If you are a fan of Jazz piano like Kavan Choksi Japan, and others around the world, this list will undoubtedly be an excellent starting point. However, if you are not, perhaps this list may inspire you to become one!
Bear in mind that these albums and artists are aimed at piano fans (and the general listener), focusing on Jazz rather than Classical pianists.
Oscar Peterson, Night Train (1963)
Recorded at a time when he was arguably most popular and acclaimed, ‘Night Train’ is perhaps the best example of O.P in action. Recorded in one take is a perfect example of his creativity and endurance.
Thelonious Monk, Thelonious in Action (1958)
‘The Man with the Horn.’ Monk could never be accused of being predictable – this album shows why. The sheer professionalism and musicianship on display are something to marvel at.
Kenny Barron, The Traveler (1994)
It is frequently hailed as one of the most influential jazz pianists today. This album was his first venture into more mainstream Jazz, and it is clear to see why. Perhaps not as ‘out’ as some other recordings on this list, but hugely accessible nonetheless.
Keith Jarrett, Köln Concert (1975)
This album of solo piano improvisation is a classic of the genre. Recorded in 1975, Jarrett’s feelings about his playing and emotional state are captured brilliantly on tape – a very special experience indeed.
Cannonball Adderley, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! (1966)
Songs from this album were frequently covered by others, and the original releases were especially popular. The album combined soul/funk-inspired arrangements with a spattering of classic covers (including ‘Here, There and Everywhere).
Herbie Hancock, Empyrean Isles (1964)
This incredibly influential album is widely credited as being one of the first to merge jazz improvisation with rock rhythms successfully. It is truly a groundbreaking album for the jazz world.
McCoy Tyner, The Real McCoy (1967)
This album firmly established Tyner as one of Jazz’s best pianists of all time – at least it did among listeners and fans alike. His unique style shines through in every song with an almost spiritual quality.
Bill Evans, Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961)
Another Bill Evans album? Yes, indeed – but this one is special because it was his first collaboration with Jim Hall on guitar. This album represents a ‘coming of age in many ways for Evans and shows him maturing as an artist. As usual from Evans, the level of musicianship and creativity is mind-blowing.
Brad Mehldau, 10 Years Solo Live (2005)
This album showcases why Brad has been hailed as ‘the new Bill Evans.’ His playing has a natural, unforced quality that avoids self-indulgence without compromising on the emotional impact of the music in any way.
Bud Powell, The Amazing Bud Powell (1949-1951)
This album is essential for any Jazz fan as it shows the true extent of his mastery and musicality. His dazzling speed and precision are matched by an ability to evoke a truly unique atmosphere in just about every song.
Keith Jarrett, Standards Vol 1 & 2 (1991)
These albums are perhaps Jarrett’s most accessible recordings for general Jazz listeners. His adaptability on the piano is matched by his sheer creativity and ability to give songs a fresh sound that no one else could replicate.