Will Downing and Gerald Albright topped the charts 20 years ago today

Will Downing and Gerald Albright 1998 photo by Eric Johnson

The Will Downing and Gerald Albright collaboration, Pleasures of the Night, was the best-selling contemporary jazz recording according to the October 31, 1998 issue of Billboard. At the time, Downing said, ““This is a departure for us both. It’s pretty much a traditional sounding record with flavorings of contemporary jazz sprinkled in so as not to exclude the audiences we’ve already built up over the years. It gives both of us an opportunity to stretch out more than our own records. It’s not often that you have the opportunity to do exactly what you want to do, no holds barred.”

Here’s the complete Top Contemporary Jazz Albums for that time:

  1. Will Downing and Gerald Albright – Pleasures of the Night
  2. Kenny G – Greatest Hits
  3. Rick Braun – Full Stride
  4. Down to the Bone – From Manhattan to Staten
  5. George Benson – Standing Together
  6. Fourplay – 4
  7. Keiko Matsui – Full Moon and the Shrine
  8. Marc Antoine – Madrid
  9. Various Artists – KKSF Sampler for AIDS Relief, Volume 9
  10. Medeski, Martin and Wood – Combustication

Also of note in that top ten is that the debut recording of Down to the Bone was in its 37th week on the chart.

Top Contemporary Jazz Albums of 1997 and 2012

Billboard reported these as the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums of 1997:

  1. The Moment – Kenny G
  2. Sweet Thing – Boney James
  3. Dream Walk – Keiko Matsui
  4. Que Pasa – Gato Barbieri
  5. A Twist of Jobim – Various Artists
  6. Soulful Strut – Grover Washington, Jr.
  7. Breathless – Kenny G
  8. Caravan of Dreams – Peter White
  9. Beneath the Surface – Incognito
  10. Body and Soul – Rick Braun

This year’s top jazz albums are on the Billboard site. Looks like another good year for Tony Bennett.

Top 10 – Fifteen Years Ago

In the earlier days of this site, I ran a top ten list of the most popular contemporary jazz at the time. This chart was based on sales and radio play. Here were the top 10 from December 5, 1997!

  1. Jonathan Butler, Do You Love Me?, N2K Encoded Music
  2. Bob James, Playin’ Hooky, Warner Bros.
  3. Boney James - Sweet Thing recordingBoney James, Sweet Thing, Warner Bros.
  4. Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman, Black Diamond, Peak/Windham Hill
  5. Brian Culbertson, Secrets, Bluemoon
  6. Chris Botti, Midnight Without You, Verve Forecast
  7. Candy Dulfer, For the Love of You, N2K Encoded Music
  8. Joyce Cooling, Playing It Cool, Heads Up
  9. David Benoit, American Landscape, GRP
  10. Earl Klugh, The Journey, Warner Bros.