Something has to occupy the 'unlucky 13' spot, so I'll choose in a way that can't possibly damage the fortunes of the thing chosen. I won't say that you can't have a good or serious jazz collection without this music, since, as I've formally demonstrated in another connection, such claims are based on fallacious reasoning (See 'The life and soul of the western', old normblog site, September 14 2003). All I'll say is that if you don't have the Hot Fives and Sevens you're missing some of the loveliest sounds ever laid down within this musical tradition. There are two standout complete collections. And there's also a briefer compilation if that's what you want to start with. Listen to 'Struttin' With Some Barbecue', 'Once in a While', 'Wild Man Blues', 'Potato Head Blues' and 'Melancholy'. The ensemble playing is consistently good; some of Johnny Dodds's clarinet solos are unforgettable; but above all it's the horn of jazz's first great genius, capable of lifting your spirits on the greyest day, that makes these recordings a thing of enduring beauty and wonder.
[Links to the rest of the series.]