I've loved jazzsince my teens, introduced by a school friend's boyfriend. Believing the only way to get to know anything well was to see/hear it in person, I sneaked into New York City from Long Island with my friend and went to clubs, where we were lucky enough to see Count Basie, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz and a host of others. Since I had no background or education in jazz (only classical and pop), I assumed everyone would take as quickly to jazz as I did. But I've heard so many times from people that they don't like it or understand it. It's hard for me to believe when the range is so enormous.
In any case, I'm on a mission to bring more people to the music. Thus, the link to pianist Marcus Roberts list of classic recordings. It's great step into an amazing world. I hope other jazz lovers will add their favorites, and explain what they find in particular artists.