The Best Jazz Albums of the 1980's

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

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

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The 1940's The 1950's The 1960's The 1970's The 1980's The 1990's The 2000's
TM, ®, Copyright © 2002 Piero Scaruffi

1980


    8/10
  1. Anthony Davis: Lady of the Mirrors (1980)
  2. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Invisible Frames (1980)
    7.5/10
  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. Steve Tibbetts: YR (1980)
    7/10
  8. Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Urban Bushmen (1980)
  9. Charles Noyes: Free Mammals (1980)
  10. Pat Metheny: 1980-1981 (1980)
  11. World Saxophone Quartet: WSQ (1980)
  12. David Murray: Ming (1980)
  13. Ganelin Trio: Ancora Da Capo (1980)
  14. Joanne Brackeen: Ancient Dynasty (1980)
  15. Ran Blake: Film Noir (1980)
  16. Muhal Richard Abrams: Mama and Daddy (1980)
  17. Derek Bailey: Aida (1980)
  18. Evan Parker: Six of One (1980)
  19. Steps Ahead: Step By Step (1980)
  20. Steve Beresford: Double indemnity (1980)
  21. Music Revelation Ensemble: No Wave (1980)
  22. Jan Garbarek: Eventyr (1980)
  23. David Liebman: If They Only Knew (1980)
  24. Tom Varner: Quartet (1980)
  25. Harvie Swartz: Underneath It All (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


    8/10
  1. Anthony Davis: Episteme (1981)
    7.5/10
  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)
    7/10
  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. Jaco Pastorius: Word of Mouth (1981)
  17. Joanne Brackeen: Special Identity (1981)
  18. Hal Russell: NRG Ensemble (1981)
  19. Marvin Peterson: The Angels of Atlanta (1981)
  20. Jan Garbarek: Paths Prints (1981)
  21. Oscar Peterson: Nigerian Marketplace (1981)
  22. Saheb Sarbib: Aisha (1981)
  23. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Street Priest (1981)
  24. Steve Douglas: Rainbow Suite (1981)
  25. Steve Khan: Eyewitness (1981)
  26. Wynton Marsalis: Wynton Marsalis (1981)

1982


    8/10
  1. Anthony Davis: Variations In Dream-time (1982)
  2. Henry Threadgill: When Was That (1982)
    7.5/10
  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)
    7/10
  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)
  27. Derek Bailey: Epiphany (1982)

1983


    8.5/10
  1. Borbetomagus: Barbed Wire Maggot (1983)
    8/10
  2. Anthony Davis: Hemispheres (1983)
    7.5/10
  3. Terje Rypdal: Eos (1983)
  4. Don Pullen: Evidence of Things Unseen (1983)
  5. James Newton: Luella (1983)
    7/10
  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. Steps Ahead: Steps Ahead (1983)
  11. Dollar Brand: Ekaya (1983)
  12. Jamaaladeen Tacuma: Show Stopper (1983)
  13. Paul Motian: The Story Of Maryam (1983)
  14. Joachim Kuhn: I'm Not Dreaming (1983)
  15. Kenny Wheeler: Double Double You (1983)
  16. Lakshiminarayana Subramaniam: Spanish Wave (1983)
  17. Roger Neumann: Introducing Rather Large Band (1983)
  18. Dave Holland: Jumpin' In (1983)
  19. Henry Threadgill: Just the Facts (1983)
  20. George Russell: So What (1983)
  21. Lol Coxhill: Couscous (1983)
  22. Bobby Shew: Breakfast Wine (1983)
  23. Bob Wasserman: Solo (1983)
  24. Joe McPhee: Visitation (1983)
  25. Bobby Watson: Jewel (1983)
  26. Branford Marsalis: Scenes In The City (1983)
  27. Ronald Shannon Jackson: Barbeque Dog (1983)
  28. Shadowfax: Shadowdance (1983)

1984


    7.5/10
  1. John Zorn: Locus Solus (1984)
  2. Geri Allen: Printmakers (1984)
    7/10
  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


    8/10
  1. Butch Morris: Current Trends In Racism (1985)
    7.5/10
  2. Bobby Previte: Bump The Renaissance (1985)
  3. David Torn: Best Laid Plans (1985)
    7/10
  4. George Russell: The African Game (1985)
  5. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Crowd (1985)
  6. Lyle Mays: Lyle Mays (1985)
  7. David Liebman: The Loneliness Of A Long-Distance Runner (1985)
  8. James Newton: Water Mystery (1985)
  9. Herb Robertson: Transparency (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


    8/10
  1. John Zorn: Cobra (1986)
    7.5/10
  2. Evan Parker: Atlanta (1986)
  3. ICP Orchestra: Bospaadje Konijnehol I (1986)
  4. 16-17: 16-17 (1986)
    7/10
  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


    7.5/10
  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. David Torn: Cloud About Mercury (1987)
    7/10
  6. Hank Roberts: Black Pastels (1987)
  7. Marilyn Crispell: Labyrinths (1987)
  8. Guy Klucevsek: Scenes From A Mirage (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. Kenny Wheeler: Flutter By Butterfly (1987)
  21. Mark Helias: The Current Set (1987)
  22. Michael Brecker: Michael Brecker (1987)
  23. Montreaux: Sign Language (1987)
  24. Sonny Sharrock: Seize the Rainbow (1987)
  25. Mulgrew Miller: Wingspan (1987)
  26. Neil Swainson: 49th Parallel (1987)
  27. Earthworks: Earthworks (1987)
  28. Don Pullen: Song Everlasting (1987)
  29. Nimal: Nimal (1987)

1988


    8/10
  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)
    7.5/10
  4. Wayne Horvitz: Bring Your Camera (1988)
    7/10
  5. Lyle Mays: Street Dreams (1988)
  6. Dave Holland: Triplicate (1988)
  7. Jackie McLean: Dynasty (1988)
  8. John Carter: Fields (1988)
  9. Leni Stern: Secrets (1988)
  10. Microscopic Septet: Beauty Based on Science (1988)
  11. Music Revelation Ensemble: Music Revelation Ensemble (1988)
  12. Willem Breuker: Psalm 122 (1988)
  13. Steve Turre: Fire and Ice (1988)
  14. Trilok Gurtu: Usfret (1988)
  15. Bobby Previte: Claude's Late Morning (1988)
  16. Bill Frisell: Lookout for Hope (1988)
  17. Misha Mengelberg: Impromptus (1988)
  18. Marcus Roberts: Truth is Spoken Here (1988)
  19. David Ware: Passage To Music (1988)
  20. David Liebman: Trio + One (1988)
  21. Freddie Hubbard: Stardust (1988)
  22. Gary Thomas: Code Violations (1988)
  23. Hilton Ruiz: El Camino (1988)
  24. Phil Woods: Evolution (1988)
  25. Ralph Moore: Rejuvinate (1988)
  26. Egberto Gismonti : Danca Das Escravos (1988)

1989


    8/10
  1. Marty Ehrlich: Traveller's Tale (1989)
  2. Tim Berne: Fractured Fairy Tales (1989)
    7.5/10
  3. Joe Maneri: Kalavinka (1989)
  4. 16-17: When All Else Fails (1989)
  5. Michael Shrieve: Big Picture (1989)
    7/10
  6. Joe Lovano: Worlds (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. Muhal Richard Abrams: Hearinga Suite (1989)
  14. Fred Hersh: Heartsongs (1989)
  15. Geri Allen: Twylight (1989)
  16. John Zorn: Naked City (1989)
  17. Reggie Workman Ensemble: Images (1991)
  18. Leni Stern: Closer To The Light (1989)
  19. Ganelin Trio: Cantabile (1989)
  20. Marty Fogel: Many Bobbing Heads (1989)
  21. London Jazz Composers' Orchestra: Harmos (1989)
  22. Montreaux: Let Them Say (1989)
  23. John Carter: Shadows on a Wall (1989)
  24. Ralph Peterson: Triangular (1989)
  25. Ray Anderson: Blues Bred (1989)
  26. Evan Parker: Conic Sections (1989)
  27. Dewey Redman: Living on the Edge (1989)
  28. Charles Earland: Third Degree Burn (1989)
  29. John Scofield: Time on my Hands (1989)
  30. Roy Hargrove: Diamond In The Rough (1989)
  31. Tom Harrell: Sail Away (1989)
  32. Tommy Flanagan: Jazz Poet (1989)
  33. Frederic Hand: Heart's Song (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. Don Pullen: Evidence of Things Unseen (1983)
  32. David Murray: Murray's Steps (1982)
  33. Bobby Previte: Bump The Renaissance (1985)
  34. Henry Kaiser: Aloha (1981)
  35. James Newton: Luella (1983)
  36. George Russell: The African Game (1985)
  37. Rova Saxophone Quartet: Crowd (1985)
  38. Joe Maneri: Kalavinka (1989)
TM, ®, Copyright © 2002 Piero Scaruffi