Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Jazz Albums

Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Jazz Albums

Most of the greatest jazz albums have been recorded with hollow body or semi-hollow body guitars. However, do we consider these kind of guitars as acoustic guitars? Technically, they are acoustic guitars amplified by a magnetic pickup.

Jazz and blues guitarists as Charlie Christian, with his Gibson ES 150, Lonnie Johnson or Les paul were one of the first guitarists that uses pickups to convert the vibrations of the strings into electrical signals. Obviously, because of the weakness of sound, these guitars need to be plugged into an amplifier before being sent to a loudspeaker unlike acoustic guitars that need to be recorded with a microphone.

But a few jazz guitar players accustomed with electric guitars have made the choice to record entire albums with acoustic guitars, nylon or steel. Some of them, as Charlie Byrd has decided to use only acoustic guitars all along their career. Surely this is because acoustic guitars create a sense of authenticity, space and proximity at the same time, both for the players and listeners, a sensation that is not generally found with electric guitars.

There are different types of guitars, many sizes, many different forms, many tones – but there’s nothing that can quite replicate the sound or the feel of playing a nylon-string or a steel-string acoustic guitar.

Here is a list of the 5 best jazz albums recorded with acoustic guitars.

Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Jazz Albums

1: Django Reinhardt – Djangology

Jean Reinhardt, better known under the name of Django Reinhardt, is a french jazz guitarist born in 1910 and died in 1953. His style of playing and sound has given birth to the gypsy jazz. He is one of the most respected and influential guitarists of the jazz history. One the most representative album is surely “Djangology” with the quintet of the Hot Club of France featuring Stephane Grappelli (violin). This gem was released in 1961 in the United States by RCA records. 12 songs were recorded.

Track list :

  1.  Minor swing
  2.  Beyond the sea (la mer)
  3.  Bricktop
  4.  Honeysuckle rose
  5.  Heavy artillery
  6.  Djangology
  7.  After you’ve gone
  8.  Where are you my love
  9.  I saw stars
  10.  Lover man
  11.  Menilmontant
  12.  Swing 42

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2: Charlie Byrd – Quintet Du Hot Club de Concord

Charlie Byrd was an American jazz guitarist. He is best known to play fingerstyle on nylon string guitars and for his bossa nova recordings. His strongest influence was Django Reinhardt. To pay tribute to him, he founded the quintet of The Hot Club du Concord, similar to the quintet of the Hot Club of France founded by Django himself. This ensemble has two guitarists (with Frank Vignola), one bassist, one violinist and one harmonicist. The repertoire contains swing (swing 59) and Latin tunes (Besame mucho), ballads, and jazz standards (Moon river, Cotton tail). This recording is a highly recommended effort, difficult to find and hear on the internet, however here is a link with some samples.

Track list :

  1. Swing 59
  2. Golden earrings
  3. Lamentos
  4. Carinhoso
  5. Till The Cloud Roll By
  6. Jubilee
  7. Frenesi
  8. At the Seaside
  9. Gipsy boots
  10. Old New Orleans blues
  11. Cotton Tail
  12. Perfidia
  13. Moon river
  14. Besame mucho
  15. They didn’t believe me

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3: Joe Pass – Songs for Ellen

Is it really necessary to introduce Joe Pass? Jazz guitar master, true genius and virtuoso. He is known for his walking bass lines, his chord knowledge, his sense of improvisation and reharmonization. He’s still one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. In this posthumous album, Joe Pass plays exclusively on acoustic guitar (nylon-string). It should be pointed that he is used to play with electric archtop guitars (Gibson, D’Aquisto and Ibanez).

  1. The Shadow of Your Smile
  2. Song for Ellen
  3. I Only Have Eyes for You
  4.  Stars Fell on Alabama
  5.  That Old Feeling
  6.  Star Eyes
  7.  Robbins Nest
  8.  Someone to Watch over Me
  9.  Blues for Angel
  10.  There’s a Small Hotel
  11.  How Deep Is the Ocean?
  12.  Stormy Weather
  13.  Just Friends
  14.  Blue Moon
  15.  Satellite Village

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4: Baden Powell – Tristeza On Guitar

Baden Powell is one of the most known Brazilian composer and guitarist. Whether it is bossa nova, world fusion or Afro samba, Baden Powell is a guitar master with an unlimited imagination and a perfect purified style. Tristeza on guitar was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 1966 at Studio Riosom and at Studio Atonal. It contains 11 gems that are mainly Latin tunes excepted the famous jazz standard “round about midnight” composed by Thelonious Monk.

  1.  Tristeza
  2.  Canto de Xangô
  3.  Round About Midnight
  4.  Saravá
  5.  Canto de Ossanha
  6.  Manha de Carnaval
  7.  Invencão Em 7½
  8.  Das Rosas
  9.  Som Do Carnaval
  10.  O Astronauta

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5:  Pat Metheny – One Quiet Night

Leader of the Pat Metheny group the man has incorporated a number of elements in his works and explore numerous of jazz styles as Latin jazz, jazz fusion, pop jazz, experimental or folk jazz all along his career. One Quiet Night is a solo album recorded on a steel-string acoustic baritone guitar. It contains original compositions by Pat Metheny except “My song” by Keith Jarett, “Ferry cross the Mersey” by Gerry Marsden and “Don’t know why” (Gerry Marsden) made popular by Norah Jones, daughter of Ravi Shankar.

  1.  One quiet night
  2.  Song for the boys
  3.  Don’t know why
  4.  Another chance
  5.  Time goes on
  6.  My song
  7.  Peace memory
  8.  Ferry cross the Mersey
  9.  Over on 4th street
  10.  I will find the way
  11.  North to south, east to west
  12.  Last train home

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About the Author

Stef Ramin is the webmaster and eBook’s author on, lessons for beginner and advanced guitarists. Passionate about jazz and blues music, he is an experienced musician, composer and guitar teacher.


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