Here are 8 jazz albums to soundtrack your summer

Walter Venafro hosts Saturday afternoons on JAZZ.FM91


It often feels like summer isn’t long enough.

So, whenever you get a chance to kick back or get away for a while, you’ve got to make the best of it. And however you choose to spend your summer, you could probably use some great music to go along with it.

Of course, JAZZ.FM91 has you covered 24/7, bringing you the best in jazz from here in Canada and around the world. As we head into another long weekend, we wanted to give you this specially curated list of jazz records that are a great fit for these warm, fun and relaxing summer days.


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St Germain – Tourist 

If you like your jazz with contemporary rhythms of hip hop, dub and electronic, then this album fits the bill. Tourist has sold more than 4 milliion copies since its 2000 release, and it continues to be a go-to recording for house parties and backyard gatherings.


Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings

Chet Baker and summertime are made for each other. For those hot, sunny days, the West Coast jazz figure’s 1954 debut is pure cool.


Frank Sinatra – Sinatra at the Sands

Let’s face it: Every long weekend deserves at least a little Frank Sinatra. The fact that this 1966 album was recorded live with Count Basie and his orchestra under the direction of Quincy Jones is more than enough reason to listen. Mix in all the entertaining banter, and you’ve got pure magic.


John Scofield – Überjam

I’m a pushover when it comes to mixing jazz and funk. John Scofield does it extremely well on this 2002 outing, with some great musicians who create a nice groove for him to play over.


Stan Getz and João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto

Summer without bossa nova isn’t really summer, is it? And this 1964 record is the one that started it all. Sadly, Gilberto died just this summer at the age of 88 — but he left behind a legacy as the “father of bossa nova” that will be remembered for ages.


Oscar Peterson Trio – Night Train

This is classic Oscar Peterson from 1963, playing with the legendary trio featuring Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. Fun fact: Back in the day, it was this album that made future Canadian star Diana Krall want to become a jazz pianist. Put on Night Train on a warm, starry night and let your worries melt away.


Herbie Hancock – Thrust

Herbie Hancock showcases plenty of variation throughout the 38 minutes of his 1974 album Thrust: jazz rock, funk, soul and African rhythms. The rhythm, improvisation and overall vibe has inspired many young musicians — and hopefully will do the same in the future.


Weather Report – Heavy Weather

This one might be the most important jazz-fusion album ever recorded, and ended up being Weather Report’s most commercially successful effort. It’s certainly one that I make sure to have on my summer vacation playlist every year.