The Best Jazz Trumpet Recordings That Every Musician Must Have

Many of us learned to speak another language in school so your ability to learn jazz is definitely a goal that you can accomplish. The key is listening, and this is why I’ve come up with a list of the best jazz trumpet recordings to get you started:

Chet Baker —

  • My Funny Valentine — A great introduction to Baker’s vocal style, and some sweet trumpet playing as well. All of the songs on the CD are classic ballads and great love songs.
  • The Touch Of Your Lips — Another great lyrical CD, which is what Chet was known for. Quiet and romantic, with solos that are lyrical and well-built.

Clifford Brown —

  • The Definitive Clifford Brown — A great compilation that features some of Brownie’s best-known work.
  • Study In Brown — This CD features many masterful improvisations, and is a must-have of Brown’s work.
  • Brown And Roach Inc — Great recording of the Clifford Brown and Max Roach combo that became famous. This CD also features many well-known tunes.
  • Clifford Brown With Strings — Composed of many great ballads featuring Clifford in front of an orchestra. Beautiful work.

Miles Davis —

  • Kind Of Blue — One of the most influential jazz albums of all time.
  • Milestones — Another one of Miles’ greatest CDs. The band, which also features Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane, swing extremely hard on this record.
  • Seven Steps To Heaven — A great album featuring several great ballads, but also introduces such jazz greats as Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams at the beginning of their careers.
  • Nefertiti — The last “straight-ahead” jazz album that Miles did in the late 60s before experimenting with electronics, this is a great work by Miles and Co. Features Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Great album, great band!
  • My Funny Valentine — A great live performance of ballads.

Freddie Hubbard —

  • Red Clay — Although still heavily bop-influenced, this album showed that the musical direction of Freddie at the time was heading towards a fusion of jazz, rock, and funk.
  • Sky Dive — While not as intense as some of his other well-known stuff, this album is full of great stuff and is worth a listen.
  • Ready For Freddie — Released in the early 60s, this album features Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones — among others. Full of great compositions that are jam-packed with energy and superior solos.
  • Keep Your Soul Together — Has a noticeable early-70s influence complete with the use of a Fender Rhodes, while staying true to its jazz roots at the same time. A highlight of this album is the uptempo “Spirits Of Trane.”
  • First Light — Hubbard’s attempt to go mainstream with a cover of The Beatles’ “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” This album has some great solos, and features such monster players as Jack DeJohnette and George Benson.
  • The Hub Of Hubbard — Great solos where the musicians are given a little room to breathe due to the extended song lengths. This album showcases Freddie’s great tone and technical ability.

Dizzy Gillespie —

  • Groovin’ High — With big band versions of many great bebop tunes, this is a solid jazz album and is a great introduction to Dizzy’s playing.
  • Diz N Bird At Carnegie Hall — The great magical duo that helped to create the bebop movement. This album features great playing by both of these fantastic musicians at their prime.
  • Diz & Getz — Great, fiery playing by Dizzy along with the coolness of Stan Getz. Great album.

Wynton Marsalis —

  • Standard Time Volume 1 — This album is exactly what the title states… Wynton playing some of the great standards of jazz history. Features great soloing from a technical master of the trumpet.
  • Black Codes (From The Underground) — Long considered one of the best of the early albums from Marsalis. This recording features brother Branford, as well as Jeff “Tain” Watts and Kenny Kirkland.
  • Hot House Flowers — Some beautiful ballad playing and orchestral arrangements. Another one of my favorite Wynton recordings.
  • Think Of One — Marsalis’ second release, this features some fiery solos and a great rhythm section.

Lee Morgan —

  • The Sidewinder — One of Morgan’s best albums. This, along with some great playing, is a 60s version of a jazz/rock/funk fusion. It features such jazz greats as Joe Henderson, Billy Higgins, and Barry Harris.
  • Cornbread — This album features some great compositions in a variety of musical styles. It also includes some great solos, and features Herbie Hancock and Hank Mobley.