Norm's lively build-yourself-a jazz-collection post prompts me to compile a list of my own. In my experience, lots of newcomers are permanently turned off the music by hearing the wrong piece at the wrong time. If you had a bad night out at a Pinter play, you'd be unlikely to throw up your hands and declare "I don't like theatre", but I've heard friends say much the same thing about jazz on the basis of a single ill-fated outing to a club. (Jazz lovers can be off-putting too, but that's another story.) Here are my ten essential discs, in no particular order. I haven't added Kind of Blue because any self-respecting music lover will already own a copy. Like Norm, I'm besotted with Diana Krall (the non-strings version, that is) but I'm giving Patricia Barber my vote because she's edgier and deserves a wider audience. Although the Benny Goodman disc may seem an odd choice, it gives neophytes the chance to hear a red-blooded swing band without having to contend with the fog of 78 rpm static. As for the Armstrong/Ellington, it certainly wouldn't be the purists' choice, but it's just great, unbuttoned fun, and also contains the quintessential It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing. True, very true...
Kenny Burrell: Midnight Blue (The first Blue Note album I ever fell in love with. The LP cover is framed in my kitchen, and I got Mr B to autograph the CD when I interviewed him an awfully long time ago.)
Miles Davis: In A Silent Way.
Patricia Barber: Live - A Fortnight in France.
Benny Goodman: B.G. in Hi-Fi.
Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots.
Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington: The Great Summit.
Nat "King" Cole: After Midnight.
Bill Evans: Explorations.
Horace Silver: Song For My Father.
Thelonious Monk: Genius of Modern Music, Vol 1.