|Long Shot's Top 10 Albums From Pre-1953|
Albums from before the LP era are difficult to compare with those released at the beginning of the LP era, but I've done my best here. Unfortunately, many of the popular releases from this era come from late WWII/the immediate aftermath, which I've always felt was an abnormally dry spell as far as recorded music is concerned (certainly connoisseurs of live jazz music would disagree). As such, 7 out of 10 releases here come from after 1948, as well as all but one of my honorable mentions that will appear in the comments.
Dust Bowl Ballads
The first concept album. (Take that, Sinatra.)
Track pick: "Tom Joad (Parts 1 and 2)"
City of Glass
Gershwin meets '50s America meets late tonality.
Track pick: "Thermopolae"
Negro Sinful Songs
An album so good that I can forgive Lead Belly for introducing "Black Betty" into the world.
Track pick: "The Gallis Pole"
|4||Josh White (USA-NY)|
Blues fans take note, this is some of the best blues music of the era and you're missing out if you've ignored Josh White's music until now.
Track pick: "Defense Factory Blues"
Big band was very much on its last legs in the early 1950s, but if nothing else, this Ellington record captures some of the very best of what the genre had to offer during that time period.
Track pick: "Take the 'A' Train"
|6||Sonny Stitt and Bud Powell|
Sonny Stitt & Bud Powell
An underrated early example of a bop record, featuring heavily Parker-inspired saxophone playing and great piano riffing underneath.
Track pick: "Sonny Side"
Masterpieces By Ellington
Perhaps the first LP that takes advantage of the lengthier format, with Ellington extending ruminating instrumental jams to 15 minutes and beyond. Excellent stuff.
Track pick: "Mood Indigo"
Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1949
Terrific saxophonist who never recorded a truly "classic" album, but this live recording is as close as we're going to get, so appreciate it for all it's worth.
Track pick: "Lester Leaps In"
Billie Holiday Sings
'30s/early '40s Billie >>>> '50s Billie for me, but this is a nice portrait of a time before the great voice was slowed down by rampant substance abuse.
Track pick: "These Foolish Things'
Wizard of the Vibes
The title speaks for itself, really.
Track pick: "Eronel"