playing with a great backing band to keep things in order.

Track pick: "Ad Lib Blues"
5Chet Baker
Chet Baker Sings


Never an excellent example of technical brilliance, but the innocence and youth in Baker's delivery sells it, differentiating him from the more mature crooners of his day.

Track pick: "My Funny Valentine"
6Frank Sinatra
Songs for Young Lovers


The album that returned Sinatra to relevance, and one that set the stage for his landmark In the Wee Small Hours the following year. Already the difference between Sinatra's Columbia records and his new output is very stark.

Track pick: "A Foggy Day"
7Dorival Caymmi
Cancoes praieiras


Brazilian samba music set for voice and guitar. Couldn't be lovelier.

Track pick: "O mar"
8Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan


A remarkably under-appreciated singer whose name should be far more widely known.

Track pick: "Lullaby of Birdland"
9Louis Armstrong
Plays W.C. Handy


Perhaps the best Dixieland album of all-time, and certainly a sign that Armstrong's relevance in the 1950s was not solely due to his cheesing in films with Bing Crosby.

Track pick: "St. Louis Blues"
10Art Blakey
A Night At Birdland Vol. 1


Blakey knew how to put together a strong ensemble from the beginning, and this star-studded lineup (featuring Clifford Brown and Horace Silver) shines in this live recording.

Track pick: "Split Kick"
11Frantz Casseus
Haitian Dances


Track pick: "Lullaby"
12Frank Sinatra
Swing Easy!


Track pick: "Just One of Those Things"
13Bud Powell
The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 2


Track pick: "Autumn in New York"
14Art Blakey
A Night At Birdland Vol. 2


Track pick: "A Night in Tunisia"
15June Christy
Something Cool


Track pick: "Something Cool"
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