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What Jazz Records Would You Reccommend? 235

Posted by Cliff
from the for-my-fellow-jazz-geeks dept.
zmotula asks: "What Jazz records do you think are a must-have for a Jazz Geek? I've got about twenty records I really love (Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Tijuana Moods by Charlie Mingus, Lush Life by John Coltrane, just to mention some) and I want to spend some more money on buying more. Alas, I can only afford buying around two CDs a month. What records do you think are essential?"
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What Jazz Records Would You Reccommend?

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  • John Zorn. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Roto-Rooter Man (520267) <cleanthosepipes@hotmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:28PM (#6207346) Homepage Journal
    If you're into easy listening, I recommend John Zorn.
    • Well, you've been moderated "funny", although you could be serious. Some of John Zorn's works are definately easy listening-ish (The Gift [tzadik.com]). Just don't expect Painkiller or Naked City to be. You should listen to John Zorn anyway. Ah, and some [nonesuch.com] essential [tzadik.com] recordings [tzadik.com] for you.

      If you like modern, beats and electronic oriented jazz, you should check out Nils Petter Molvaer [ecmrecords.com].
  • I'd recomend "Sex on the Beach" by Bleeding Gums Murphy. Just don't tell the record store guy he's dead otherwise he'll raise the price on you.
  • First, if you haven't seen the movie "Waking Life", do so immediately, it's a great movie. Secondly, the sountrack is very enjoyable, has more of a latin flare, but I suppose I would still call it jazz.
  • Two Suggestions (Score:5, Informative)

    by StillDocked (471133) * <<stilldoc> <at> <nycap.rr.com>> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:34PM (#6207381) Homepage
    Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Ella and Louis on Verve Records (which isn't the best of either of their work, however, they are amazing together).

    Another suggestion I would make is listen to the Music Choice Jazz channels, which are available on most cable and dish systems(in the States at least) They play great music and have the song/album information.
    • I have to agree with both of these, but I'd add a comment or two on the duets by Ella and Louis on Verve. I bought one CD of their duets and it is perhaps the most played CD in my collection. The two together are fantastic. I'd add a warning: There is one Ella and Louie CD that isn't labeled as Part I or Part II, or as a "Best of" or anything else. Don't buy it (I did). Buy both CDs, Part I and Part II have much more. The single CD has selections from both, so it's a waste if you really want all the d
  • Get Dizzy. (Score:5, Informative)

    by handsomepete (561396) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:39PM (#6207415) Journal
    You've got to have a little Dizzy Gillespie in your collection. Pick something from later in his career (there's a three disc Verve comp [vervemusicgroup.com] that covers his career pretty thoroughly), then pick up Groovin' High which has some really beautiful orchestrated music that's perfect for... well... anytime, really.
    • Dizzy is a must have. I love his 75 Birthday live CD. There's a version of a Night In Tunisia to die for. The whole cd is just amazing, considering it's live.

      I think for the sort of jazz the author mentioned I would recomend anything that has the original recording of Ko-Ko by Charlie Parker. For this recording Miles was on trumpet, Max Roach on drums and the piano player was in jail. Dizzy was checking out what his buddy from the Charlie Barnet Orchestra was doing during this recording and listening whil
  • Let's See (Score:5, Informative)

    by GypC (7592) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:40PM (#6207428) Homepage Journal

    "Mingus Ah Um" Charles Mingus

    "Bitches Brew" Miles Davis (early acid jazz, very unnerving)

    Try some big band stuff, you can't go wrong with anything by Duke Ellington.

    You're definitely going to need some Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, and Billie Holiday.

    • Anybody who's into Miles Davis might be interested by a somewhat lesser-known recording (among the hundreds that he has made) is a soundtrack to a French movie "Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud" (Lift to the Scaffold). One of the sexiest recordings he ever made.
      • I've always had a soft spot for "On the Corner", one of Miles' unappreciated gems.
        But then, I've always felt that "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" was one of Zappa's best, too.
        Guess I have strange tastes :)
        • Re:Let's See (Score:3, Informative)

          by The Mayor (6048)
          Hmm...Weasels Ripped My Flesh is definitely a good one in my book. But, just for some contrast, one of my favorite Miles Davis albums has to be Sketches of Spain. Nothing like Zappa, and it might even be a little too orchestral to be considered true jazz. But to hear Miles pumping that trumpet on the opening...I am almost brought to tears just thinking about it!
          • If you like Sketches, you'll probably also like Porgy and Bess, another collaboration with Gil Evans. Miles' version of "Summertime" is the most gorgeous ever recorded. And that's a fact :-)
          • Kinda Blue

            With John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly... This album was described as (my apologies for not knowing the origin) "The perfect album for playing at 2am on Saturday night when you're doing something you probably shouldn't be doing..."

            It's the best selling Jazz album of all time, and deservedly so. It's a fantastic introduction to jazz.

            I agree with Sketches in Spain being awesome. Also for good Zappa jazz try Hot Rats and Waka Jawaka.
  • Good Jazz Labels (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcSey921 (230169) * <mcsey@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:41PM (#6207430) Homepage Journal
    Good Jazz is easy to find by label. Look for anything on:
    • Blue Note (anything)
    • Prestige (50's to 70's)
    • Verve (60's)
    • Atlantic (make sure it's jazz;) (50's to 70's)
    • Savoy (any)
    • Pacific related jazz labels (50's to 70's)
    • CTI (any)

    Further if Creed Taylor produced it, buy it. If Rudy Van Gelder engineered it, for Chrissake buy it!

    Getting CD reissues of a lot of these labels is not a problem, and you always guaranteed pretty good stuff. Also check out Emusic.com, they've got a pretty good selection of jazz in a hastle free (though sometimes crappy quality) mp3 format.

    mcsey

    Emusic has 128 Kb joint-stereo mp3s? What is this 1999?
    • Re:Good Jazz Labels (Score:2, Interesting)

      by FatRatBastard (7583)
      2 great samplers of Verve Jazz are "A Night Out With Verve" and "A Night In With Verve". Both box sets are 4 CDs chocked with great stuff from the Verve vaults and they're pretty cheap as well (around $20 if I remember). You really can't go wrong.

      As for a single album: "Mystery Lady" by Etta James. James is more well known for her Blues work, but this album of Billy Holiday tunes is spectacular.
  • This is hands-down my favorite jazz album (he says as he trotts over to iTunes.) Remember: real Jazz is LIVE Jazz. Even a recording of a live performance loses something - most Jazz albums are over-engineered to my taste. "Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue" has probably the best trumpet solo I've ever heard. This is also historically important - it represented an important comeback in Duke Ellington's career.
  • If you don't have Jelly Roll Morton in your Jazz collection, you don't HAVE a Jazz collection. Jazz can be really excellent at times, but most is pretty bad. If you want really great music, you must acquaint yourself with the Blues.
  • I have the Coltrane Impulse Years recordings and they're great. My Favorite Things is, of course, a must-have Coltrane album.

    Most of the quality jazz music I can talk about intelligently is third-stream avant garde. Attaining the rank of "jazz geek" would have to include the following numbers. Milton Babbit has an interesting tune called All Set, Gunther Schuller makes some interesting use of the style in Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee along with others. And Stravinsky did excellent work in the Eb

    • For anybody who's into Coltrane, Afro Blue Impressions and A Love Supreme are what I would consider essential in any collection.

      And one which I had 20 years ago on vinyl (it was stolen) which I have only just been able to get a new copy of on CD is Twin House, a a set of guitar duos recorded in 1976 by Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine. This CD (on the ACT label) has 5 "bonus" tracks to bump up the old 40-minute-LP format to ~65 minutes, but these tracks are totally out of keeping with the original album (

      • This is great, great news. I drove through Yellowstone and half of Wyoming on a tape of Twin House. One CD I still haven't been able to find is Lambert, Hendricks and Ross -- a recording they did that had "Cloudburst","Centerpiece" and "Twisted" (amongst others).

        My favorite Coltrane has always been Giant Steps , which shows up in the bargain bins all the time, as does a CD that has both Sonny Rollins albums Tenor Madness and Saxophone Collossus .

        There's a delightful duo of Earl Hines and Stephan

        • FYI: I got it at www.discoweb.co.uk after much googling. Take my advice about the so-called bonus tracks, though, you'll be in for a shock if you're expecting something of the calibre of the "main" album.I thought to search for it again in a similar fit of nostalgia: moonbathing parties on the beach, and all that sort of thing back in the days when... :-)

          I've been hunting for Lambert/Hendricks/Ross for a while, but so far no joy :-(

  • by linkages (131028) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:54PM (#6207501) Homepage
    Ok. Enough suggestions for classic Jazz. If you want some more modern sounding albums, I would suggest the following:

    Any Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
    You really can't go wrong here.

    Jaco Pastorious in any form which includes solo albums and any Yellow Jackets CD you can find.

    Victor Wooten
    By far the best modern Jazz bassist around.Also part of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

    Stanley Jordan
    This man is just amazing. Plays the guitar with both hands like its a piano. If you can find any of the live stuff you will defineatly be able to tell that it is live and he is just that good.

    If you want more mellow stuff try John Pattatuci (spelling?). Modern Jazz bassist that plays with lots of emotion which most will translate into lullabies. Morons.

    Can you tell that I am a bass player.
    • by SimplexO (537908) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @09:29PM (#6208112) Homepage
      Can you tell that I am a bass player.
      And on the modern saxophone front:

      My personal idol, Michael Brecker [michaelbrecker.com]. My fav CD is Two Blocks From The Edge. On there is Delta City Blues which shows Mr. Brecker's extraordinary control over his overtones... It is phenominal!

      Also, try Joshua Redmond's Wish. He playes with (among others) Pat Matheny who is always a treat. I know it might sound corny, but you ought to listen to their version of Tears in Heaven. Tasty!

      Also:

      Any GRP All-Star CD is worth your money. It's like having every big-time artist under the GRP label playing in one of the tightest big-band's ever. I'm just surprised they could keep their egos in check!

      Dave Grusin Presents: West Side Story is a remake of the original, but (in my opinion) is better than the original soundtrack.

      Hope someone found these helpful.

      P.S. It is always the best to get CD's of people you have played live with. I have played with Patitucci, Jim Widner, The Jazz Ambassadors, and other less-known yet still stellar guys.
      • I second this, though I would choose as my favourite his eponymous first album. I remember the summer after it came out I went to a Jazz camp and all of us saxophonists had stolen riffs from that album.
    • Al DiMeola's Kiss My Axe is a great modern showcase of one of fusion's greatest guitar players.

      Agree on Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, amazing stuff. Stanly Jordan has the chops, definately a pioneer. Wooten has blown me away as well. I must admit to not being as familiar as I should be with Pattatuci's work, maybe I need to 'sample' some.

    • Dave Holland!! (Score:2, Interesting)

      In the "modern" category, I'm afraid Dave Holland [daveholland.com] carries the torch.

      His work with his quintet is really amazing- some of the finest ensemble playing anytime, by any standard. The style his group has developed is really wonderful; heavy on improvisation and eastern influences. Billy Kilson takes the drums from a "groove" role to the front of the ensemble - taking on almost melodic roles. Generally, there are multiple solos going on at any time. Even the written music sounds improvised.

      This is some of the m
    • And for some really good modern jazz, check out Nils Wogram [nilswogram.com]. He can really make a trombone come to life. Especially on the album Speed Life [enjarecords.com].

      Can you guess what's on the cover?

    • I saw Victor Wooten play and have heard some of his recordings... he's impressive.

      To this list I would add some of my favorites, off the top of my head:

      Frank Gambale - As excellent jazz guitar player who crosses over to rock styles sometimes... as much as I like his electric work, his acoustic stuff is even better. He oftens works with Stu Hamm (see below) and Steve Smith (who used to drum for Journey and is an accomplished jazz drummer).

      Stu Hamm is my favorite jazz bassist. He's probably best known as
    • Jaco Pastorius was not in the Yellow Jackets. He was in Weather Report, but only on a few albums. "Heavy Weather" is the high point of the Jaco era of weather report.

      The bassist for the Yellow Jackets is Jimmy Haslip, also a fine bassist (from what I hear; I haven't heard them myself.)
    • I have fallen in love with Tony Quarrington and Friends - Group of Seven Suite [tonyquarrington.com] from CBC records. I heard it playing in the store and snapped it up immediately. It was actually presented and recorded live, although it does not sound like a live recording on the CD. (There is no clapping and such.)

      It reminds me of Kind of Blue, but 'sweeter' and more 'earthy.' It is one of my favourite modern jazz albums to date.

    • by Cujo (19106)

      What about the real stuff? Jazz that only rehashes the past isn't jazz, IMO. Innovation is its life blood.

      There are some great living players. Here are a few:

      • Henry Threadgill - alto player and a great composer who easily gets bored of reepeating himself.
      • Susie Ibarra - drummer/composer with Eastern influences. A thoughtful, subtle player.
      • Myra Melford - pianist and composer who often works with some of the best players around. Her album Above Blue is terrific.
      • Dave Douglas - the Masada trumpet play
  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:11PM (#6207610)
    The best thing about Public Radio is that they have a good number of jazz shows syndicated nationwide. While some stations don't play them, see if your local one does. They're good at not just playing jazz, but in talking about artists, recordings and history of jazz.

    One show I love in particular is Blues Before Sunrise, played nationwide on Saturday night/Sunday morning (on East coast it's from 1 am to 6 am on Sunday). It has a website (either BBS.com or BluesBeforeSunrise.com) which includes info on where you can hear the show streamed over the net every week.

    While these aren't recordings, I've found that NPR (and their competition, PRI) are GREAT at educating the listeners about the music they play and guiding people toward good artists and good recordings.
  • Single Cuts (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:15PM (#6207631)
    These aren't albums, but here's a few single cuts I can recommend, which may be found on several different albums (some are considered some of the best jazz recordings ever).

    - Body and Soul, by Coleman Hawkins
    - Sing, Sing, Sing, by Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall
    - Someday My Prince Will Come, by Miles Davis
    - Time Out, by Dave Brubeck
    - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, by Cannonball Adderly

    Just my $.02 worth.
  • My Top Ten album (Score:4, Informative)

    by light101 (317178) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:22PM (#6207672) Homepage
    "Kind of Blue" Miles Davis Columbia CK 40579

    "Night Train" Oscar Peterson Verve 821 724-2

    "Time Out" Dave Brubeck Columbia VCK 40585

    "Birth of Cool" Miles Davis Capitol Jazz C2-92862

    "A Love Supreme" John Coltrane MCA Impulse GRD155

    "Getz / Gilberto" Stan Getz/Jao & Astrud Gilberto Verve 810 048-2

    "Giant Steps" John Coltrane Atlantic 781337-2 Rhino R2 71984

    "Blue Train" John Coltrane Blue Note B2-46095

    "Sketches of Spain" Miles Davis Columbia VCK40578

    "Bill Evans Trio Sunday at the Village Vanguard" Bill Evans Riverside RCD-018-2
  • Jazz on Slashdot? (Score:2, Informative)

    by yawble (181792)
    omg, has the world collapsed?

    regardless of the collapse, I'd recommend most anything from John Coltrane, and seriously recommend anothing by Liquid Soul. Its that kinda jazzy grooby jazz that make syou wanna get naked and find pictures of famous movie starts to Photoshop yourself into.

    Its serioulsy *that* good.

    They have a cover called "salt Peanuts" that may sound familiar to some of you old skool jazz ppls, but their take on it might open up a new avenus of swet sounds to all you "youngsters" ;)

    I hav
    • Ahh yeah, I've got a recording of "Salt Peanuts" on an old Charlie Parker album, I think "The Yardbird Suites". Very catchy song. I'd like to hear this cover of it...
  • by The Mayor (6048) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:48PM (#6207836)
    When I am new to a music form, I tend to seek out the opinions of "experts" with that music form in order to start my collection. I'd love to see this same question asked with other music forms. Rap, house music, world music, jam bands, alternative music....let's see a string of these questions.

    If the music labels would only wake up and realize that people that engage in P2P filesharing actually buy *more* music, they might realize that this is the perfect application for (illegal) downloading of copyrighted material. Want to expose yourself to some of this music? Download a bunch of mp3s. Buy what you like (some of the liner notes on these jazz albums are fantastic), and delete the rest. After all, you don't want the RIAA on your butt when they come to arrest 1/6 of the population!
  • It sounds like you're off to an excellent start -- you're about where I am in learning about great old jazz. If you want to go beyond this, I highly recommend raiding the CD section of your local library. I've gotten to sample box sets from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, a great Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington set, etc from there, not to mention lots of individual albums.

    To go beyond that, read & listen. When Christopher Lydon used to do the public radio show The Connection [theconnection.org] from WBUR [wbur.org] in Boston, he used to do lots of great jazz shows. The ones on Kind of Blue [theconnection.org] & A Love Supreme [theconnection.org] greatly deepend my appreciation of what was already two of my favorite albums, and Lydon's enthusiasm for the music also got me interested in hearing more from people like Count Basie and others. Thanks to the magic of RealAudio and the generosity of Boston University, you can still listen to these great radio shows today. On a similar note, NPR's Curious Listeners Guide to Jazz [amazon.com] looks like a pretty good overview of the genre but deeper conniseurs than me might disagree about that one.

    Really though, the library is the best thing. Check out everything you can, make a note of what you like & what doesn't do anything for you, and focus on the artists & time periods that you like the best. For me, the stuff from the late 40s (Davis' "Rebirth of the Cool", 1948 [?]) through the late 50s (1959 gave us Davis' "Kind of Blue", Mingus' "Mingus Ah Um" & "Blues & Roots", and Coltrane's "Giant Steps" -- four of my favorites) and into the early 60s (Contrane's "Blue Train", 1961) seems to have been the golden age of jazz. Before that was a lot of big band & swing (fun, but not as personally satisfying to me) and after that came a lot of avant garde & psychedelic stuff that I only care for in small doses.

    As for whether you'll like modern stuff, I dunno. The 60s & 70s seemed to bring a lot of psychedelic free jazz & funk, but personally I haven't yet found anything from that era or since that has won me over. The closest thing I can find to modern jazz that I like is Martin Medesky & Wood, who in some ways do an interesting blend of that older cool jazz mixed well with modern hip hop -- making me wonder just what John Coltrane would have done if anyone thought to have a DJ in a band back in the 60s. My problem with MMW though is the whole hippie jam band thing, which I find great for naptime. Oh well. The other modern jazz person I've found to be consistently interesting is John Zorn; if you've ever heard Mr Bungle's albums and tried to puzzle out how they got to be so different from what Faith No More did, blame/thank John Zorn. To the extent that the first Bungle album didn't sound like "The Real Thing", to my ear it's almost all Zorn's influence (he produced the album). This stuff is fascinating to listen to, but it can barely be described as music in any conventional sense: his Cobra album seems to go out of its way to discard rhythm, melody, harmony & tempo -- it's just vaguely organized bursts of sound on disc. Very very weird.

    Bonus points: compare & contrast the album cover for "Blue Train [bluenote.com]" with that of one of the Cowboy Bebop [amazon.com] DVDs -- the cover art & logo are similar, and the back cover tiny font text are like mirrors of each other. First time I ever got a chance to see Cowboy Bebop (again, at the library -- I don't have cable tv :), I could tell just from the cover that the people that did this had excellent taste :) :) :)

    Anyway, this is al

    • I totally agree that finding out for yourself is the best way to get what you like. That said, there is a *lot* of stuff out there, so it helps to have a few suggestions. I'm a computer geek, but I played in a big band during college. Here are some of my picks FWIW:

      The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (with Wynton Marsalis). These guys are some of the finest jazz musicians playing today. Their "Live from Swing City" album is all Duke, and it's superb. Even if you have the Duke himself (which you should)
  • Jean Luc Ponty. Anything by him. Great violin jazz.
  • Squarepusher is typically known as a techno/drum'n'bass demi-God, but he released one album a few years ago which was actually pure jazz. He played all of the instruments himself and did the recording, and it came out amazingly. It has often been compared to the best of Miles Davis, which is high praise indeed.

    What's so interesting about it is you can clearly tell that there's a big modern influence, even a drum'n'bass influence if you will. Where the influence really occured the other way around, his jazz
  • If I had to recommend two, it would be these two. They are also more in line with what you already have mentioned ("respectable" jazz?) As always, Amazon is your friend, until they sell your personal info to asian spammers, but you can listen to samples...

    Unfortunately, most of the Jazz I hear on the radio that I like has been out of print for decades... Temple's radio station [wrti.org] used to be all Jazz but when they acquired a classical library from a failed classical station they became a mediocre classical
  • He must think we pay for music.......errr SORRY RIAA!!!!
  • Django (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MaxQuordlepleen (236397) <el_duggio@hotmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @10:03PM (#6208312) Homepage
    Lots of the Good Stuff (Monk, Coletrane, Ella, Brubeck) has already been mentioned.. But you should check out Django Reinhart, the original guitar god ;)
  • I recommend anything by Herbie Hancock very highly. The Best Of... albm from Blue Note Records especially, for a taste of where to look for his earlier work, and His work with the Head Hunters for some serious funk. Future Shock is a good foray into early synth sounds, and you'll recognize at least one song on that album, no doubt. :)

    Have fun exploring!

  • ...I happen to be a pretentious snob who thinks he knows what he's talking about when it comes to jazz specifically and music in general.

    Well, let's get started.

    I basically think of five musicians as being the major movers and shakers of 'jazz' (or African-American classical music, or the only truly American classical music, or whatever you want to call it that will piss somebody somewhere off...):

    • Louis Armstrong
    • Duke Ellington
    • Charlie Parker
    • Miles Davis
    • John Coltrane

    First of all, that's leav

  • Crikey, if there's questions about jazz on /. now, I'm gonna start asking about pickup lines!

    -psy
    • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Mayor (6048)
      eh? /.'ers can't listen to jazz? I can understand the stereotype with respect to pickup lines (even if I disagree with it)...but to music? Haven't there been enough studies done on the links between music & math with respect to brain development? Haven't you realized that there is a fair share of musicians among the computer literate crowd? Come on, now!
      • Judging by the amount of DJ and electronic music production equipment in my loft, I'm pretty sure there are some /.ers who like and create music.

        Just thought it was kinda lame to be asking for Jazz record advice on /. rather than another forum where you wouldn't have to deal with the abuse ;-)

        -psy
  • MMW, Monk, and JMP (Score:2, Informative)

    by phisheadrew (526202)
    A few of my favorites:

    Thelonious Monk - Specifically Solo Monk and Traditionals

    Medeski Martin & Wood - The Dropper and Uninvisible

    Jazz Mandolin Project is also good.

    If you can't afford it, you could always look for live recordings of them (not sure about Monk though) online, legal and free. www.furthurnet.com , www.etree.org
    • Mingus at Antibes
    • Joe Henderson, Page One
    • Dexter Gordon, Go!
    • World Saxophone Quartet, Metamorphosis
    • Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come

    Re Miles Davis, you already have Kind of Blue, which is an all-time great. Some people like his fusion stuff, but I can't stand it myself.

    For Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, look in one of those books that rates jazz records and see what's good. They churn out lots of compilations every year, and some are much better than others.


  • Maybe not quite what you're looking for, but I like Chick Corea a lot. Return to Forever.

    'What Game Shall We Play' today is one of my favorites. Nice vocals.
  • Get John Coltrane and Johhny Hartman on Impulse!(Verve). It has only 6 cuts but they're all keepers. You'll play it over and over. This version of Lush Life is the reference classic. It's a good romance soundtrack.

    Also get Bird and Diz for the Be-bop classics. The Bridge by Sonny Rollins.

    As much as I hate to say it, The overrated Ken Burns 4 CD Jazz collection is a pretty good sampling. I mean he overrates himself. The music didn't need his endorsement, but at least he got the word out.

    I was d
  • Jazz for beginners (Score:2, Informative)

    by Van Halen (31671)
    A few years ago I stumbled upon this page [tripod.com] and really enjoyed what this guy had to say. I'm still building my collection and slowly expanding my own tastes. Right now in the Jazz genre of my collection, my biggest favorites are Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis. I've got a fairly basic collection of early Miles Davis stuff, and lately I've been getting into jazz guitar (as you may guess from my username, I'm a huge fan of instrumental rock guitar already). Lately I've been really digging Charlie Hunter
  • Some standouts from the post-bop era:

    * Time Out, Dave Brubeck, 1959
    Although it seemed far out at the time, with all these songs in weird meters (5/4, 7/4) - when the jazz scene was all playing standard 4/4 bars - this album ironically became a best-seller.

    * Giant Steps, John Coltrane, 1959
    This guy expanded what we knew then about harmony. This album (especially the title track) will show the way to all structured atonal jazz.

    * Bitches Brew, Miles Davis, 1969
    The first fusion record, with some of the grea
    • And just assume that there's a "Play Me Loudly" label on the Mahavishnu CD. Great stuff: electronic keyboards, dual-necked guitar, bass and violin. The guitarist is John McLaughlin, who's been cranking out good electric and accoustic stuff for years.
  • I'd like recommend the recordings from the 1930's by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli (Quintette of the Hot Club de France). Groundbreaking and virtuoso (acoustic)guitar and violin playing in a unique 'European' swing idiom (double bass, 2 rhythm guitars, lead guitar, violin).

    Some ideas:

    The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order [amazon.com]
    Quintette du Hot Club de France: 25 Classics 1934-1940 [amazon.com]

    Also, EMusic [emusic.com] has a lot of this stuff available for download.

    JP

  • Kurt Elling is IMHO the finest male jazz vocalist alive today, if not the finest jazz vocalist alive today full stop. His 'vocalises' (settings of poetry to transcriptions of great instrumental improvisations) are pretty extraordinary, and his subtle phrasing and clean (mainly) vibratoless sound is a delight. 'Flirting with Twilight' is a subversive disc of standards and is a good (if somewhat atypical) introduction to his art, while 'The Messenger' contains a version of Nature Boy that has to be heard to b
  • If you're just starting out, this anthology might be the place to start, but see this review [theonion.com] first.
  • All due respect to Davis and Coltrane, but...

    Charlie Parker!
    + The Cole Porter Songbook
    + Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1949 [LIVE]

    And, with Dizzy Gillespie
    + Bird and Diz

    With the added benefit of getting to know the Cole Porter songs. Ok, it's not that experimental stuff from the 60s and 70s, but man is it sweet. I credit The Bird with helping me land my wife of 11 years!
  • by EisPick (29965)
    ... has an excellent back archive of jazz -- over a thousand albums worth downloading. For $120 you can subscribe to eMusic for a year and sample freely to learn what you do and don't like.

  • If you've never heard Red Holloway pick up some of his work. Never made a bad disc. His 60s work defined Acid Jazz, and his more modern discs are bluesly stuff with one or two acid jazz cuts.

    And, of course, Weather Report 8:30, one of the greatest albums ever made.

    Stanley Clark, School Days
  • Lenny Breau [guitarchives.com] - unknown canadian, murdered, arguably the best jazz guitarist ever, kooky 7-string player

    Kenny Burrell [vervemusicgroup.com] - one of the best, plays with B.B. King now, straight ahead bob

    Wes Montgomery [google.com] - one the first, one of the most influential

    Charlie Christian [google.com] - the first, groundbreaker

    Ed Bickert [tripod.com] - i think I've seen him play live about 50 times, just incredible, and he uses a Telecaster

    John Pizzarelli [johnpizzarelli.com] - wonderful tone, fantastic voice, good trio, and his dad Bucky is quite good as well.

    There are a
  • Take a listen at WWOZ [wwoz.org] out of New Orleans. They play a wide variety of old and new Jazz. It's mostly local programming that is pretty unique.

    If you're interested in some of the modern Brass Band Jazz that New Orleans produces copious amounts of, check out Rebirth Brass Band [rebirthbrassband.com] (you can listen to some of their songs there). They are one of the best known of the Brass Jazz bands, but there are many others. Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, Los Hombres Calientes (heavy latin flavor), Irvin Mayfield,

  • I think that whether they're "essential" depends a lot on who you're talking to, but three of my favorite albums don't yet appear to have been mentioned:

    A New Perspective, Donald Byrd Band and Voices
    Rather different from much of what Byrd recorded, the vocal work can sound a little...well, cheesy, to some people, but it's fascinating to me.

    Add to that Last Date and Out to Lunch by Eric Dolphy. Jazz flute doesn't grab everybody, but the man was an extraordinary musician and performer.

    Otherwise, it s

  • Art Tatum was a ground-breaking pianist in the 1st half of the 20th century. His harmonic inventiveness and astonishing technique are impressive; but they become even more so when you realize how long ago the recordings were made. Way ahead of his time.

    Also, pick up some stuff by Marcus Roberts. His reinterpretation of Rhapsody in Blue blows me away every time I hear it. His use of the piano to its full potential is Liszt-like.

  • Dexter Gordon is also not to be missed. Try out 'Our Man in Paris' and 'Go' for some stellar Jazz albums.
  • Bob Moses. Nuff said (start with "Moses/Munoz Love Everlasting")
  • Must have jazz... (Score:2, Informative)

    by maiasaurus (643547)
    Just spent the day at the Playboy Jazz Festival yesterday *drool* Must say that Dve Brubeck and Al Jarreau together was truly awesome. That being said, here's Playboy's list, and I agree with almost every choice:
    Cannonball Adderly: Somethin' Else
    Art Blakey: Moanin'
    Dave Brubeck: Time Out
    Benny Carter: Further Definitions
    Ornete Coleman: The Shape of Jazz to Come
    John Coltrane: Giant Steps
    A Love Supreme
    Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
  • Pickup the following discs, and see where Jazz became Ska...(eventually ska became reggae and rocksteady as well, and went through 3 waves of rebirth in different forms [the third wave recently finished]):

    The Skatalites - Hi-Bop Ska
    The Skatalites - Ball of Fire
    The Skatalites - From Paris With Love
  • Charlie Hunter - 8 string (3 bass, 5 guitar - plays the two simultaneously, and it isn't a gimmick). Natty Dread was the album (jazz cover of Marley's great) that got me into it. He has all sorts of albums in his name with quartets, trios, a duo, and a solo album. He has also played with Pound for Pound and TJKirk (who covered T=henolius Monk, J=ames Brown, and Roland Rahsaan Kirk). Norah Jones among many other guests was on his second to last album as well. Also plays with Garage-a-trois, but they hav
  • It's new stuff, standards heavy, but I've seen him a few times on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and have been pleased with it. His performance last week just floored me, though. Fun, upbeat stuff is what I've mostly heard. Check out the comments on Amazon.com. John's a guitarist, with stand-up bass and piano rounding out the trio.
  • If you get on OK with Pat Metheny (I particulrly recommend his "Still Life, Talking" album), then you are bound to enjoy Lyle Mays also, who used to play with Metheny.

    You may also enjoy Chick Corea, who plays piano with a small group. Very mellow. I recommend "Eye of the Beholder". Somebody stole my copy :o(

    If you like very hard Jazz fusion (eg Miles Davis' weirder stuff) then try Weather Report, especially from when Jaco Pasterius was still with them. Virtuoso performances guaranteed.
  • Don't bother getting Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. It's not like the greatest jazz album ever made or anything.
  • Would You ReCCommend?

    I think I would reccccccommend several. I don't feel like listing them all. You wouldn't want to hear all my recccccommendations, I 'm pretty sure.

  • It's a Jungle in Here by Medeski Martin & Wood

    Feed Me Weird Things by Squarepusher
  • Any CD from the group Fourplay.

    Try some Bossa Nova, perhaps Antonio Carlos Jobim.

    Steve Cole is pretty good too.

    If you're into vocals, check out Al Jarreau.

    Marc Antoine is also a favorite as is Peter White.

    All these artists with the exception of Jobim can be heard on most smooth jazz radio stations (WNWV FM 107.3 in Cleveland "The Wave"). If you have a Macintosh with iTunes, check out the internet radio stations listed under Jazz.
  • Where all began....

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

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