JazzTimes 10: Great Jazz Albums to Test Your Stereo With

A collection of sides that will reveal your system’s strengths—and weaknesses

I only have Eyes for You by Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy
I only have Eyes for You by Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy

Larry, Julian, and Murali Coryell: The Coryells (Chesky, 2000)

A good stereo system can reproduce not only the spread of sounds from left to right, but also a sense of depth. This album, recorded in a highly reverberant church with just a few microphones and minimal electronic processing, is one of the best tests of stereo depth I’ve found. In the first track, “Sentenza del Cuore – Allegro,” the Coryells’ three acoustic guitars provide reference point for Alphonse Mouzon’s congas, castanets, and tambourine. The guitars are right up front in the stereo soundstage, but the echoes of the percussion in the space make Mouzon sound like he’s far behind them. Through a truly great set of speakers, the castanets will sound like they’re coming from 30 feet behind the guitars—and the wall behind the speakers will seem to disappear.

Preview, buy or download The Coryells on Amazon!

Brent Butterworth

Brent Butterworth has been a professional audio journalist since 1989, and has evaluated and measured thousands of audio products. He is currently a writer at Wirecutter and editor of the SoundStage Solo headphone site; served as an editor at such magazines as Sound & Vision and Home Theater; and worked as marketing director for Dolby Laboratories. He also plays double bass with several jazz groups in Los Angeles.