Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, legendary UCLA and Lakers center, six-time NBA MVP and Bruce Lee foe, has had a passion for jazz his entire life. Raised in New York, Abdul-Jabbar had the opportunity to soak up the center of the jazz world at one of its most vital periods. He regularly crammed himself into the tiny tables at the Village Vanguard as a teenager and nowadays manages to take in shows at the equally tight quarters at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
To supplement our recent interview, Abdul-Jabbar also offered up his list of essential jazz albums. It is a solid list of classics, in no particular order, that belong in anyone's collection.
Empyrean Isles (1964)
Fuchsia Swing Song (1965)
Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968)
Kind of Blue (1959)
Birth of the Cool (1957)
A Night at the Village Vanguard (1957)
Live! At the Village Vanguard (1962)
Coltrane Plays Blues (1962)
Blue Train (1957)
Monk's Music (1957)
Monk's Dream (1963)
Thelonious Monk Orchestra
At Town Hall (1959)
Ready for Freddie (1961)
Black Codes From the Underground (1985)
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Thad Jones Legacy (1999)
Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins
Brilliant Corners (1957)
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.