The Best Jazz Albums of the 1980's

Selected by piero scaruffi | Best albums of all times | Back to music

An appendix to my book "A History of Jazz Music"

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
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TM, ®, Copyright © 2002 Piero Scaruffi

1980

  1. Anthony Davis: Lady of the Mirrors (1980)
  2. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Invisible Frames (1980)
  3. Om: Cerberus (1980)
  4. Pat Metheny: As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita (1980)
  5. Billy Bang: Changing Seasons (1980)
  6. Julius Hemphill: Flat Out Jump Suite (1980)
  7. Charles Noyes: Free Mammals (1980)
  8. Pat Metheny: 1980-1981 (1980)
  9. Steve Tibbetts: YR (1980)
  10. World Saxophone Quartet: WSQ (1980)
  11. David Murray: Ming (1980)
  12. Ganelin Trio: Ancora Da Capo (1980)
  13. Joanne Brackeen: Ancient Dynasty (1980)
  14. Ran Blake: Film Noir (1980)
  15. Muhal Richard Abrams: Mama and Daddy (1980)
  16. Derek Bailey: Aida (1980)
  17. Evan Parker: Six of One (1980)
  18. Steps Ahead: Step By Step (1980)
  19. Steve Beresford: Double indemnity (1980)
  20. Music Revelation Ensemble: No Wave (1980)
  21. Jan Garbarek: Eventyr (1980)
  22. David Liebman: If They Only Knew (1980)
  23. Tom Varner: Quartet (1980)
  24. Harvie Swartz: Underneath It All (1980)
  25. Paul Winter: Callings (1980)
  26. World Saxophone Quartet: Revue (1980)
  27. James Ulmer: Are You Glad To Be In America (1980)
  28. Kazumi Watanabe: To Chi Ka (1980)
  29. Chico Freeman: Peaceful Heart Gentle Spirit (1980)
  30. Jack DeJohnette: Tin Can Alley (1980)
  31. Jay Clayton: All Out (1980)
  32. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Eye on You (1980)
  33. Art Pepper: Winter Moon (1980)

1981

  1. Anthony Davis: Episteme (1981)
  2. Joe McPhee: Topology (1981)
  3. Paul Motian: Psalm (1981)
  4. Rova Saxophone Quartet: As Was (1981)
  5. Marilyn Crispell: Spirit Music (1981)
  6. MUhal Richard Abrams: Blues Forever (1981)
  7. Henry Kaiser: Aloha (1981)
  8. Sergey Kuryokhin: The Ways of Freedom (1981)
  9. David Moss: Terrain (1981)
  10. David Murray: Home (1981)
  11. Frank Lowe: Skizoke (1981)
  12. Willem Breuker: In Holland (1981)
  13. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Nasty (1981)
  14. Billy Bang: Rainbow Gladiator (1981)
  15. Don Moye: Black Paladins (1981)
  16. Frederic Hand: Heart's Song (1981)
  17. Jaco Pastorius: Word of Mouth (1981)
  18. Joanne Brackeen: Special Identity (1981)
  19. Hal Russell: NRG Ensemble (1981)
  20. Marvin Peterson: The Angels of Atlanta (1981)
  21. Jan Garbarek: Paths Prints (1981)
  22. Oscar Peterson: Nigerian Marketplace (1981)
  23. Saheb Sarbib: Aisha (1981)
  24. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Street Priest (1981)
  25. Steve Douglas: Rainbow Suite (1981)
  26. Steve Khan: Eyewitness (1981)
  27. Wynton Marsalis: Wynton Marsalis (1981)
  28. Keith Tippett: Mujician (1981)

1982

  1. Anthony Davis: Variations In Dream-time (1982)
  2. Henry Threadgill: When Was That (1982)
  3. Air: 80 Degrees Below (1982)
  4. Billy Bang: Outline No 12 (1982)
  5. Dave Holland: Life Cycle (1982)
  6. David Murray: Murray's Steps (1982)
  7. Jane Ira Bloom: Mighty Lights (1982)
  8. Lol Coxhill: Instant Replay (1982)
  9. Dewey Redman: The Struggle Continues (1982)
  10. Steve Lacy: Flame (1982)
  11. Elements: Elements (1982)
  12. Errol Parker: Tentet (1982)
  13. James Ulmer: Black Rock (1982)
  14. Joe McPhee: Oleo (1982)
  15. John Carter: Dauwhe (1982)
  16. Sonny Simmons: Backwoods Suite (1982)
  17. Steps Ahead: Paradox (1982)
  18. Tony Coe: Tournee Du Chat (1982)
  19. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Mandance (1982)
  20. Warren Vache: Midtown Jazz (1982)
  21. Paul Winter: Missa Gaia (1982)
  22. Cecil McBee: Flying Out (1982)
  23. Shadowfax: Shadowfax (1982)
  24. Jack DeJohnette: Inflation Blues (1982)
  25. Stanley Jordan: Touch Sensitive (1982)
  26. Kevin Eubanks: Guitarist (1982)

1983

  1. Borbetomagus: Barbed Wire Maggot (1983)
  2. Anthony Davis: Hemispheres (1983)
  3. Terje Rypdal: Eos (1983)
  4. Don Pullen: Evidence of Things Unseen (1983)
  5. James Newton: Luella (1983)
  6. Marilyn Crispell: Rhythms Hung in Undrawn Sky (1983)
  7. Ganelin Trio: Semplice (1983)
  8. Microscopic Septet: Take the Z Train (1983)
  9. MUhal Richard Abrams: Rejoicing with Light (1983)
  10. Tim Berne: Mutant Variations (1983)
  11. Steps Ahead: Steps Ahead (1983)
  12. Dollar Brand: Ekaya (1983)
  13. Jamaaladeen Tacuma: Show Stopper (1983)
  14. Paul Motian: The Story Of Maryam (1983)
  15. Joachim Kuhn: I'm Not Dreaming (1983)
  16. Kenny Wheeler: Double Double You (1983)
  17. Lakshiminarayana Subramaniam: Spanish Wave (1983)
  18. Roger Neumann: Introducing Rather Large Band (1983)
  19. Dave Holland: Jumpin' In (1983)
  20. Henry Threadgill: Just the Facts (1983)
  21. George Russell: So What (1983)
  22. Derek Bailey: Epiphany (1982)
  23. Bobby Shew: Breakfast Wine (1983)
  24. Bob Wasserman: Solo (1983)
  25. Joe McPhee: Visitation (1983)
  26. Bobby Watson: Jewel (1983)
  27. Branford Marsalis: Scenes In The City (1983)
  28. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Barbeque Dog (1983)
  29. Shadowfax: Shadowdance (1983)

1984

  1. John Zorn: Locus Solus (1984)
  2. Geri Allen: Printmakers (1984)
  3. Steps Ahead: Modern Times (1984)
  4. Oliver Lake: Expandable Language (1984)
  5. Henry Threadgill: Subject To Change (1984)
  6. Hal Russell: Conserving NRG (1984)
  7. Microscopic Septet: Let's Flip (1984)
  8. Joachim Kuhn: Distance (1984)
  9. Henry Kaiser: Invite The Spirit (1984)
  10. Mark Helias: Split Image (1984)
  11. Hilton Ruiz: Crosscurrents (1984)
  12. Paul Motian: It Should've Happened A Long Time Ago (1984)
  13. Keith Tippett: A Loose Kite In A Gentle Wind (1984)
  14. Dave Holland: Seeds of Time (1984)
  15. James Williams: Alter Ego (1984)
  16. Andy Laverne: Liquid Silver (1984)
  17. Bobby McFerrin: The Voice (1984)

1985

  1. Butch Morris: Current Trends In Racism (1985)
  2. Bobby Previte: Bump The Renaissance (1985)
  3. George Russell: The African Game (1985)
  4. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Crowd (1985)
  5. Lyle Mays: Lyle Mays (1985)
  6. David Liebman: The Loneliness Of A Long-Distance Runner (1985)
  7. James Newton: Water Mystery (1985)
  8. Hank Robertson: Transparency (1985)
  9. David Torn: Best Laid Plans (1985)
  10. Borbetomagus: Borbeto Jam (1985)
  11. Mark Nauseef: Wun Wun (1985)
  12. Kip Hanrahan: Vertical Currency (1985)
  13. Patrick O'Hearn: Ancient Dreams (1985)
  14. Don Pullen: Sixth Sense (1985)
  15. John Carter: Castles of Ghana (1985)
  16. Gerry Hemingway: Outerbridge Crossing (1985)
  17. Leni Stern: Clairvoyant (1985)
  18. Marc Johnson: Bass Desires (1985)
  19. Terje Rypdal: Chasers (1985)
  20. Tom Harrell: Moon Alley (1985)
  21. Wynton Marsalis: Black Codes (1985)
  22. Wynton Marsalis: J Mood (1985)
  23. Paul Winter: Canyon (1985)
  24. Tony Williams: Civilization (1985)
  25. Michael Mantler: Alien (1985)
  26. Herbie Hancock: Village Life (1985)
  27. Manhattan Transfer: Vocalese (1985)

1986

  1. John Zorn: Cobra (1986)
  2. Evan Parker: Atlanta (1986)
  3. ICP Orchestra: Bospaadje Konijnehol I (1986)
  4. 16-17: 16-17 (1986)
  5. Steve Coleman: On the Edge Of Tomorrow (1986)
  6. Steve Lacy: Outings (1986)
  7. Jim Staley: Mumbo Jumbo (1986)
  8. James Newton: Romance and Revolution (1986)
  9. Tim Berne: Fulton Street Maul (1986)
  10. Cecil Taylor: For Olim (1986)
  11. Last Exit: Last Exit (1986)
  12. Michael Shrieve: In Suspect Terrain (1986)
  13. Kazumi Watanabe: Spice Of Life (1986)
  14. Ned Rothenberg Trespass (1986)
  15. Sonny Sharrock: Guitar (1986)
  16. Evan Parker: The Snake Decides (1986)
  17. Courtney Pine: Journey to the Urge Within (1986)
  18. Henry Threadgill: You Know the Number (1986)
  19. Last Exit: Koln (1986)
  20. John Carter: Dance of Love Ghosts (1986)
  21. Kenny G: Duotones (1986)
  22. Reggie Workman: Synthesis (1986)
  23. Ran Blake: Short Life of Barbara Monk (1986)
  24. Bobby Watson: Love Remains (1986)
  25. Christy Doran: Red Twist and Tuned Arrow (1986)
  26. Arturo Sandoval: Tumbaito (1986)

1987

  1. Henry Threadgill: Easily Slip Into Another World (1987)
  2. Anthony Davis: Undine (1987)
  3. Steve Lacy: Momentum (1987)
  4. John Zorn: Spillane (1987)
  5. Hank Roberts: Black Pastels (1987)
  6. Marilyn Crispell: Labyrinths (1987)
  7. Guy Klucevsek: Scenes From A Mirage (1987)
  8. David Torn: Cloud About Mercury (1987)
  9. Bobby Previte: Dull Bang, Gushing Sound, Human Shriek (1987)
  10. Tim Berne: Sanctified Dreams (1987)
  11. Borbetomagus: Fish That Sparkling Bubble (1987)
  12. Marty Ehrlich: Pliant Plaint (1987)
  13. Tim Berne: Fulton Street Maul (1987)
  14. Benny Carter: Central City Sketches (1987)
  15. Bobby Previte: Pushing The Envelope (1987)
  16. Phil Woods: Bouquet (1987)
  17. Danny Gottlieb: Aquamarine (1987)
  18. Dave Holland: Razor's Edge (1987)
  19. Elements: Illumination (1987)
  20. Henry Kaiser: Crazy-backwards Alphabet (1987)
  21. Henry Kaiser: Devil In The Drain (1987)
  22. Kenny Wheeler: Flutter By Butterfly (1987)
  23. Mark Helias: The Current Set (1987)
  24. Michael Brecker: Michael Brecker (1987)
  25. Montreaux: Sign Language (1987)
  26. Sonny Sharrock: Seize the Rainbow (1987)
  27. Mulgrew Miller: Wingspan (1987)
  28. Neil Swainson: 49th Parallel (1987)
  29. Earthworks: Earthworks (1987)

1988

  1. Bill Frisell: Before We Were Born (1988)
  2. Henry Threadgill: Rag Bush And All (1988)
  3. Turtle Island String Quartet: Turtle Island String Quartet (1988)
  4. Lyle Mays: Street Dreams (1988)
  5. Dave Holland: Triplicate (1988)
  6. Jackie McLean: Dynasty (1988)
  7. John Carter: Fields (1988)
  8. Leni Stern: Secrets (1988)
  9. Microscopic Septet: Beauty Based on Science (1988)
  10. Music Revelation Ensemble: Music Revelation Ensemble (1988)
  11. Willem Breuker: Psalm 122 (1988)
  12. Steve Turre: Fire and Ice (1988)
  13. Trilok Gurtu: Usfret (1988)
  14. Bobby Previte: Claude's Late Morning (1988)
  15. Bill Frisell: Lookout for Hope (1988)
  16. Misha Mengelberg: Impromptus (1988)
  17. Marcus Roberts: Truth is Spoken Here (1988)
  18. David Ware: Passage To Music (1988)
  19. David Liebman: Trio + One (1988)
  20. Freddie Hubbard: Stardust (1988)
  21. Gary Thomas: Code Violations (1988)
  22. Hilton Ruiz: El Camino (1988)
  23. Phil Woods: Evolution (1988)
  24. Ralph Moore: Rejuvinate (1988)

1989

  1. Marty Ehrlich: Traveller's Tale (1989)
  2. Tim Berne: Fractured Fairy Tales (1989)
  3. Joe Maneri: Kalavinka (1989)
  4. 16-17: When All Else Fails (1989)
  5. Joe Lovano: Worlds (1989)
  6. Nimal: Nimal (1989)
  7. John Oswald: Plunderphonics (1989)
  8. Michael Shrieve: Stiletto (1989)
  9. Dave Holland: Extensions (1989)
  10. Andrew Hill: Eternal Spirit (1989)
  11. Christy Doran: Phoenix (1989)
  12. Henry Kaiser: Re-Marrying For Money (1989)
  13. Michael Shrieve: Big Picture (1989)
  14. MUhal Richard Abrams: Hearinga Suite (1989)
  15. Don Pullen: Song Everlasting (1989)
  16. Fred Hersh: Heartsongs (1989)
  17. Geri Allen: Twylight (1989)
  18. John Zorn: Naked City (1989)
  19. Leni Stern: Closer To The Light (1989)
  20. Ganelin Trio: Cantabile (1989)
  21. Marty Fogel: Many Bobbing Heads (1989)
  22. London Jazz Composers' Orchestra: Harmos (1989)
  23. Montreaux: Let Them Say (1989)
  24. No Safety: This Lost Leg (1989)
  25. John Carter: Shadows on a Wall (1989)
  26. Ralph Peterson: Triangular (1989)
  27. Ray Anderson: Blues Bred (1989)
  28. King Ubu Orchestru: Binaurality (1992)
  29. Evan Parker: Conic Sections (1989)
  30. Dewey Redman: Living on the Edge (1989)
  31. Charles Earland: Third Degree Burn (1989)
  32. John Scofield: Time on my Hands (1989)
  33. Roy Hargrove: Diamond In The Rough (1989)
  34. Tom Harrell: Sail Away (1989)
  35. Tommy Flanagan: Jazz Poet (1989)

The best of the decade

  1. Anthony Davis: Variations In Dream-time (1982)
  2. Borbetomagus: Barbed Wire Maggot (1983)
  3. Anthony Davis: Lady of the Mirrors (1980)
  4. John Zorn: Cobra (1986)
  5. Butch Morris: Current Trends In Racism (1985)
  6. Anthony Davis: Episteme (1981)
  7. Henry Threadgill: Easily Slip Into Another World (1987)
  8. Anthony Davis: Hemispheres (1983)
  9. Anthony Davis: Undine (1987)
  10. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Invisible Frames (1980)
  11. Henry Threadgill: When Was That (1982)
  12. John Zorn: Locus Solus (1984)
  13. Marty Ehrlich: Traveller's Tale (1989)
  14. Tim Berne: Fractured Fairy Tales (1989)
  15. Bill Frisell: Before We Were Born (1988)
  16. Joe McPhee: Topology (1981)
  17. Paul Motian: Psalm (1981)
  18. Rova Saxophone Quartet: As Was (1981)
  19. Air: 80 Degrees Below (1982)
  20. Evan Parker: Atlanta (1986)
  21. Henry Threadgill: Rag Bush And All (1988)
  22. Turtle Island String Quartet: Turtle Island String Quartet (1988)
  23. ICP Orchestra: Bospaadje Konijnehol I (1986)
  24. Marilyn Crispell: Spirit Music (1981)
  25. Pat Metheny: As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita (1980)
  26. Billy Bang: Changing Seasons (1980)
  27. Julius Hemphill: Flat Out Jump Suite (1980)
  28. MUhal Richard Abrams: Blues Forever (1981)
  29. Billy Bang: Outline No 12 (1982)
  30. Dave Holland: Life Cycle (1982)
  31. Terje Rypdal: Eos (1983)
  32. Don Pullen: Evidence of Things Unseen (1983)
  33. David Murray: Murray's Steps (1982)
  34. Bobby Previte: Bump The Renaissance (1985)
  35. Henry Kaiser: Aloha (1981)
  36. James Newton: Luella (1983)
  37. George Russell: The African Game (1985)
  38. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Crowd (1985)
  39. Joe Maneri: Kalavinka (1989)
TM, ®, Copyright © 2002 Piero Scaruffi