7 Greatest Jazz CDs

A fearless pick of the hippest and coolest ever. Let the arguments begin

BILLIE HOLIDAY LADY DAY: THE BEST OF BILLIE HOLIDAY

Many other singers had better pipes or more agile techniques. But nobody transformed a song into something as deeply personal and affecting--and swinging--as Holiday. In these two discs, her reedy, frayed-at-the-edges voice, teasingly lagging the beat, instinctively breathes the bittersweet essence of the jazz life. What's more, she is surrounded by the finest sidemen of the era (1935-42), including pianist Teddy Wilson and her musical and emotional soul mate, tenor saxophonist Lester Young.

MILES DAVIS THE COMPLETE BIRTH OF THE COOL

In the late 1940s, Davis teamed up for the first of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!