Monk, Colbrane, Shearing, Hancock and others give Billboard's jazz charts a vintage feel.
JAZZ MEN AND WOMEN: The Billboard jazz charts look like they were compiled in the 1950s or 1960s this week, with six debuts from artists whose careers harken back five decades or more.
Debuting at No. 2 on the Top Jazz Albums chart is a 1957 concert by Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. The tapes for "Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall" (Blue Note) were discovered only recently, filed away in the Library of Congress. On The Billboard 200, Monk is a one-hit wonder, with only "Criss-Cross" to his credit in 1963.
On the Top Jazz Albums chart, this is Monk's first chart entry since the 1993 release "Live at the Five Spot," which also featured John Coltrane. The late Coltrane first appeared on The Billboard 200 in 1967 and was most recently on the Top Jazz Albums chart in 2002 with the deluxe edition of "A Love Supreme."
Debuting at No. 13 on the Top Jazz Albums list is "Hopeless Romantics" (Concord Jazz) from Michael Feinstein and George Shearing. Feinstein is a newcomer by comparison, with a chart history that goes back to 1998. But London-born pianist Shearing first appeared on the Billboard album chart the week of Oct. 6, 1956, giving him a 49-year career chart span, not bad for someone who celebrated his 86th birthday in August.
Debuting two rungs below Feinstein and Shearing is "The Best of Nat King Cole" (Capitol). It's the first Cole collection to appear on this chart since 2003. Cole first appeared on a Billboard singles chart the week of Dec. 11, 1943, giving him an amazing career chart span of 61 years and 10 months.
Anchoring the Top Jazz Albums chart is the debuting "Our Love Is Here to Stay" (Blue Note) by Bill Charlap & Sandy Stewart. Charlap has been charting on this tally since 2002, but for his mother, it's a remarkable return to the Billboard charts. Stewart's single "My Coloring Book" peaked at No. 20 on the Hot 100 in February 1963, and the album of the same name went to No. 138 in April 1963. Now, 42 and-a-half years later, Stewart is back on a Billboard chart, thanks to the collaboration with her son.
On the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, Herbie Hancock continues at No. 1 for the fifth week with "Possibilities" (Hear/Hancock). Hancock made his first appearance on The Billboard 200 the week of May 13, 1967. Two more artists with albums entering the contemporary survey this week also made their debuts on The Billboard 200 in the 1960s. George Benson, new at No. 4 with "Best of George Benson: Live" (GRP), first made his mark with "Tell It Like It Is" the week of Aug. 23, 1969. Ramsey Lewis, bowing at No. 16 with "With One Voice" (Narada Jazz), debuted the week of Dec. 22, 1962, with "Sound of Christmas."
'WORDS' PLAY: In its fifth week on The Billboard Hot 100, Frankie J's cover of "More Than Words" (Columbia) moves up to No. 29. That puts the remake almost even with the original hit single by Extreme in 1991. In its fifth week, that version moved up to No. 30.
'WIND' CHIMES IN: "Prairie Wind" (Reprise) blows onto The Billboard 200 at No. 11. It is Neil Young's highest-charting album since "Are You Passionate?" peaked at No. 10 in April 2002. "Passionate" and "Prairie" are Young's two highest-ranking albums of the last 10 years.
BLOOMING HIT: "Wildflower," the seventh Billboard 200 entry of Sheryl Crow's career, enters the chart at No. 2. Unless the album can climb one rung, it will be the third Crow album in a row to peak in the runner-up spot.
Since Crow has never topped the album chart, that would put "Wildflower" in a three-way tie with "C'mon, C'mon" and "The Very Best of Sheryl Crow" as her highest-charting titles.