Let's talk jazz for a minute. I have a cursory knowledge of the major jazz releases of the period, but not a particularly deep background into any specific subgenres or under-the-radar releases. In addition to these albums, what else should I try to listen to:

Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain, Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way
John Coltrane - Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, A Love Supreme
Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady
Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream
Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz
Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch

Briefly, here are my issues with selecting jazz releases: 1) I don't have a particularly deep background in jazz, and feel I am only acquainted with the canon, which of course doesn't add much value to the voting; 2) apart from issue 1, I don't feel as if I have enough of a grasp of music theory to distinguish among lesser known or more avant garde releases with any real insight.

Bryan and John, I know you guys mentioned that you had some deeper jazz recs, I'd love to hear those. Also, I'd appreciate any insight as to how to handle more difficult jazz. Is it best to simply jump into deep water and try to figure out how to swim later, or it good idea to work through some more foundational and intermediate stuff first? If foundation is useful, what albums do you go to get it?