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What Jazz Records Would You Reccommend?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the for-my-fellow-jazz-geeks dept.

Music 235

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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235 comments

John Zorn. (3, Funny)

Roto-Rooter Man (520267) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207346)

If you're into easy listening, I recommend John Zorn.

Re:John Zorn. (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207665)

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] .

Simpsons Reference (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207351)

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.

Re:Simpsons Reference (1)

lowtekneq (469145) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207364)

Actually the record is "Sax on the Beach" Bleeding Gums is also the brother of Doctor Hibert, and got his name by never having gone to the dentist.

Gill Glover's Waking Life Sountrack... (1)

heldlikesound (132717) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207368)

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.

Re:Gill Glover's Waking Life Sountrack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207712)

That's all tango music.

It is great, though!

Two Suggestions (5, Informative)

StillDocked (471133) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207381)

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.

Re:Two Suggestions (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207550)

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 duets.

yes Verve is a good label to look for and make (1)

Bob Bitchen (147646) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209183)

sure to get Bill Evans too, there's a concert in Tokyo that's very good. Really any Bill Evans is good to have around. Chet Baker is wonderful.Find a good jazz radio station to listen to and jot down the ones you like. KLON from Long Beach is good and you can listen live via the net. Diana Krall's not bad (she's about to marry Elvis Costello BTW). Remember with any jazz that the more you listen to songs the more you like them. I've found that sometimes I won't like a song the first time thru but find after hearing it more that I enjoy it more than the previous listen.

Why is this on Ask Slashdot? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207382)

When did Ask Slashdot become a Q&A forum for all sorts of topics. "Im working on a supermegalinuxcluster, has anyone else done this. here is what I've done so far, I'd love to see other projects like this" would be the proper question. Next thing there will be questions like "Need 2 learn 2 hack buy monday, need 1337 wiz4rd 2 teach me"

Re:Why is this on Ask Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207536)

The banner at the top of my Slashdot page says "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters."

I guess it should read, "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters, but only in a really narrow view of the world and according to strict guidelines. Any other topics will be ridiculed."

Maybe I need to reload my cache to see that new banner.

What kind of Jazz? (1, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207407)

The genre is too large to simply say "this is good".

Now I'm going to say something that's going to get me flamed.

Check out Kenny G. No seriously. Stop laughing.

Kenny G represents the future of Jazz, for better or worse. Soprano sax in the fore and a solid trio in the backup is the type of music coming out of the Jazz world for years to come. Take a listen to any recent Jazz album and you will find easily followable rhythms and very few solo excursions anymore.

As an art form, Jazz has essentially played itself out. This is as much a result of its maturity as it is a result of the intrinsyc drawbacks of the style. The style allows the artist complete freedom and this was exploited for years in the form of gratuitous solos and wildly off-beat excursions. There is only so far you can go with that kind of artform because eventually it all has to come back to the essential 4 4 beat and at that point Jazz loses all its magic.

It's a shame that the best American musical artform is on the verge of dying (BSD trolls begone!), but there's simply nowhere for the music to go except into Kenny G-like easy listening, no chance taking, simple, boring, and unsatisfying albums.

It's kind of like being an Altair aficianado. The only thing you can do is look to the past because they just don't make what you want anymore.

Re:What kind of Jazz? (1)

GypC (7592) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207452)

Why suggest Kenny G because it's the "Future" of Jazz (which I don't buy at all)? There are thousands of records from the last, what 75 years (?), that are worth buying. After you've run through all of those and are sick of them (the work of a lifetime, really) then, sure, devolve to Kenny G...

Re:What kind of Jazz? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207493)

I like Flim and the BBs. Some might not consider it Jazz in the strictest sense. You've probably heard their work and didn't know it, they did the theme for All My Children.

Re:What kind of Jazz? (2, Informative)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207678)

OK. I really tried to stop laughing. But I can't.

The problem with American jazz is that in America, jazz has lost its commercial appeal. Some of the best attended jazz performances these days are in France. The French jazz scene is far better than that in the US. Even if you are interested in American performers, they tend to spend a great deal of time in France.

If you want fluff, go ahead and listen to Kenny G and Yanni. They may be the future of jazz, but that doesn't make them good. Let me give you a parallel: rock has turned the way of Brittany. That doesn't make her a good musician, though. It just means that she is marketable.

Want the future of (good, imho,) jazz in the US scene? I think bands like Widespread Panic and the Jazz Mandolin Project are where it's at. The jam band scene has borrowed a great deal from jazz over the past 35 years. The jam band scene seems to me to be showing their jazz influences much in the way that the jam bands from the 60s and 70s showed their influences from folk music.

Re:What kind of Jazz? (1)

babbage (61057) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208047)

My problem with jam bands -- and yes, the scent you're about to pick up just might be the smell of me talking out of my ass -- is that it's mostly monotonous riffing over the same scales & chord structures. It's fairly easy to go noodling on for 45 minutes as long as you're basically sticking to a 12-bar blues (or whatever -- my music theory is flaky at best). All of those jam bands, from the Dead to Phish, Blues Traveller, and Dave Matthews band, just annoy the living crap out of me.

Honestly, for interesting jam music outside of the jazz genre, my two favorites are nominally punk bands: Sonic Youth & Fugazi. They can make fascinating instrumental music that, crucially, does not put me to sleep :)

On a similar tack, every one of Radiohead's albums has been more interesting than the one that preceded it, and as far as I can tell a lot of that has to do with the influence of electronic dance bands like Autechre, Massive Attack, and Portishead. All of which are, again, fascinating and progressive and jazzy and rocky and in no way sleep inducing.

To the guy who suggested that Kenny G is the future of jazz, no way. He may be the commercial future of jazz, but so what -- boy bands are the commercial future of rock but that doesn't keep creative people like Radiohead from putting out enormously successful albums at the same time. And yes, I'll concede that the hippie jam bands do draw from classic jazz as much as Sonic Youth or Portishead do, and they all do a decent job of reintrepreting the old ideas once again. But the jam bands have not in my opinion assumed the role of sole defenders of the genre today, and thank god as far as I'm concerned :-)

Re:What kind of Jazz? (1)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209381)

I like your choices...Sonic Youth (remember when they were Psonic Youth?), Fugazi, Radiohead, Portishead, Massive Attack (gonna have to listen to Autechre...not familiar with them). But they're not Jazz. Widespread Panic is much closer to the jazz genre. And the Jazz Mandolin Project is jazz music through and through. JMP is nothing like DMB, Phish, GD, and the rest of the folk-inspired jam bands (nor is WP, but you can definitely tell the folk roots, too). I'm talking explicitly here about the jam bands that draw primarily from jazz. The jam band genre, with its long and winding improvisations, have much to borrow from jazz, even if most of the more popular ones show far more folk roots (with the 4-4 timing and the 12-bar blues).

I'm not speaking here of jam bands with jazz influences...I'm speaking of jam bands that are essentially jam jazz bands. The jam band genre is expanding a great deal these days now that Jerry Garcia is gone. From what I see of the jazz world, this is where a lot of the interesting work is being done in jazz within the US. Outside of the US, I think you really need to look to France for the cutting edge jazz.

It's all good, though. That's what makes music so wonderful. It's got a basic common language, but every style and every piece can be so different if the artists let it.

Re:What kind of Jazz? (5, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207975)

Question: Pat, could you tell us your opinion about Kenny G - it appears you were quoted as being less than enthusiastic about him and his music. I would say that most of the serious music listeners in the world would not find your opinion surprising or unlikely - but you were vocal about it for the first time. You are generally supportive of other musicians it seems.

Pat Metheny's Answer: Kenny G is not a musician I really had much of an opinion about at all until recently. There was not much about the way he played that interested me one way or the other either live or on records. I first heard him a number of years ago playing as a sideman with Jeff Lorber when they opened a concert for my band. My impression was that he was someone who had spent a fair amount of time listening to the more pop oriented sax players of that time, like Grover Washington or David Sanborn, but was not really an advanced player, even in that style. He had major rhythmic problems and his harmonic and melodic vocabulary was extremely limited, mostly to pentatonic based and blues-lick derived patterns, and he basically exhibited only a rudimentary understanding of how to function as a professional soloist in an ensemble - Lorber was basically playing him off the bandstand in terms of actual music. But he did show a knack for connecting to the basest impulses of the large crowd by deploying his two or three most effective licks (holding long notes and playing fast runs - never mind that there were lots of harmonic clams in them) at the key moments to elicit a powerful crowd reaction (over and over again). The other main thing I noticed was that he also, as he does to this day, play horribly out of tune - consistently sharp.

Of course, I am aware of what he has played since, the success it has had, and the controversy that has surrounded him among musicians and serious listeners. This controversy seems to be largely fueled by the fact that he sells an enormous amount of records while not being anywhere near a really great player in relation to the standards that have been set on his instrument over the past sixty or seventy years.

And honestly, there is no small amount of envy involved from musicians who see one of their fellow players doing so well financially, especially when so many of them who are far superior as improvisers and musicians in general have trouble just making a living. there must be hundreds, if not thousands of sax players around the world who are simply better improvising musicians than Kenny G on his chosen instruments. It would really surprise me if even he disagreed with that statement.

Having said that, it has gotten me to thinking lately why so many jazz musicians (myself included, given the right "bait" of a question, as I will explain later) and audiences have gone so far as to say that what he is playing is not even jazz at all.

More right here... [everything2.org]

Get Dizzy. (5, Informative)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207415)

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.

What sort of nonsense is this? (-1, Offtopic)

Dunkirk (238653) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207422)

Hey, everybody knows that people who own computers simply steal all of their music from off the internet. The RIAA told them so, and they've got lots and lots of money, so it must be true!

Re:What sort of nonsense is this? (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207489)

Keep downloading the pop music from the Internet if you like, but do buy music like jazz in stores - it'll do musical diversity a favor.

Re:What sort of nonsense is this? (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207830)

Hell no. There's a great binary newsgroup for (old) jazz. alt.binaries.sounds.78-era has many jazz greats.

King Oliver rules.

Re:What sort of nonsense is this? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207928)

Hmmm. I've found P2P fairly useless as a means of "stealing" music, though it's probably all right if you have very pedestrian tastes.

Let's See (5, Informative)

GypC (7592) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207428)

"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.

Re:Let's See (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208095)

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.

Re:Let's See (1)

pedro (1613) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209027)

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 :)

Good Jazz Labels (4, Informative)

mcSey921 (230169) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207430)

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 (2, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208379)

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.

Duke Ellington - Live at The Newport (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207435)

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.

Hey, Lets not jump the gun... (0, Flamebait)

ihtagik (318795) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207444)

I'd reccommend (sic) learning how to spell (or at least spell check) first!
Is is just me who is bothered this glaring spelling mistake?

Re:Hey, Lets not jump the gun... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207558)

I am more concerned with your glaring omission of a preposition.

Re:Hey, Lets not jump the gun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207587)

I am more concerned with the fact that you're too pussy to post with an account, you anonymous bastard.

Jazz? Well, if you must... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207456)

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.

Re:Jazz? Well, if you must... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207790)

Good point! Nobody played blues after 1929.

Wait? Did you say blues? Never mind then, EVERYONE PLAYS THEM ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

There are lots of good reasons to listen to Jelly Roll Morton. "Because you won't be familiar with the blues otherwise," is a shitty one.

Re:Jazz? Well, if you must... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207816)

You seem to be confused. Jelly Roll Morton is usually considered to be the first Jazz artist, not Blues. My comments about _Blues_ were not related to Jelly Roll.

Coltrane, etc... (1)

gmaestro (316742) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207460)

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 Ebony Concerto written for Benny Goodman.

And of course, giving a shout to my alma mater [unt.edu] , the North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band is the only college jazz band to recieve Grammy nods. (Hey, I played in the Nine O'Clock! :-) My favorite tune: Overture to the Royal Mongolian Suma Foosball Festival on Lab 75.

Re:Coltrane, etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207603)

As long as we're listening to Coletrane, a great collection is The Complete 1961 Village Vangaurd Recordings. It definately includes some of Coletrane's more experimental work. The best part is being able to listen to 3 or 4 different versions of many of the songs. Though considering it is a four CD box, it's rather pricey.


Currently I've been listening to Oscar Peterson and his various trios. I suggest checking out Nigerian Market Place and Tristeza. Both showcase superb jazz piano, bass and drum trios.

Re:Coltrane, etc... (1)

tea41 (563147) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207767)

I've become a huge fan of Coltrane, mostly through his Impluse era albums. A Love Supreme is definitely my favorite jazz album, and ranks in the top 5 for all genres. Impluse has recently (last few years) been re-releasing many of the classics from this era. Bonus tracks, good packaging and liner notes.

Re:Coltrane, etc... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208024)

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 (IMHO) so I've burned a fresh copy, leaving them out.

And the RIAA can just chew on that; I think that should be legal, even if it isn't.

Have a decent Internet connection? (1)

roc_machine (314714) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207474)

Can't afford the CDs but have a decent connection? Then just stream it if you listen to music when you're computing. A radio station in my home town plays nothing but Jazz. You can find it here: Cool FM [canada.com] .

It'll at least help you decide what other CDs you might want to buy.

Chet Baker, White Blues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207475)

It's just too good.

What about modern Jazz (4, Informative)

linkages (131028) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207501)

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.

Re:What about modern Jazz (3, Informative)

SimplexO (537908) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208112)

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.

Re:What about "modern" Jazz????? (-1, Troll)

turbosk (73287) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209383)

Puh-leeez. Informative my ass. Fucking ill-informed moderators.

Why not tell the poor bastard to listen to kenny G for as "modern" as you're talking? You're telling him to listen to the lawrence welks of this generation. He wanted GOOD MUSIC, and you've given him a list of MUZAK MAKERS. You want something corny? You got it! (Excepting Mr Brecker, of course, who really is pretty good.)

REAL GOOD stuff to listen to is JOHN ZORN (heavy-metal jazz) and JOHN LURIE (music to fish giant squid by). THOSE guys blow mean horns.

ANOTHER THING is, if you play with somebody, and are gonna shamelessly name-drop, at least learn to spell their NAMES correctly. John Pattatucci is almost as good as BILLY COBHAM, but i know BILLY COBHAM, and have played with BILLY COBHAM, and JP's no BILLY COBHAM :)

criminy,

fred

Re:What about modern Jazz (1)

xmbrst (465928) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208747)

Jazz is its history (can you really call it jazz if it isn't blues-based?), but some contemporary jazz musicians recognize this fact and play with it. Of all the jazz historians among the "young lions," my favorite is Marcus Roberts. Try "Deep in the Shed" or his recent CD of Cole Porter reinterpretations.

Re:What about modern Jazz (1)

crisco (4669) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209331)

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!! (2, Interesting)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209339)

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 most wonderful, euphoric recording... really great. My favorite recordings of anything, ever.

Here are some to check out:
Prime Directive [ecmrecords.com]
Points of View [ecmrecords.com]
Not for Nothin' [ecmrecords.com]

Enjoy!

Pat Metheny (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207537)

Still Life Talking by Pat Metheny.

Re:Pat Metheny (1)

pedro (1613) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209046)

I'll see your feeble Metheney and raise you a
John McLaughlin "My Goal's Beyond".

basic idea (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207608)

I am by no means a Jazz afficionado but if you can get your hands on the 5-volume Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, you will get a good, broad introduction from ragtime to "free jazz" and will be better equipped to figure out what artists/eras you want next to explore.

The collection appears to be out of publication but I would suspect a local library or eBay could help out.

You can google for a track list in a number of places.

Not Recordings, But... (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Jazz essentials (1)

servicepack158 (678320) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207622)

Well I'm a trumpet player so I recommend : anything maynard fergesson or arturo sandoval and also Blues and the Abstract Truth (Oliver Nelson and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet) Good stuff.

Re:Jazz essentials (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209062)

Another great trumpeter to check out is Lee Morgan. "Sidewinder" is one of my favorite albums, super groovy.

Single Cuts (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Single Cuts (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207862)

The Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall (1938) is a must-have concert album.

The whole concert was recorded from one microphone in the auditorium ceiling. So make sure you have your 5.1 wizzywhoo speaker system properly placed. heh.

My Top Ten album (4, Informative)

light101 (317178) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207672)

"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

Re:My Top Ten album (1)

tea41 (563147) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207797)

This is a great list. I haven't heard a few of your picks (O. Peterson and B. Evans) and I might not put Birth of Cool on there.

I would add:

"Somethin' Else" Cannonball Adderley
"Brillant Corners" Thelonious Monk

And slightly more unorthodox:

"Pangea" Miles Davis

Re:My Top Ten album (2, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208065)

I was just about to add Somethin' Else!

Rahsaan Roland Kirk needs to be added here. Wow, where do you start with this guy? Maybe Domino, with Herbie Hancock as a sideman, too.

On another track: Brother Jack McDuff. Really, almost the most laid-back of the Hammond B3 players. Once you listen close, and see where he's going with the band...

It's hard to go wrong with The New Boss Guitar of George Benson, with the Brother Jack McDuff Quartet . Benson's debut at about 21. McDuff has him lead the group, and you can see just what He built his original reputation on.

Oh Yeah, Herbie! How come no one's mentioned Herbie Hancock so far? I know he doofed bad in the '70's (like Benson) but c'mon! Takin' Off!

Jazz on Slashdot? (2, Informative)

yawble (181792) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207798)

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 have the mp3s available, but only to those that ask. I don't need an RIAA enema today =]

Re:Jazz on Slashdot? (1)

babbage (61057) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208122)

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...

Haven't seen here yet - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6207814)

Clifford Brown. That guy was a motherfucker.

I recommend "Hot meets Cool," now retitled "The Immortal Clifford Brown." (He died in his mid 20's)

I'm not a jazz wonk, so I don't know what to say about his playing, other than to mention his impressive technique.

I like this type of Ask Slashdot (3, Insightful)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 10 years ago | (#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!

Don't ask me, find out for yourself (3, Informative)

babbage (61057) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207856)

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 all scattershot, and for that I'm sorry. There's way too much to learn and I'm not really knowledgeable enough to be the on to teach it to you. I really mean it when I say that the best thing you can do for yourself is to listen to as much as you can, from as broad a background as you can find, and like I've said the public library is a great & too little considered source of material for this subject. Asking other people what they think is okay, but you really need to develop a feel for what the different periods & subgenres sounded like before you can understand who to listen to, what you'll agree with, what you'll want to avoid, etc. The bright side though is that there's a vast array of material out there just waiting to be discovered -- have fun! :)

Re:Don't ask me, find out for yourself (1)

jhealy1024 (234388) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209220)

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), get this album as well, especially if you're into swing.

The Mingus Big Band. Organized by Sue Mingus (Charles' wife), these guys get together to play tunes written by the great bassist. I've seen them in concert, and I don't have the words to describe their awesomeness.

Jimmy Smith moved the organ from the church into the concert hall. His short career (a few years in the 60s) saw numerous albums with some great grooves. If you like him, you might look into the current group Soulive (they've moved on to a more modern sound, but their earlier albums are all soul, and impossible not to dance to).

For a little splash of New Orleans, check out the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (I'm a tuba player, so they hold a special place in my heart).

Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones... there's so many to choose from! Talk to your friends, trade your CDs (while it's still legal), and see what you like!

Swiss Movement (1)

Mr. Piddle (567882) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207863)

What about "Swiss Movement" starring Les McCann and Eddie Harris (Atlantic Recording Group)? I really own only four or five jazz CDs, but it is the one I enjoy the most. Kinda gritty with good rhythm (definitely not easy-listening sleepy-time Jazz).

di.fm (1)

frankjr (591955) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207946)

Digitally Imported, known mostly for it's dance music stations, now has a modern jazz station.

Some artists and jazz genres (1)

Conesus (148179) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207949)

I'll name a few artists from a few genres.

Looking for current, then check out Medeski, Martin & Wood. They rock, they jazz, and they are still touring. They have almost a dozen albums out, and have quite a groovy, funky, and acidic jazz feel. I'd recommend Combustication, Shack-man, and Friday Afternoon in the Universe.

Miles Davis. Period. He played with everyone good. Start out getting Miles Davis albums. Plus, he has a few periods that span classicals, originals, romance, electrical, and acid. Recommendations: For classical and originals: Milestones, Miles Smiles, Birth of the Cool (and it was the birth of the cool, hence your adam sandler joke about peeing, coolness, and miles davis), and Kind of Blue For his electrical and acidic: Panthalassa (and the remixes too! Bill Laswell in '93), Bitches' Brew, Big Fun, and Dark Magus. Follow who he played with, like John Coltrane, who is amazing. Check out his A Love Supreme.

For upright bass (contrabass, double bass) the king is Charles Mingus. If you can get the album Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus. Check the song II B.S. Yopu'll recognize it from a Volswagen commercial. (Hey Booboo.) Also get Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

And lastly, get Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. And for that great 50s feel, get Booker Ervin's Booker n' Brass. Questions, reply. Comments, reply. Please, reply.

Re:Some artists and jazz genres (1)

gt384u (560599) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209147)

I can vouch for some of the above selections. particularly Medeski, Martin and Wood since Miles Davis really needs no one to vouch for him. Definitely check out MMW's Friday Afternoon in the Universe and if you're interested in the idea of a Hip Hop/Jazz fusion, "What happened to Gus?" off the Combustication Remixes. One of my favorites is actually the album Notes From the Underground, if only for the Dostoyevsky allusion in the title (the novella Notes From the Underground is incidentally the inspiration for Brett Easton Ellis' "American Psycho").

As for Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, how many other albums are cool enough and have enough longevity to be sampled regularly by hip hop's best and brightest? I've even heard Old Dirty Bastard drop his name in songs (I'll be like Herbie and hand you a cock). Headhunters is one of those albums that polarized audiences when it was first released. As you can read in the liner notes, one review referred to it as "future shit" in reference to its heavy use of synthesizers. Initially, I bought the album for the song "Chameleon", as it has one of the funkiest, dirtiest bass lines worthy of a George Clinton project combined with a awesome horn line. The rest of the tracks were kind of out there on my first listen, even 30 some years after it was released (kind of like the Bill Laswell remix of Panthalassa, actually) but in the end every single one of the tracks just grew on me. Do yourself a favor and pick up Headhunters. I count it as the singularly best $5 purchase I ever made.

Finally, I applaud you for deciding to culture yourself a bit and branch out your musical tastes. I notice a lot of the Slashdot crowd that I actually know are all about hacking Perl or debating the best Linux distro (they all are lacking as far as I'm concerned) but when it comes to being well rounded as human beings, there's really no interest. View it as hacking yourself if you have to, guys, but it just makes you generally a more interesting person...not to mention more likely to be successful with the ladies. And if that's all I manage to do, then I've been a success because if I have to read one more off-topic post bitching about not being able to ask a chick out or not getting laid, I will kill many, many people. Good luck with the music searching.

One word.. Squarepusher. (2, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 10 years ago | (#6207997)

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 album makes it sound like D&B came first, and then jazz was a progression on from THAT. This leads to some extremely interesting tunes.

The album is called 'Music is Rotted One Note'. I suggest you look at the reviews of it at Amazon [amazon.com] (not an affiliate link) and even listen to a few clips. The best track by far, in my opinion, is 'Don't Go Plastic' which has a real Miles feel.

Stan Kenton, and The Crusaders (1)

n3bulous (72591) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208055)

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 station that played jazz occasionally. You can see their playlists, though, and listen, I think.

Stan Kenton, New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm [amazon.com] - All I can say is that it goes with me on all road trips. I can listen to this album for hours, over and over again.

The Crusaders, The Golden Years [amazon.com] - A greatest hits type of collection. Two of these three discs are really good, with the third being so-so.

There's swing jazz, like the Brian Setzer Orchestra [amazon.com] (the albums are good, but he's great live).

There's guitar jazz like Al DiMeola (a little eclectic for some, though, try Casino [amazon.com] or Splendido Hotel [amazon.com] , though don't try to use either of these as "mood" music...) and Larry Carlton [amazon.com] (played with the crusaders and steely dan). Acoustic Alchemy [amazon.com] is excellent.

Someone else already mentioned Bela Fleck, but I wouldn't bother with anything except the first 3 albums. The first two are by far the best, and after the third they become kinda boring. Sinister Minister is the best example of their work. Try Greatest Hits of the 20th Century [amazon.com]

St. Germain (1)

Momomoto (118483) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208062)

Take things in a new, exciting, and decidedly more modern direction. I highly recommend St. Germain's two studio releases: Boulevard [amazon.com] and Tourist. [amazon.com] .

St. Germain is, in my opinion, a luscious blend of jazz and electronica/trip-hop. It's organic and ultimately enthralling. They're both amazing party albums, and St. Germain's obscure enough in North America that you'll be hailed as a god among men.

Ani Difranco (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6208176)

Wait, don't discount this one. For those who don't know she started as a ridiculous angry folk singer, but then 3 albums later she was getting a foothold, getting sane, and had clever, heart-warming lyrics and songs with pace (I don't blame her for the ridiculous angry bit, if anyone here put out an album when they were that age it'd probably be as silly, take Linkin' Park for example -- you just have to forgive them and hope they'll do better).

Anyway, if you're interested in Jazz + Blues + Folk then grab her UP UP UP UP UP album, and To The Teeth. Her live stuff ain't too good - don't bother, but those albums are excellent. Particularly, "Hat Shaped Hat", "Back back back", are great jazz/blues songs. Here are some lyrics,

Back, back, back

In the back of your mind are you learning an angry language?

Tell me, boy boy
Boy, are you tending to your joy, or are you just letting it vanquish?

Yeah, back, back, back
In the dark of your mind where the eyes of your demons are gleaming

Are you mad mad mad
about the life you never had
Yeah, even when you are dreaming?

Who are these old, old, old people in these nursing homes
Just scowling away at nothing?
Like big rag dolls
Just cursing at the walls and pulling out all of their stuffing

Yeah, every day is a door leading back to the core
Yes, old age will distill you
And if you're this, this, this full of bitterness now
Some day it will just fill you

Django (2, Insightful)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208312)

Lots of the Good Stuff (Monk, Coletrane, Ella, Brubeck) has already been mentioned.. But you should check out Django Reinhart, the original guitar god ;)

Courtney Pine (1)

buffy_fan (193310) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208473)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/artist /glance/-/57579/

Very interesting modern jazz, with bits of hiphop and scratching.

Apologies to any fans, because that sentence really doesn't do him justice. Try it, it's great.

My Top Choices (1)

ignatzMouse (447031) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208516)

Herbie Hancock (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208543)

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!

Mulligan & Baker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6208577)

There's a CD with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker doing a couple of live sets: just awesome "West Coast jazz". It was published in 1991, and titled "The Best Of The Gerry Mulligan Quartet With Chet Baker".

I'd give you more details but I lent it out to a friend a couple of weeks ago and still haven't gotten it back (grrrr! :).

You may want to go through the Verve "Jazz Masters" to experiment with artists you don't know about: it's how I learnt about Mulligan.

BTW, you may want to also checkout the "Live at Storyville" CD by Mulligan (Quartet?).

Being someone who studied jazz for four years... (1)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208744)

...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 leaving a hell of a lot of very important people out. You could supplement that list with: Sidney Bichet, Jelly-Roll Morton, Art Tatum, Bessie Smith (arguably), Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Johnny Hodges, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Lee Konitz, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Hancock, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Nina Simone, Mary Lou Williams, Sun Ra, Charles Mingus, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Jaco Pastorious...I think I spelled his name wrong. Anyways, I'm losing track. All of these people are potentially of equal importance for various reasons, depending on who you talk to. And I'm leaving out a lot of people who others might argue should go on that list and are more important. I also left out a lot of bassists and drummers; this is not to diminish their importance but to emphasize my ignorance.

So, next time you are hanging out with Wynton Marsalis (also potentially on the list, along with his brother and a bunch of their current associates, cronies and sycophants) ask him what he thinks jazz is and was, and see if you don't get a radically different answer compared to the one you'll get from Lester Bowie (Art Ensemble of Chicago, also a horn player). Everybody is an expert with this stuff, and trust me, Wynton Marsalis is not the only one; he just got Ken Burns and a hell of a lot of other people to think he is, along with Stanley Crouch, the definitive guide to jazz.

Okay, that out of the way, I can proceed to tell you what some of my favorite albums/artists, in no particular order, are:

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue--this in my opinion is one of the GREATEST albums ever made in any genre, but I'm biased. I'm also quite fond of the Richard D. James album (Aphex Twin), Talib Kweli & Hi Tek, Sonic Youth's 'Murray Street,' Deerhoof's 'Apple O,' Stevie Wonder's 'Songs in the Key of Life,' Tom Waits entire oeuvre, Missy Elliot's latest (Under Construction?), Debussy's and Schumann's piano works especially, and etc. etc. (yes I am an insufferable music snob, but I think you'd still like talking to me because I try not to be a complete prick about it) so I think you would agree I have eclectic enough tastes that I'm basing this on a wider range of music than just jazz. But anyways, I'm probably still biased.

But I mean, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Miles, together? Those three are some of my favorites, and some of the best soloing EVER. The rest of the band isn't too shabby either...

Oh, and as far as Miles goes, also check out: Birth of the Cool (I don't particularly like this album, but people tell me they do and that it is important, YMMV), Volume 1+2 on Blue Note (probably my second favorite Miles album(s)), all the sixties stuff with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, and to digress for a moment, all of Wayne Shorter's sixties Blue Note stuff--the man is brilliant, and he always had a good side band, with people like Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, etc.--and, to get back to Miles, Bitches Brew is a classic, and of course there are MANY MANY more Miles albums...he was making music FOREVER in 20th century, really the entire second half of the century.

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Witch Doctor-- some early Wayne Shorter's on this one I think, I love him. I just love this album for some reason, it's awesome. Art Blakey is always a force to be reckoned with as well.

Horace Silver - Blowin' the Blues Away--I think this is the one I was thinking of, I was too lazy to go pull it out of my LPs. But it's one of these Horace Silver Albums...good stuff, it really moves and makes you feel good. Song for my Father is a classic too. Good era for Blue Note records, BTW. In the seventies they started getting scary.

Nina Simone...anything-- Just check her out, and really listen to her. She's awesome.

Thelonious Monk--Again, anything. Monk should maybe be on the list at the very top, actually, he's incredibly important in my mind. He was there during the bop era, did some later big band arranging that was amazing, and his tunes are some of the most unique and brilliant pieces of music ever. A real original musician. And if it weren't for him, John Coltrane potentially might not have grown in the way that he did and become a leader for the avant-garde. Monk is also considered a forefather by many of the avant-garde-ists, whatever that means.

Check out some Bird (Charlie Parker)-- just get a compilation, most of what you'll find is pretty standard canon stuff, and every player after 1950-something (or maybe earlier? My dates are awful) cut his/her teeth on Charlier Parker. So, you might as well go to the source. A best-of would probably do the trick. Or check out Verve's (I think) compilation.

Eric Dolphy-Last Date--I really think this is a great album. Definitely one of my favorite albums ever. Dolphy was an amazing virtuoso--he could handle flute, bass clarinet (!) and alto sax with equal skill and ease. He made bass clarinet what it is today. An amazing, frequently overlooked player.

John Coltrane-everything--I love Coltrane, I think he was the best musician ever (I'm running out of superlatives, okay?). If I had to pick one album I really really love, I might choose 'Crescent,' and the title especially track is really beautiful. But more fundamental would probably be Giant Steps, and later on A Love Supreme.

Okay, I'm getting tired, you're getting bored, and this has certainly been cut off by a 'click here to finish reading this comment' or whatever. So if I can be of any more help let me know, email me at dave at easy-protest dot com. Best of luck. And remember, everything I've said is just my opinion on what I like, and you may be repulsed by a lot of it (I'm especially biased toward bop to late sixties/early seventies stuff, if you couldn't tell). That's the tricky part. Oh well.

-Dave

Vocals (1)

riclewis (617546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208799)

An interesting vocalist named Kurt Elling has been playing out of the Green Mill in Chicago for the past few years. He's probably the next to carry the vocalese torch in the retirement of Jon Hendricks.

His 'Live from Chicago CD is a knockout album with a good recording. It's worth purchasing just to hear him pull off Wayne Shorter's NightDreamer. 'The Messanger' is probably my favorite of his studio albums thus far.

He can wax a bit eccentric at times (he began as a beat poet), but for my money, he's the most exciting male vocalist on the scene right now.

say goodbye to your money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6208844)

Seriously .. see, Jazz is an IMPROVISATIONAL medium. Listening to one version of a tune is like eating a recipe exactly once. You'll never get the ESSENCE of song or of a musician by listening to the studio cut of a standard.

So of course you'll have to buy a couple live versions. And then a couple more and then the box set with all the live versions you had before, plus ONE MORE GOOD ONE!! ARRRHHHGGG!!!!!

I was already an obsessive completist about CDs, but it's easy to buy all the CDs when the artist has only put out 6-7. What about if there are *FIFTY* different compilations? AARRHRHRHGG!! NO MORE MONEY!!!! BROKE!!!

For instance I was looking for ella fitzgerald .. maybe a good CD of her stuff .. well the one I bought was 16 CDs and nearly $200 bucks. GOODBYE MONEY!!

Seriously, if the artist is dead, just get the tracks from filesharing. That's my new policy.

Classics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6208893)

Anything by Oscar Peterson or Dave Holland should be required listening.

Expand your Miles (1)

xmbrst (465928) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208903)

With all the Miles listed here, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Miles Davis Quintet sessions preserved on the 4 records Cookin', Workin', Steamin', and Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet. You get not only Miles but also early Coltrane, and they're incredibly fun and listenable. Whenever I put one of these on as background music for a party, someone inevitably remarks on it and asks who it is. My favorite is Steamin'.

If Miles is too cool for you, try the following live fire:
--John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard (the Master Takes)
--Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot (vol. 1)

Must have Stan Getz and some other suggestions ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6208936)

Stan Getz's album Sweet Rain is a definate contender for a 'must have' that's not obvious. All of the tracks are absolutely beautiful -- it's the kind of album that you can put on around people who aren't into jazz, and they'll like it. I would say it's in the same genre/league as Kind Of Blue (and those are bold words).

Another favourite (and somewhat well known) of mine is Charlie Hunter. He writes songs that sound like they were written in 2002, rather than 1965. You can hear a lot of hip-hop and latin influences in his work (and a lot of his work gets sample by hip hop artists).

I would also like to echo the sentiments of one of the poster's above. Go to a record store and check out squarepusher's Music is one rotted note. It's worth listening to in the store, but DO NOT just order it without listening to it!

After having tried to convince myself to like 'important artists' and albums, here are the ones that I find myself listening to the most, or would recommend that you check out:

A Tribe Called Quest (any) - Hiphop, but jazz-like. I'm not a huge hip hop or rap fan, but Tribe is really good. Lots of jazz samples.
CharlieHunter (any) - Modern (ish), but in a good way :)
Dizzy Gillespie with Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt - duets. Beautiful work here.
John Coltrane - Giant Steps and My Favourite Things are pretty extraordinary.
Josua Redman - Really good young sax player.
Miles Davis - If you don't have them, Milestones and Seven Steps to Heaven are good, but all his work is pretty amazing. Lots of different styles in his work, and all of very high quality.
Tito Puente - Goza Mi Timbal. Jazz standards played by a latin band ... soooo good and tasteful.
Winton Marsalis - Standard Time Vol. 1. He's playing Jazz standards ... standards are played by everyone for a reason: they're really good songs. This is a great album if you're limited on the number of cds you can purchase, because it covers a lot of really important songs.

Now go listen! Enjoy!

MMW, Monk, and JMP (2, Informative)

phisheadrew (526202) | more than 10 years ago | (#6208982)

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

my picks (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209007)

  • 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.

emusic.com has a lot of good jazz (1)

curt_k (533018) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209045)

I haven't checked it out in a while, but emusic.com had a pretty damn good selection of jazz stuff available. I don't think you'll find the top selling stuff like Kind of Blue or Take Five, but there's plenty of good stuff in the margains that they had. Also early blues stuff and some outside "classical" music (jazz equals (maybe?) blues + 20th century "classical" music ideas, all mixed together via ideally collective instant composition (e.g., "improvisation")?). Was it Duke Elington who said that there are two kinds of music, good music and bad music? Of course, the same can be said of jazz, and hence your question. I'd rather download the stuff at $10 a month or whatever they're charging and sample to see what I dig. WNUR (Northestern's college radio) seems to have some very good jazz shows and web streaming. http://www.wnur.org Curt.

Jazz is boring.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6209064)

Elevator music is much better!

Chick Corea (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209122)


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.

Jazz at the Pawnshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6209251)

is good.

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1)

netringer (319831) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209290)

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 digging the 4th disc today. It has Sonny Rollins, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dave Bruibeck, all of the classics.

Jazz for beginners (2, Informative)

Van Halen (31671) | more than 10 years ago | (#6209393)

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 (plays an 8-string guitar, doing the bass and guitar parts simultaneously -- quite amazing) as well as Frank Gambale, whose style I suppose may be considered a bit of a fusion of jazz and rock (though is it "Fusion"? I don't think so, but I don't know much about that genre yet).

Anyway, just some ramblings and potential starting points if anything interests you.

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