I completely understand your point however in the digital age one can simply make a playlist and listen to just the original album's tracks, the outtakes or the whole enchilada.
By the way, avant-garde/free jazz is perhaps my favorite jazz sub-genre but I tend not to recommend too many free jazz recordings since often when I do recommend a free jazz recording the responses tend to be along the lines "what is this noise" and then a once lively thread just dies. But for you I will make an exception but please forgive me if you know this one already.
The Dave Holland Quartet - Conference of the Birds
I do all my proper listening on my speaker system either using an SACD player or turntable. For me listening to an album should consist of pressing play or lowering the needle and sitting down, closing my eyes and listening – standing up to only switch sides on the LP or possibly discs in case of a multi-disc album. I'm an engineer, but actually programming a CD player is something I've never managed to figure out on any brand of CD player without a manual, and even if I could figure it out that's way too much hassle for me. When I listen to music I don't want to have to think about anything else. I don't want to think, period.
A lot of my more casual listening does happen on a laptop with headphones. Creating smart playlists in iTunes using tags and whatnot? I'm down with that, not that I have much use for the playlist I have all that often. Creating a playlist just for a single album to leave out the bonus tracks? Again way too much hassle for me. It seems pointless to begin with and I'd just immediately delete it afterwards. I dislike things that are utterly redundant. But we all have out preferences. For me the convenience of digital files makes it too easy and tempting to abandon an album midway and not give it your full attention. Even with CD you have to actually pick the album from your shelf, insert it into your player and press play. On a computer a different album would be just a click away if you find your mind wandering even for a second. Too many people nowadays don't really listen to music and give it their full attention, and that's a shame. A record playing in the background is for me a waste of good music.
I don't think of genres when I listen to music. Music is just music, and I certainly hope the musicians weren't thinking of genres when they were making the music. Genres are useful for categorizing and can make it easier to discuss music with other people, but other than that I quite hate the fact that "genres" exist. In too many genres some people seem to have strong notions about what is music "A" and what you can and can't do if you're an "A" artists. Whenever an artist who's previously been known to make music belonging in genre "A" ventures outside the typical boundaries of said genre, there's typically always some sort of counteraction to that within the fan base. I personally don't think the artists should pay much heed to that, but some people do feel insecure about alienating their supporters. One might assume that this does not apply to jazz, but it is perfectly possible for a group to go into a studio, start recording, and begin to wonder after a while "Is this jazz?" I don't think they should think about the answer to that question and just continue doing what they were doing unless they think it felt uninspired and not satisfactory. That's why I love labels like ACT for example where artists are encouraged to seek whichever musical direction they choose even if it doesn't fall under the classification of "jazz", whatever that even is. Their motto "In the spirit of jazz" fits them perfectly: As long as the spirit of jazz is there, one can release just about anything on a "jazz label" and not need to feel any reservations about it. They have my blessing to do so at least.
Anyway, from that tangent, I see no reason to refrain from recommending recordings simply because they are challenging for the listener, or outside some people's comfort zones. If someone does not have an open mind about things, that is only their own shortcoming. Presenting one form of music as superior or inferior to something else is very ignorant however. As someone who has been listening to quite a lot of drone and actual noise lately (I really liked Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music for example), I now find it almost funny that someone would call free jazz noise, but I of course understand quite well why it can appear that way. I've heard people who immensely enjoy Coltrane's Olatunji Concert refer to it as a proto-noise record, partially no doubt due to its truly horrid recording quality, which for me is part of the appeal. But even if it was a pristine recording, the music itself would still drive away most of the world's populace. Some people loathe the genre, and not necessarily completely without justification, for there are many records out there that are being passed off as free jazz but contain practically no musical value whatsoever. On the other hand there are also a lot of free jazz records that contain some of the most magnificent and divine music ever committed to tape. The gap between the two can sometimes be surprisingly small, but that small difference makes all the difference. The line between the two can be as fine as the one between genius and insanity.
I can't think of a "best of" jazz listing that I've seen recently that didn't feature "Conference of the Birds" so I have naturally owned it for many a year now – since my early forays into the world of jazz. I've always enjoyed it but to date have not managed to familiarize myself with any of Dave Holland's other works. "Gateway" featuring John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette sounds interesting, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen it in stores where I live. Might have to turn to Amazon at some point. I've always found these recommendation threads interesting, because I enjoy sharing what I've discovered with others – the only thing I enjoy more is actually listening to the music – but I've never had trouble discovering new, great music on my own, so I've never had much need for these threads myself. The sense of discovery is also more satisfying if you feel you found something on your own. I discover so much new music on a daily basis, the trouble is actually finding the time to listen to all that music and not figuring out what new I could be listening to. It doesn't help that I listen to jazz, classical, metal, electronic, rock, hip hop, folk, soul… you name it.
I discovered this little gem late last night while browsing YouTube. Oh how I would love to hear these two live. I saw Iiro Rantala, Lars Danielsson and Cæcilie Norby a couple of weeks ago but that was in a big band context, which has never really been my thing. Still, all three were phenomenal, especially Danielsson and Norby during the couple of duets they did. I assume most people went there to see Iiro, so I really think the Swede and Dane blew most people by surprise.