If I wanted to get into Jazz Drumming what would be 3 great records to start with?

Roy E. Munson

Senior Member
I enjoy jazz, but know absolutely nothing about it. Ive listened to birth of the cool, and I have watched Tony Williams, but other than that I really know nothing. Can you steer me in the right direction for 3 essential records for Jazz Drumming? Please and Thank You!

Anthony Amodeo

that is a loaded question...hahahahah

look up anything with

Elvin Jones
Tony Williams
Max Roach
Joe Morello
Kenny Clarke
Roy Haynes
Sid Catlett
Buddy Rich
Art Blakey
Jimmy Cobb
Philly Joe Jones
Papa Jo Jones
Jack Dejohnette
Billy Cobham
.....and many more....got tired of typing

there are so many amazing jazz records that you could have 1000 board members answer ...each one with a different 3 records for recommended jazz drum listening

my personal 3 would change every day

I could give you todays 3....but not sure what good it would do because tomorrow it would be different :)

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I recommend getting into general swing stuff first. For big bands, I'd find any record by Duke Ellington or Count Basie. For small group stuff, find some Dave Brubeck or Oscar Peterson. As cool as Miles is, or Max Roach, sometimes their stuff is a little too deep. You want to hear just regular songs done in a jazz vein to start. Maynard Ferguson kinda' bridged this gap between rock and jazz, so go there if Duke or Count is too much for you. More small group swing can also be found with guitarists like Barney Kessel and Wes Montgomery.

Dave Brubeck did a great album of Disney classics, and that's a great introduction because you hear jazz versions of songs you probably already know. It gives you a sense of what the possibilities are with regular music first.


Platinum Member
Miles Davis - Milestones (Philly Joe Jones)
Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus (Max Roach)
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Moanin' (Art Blakey)


Platinum Member
Duke Ellington - Never No Lament: The Blanton Webster Band (Sonny Greer) is another. It's a three-disc set but this is some of the best music ever recorded and it shows what a drummer does behind what I believe is the greatest big band of all-time.


Well-known member
I love what's been mentioned thus far. If you want the historical aspect, perhaps some of these may help. I just went down and randomly picked some of what I own and listed them here. Some represents original New Orleans / Small Group Chicago / Early Swing / Big Band and a little more modern.

Additionally, you may be interested in the Danny Gottlieb book/cd/dvd set - The Evolution of Jazz Drumming

- Lester Young/Billie Holiday – A Musical Romance
- Benny Goodman – Complete Small Group Recordings
- Chick Webb - An Introduction to Chick Webb 1929 – 1939 (AMG Label)
- Coleman Hawkins – Body & Soul (RCA Label)
- Count Basie – April In Paris / Live At Newport / Live At The Sands / Joe Williams Sings
- Dexter Gordon – Go
- Duke Ellington – At Newport 1956
- Roy Eldridge & Diz – 1954
- Ray Brown Trio – Live from New York to Tokyo
- Louis Armstrong –With Ella Fitzgerald (Verve Label) / Ambassador Satch / Hot 5’s and Hot 7’s / With Duke Ellington / Complete Town Hall Concert 1947
- Eddie Condon - Jam Session: Coast to Coast Jammin' At Condon's
- Wild Bill Davison – The Commodore Master Takes 1943
- Bix Beiderbecke – At The Jazz Band Ball (Columbia Label) / Bix & Tram (JSP Label)
- George Brunis – Tin Roof Blues
- Jack Teagarden – Meet Me Where They Play The Blues / Complete Fifties Studio Recordings with Bobby Hackett
- King Oliver – Great Original Performances 1923 - 1930
- Jim Cullum – Chasin the Blues


My first three were

Swinging New Big Band -- Buddy

Time Out -- Brubeck

Merry Go Round -- Elvin

Not a bad start.

And yeah, Moanin's a good one too.

I'd also recommend "Milestones."


Junior Member
Check out the drumming on Miles Davis' "Birth of the Cool." The first two songs - "Move" and "Jeru" - are terrific examples of jazz drumming.

Also check out Shelly Manne in "Poll Winners Three"


Platinum Member
Benny Golson - Terminal 1
Harvey Mason - With All My Heart
Sonny Rollins - +3

The drummers are Carl Allen, Harvey Mason, Jack DeJohnette, and Al Foster. Good luck on your quest.


Silver Member
OP, there have been several threads about this very topic in the past 2 weeks or so, I'll try to find the links for you if you want.

Roy E. Munson

Senior Member
On the other hand, some first insights into jazz drumming can help you understand
and appreciate jazz music actually.
yes thank you! as a drummer i have to like the drumming first before i can like the music. you can lock this thread. i appreciate all the great records, and i will definitely listen. except for the hilarious 1992 comedian who suggested kenny g. gosh that one was so funny ya tool.