From the Preface Jazz is hard to define in a few words because it takes so many forms, and it's this difficulty to categorize it easily that allows so many to enjoy it, whether listening to a new discovery or an old favourite. To me, jazz is appealing because it represents truth and beauty. To my ears there is nothing more delightful than a swinging blues played by artists in complete accord with one another. There is nothing more exquisite than a solo that explores and extends and bends the melody in a journey to who knows where the first time you hear it. As an art form, jazz has meat on its bones, and it makes for a very rich meal indeed. One of the most appealing things about jazz is its ability to define who we are, and just as we are constantly redefining ourselves, so too is jazz. It's an art form that spanned the most tumultuous century in history, and looks like it will be with us for as long as there are human beings expressing themselves through music. In fact, jazz music's popularity continues to grow. A number of jazz stations have arisen in the past decade or so; new, exemplary artists continue to arrive on the scene, exploring and innovating in this art form; and jazz continues to enjoy crossover appeal. There are always new listeners who don't quite know where to start. Despite what some would have you believe, jazz is accessible to everyone, and can be enjoyed by everyone. Once you know what it has to offer, you will know whether you get more pleasure from the swinging tunes of big bands or the more unpredictable sounds of free jazz. In order to appreciate any jazz, you need a sense of fun, adventure, and a desire to take risks. I crave music that grabs my attention. And every album I recommend in this book does just that. When I hear a great album, the easiest way I can describe it is to say that it feels like Christmas. It gives me a feeling of wonder, appreciation, and, there's no other way to put it, it makes me feel good. What's the test of a superior album? Well, to me, if it still sounds terrific years later, and I find I listen to it repeatedly, it's got to be good. I was asked recently if I could have any job I wanted, what it would be. The answer was easy I have it. I think I've always had it. I first wrote about jazz for theWinnipeg Free Press, then made documentaries on jazz and pop culture for CBC Radio and Television, and for ten years I hosted CBC Radio Two's daily national jazz program,Afterhours. Then I was fortunate to be asked to launch CoolTV, Canada's 24/7 jazz channel, and I am currently the president and CEO of what truly is Canada's premier jazz station, JAZZ.FM91 in Toronto. In forty years of working as a broadcaster, being a critic and a fan, I've listened to twenty-five thousand albums in all genres, and I still go back to listen to many of them. So, it has not been easy to whittle my recommendations down to just 101 essential CDs. There are easily 1001 I might have chosen just because I enjoy them, but I tried to keep in mind that I was looking for essential recordings. What is an essential jazz collection? To me, essential means something basic, something that's a necessity in order to achieve a true understanding of, in this case, jazz as an art form. And to truly understand something, you have to know where it came from and what it is becoming. This is especially true for jazz, which is so rich, varied, and in my opinion, limitless. So, I decided to organize the 101 selections I made after hours and hours of difficult deliberation in more or less chronological order, based on the date the album was first recorded or the first date of a compilation album representing an entire era or career. Even if you don't listen to the CDs in the order I'vePorter, Ross is the author of 'Essential Jazz Recordings 101 Cds', published 2006 under ISBN 9780771070327 and ISBN 0771070322.