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30 Jazz Solos You Need To Hear

Recently we asked our newsletter subscribers and our followers on Facebook and Twitter what their absolute favorite jazz solos are.  We received a lot of really great submissions and were pleasantly surprised to discover some new jazz solo’s ourselves! There are so many incredible solos out there, and often times, the best way to discover great new music is to ask your friends what they are listening to.

We decided to narrow the list down to 30 solos. The list includes solos that were mentioned as favorites more than once, ones that were new discoveries for us, and solos that we just all around agreed were awesome! So in no particular order, here are 30 jazz solo’s you need to hear:

1. John Coltrane

Soloist: John Coltrane

Song: It Could Happen To You

Album: Miles Davis Quintet “Relaxin'” (1956)

Solo starts: 2:14

2. John Coltrane

Soloist: John Coltrane

Song: Someday My Prince Will Come

Album: Miles Davis “Someday My Prince Will Come” (1961)

Solo starts: 5:51

3. Cedar Walton

Soloist: Cedar Walton

Song: Hammerhead

Album: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers “Free For All” (1964) 

Solo starts: 4:49

4. Blue Mitchell

Soloist: Blue Mitchell

Song: Stablemates

Album: “Stablemates” (1977) 

Solo starts: 0:47

5. Bill Evans

Soloist: Bill Evans

Song: All The Things You Are

Album: “At Shelly’s Manne-hole” (1963) 

Solo starts: 0:53

6. Wynton Kelly

Soloist: Wynton Kelly

Song: Remember

Album: Hank Mobley “Soul Station” (1960) 

Solo starts: 3:05

7. Hank Mobley

Soloist: Hank Mobley

Song: Remember

Album: Hank Mobley “Soul Station” (1960) 

Solo starts: 0:43

8. Sonny Rollins

Soloist: Sonny Rollins

Song: Mysterioso

Album: Sonny Rollins “Vol. 2” (1957) 

Solo starts: 1:17

9. Cannonball Adderley

Soloist: Cannonball Adderley

Song: Toy

Album: Cannonball Adderley With Bill Evans “Know What I Mean?” (1961) 

Solo starts: 1:08

10. Freddie Hubbard

Soloist: Freddie Hubbard

Song: You’re My Everything

Album: “Hub Tones” (1962) 

Solo starts: 0:51

11. Art Farmer

Soloist: Art Farmer

Song: The Touch of Your Lips

Album: “Modern Art” (1958) 

Solo starts: 1:03

12. Jim Hall

Soloist: Jim Hall

Song: Without a Song

Album: Sonny Rollins “The Bridge” (1962) 

Solo starts: 4:01

13. Clark Terry

Soloist: Clark Terry

Song: Mack the Knife

Album: “Oscar Peterson Trio +1” (1964) 

Solo starts: 2:08

14. Bill Evans

Soloist: Bill Evans

Song: My Romance

Album: Bill Evans Trio “At The Village Vanguard” (1961) 

Solo starts: 1:39

15. Joe Henderson

Soloist: Joe Henderson

Song: Beatrice

Album:  “State of the Tenor” (1985) 

Solo starts: 2:03

16. Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt

Soloist: Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt

Song: There Is No Greater Love

Album:  “Boss Tenors” (1961) 

Solo starts: Ammons: 1:06 Stitt: 2:07

17. Charlie Parker

Soloist: Charlie Parker

Song: Embraceable You

Album:  Charlie Parker Quintet (1947) 

Solo starts: 0:14

18. Warne Marsh

Soloist: Warne Marsh

Song: Broadway

Album:  Ted Brown Sextet “Free Wheeling” (1956) 

Solo starts: 0:47

19. Wes Montgomery

Soloist: Wes Montgomery

Song: Gone With The Wind

Album: “The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery” (1960) 

Solo starts: 0:51

20. Joe Pass

Soloist: Joe Pass

Song: Limehouse Blues

Album: “For Django” (1964) 

Solo starts: 0:25

21. Miles Davis

Soloist: Miles Davis

Song: Jam Session

Album: “Dingo” (1991) 

Solo starts: 3:40

22. Oscar Peterson

Soloist: Oscar Peterson

Song: Nighttime

Album: Oscar Peterson Trio “Saturday Night at the Blue Note” (1990) 

Solo starts: 0:44

23. Charlie Parker

Soloist: Charlie Parker

Song: Just Friends

Album: “Charlie Parker With Strings” (1950) 

Solo starts: 1:21

24. Lester Young

Soloist: Lester Young

Song: Lady Be Good

Album: “Lester Young With Count Basie” (1936) 

Solo starts: 0:40

25. Sonny Stitt

Soloist: Sonny Stitt

Song: Surfin’

Album: Sonny Stitt’s & Paul Gonsalves “Salt & Pepper” (1963) 

Solo starts: 0:28

26. Paul Chambers

Soloist: Paul Chambers

Song: Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

Album: “Red Garland Revisited” (1957) 

Solo starts: 3:10

27. Ella Fitzgerald

Soloist: Ella Fitzgerald

Song: Take The A Train

Album: “Sings The Duke Ellington Songbook” (1957) 

Solo starts: 1:41

28. Michael Brecker

Soloist: Michael Brecker

Song: Trains

Album: Steps Ahead “Magnetic” (1986) 

Solo starts: 2:18

29. Michel Petrucciani

Soloist: Michel Petrucciani

Song: Caravan

Album: “Jazz Baltica 1996”  

Solo starts: 1:00

30. Chris Potter

Soloist: Chris Potter

Song: Pop Tune #1

Album: Chris Potter Underground “Follow The Red Line”  

Solo starts: 6:27

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."



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