37. John Coltrane Quartet
Most powerful and influential jazz quartet of all time? Quite possibly. A Love Supreme and Impressions are of course unimpeachable documents of this band, but we recommend delving deeper: Pick up 1965’s The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (Impulse!). Okay, it does include more than four musicians—Art Davis joins Jimmy Garrison on bass for one tune—but the awe-inspiring rendition of “Chim Chim Cheree” is just the classic quartet, with Trane on soprano sax. The piercing first note of his solo on that track is, we contend, one of the most intense musical moments ever captured on tape by anyone.