Top 100 Jazz Guitar Albums

The following “Top 100 Jazz Guitar Albums” list is the result of the numerous emails I get from people asking me to suggest jazz guitar cds to listen to. I asked the same question on the forum and about 220 people submitted their favorite jazz guitar albums. Here are the results…

At the bottom of this page is another list, a Top 10 of jazz guitarists, ordered according to how many times they were mentioned in the Top 100 thread on the forum. Although not very scientific, both lists are a good starting point for beginning jazz guitarists in terms of recommended listening.

The Top 100 Jazz Guitar list is in alphabetical order. Every album is linked to Amazon.com, where you can listen to samples of most songs (links open in a new window).

 

Elegant Gypsy - Al Di Meola

 

  1. Al Di Meola – Elegant Gypsy
  2. Allan Holdsworth – Metal Fatigue
  3. Antonio Carlos Jobim – Wave
  4. Baden Powell – At the Rio Jazz Club
  5. Barney Kessel – Kessel Plays Standards
  6. Barney Kessel – The Poll Winners
  7. Barry Galbraith – Guitar and the Wind (only available together with the album Manhatten Jazz Septette)
  8. Bill Frisell – East/West
  9. Bireli Lagrene – Gypsy Project
  10. Bireli Lagrene – Standards
  11. Bucky and John Pizzarelli – Contrasts
  12. Charlie Byrd – At The Village Vanguard
  13. Charlie Byrd – The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd
  14. Charlie Christian – Genius of the Electric Guitar
  15. Charlie Christian – Solo Flight
  16. Charlie Hunter – Bing Bing Bing
  17. Danny Gatton – Untouchable
  18. Django Reinhardt – Djangology
  19. Django Reinhardt – Quintet du Hot Club de France
  20. Earl Klugh – One on One
  21. Ed Bickert – Live at The Garden Party
  22. Eddie Lang – Jazz Guitar Virtuoso
  23. Emily Remler – Firefly
  24. Ernest Ranglin – Below the Bassline
  25. Frank Gambale – Thinking Out Loud
  26. George Barnes – Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
  27. George Benson – Bad Benson
  28. George Benson – Breezin’
  29. George Benson – Beyond the Blue Horizon
  30. George Benson – The George Benson Cookbook
  31. George Van Eps – Mellow Guitar
  32. Grant Green – Green Street
  33. Grant Green – Idle Moments
  34. Grant Green – The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark
  35. Hank Garland – Jazz Winds From a New Direction
  36. Herb Ellis/Joe Pass – Seven, Come Eleven
  37. Herb Ellis/Joe Pass – Two for the Road
  38. Howard Alden/George Van Eps – 13 Strings
  39. Howard Roberts – HR Is A Dirty Guitar Player
  40. Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow
  41. Jim Hall – Concierto
  42. Jim Hall – Live
  43. Jim Hall/Bill Evans – Intermodulation
  44. Jim Hall/Bill Evans – Undercurrent
  45. Jim Hall/Ron Carter – Alone Together
  46. Jimmy Bruno – Burnin’
  47. Jimmy Raney – Wisteria
  48. Joe Beck – Strangers in the Night
  49. Joe Diorio Trio – Live
  50. Joe Pass – For Django
  51. Joe Pass – Virtuoso
  52. John Abercrombie – Timeless
  53. John Basile – The Desmond Project
  54. John McLaughlin – Extrapolation
  55. John Scofield – A Go Go
  56. John Scofield – Hand Jive
  57. Johnny Smith – Johnny Smith
  58. Johnny Smith – Moonligh in Vermont (w Stan Getz)
  59. Jonathan Kreisberg – Unearth
  60. Kenny Burrell – Guitar Forms
  61. Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue
  62. Kevin Eubanks – Guitarist
  63. Kurt Rosenwinkel – Deep Song
  64. Larry Carlton – Last Nite
  65. Larry Coryell (w John McLaughlin) – Spaces
  66. Lee Ritenour – Rit’s House
  67. Lenny Breau – Live on Bourbon Street
  68. Luiz Bonfa – Solo in Rio 1959
  69. Martin Taylor – Spirit of Django
  70. Mike Stern – Play
  71. Mike Stern – Standards (and Other Songs)
  72. Mike Stern – Upside Downside
  73. Mundel Lowe – Guitar Moods
  74. Nguyen Le – Walking on the Tiger’s Tail
  75. Norman Brown – After the Storm
  76. Pat Martino – El Hombre
  77. Pat Martino – Footprints
  78. Pat Metheny – Bright Size Life
  79. Pat Metheny – Question and Answer
  80. Pat Metheny/Charlie Haden – Beyond The Missouri Sky
  81. Pat Metheny/John Scofield – I can see Your House From Here
  82. Peter Bernstein – Earth Tones
  83. Peter White – Caravan of Dreams
  84. Phillip Catherine – Summer Night
  85. Ralph Towner – Solstice
  86. Rene Thomas Quintet – Guitar Groove
  87. Robben Ford – Tiger Walk
  88. Ronny Jordan – The Antidote
  89. Rosenberg Trio – Caravan
  90. Stanley Jordan – Stolen Moments
  91. Steve Kahn – The Suitcase (Live)
  92. Sylvain Luc – Trio Sud
  93. Tal Farlow – Verve Jazz Masters 41
  94. Ted Greene – Solo Guitar
  95. Tuck Andress – Wreckless Precision
  96. Wes Montgomery – Boss Guitar
  97. Wes Montgomery – Bumpin’
  98. Wes Montgomery – Full House
  99. Wes Montgomery – Smokin’ at the Half Note
  100. Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery

 

Here’s the Top 10 of jazz guitarists, sorted according to how many times they showed up in the Top 100 thread at the forum:

Boss Guitar - Wes Montgomery

  1. Wes Montgomery
  2. Joe Pass
  3. Jim Hall
  4. Pat Metheny
  5. George Benson
  6. Grant Green
  7. Kenny Burrell
  8. Pat Martino
  9. Django Reinhardt
  10. John Scofield

 

ALSO CHECK OUT:




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  1. Max SommersFeb 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

    How can Sonny Sharrock not be on that list??

    • Lalo MirFeb 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Free jazz and avant-garde artist are not “popular” in top lists 🙁

  2. Fili SavloffJan 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    You forgot Barney Kessell.- Big mistake.

    • Dirk LaukensJan 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      ?? He’s on number 5 and 6.

  3. larry tamaniniMay 29, 2014 at 7:53 am

    this list is awful , seriously Norman Brown? Peter White ? Al Dimeola??? i know that the genre that is Jazz Guitar is a wide umbrella but this is laughable

    BOO

  4. Ethan AneshansleyOct 8, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I don’t think anyone ever could compile a list on this topic that would satisfy everyone. All I can say is that if there’s somebody YOU like, then they are GOOD.

  5. johnSep 10, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Jeff Beck????!!!! Not a jazz player. DI Meola? Great player, but not jazz. Underrepresented : Pat Martino, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Lenny Breau. Love Pat Metheny, but he’s over represented.

    • Kevin WebbApr 22, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Jeff Beck ?? Right! not a jazz guitarist.

  6. John F.Sep 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Django Reinhardt should be n°1 or Ex Aequo with Wes!!

    Django Reinhardt is the Jimi Hendrix of Jazz guitar come on there is a before and an after Django in jazz guitar history…

  7. Kevin WebbApr 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Kessel should be NO 1 amongst jazz guitarists. He is up there technically with Joe Pass (and Chet) but his ‘Listenabilty’ is stratospheric. Unlike some others he does not show-off his technique – he just play and enjoys.

  8. Kevin WebbApr 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Any one interested in Jazz guitar should check out the 4 POLL WINNERS’ albums recorded 1957-1960. Kessel plays with Ray Brown on Bsss and Shelly Manne on drums. They got together for a new approach 15 years later in 1975 with STRAIGHT AHEAD. Much more hard-edged, reflecting the changes in music in the interim. All by Contemporary Records who also recorded a BK album in late 1957, but didn’t release it until 1962 (LET’S COOK); probably to make way for the Poll Winners series. All wonderful stuff.

  9. DWHEELSONEDec 18, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I WANT TO KNOW WHO MADE THE JAZZ GUITAR ALBUM BAD GUITAR? MY FATHER USED TO PLAY IT WHEN I WAS A KID. I THINK ITS A TRIO. IVE BEEN LOOKING EVERYWHERE TO FIND OUT WHO MADE IT. IF YOU DONT KNOW PLS. LET ME KNOW WHERE TO LOOK. THANKYOU

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