Lv 7
KatGuy asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicJazz · 1 decade ago

Who are your personal favorite top 5 jazz pianists?

Mine are Kenny Barron, Tommy Flanagan, Jessica Williams, McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans.


I would recommend "This Side Up" as an introduction to Jessica Williams, but "All Alone" and "Live at Yoshi's Volumes 1 and 2" are also good.

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    as a disclaimer of sorts, I must admit that I'm more of a reeds/bass/percussion type person, favoring/seeking out those instruments and their players in the jazz recordings that I buy/listen to, with the piano, for whatever reason, not being as high on my musical, so to speak, list. that said, in purely alphabetical order:

    1. Alice Coltrane (musical sacrilege, I know, but I'll take her any day over Tyner).

    2. Bill Evans (preferably with the final trio of Johnson and La Barbera).

    3. Keith Jarrett (preferably from the 70s and preferably with the "American Quartet").

    4. Herbie Nichols (the jazz great whose complete discography is the easiest to own and, indeed, SHOULD be owned).

    5. Mal Waldron (don't own too many titles featuring him, but I enjoy his playing on all of them, to be sure).

    oh ... and I guess that I should note, before I submit this, that my most favorite of pianists are a bunch of folks not primarily known for that instrument. that said, they are: Don Cherry, Charles Mingus, and Sam Rivers. given that you asked for pianists, I wasn't sure if I should include them above. I know that I couldn't leave them out, though...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1. Bill Evans

    2. McCoy Tyner

    3. Chick Corea (especially late 60s acoustic)

    4. Joe Zawinul

    5. Duke Ellington (Ellington's piano is the primary influence on Thelonius Monk)

    Waaay cool that you are into Jessica Williams. I remember her back in the '80s in San Francisco, pre-Seattle, including once in 1986 just before she recorded her "nothing but the truth" album for Blackhawk when she and some friends came over to my house and played for a couple of hours.

    You probably know she's also a great drummer.

    My favorite Jessica tune -- I don't think she ever recorded it -- was in 7 and in E-minor, dedicated to Horace Silver and Chief Crazy Horse, entitled "Buried Hearts and Broken Promises."

    She also does phenominal Monk, such as I Mean You.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Bud Powell, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum....

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  • in no particular order:

    1. Bill Evans

    2. Thelonious Monk

    3. Chick Corea

    4. Herbie Hancock

    5. McCoy Tyner

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  • 1 decade ago

    There are so many good ones; I've got probably 20 to 25 that I could consider my "personal favorites." But, like many people, I think that that jazz piano begins and ends with Art Tatum. As fellow pianist Fatts Waller once said when Art Tatum walked into a room, "God is in the house." Several pianists, including Hank Jones, are on record as stating that the first time they heard Tatum playing they were convinced that it was two or even three people playing at once!

    Source(s): Hank Jones quote in the liner notes to "Art Tatum 20th Century Piano Genius."
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  • Teaim
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    That's too difficult for me to answer. I can only say that...

    Jaki Byard

    is my number one favorite. I especially like his playing with the 1964 Mingus Sextet and also Booker Ervin's quartet that also included my favorite bass player, Richard Davis and drummer Alan Dawson.

    Favorite Byard recordings are...

    The song, Orange Was the Color of Her Dress Then Blue Silk. The version on the recently released live recording called Cornell '64 is my favorite version. The entire concert had Jaki on a really great night. During Orange, you can even hear Mingus hootin' and hollerin' during Jaki's playing. Might be my favorite song of anything I have ever heard, and Jaki has a LOT to do with it.

    The entire Booker Ervin album called The Freedom Book is another great album to hear Jaki playing his best. If I had to pick a favorite piano solo from the album, I would say the song A Day to Mourn.

    Hazy Eve is a duet by Jaki and Richard Davis. Two masters with only each other to play off. Completely amazing, in my little opinion.

    Another pianis who stands out, for me, is Andrew Hill, not just for his creative, and tasteful, playing but for his compositions. He was a true leader of the post Charlie Parker tradition. He helped to move the music ahead when it was starting to get hung up on its tradition, in my opinion.

    Of the new breed, I would have these guys on my list...

    Aaron Goldgerg

    Jean-Michel Pilc

    Robert Glasper

    Aron Parks

    Edsel Gomez

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  • 1 decade ago

    Tough question. In no particular order....

    1. Keith Jarrett

    2. McCoy Tyner

    3. Cecil Taylor

    4. Oscar Peterson

    5. Horace Silver

    It kills me not to put Bill Evans in my top five. I am not at all familiar with Jessica Williams. She isn't even in my Penguin guide to Jazz book. What would you recommend? Based on your list, I imagine I should check her out.

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  • 1 decade ago

    1) Oscar Peterson

    2) Gene Harris

    3) Bill Evans

    4) Keith Jarret

    5) Geoff Keezer

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not a pianist and I don't know all there is to know about them, but:

    Kenny Barron is my favorite. The rest in no particular order:

    Herbie Hancock

    Benny Green

    Wynton Kelly

    No 5th sticks out.

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