The Best of Progressive Jazz Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A blog about the best in progressive jazz music. You’ll find artist interviews, album reviews, and more.


Progressive jazz is a subgenre of jazz music that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The style is marked by complex chord progressions, odd time signatures, and extended improvisation. Progressive jazz is often seen as a reaction against the bebop style of jazz that dominated the 1940s and 1950s. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best progressive jazz albums of all time.

What is Progressive Jazz?

Progressive jazz is a type of jazz music that emerged in the early 1960s. It is characterized by its use of complex harmonies, time signatures, and extended improvisations. Progressive jazz groups often experimented with different instrumentation and musical styles, and they were influenced by a variety of genres, including classical music, rock music, and folk music. Progressive jazz was developed by a generation of young musicians who were dissatisfied with the traditional jazz idiom. They sought to create a new type of jazz that would be more challenging and experimental.

The best progressive jazz artists pushed the boundaries of what was possible within the genre. They were constantly innovating, and their music still sounds fresh today. If you’re looking to discover some new progressive jazz, or if you’re just curious about the genre, this list is a great place to start.

The Best Progressive Jazz Artists

Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock are considered three of the best progressive jazz artists of all time. They were all amazing musicians who pushed the boundaries of what jazz could be. If you’re a fan of progressive jazz, then you need to check out their music.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development in jazz from the 1940s to the 1980s. He played on various early bebop records and recorded one of the first cool jazz records. He was hired by Charisma Records in 1949 to play with their new house band, The All Stars. From there he went on to form his own group, The Miles Davis Quintet, and later The Miles Davis Sextet and The Miles Davis-John Coltrane Quintet. He also led a number of large ensembles including The Miles Davis Orchestra and The Miles Davis Big Band. His 1959 record Kind of Blue is cited as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

Davis’s muted trumpet style, marked by frequent use of blues-based tonalities and modal harmony, deeply influenced subsequent jazz musicians such as Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis, Ernie Watts, Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Marcus Miller, Wallace Roney, Terence Blanchard, Royce Campbell, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas In 2005 he was placed at number 14 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The Greatest Artists of All Time”.

John Coltrane

Progressive jazz artists were pushing the envelope of jazz music in the 1950s and 1960s, expanding upon the already complex harmonic progressions and rhythm changes that had come to characterize the genre. John Coltrane was one of the most influential progressive jazz artists of his time, with his highly emotional and improvisational style serving as an inspiration for many musicians who came after him. Other notable progressive jazz artists include Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Theolonious Monk.

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock is a jazz pianist and composer who played an important role in the development of the genre of progressive jazz. He began his career as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, and went on to release a series of highly successful solo albums. Hancock’s greatest contribution to progressive jazz was his ability to fuse elements of rock, funk, and hip-hop into the jazz idiom, creating a new and unique style that has influenced a generation of musicians.

The Best Progressive Jazz Albums

Progressive jazz is a genre of music that is constantly evolving. The best progressive jazz albums are those that push the boundaries and take the genre in new and exciting directions. In this list, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best progressive jazz albums of all time.

Kind of Blue by Miles Davis

Miles Davis’ 1959 jazz classic Kind of Blue is one of the most popular and influential albums of all time. The album features Davis’ “modal jazz” style, which revolutionized jazz harmony and paved the way for many subsequent jazz styles. In addition to Davis, the album features the legendary jazz musicians John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb.

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

A Love Supreme is a studio album recorded by American jazz saxophonist and bandleader John Coltrane and released in 1965 on Impulse! Records. The album is completely improvised, except for Coltrane’s recitation of poet Alan Watts’ “A Love Supreme” on the title track. After recording several band-leading albums to widespread acclaim, as well as his seminal jazz/rock crossover My Favorite Things, Coltrane returned to an all-acoustic format with this release.

Critical reaction to A Love Supreme was positive. It was voted the fifth-best album of 1965 in the Critics’ Poll of JazzTimes magazine. In 1998, the Library of Congress honored A Love Supreme as one of 25 recordings chosen that year to be added to the National Recording Registry; it was cited as “a deeply spiritual work … groundbreaking … [and] profoundly moving”.

Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock

Maiden Voyage is a studio album by American jazz musician Herbie Hancock, released on May 11, 1965 by Blue Note Records. The album was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder on April 22, 1965 at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

The album features Hancock’s first use of electric piano, which would become one of his signature sounds. Maiden Voyage is notable for its use of space and for its lyrical quality, both of which are unusual in jazz at the time. The title track has been sampled several times and has been covered by many artists.


In conclusion, progressive jazz music is a genre that has something for everyone. It is a truly unique style of music that is constantly evolving and changing. If you are a fan of jazz music, then you should definitely check out some of the best progressive jazz artists out there. You won’t be disappointed!

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