More and more I'm convinced that the mid-'50s through the mid-'60s were the true Golden Age of Jazz. Not only were the acknowledged giants roaming the earth and laying down their masterpieces -- Miles, Trane, Mingus, Monk, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins -- but there were a whole host of "second-tier" musicians who released one stellar album after another. God only knows why these folks aren't better known, but they're not. I'd argue that there's at least a couple albums from each of these relative unknowns that can hold their own with the greatest jazz ever released.
And so this morning I've been sampling the wares of a few longtime favorites who frequently get pushed aside (at least by me) in favor of their better-known contemporaries. Specifically, I've been listening to:
Sonny Stitt -- Stitt Plays Bird
Booker Ervin -- Cookin'
Dexter Gordon -- Go
Eric Dolphy -- Out to Lunch
Hank Mobley -- Soul Station
Horace Silver -- Blowin' the Blues Away
Jackie McLean -- Right Now
Jimmy Smith -- The Sermon
Lee Morgan -- The Sidewinder
Rahsaan Roland Kirk -- Domino
Stan Getz and Joao Gilbert -- Getz/Gilberto
Sun Ra -- Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth
Every one's a masterpiece, I'm telling you. There's hundreds more where those came from.