Great, but obscure albums to purchase
Duke Jordan"Duke Jordan": This Savoy reissue, which I think is also known as "Trio and Quintet," is my favorite Jordan (though his "Flight to Jordan," a 1960 Blue Note with Dizzy Reece on trumpet, is great too), if only for his lovely solo piano rendition of "Summertime."
Pete LaRoca"Turkish Women at the Bath": Recently reissued on CD by 32 Jazz, this 1967 session with Chick Corea, as its title might suggest, interestingly evokes other cultures without straying far from mainstream jazz. Very creative.
George Lewis"Homage to Charles Parker": I don't know if this qualifies as obscure given the almost unheard-of 5-star rating it receives in The Penguin Guide to Jazz, but it's a great combination of Lewis' trombone, interesting electronics, etc. Fascinating.
John Lewis"The Wonderful World of Jazz": Much of this is fun for both established jazz fans and those looking for an introduction to jazz. Even my wife, not the dyed-in-the-wool fan I am, loves the opening 15-minute "Body and Soul" with the great Paul Gonsalves on sax.
Harold Mabern"Straight Street": A solid piano trio that covers everything from lesser known Coltrane tunes ("Straight Street," "Crescent") to Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing." This is the only date under Mabern's leadership I own, but I'm convinced I must buy more.
Gil Melle"The Complete Blue Note Fifties Sessions": Melle's music on this 2 CD set is decidedly unusual given most of it is from the 10" LP era: abstract enough to be interesting without becoming offputtingly diffuse. Serious demerits, though, for Melle's own largely irrelevant and self-inflating liner notes, which indicate among other things that he practically invented electronic music (which, in any event, this is not) as we know it today!
Blue Mitchell"Blue Soul," "Step Lightly": Excellent, tuneful. If you like Blue's work with Horace Silver, these are for you.
Lee Morgan"Sonic Boom": Lee Morgan recorded so much great music that some of it just had to fall through the cracks. This Blue Note LP combines Morgan's magical trumpet with David "Fathead" Newman's chugging sax; it's great fun if you can find it.
Herbie Nicholsanything. Like Thelonious Monk and Andrew Hill, an original. Grab his complete Blue Note recordings if you can.
Horace Parlan"Happy Frame of Mind": An excellent Blue Note with a title that tells you what his music will probably put you in. I love his song "Wailin,'" available in trio format on "Us Three" and with the Turrentine brothers on trumpet and tenor sax on "Headin' South."
Oscar Pettiford"The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet": If you can find this, originally recorded for Charles Mingus' Debut label and reissued 5 or 10 years ago on Original Jazz Classics (LP only), grab it. Pettiford plays cello with Mingus on bass on some cuts.
Ike Quebec"Heavy Soul": Ike Quebec's warm tenor sax was just made for late night city barroom jukeboxes. This CD has a great version of "The Man I Love" that changes tempo from sleepy-slow to finger-snapping, and later back again, without missing a beat.
Dizzy Reeceanything: a sadly neglected trumpet player who last recorded, to my knowledge, with Clifford Jordan's big band on the late '80's "Down Through the Years." His Blue Notes ("Blues in Trinity," "Star Bright," "Soundin' Off") are all good straight-ahead jazz; the U.S. CD reissue of "Blues in Trinity" adds several unreleased tracks. His sole OJC, "Asia Minor," while not completely of a piece with his earlier work, is also very good.
Woody Shaw"Setting Standards": Glad to see Woody Shaw, another sorely underrated trumpeter, has already been mentioned several times on this site. This is a lovely '80's session for Muse, which, while mostly (naturally) standards, includes a fun version of the theme from TV's "Spiderman"!! Shaw's "Imagination," recently reissued by 32 Jazz, is another excellent set similar to this one.
Gabor Szabo"Bacchanal": A guilty pleasure. Szabo is a very "sixties" guitarist in my opinion (his "The Sorcerer" on Impulse almost makes me feel like I was a college student smoking dope in Haight-Ashbury at the time instead of an elementary school kid in Indiana), but dated doesn't have to mean boring: I think the way he constantly speeds up the tempo in the last minute of the title track is amazing.
Henry Threadgill"Too Much Sugar for a Dime": Not for the faint-hearted perhaps, and I have no idea what most of his song titles mean, but Threadgill's is exhilirating, adventurous music.
The Three Sounds"Babe's Blues" "Introducing the Three Sounds" "Standards": Or, probably, anything else by this consistently entertaining group. It seems the Three Sounds took some critical bashing when (and probably, because) they were popular, back in the early '60's. A piano trio that swings? What's wrong with that?