Jazz 100
60s Piano
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Waltz for Debby
Bill Evans Trio
1961 [Riverside]


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Evans wears his heart on his sleeve on this beautiful record, the second culled from a date at the Village Vanguard in 1961. His bass player, Scott LaFaro, would die in a car accident ten days later - leaving only a handful of albums made with the trio. A good overview highlighting the maturation of Evans' modal style of piano playing.





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Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Bill Evans Trio
1961 [Riverside]


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One of two classic records (the other being Waltz for Debby) culled from perfectionist pianist Bill Evans' stand at the Village Vanguard in 1961. The album cover features the by-line "featuring Scott LaFaro", the bass player whose accidental death soon after highlighted his immense contributions to jazz. Absolutely timeless.





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Night Train
The Oscar Peterson Trio
1962 [Verve]


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Peterson's most famous record is a lively tribute to his father - a Canadian Pacific Railway night car attendant. A technically brilliant pianist, Night Train's exuberance ensures his playing doesn't get too overly complicated or out of hand. The moving 'Hymn to Freedom' caps off the original record, with six bonus tracks on the CD reissue.





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Monk's Dream
Thelonious Monk Quartet
1962 [Columbia]


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Eccentric pianist Monk assembled what many think was his best outfit for his Columbia debut - Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), and Frankie Dunlop (drums). Much of what is here finds Monk pouring his creative energies into re-interpreting earlier compositions in a more modern context. The results are simply outstanding.





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Song For My Father
The Horace Silver Quintet
1964 [Blue Note]


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This is the best known of pianist Silver's many fine albums. Although dubbed a Quintet record, it also features tracks played by Silver's new lineup featuring tenor Joe Henderson. Made up mostly of original Silver compositions, there are hints of exotic rhythms - with the outstanding title track grooving to a subtle bossa nova beat.





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Black Fire
Andrew Hill
1964 [Blue Note]


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Pianist Andrew Hill's warm-up to his classic Point of Departure (1965) is an impressive post-bop effort that stands on its own as a modern jazz classic. Backed by tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Roy Haynes - Hill delivers a challenging set of complex rhythms and modal harmonics that don't let up.





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Herbie Hancock
Empyrean Isles
1964 [Blue Note]


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And after hard bop came this… Pianist Herbie Hancock and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (playing a cornet) virtually defined the postbop sound typical of the mid-60s Blue Note label with this album. It is a stirring and creative piece of work ostensibly based on the myths of the Empyrean Isles. The catchy 'Cantaloupe Island' is a classic.





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Astigmatic
Krzysztof Komeda
1965 [Muzi]


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Polish composer and pianist better known for his film scores for Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water and Rosemary's Baby. Featuring the debut of gifted trumpeter Tomasz Stan'ko, Astigmatic is one of the great forgotten gems of jazz. Komeda became a cult figure after his premature death in 1969 from complications arising from head injuries.


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