Vintage old jazz box set { before 1960 !?



Im looking for a box set (cd box if possible) that contains old jazz singers and musicians before the year 1960! So i wonder if you have any recommendation?

I wait patiently to listen to that old music from the early 1900 to the 50’s

ps. if posible a box set more than 20 cds :grin:


It will cost more, but if you are new to jazz, it would be better to buy a few less, but get a selection of CDs that will introduce you to the most well known, and a few that you wouldn’t find in a box set.
I don’t have time now, but if that interests you, let us know. Either I or one of the other jazz fans can make a list for you.
I have a list of appr 10 recordings anyone new to jazz should get, posted years ago over at the Audio Asylum.

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I would agree a box set may not be the best approach. There are some incredible jazz albums available pre-1960. Some would call1959 the Golden year of jazz similar to 1939 as the golden year for film. I am offering to put together a list as well. Do you have a preference fo Big Band, Jazz Vocals, or smll jazz combos as a starting off point. If not no worries.

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So I’m going to recommend forgoing best of jazz samplers as they can be a bit of a mixed bag, That includes the Ken Burns Jazz Series. Not knowing your preferences for early jazz, big band, vocals etc. I had to make some assumptions. Also, some of the earliest recordings make be lacking in “fidelity”. However, they are worth pursuing as the create a basis for the jazz you may enjoy going forward. I’ve left out quite a bit. As I type this more come to mind. Pursuing this list will result in the beginnings of a top notch jazz library that you may continue to build on, versus a sampler that may sit on the shelves. By the way thank you for limiting your request to pre-1960, other wise my recommended list would be a bit intimidating in size and scope.

(Charles Mingus Jazz at Massey Hall is a must have.)

So here it is and keep in mind these are albums I would start with:


Louis Armstrong – The Complete Hot Five and Seven Recordings

Big Band

Duke Ellington – The Okeh Ellington 1927 - 1931

Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra - Fargo, North Dakota November 7, 1940

Duke Ellington - The Blanton Webster Band

Count Basie and his Orchestra - April in Paris

Count Basie – The Complete Decca Recordings

Count Basie – The Complete Atomic Basie

Bennie Goodman – The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert


Billy Holiday – Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book


Lester Young – The Complete Aladdin Recordings of Lester Young

Charlie Parker - The Complete Dial Recordings

Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy Recordings

Coleman Hawkins – The Indispensable Coleman Hawkins “Body and Soul” 1927 -1956

Sarah Vaughan – Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Clifford Brown – Clifford Brown and Max oach

Sun Ra - Greatest Hits Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel

Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus

Sonny Rollins – Night at the Village Vanguard

Thelonious Monk – Genius of Modern Music Vol. 1

Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music Vol. 2

Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners

Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane

John Coltrane – Giant Steps

John Coltrane – Blue Train

John Coltrane – My Favorite Things (1961)

Miles Davis - Round About Midnight

Miles Davis - Kinda Blue

Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else

Charles Mingus – Ah Um

Charles Mingus – Jazz at Massey Hall (This is a Super Group of BeBop with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach)

Bud Powell The Amazing Bud Powell Vol 1.

Bud Powell – The Amazing Bud Powell Music Vol. 2

Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery

Stan Getz – Storyville Vol. 1

Art Pepper – Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section

Art Blakey – Moanin’

Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out

Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come

Ornette Coleman – Change of the Century


Curious to see your list of 10 recommended jazz recordings. Please share.

I went back and found the list that I made in the year 2000. Nineteen years later, it would not be the same. Mingus is missing, same with Chet Baker’s “Chet”, Johnny Hodges, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery. Duke’s “Far East Suites”, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck
Here is that list:
John Coltrane - Lush Life
Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue also Bags Groove
Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins
Thelonious Monk - Straight, No Chaser [Columbia CK64886]
Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster
Huston Person - My Romance
Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson
Jazz Vocal:
John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman
Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong - Ella And Louis Again
Billie Holiday - Billies Best also Body And Soul

While my 19 year old list would be a start, if the OP had responded, I might have gone to my jazz section and picked roughly 20 albums. There are selections that have stood out over the years, stood the test of time, a few I would have to listen to, not sure why I picked Duke and Coleman, over other options.


@jeffstarr-Thanks that’s a pretty strong list. Great choices on the vocals. These all tend provide a stronger regarding hi-fidelity sound than some of those I choose.

I have all the great jazz classics from 50’s to the 60’s, so i am looking more old jazz women singers not to well know and old stuff before Miles Davis. I have all the Louis Armstrong, and similar artist, so i was thinking a box can have a few obscure artist people dont “light” out so much out there.

I prefer small bands like Miles band or similar but looking for obscure singers.

Ps. Honest i love more instrumental jazz there the trumpet or trombon is central, im not so much for saxsophone solo,
I like very few vocals, and piano jazz similar Evans.

I have listen almost all in this list, many of this list i have, still i may have miss some few in your list because i dont know or remember 100% if i listen to them before but all in the list sound familiar; i will double check any way;

Thank tou very much!!

you have almost the same top ten as mine :smile:

If you haven’t explored these vocalists, I’d recommend

“The Ivie Anderson Collection 1932-46”

Una Mae Carlisle “1942-1944”

“The Lee Wiley Collection: 1931-57”

“Hadda Brooks: Jump Back Honey: Complete Okeh Sessions”


This not mentioned yet.

Way Out West

The wife and I were dancing around the house listening to the Irving Berlin Songbook last Sunday. Just wonderful.

Sings The Irving Berlin Song Book (VME) [2 CD Remastered]

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This would have been helpful knowing it from the start. Not sure how you describe obscure, as that can be subject based on your exposure to jazz.

@Buho, how about a some reciprocity and share your favorites from the era specified as well examples of the more obscure vocalists from the era. It could result in stronger or more focused recommendations.
As far as obscure vocalists try the Sun Ra Greatest Hits I recommended.

If you enjoy older jazz styles, you could buy the Mosaic Records box set called the ‘Savory Collection’ that is available now for a limited time.

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Great suggestion:


Thank you very much these are new artists to me the kind im looking for !

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You’re welcome.

There really weren’t that many stand out women JAZZ singers as we might think of them today in the 'twenties. There were a few but they were more pop. . . jazz of the time was a popular format. Blues had some standouts. I’m sure you are familiar with Bessie Smith, who was a real star. And others such as Alberta Hunter and Mamie Smith.

I think in the 'thirties singers, male and female, became more established as artists and jazz singing really developed as a form, which really flowered into the 'forties. I suppose you are familiar with the truly recognized greats such as Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee but perhaps you could explore the work of Helen Humes (who was a Basie singer), Helen Ward and Helen Forrest (both Goodman singers) and a few others who led bands such as Midge Williams and Savanah Churchill.

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thanks i am listen to the ones mention here in this thread great albums and artists

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