Favorite albums of 1951-1960

Ella Fitzgerald
Sometimes you try something, for instance in this blog, and it fails. If SamuraiFrog, who was born in the late 1970s, could write so knowledgeably about the music of the 1960s, might not I, who was born in the early 1950s, be able to speak to the music of the period in which I was born? Any number of my friends who were born in the 1960s know the music of that decade.

The answer is: apparently not. I never owned that many albums of 1950s pop artists. I have them mostly on compilations, notably Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Nat Cole. I do have several albums from the decade, some of them quite well respected, such as:

The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall/The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever (1953)
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis (1956), and its followup; at some level, they blur in my mind
Count Basie: April in Paris (1956), though I DO love this particular version of the title song a LOT.: “One more ONCE.”
Billie Holiday: Songs for Distingué Lovers (1957)
The Original Broadway Cast:West Side Story (1957)

I do enjoy them. But truth is, there are only five I found that I respond to like some of the albums on my sixties list, where they’ve almost imprinted on my DNA:

5. Duke Ellington: The Nutcracker Suite (1960)
Described at length HERE.

4. Ella Fitzgerald : Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook (1959)
Actually Ella doing ANY of the songbooks might rate, if I owned them. One of my college friends played them constantly, but this was always my favorite.

3. Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out (1959)
‘Take Five’ is the classic, but ‘Blue Rondo A La Turk’ is even better, to me. I wrote about Brubeck HERE.

2. Harry Belafonte: My Lord What a Mornin’ (1960)
I mentioned HERE that I just bought this album for both my sister Leslie and me just last year; it was so important to my father.

1. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (1959)
Which I linked to HERE. Always associate this album with my late friend Donna George.

It’s interesting, to me anyway, that much of my musical enjoyment comes from the experience of hearing something together. It’s not that I can’t appreciate something as a solitary experience, but music, it seems to me, ought to be shared.

2 thoughts on “Favorite albums of 1951-1960”

  1. Those are five mighty fine albums, though, although my personal fave Brubeck is Dave Digs Disney (because of course it is). I adore Harry Belafonte; I used to get a specific hits collection of his from the library over and over again. One of my earliest memories is watching him on The Muppet Show. On that episode, he performs “Turn the World Around,” and that song’s been part of my own DNA ever since.


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