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“45 for 45” Small Groups Readers’ Poll Results

The 25 all-time greatest, as voted by you!

Art Blakey
Miles Davis 1969
John Coltrane
Bill Evans Trio, l. to r.: Scott LaFaro, Evans, Paul Motian, Village Vanguard 1961

The votes are in and you’ve told us what small jazz groups you think are the greatest of all time!

For our “45 for 45” readers’ poll-a companion to the musicians’ and critics’ poll in the special 45th anniversary issue of JazzTimes, on sale now-we asked readers to choose up to five groups, trios through nonets, from our top 25. (A write-in “Other” option was also available.) Nearly 600 jazz fans responded to the poll. We’ve tabulated the responses and the winners are ranked below, in order of number of votes received.

To see how the JazzTimes readers’ poll results compare to the results decided by our voting body of critics and top musicians, check out the September anniversary issue, which also contains classic photos, artist testimonials and much more!

1. John Coltrane: The Classic Quartet

2. Miles Davis: The First Great Quintet/Sextet

3. Miles Davis: The Second Great Quintet

4. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (1961-64)

5. Bill Evans Trio (1959-61)

6. The Dave Brubeck Quartet

7. Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five/Seven

8. Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie: The Quintet

9. Weather Report (1976-81)

10. Thelonious Monk Quartet (1957-58)

11. The Modern Jazz Quartet

12. Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet

13. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (1966-69)

14. Oscar Peterson Trio (1953-65)

15. The Ornette Coleman Quartet

16. Keith Jarrett “Standards” Trio

17. Ahmad Jamal Trio (1957-62)

18. The Mahavishnu Orchestra (1971-73)

19. Miles Davis: The Lost Quintet (1969-70)

20. Benny Goodman Quartet

21. Art Ensemble of Chicago

22. Herbie Hancock “Mwandishi” Sextet

23. Charlie Parker Quintet (1947)

24. Charles Lloyd Quartet (1966)

25. The Tony Williams Lifetime (1969)

Purchase the September 2015 issue of JazzTimes from Barnes & Noble or Apple Newsstand. Print and digital subscriptions are also available.

Originally Published