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judicata
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Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

I've been getting into jazz over the last few months, and I'm really digging it. But I'd appreciate any input on your "top 10" (or whatever number) of records for a jazz intro. I've been particularly fond of: Kind of Blue; Blue Trane; Monk and Coltrane; Love Supreme; Somethin' Else.

Somethin' Else and Kind of Blue probably top the list (with Blue Trane very close up there).

I'm a total jazz noob - NOTHING is too "basic" to recommend (I'd barely heard of Kind of Blue!). Currently in print or easy to find would be nice. I'm not into jazz fusion (e.g. Weather Report). I also only have about a dozen jazz records or so, so unless I've named it I probably don't own it. Help a guy out?

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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I've been getting into jazz over the last few months, and I'm really digging it. But I'd appreciate any input on your "top 10" (or whatever number) of records for a jazz intro. I've been particularly fond of: Kind of Blue; Blue Trane; Monk and Coltrane; Love Supreme; Somethin' Else.

Somethin' Else and Kind of Blue probably top the list (with Blue Trane very close up there).

I'm a total jazz noob - NOTHING is too "basic" to recommend (I'd barely heard of Kind of Blue!). Currently in print or easy to find would be nice. I'm not into jazz fusion (e.g. Weather Report). I also only have about a dozen jazz records or so, so unless I've named it I probably don't own it. Help a guy out?

In no particular order (and I'm not arguing these are the best ever, just 10 I'd buy if I were starting out-- where I mention sidemen, they're great artists as leaders, too):

1. Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um. Probably his most accessible album. Mingus was a genius, probably the best bassist in jazz history and probably the best arranger after Ellington. His work is maddeningly eclectic-- this is probably the best place to start. Sort of the Frank Zappa of Jazz-- way ahead of his time, difficult to work with, but half the people in his bands became famous in their own right after apprenticing with him. (His best live album would either be the 1964 Paris Concert, or Mingus at Antibes)

2. Eric Dolphy-- Out to Lunch. A soloist on a level with Coltrane, IMHO-- he unfortunately died young. (He played alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet) Right at the borderline between the merely avant-garde and really "free" jazz, but he has a sense of melody that's just incredible, and this album is just tons of fun.

3. Bill Evans: either of the Village Vanguard albums. (Sunday at the Village Vanguard, and Waltz for Debby-- I think you can get these as a set, too) The best piano trio ever? Paul Motian, drums, Scott LaFaro, bass.

4. Sonny Rollins: The Bridge. Other people have their own favorite Sonny Rollins albums-- this one strikes me as his best and most accessible studio recording. Jim Hall on guitar.

5. Thelonius Monk-- Live at Carnegie Hall with John Coltrane. This tape was discovered a few years ago, and it got lots of great press, all of it thoroughly deserved. As a bonus, it's probably the best recording of Monk ever made (though it's in mono). It's the only one I can think of where his piano is perfectly in tune, actually.

6. Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Another album with Dolphy on it, thus making 3 so far (he's also on the two live Minguses), but this is just a fantastic, accessible, melodic album. Not avant-garde in the slightest.

7. Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain. Probably his best non-fusion album after Kind of Blue. (Weather Report, though they have their merits, is a rather wimpy form of fusion. If you like actual rock guitar, say so, and I'll recommend some fusion albums that will knock your socks off)

8. Django Reinhardt-- Djangology 49. Other people will recommend different Django recordings-- these are not the famous pre-war ones, but those are repackaged in so many forms that I couldn't even name which version to get (which is one of the reasons, I'm sure, that Art Dudley listed the original 78s in his RTDF column this month, aside from his 78 fetish). This is a splendid 1949 disc of 78s where Django is showing that he was still evolving as an artist, and that he dug bop.

9. Charlie Parker-- Yardbird Suite. This is a two-CD collection of pretty much all the great Bird tunes, from all his eras and labels. With Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, etc. As a starting place, I'm not sure it can be beaten. All of modern jazz is either here or on Kind of Blue.

10. Wes Montgomery- Smokin' at the Half Note. Mellow yet burning jazz guitar. A live date, with Wynton Kelly on piano and Jimmy Cobb (from Kind of Blue) on drums.

I've omitted such undeniable greats as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, etc., but since you've mentioned mostly late 50's stuff, I've gone from the top of my head in that direction.

judicata
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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Sweet! Thanks.

And, yes, I like rock and I like jazz, so, I'm in if you have a good suggestion. I'm also a huge Pink Floyd fan, and I loved it when they worked in some jazz elements into their albums. I'm not saying they were jazz fusion or anything, but just providing some background on tastes.

By the way, the only recording you listed that I have is the Monk/Coltrane at Carnegie, and it is freaking sweet.

Thanks again! This is very helpful.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Sweet! Thanks.

And, yes, I like rock and I like jazz, so, I'm in if you have a good suggestion. I'm also a huge Pink Floyd fan, and I loved it when they worked in some jazz elements into their albums. I'm not saying they were jazz fusion or anything, but just providing some background on tastes.

By the way, the only recording you listed that I have is the Monk/Coltrane at Carnegie, and it is freaking sweet.

Thanks again! This is very helpful.

No problem.

Pink Floyd...I'd probably start with Miles Davis' In a Silent Way or Bitches Brew for fusiony stuff. You'd probably also like at least some of Get Up With It.

Weather Report just doesn't have The Rock. Other than having a fairly funky electric bass at times. The Mahavishnu Orchestra is always intense, and draws from so many more sources (in addition to jazz and psychedelic rock, lots of Indian and Celtic music). Al DiMeola (whether solo or in Return to Forever) always has a rock intensity. Weather Report? Not so much.

If you're coming to jazz fusion from Pink Floyd, go for the Miles albums mentioned above. If you like King Crimson (in their "Red" and "Starless and Bible Black" era) get the Mahavishnu Orchestra's first album, Inner Mounting Flame. If you like Jeff Beck's solo albums, you'd probably like Terje Rypdal. From heavy metal, I'd say Al DiMeola.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Having heard some things you like, I suggest you do some research on those recordings and the musicians on them to find more jazz you'd like.

All Music Guides to various kinds of music are available at big box booksellers and online. Their jazz book is the best jazz reference out there, IMO. Certainly the most comprehensive.

They also have a website (http://www.allmusicguide.com/). Easy to use to check out a specific recording or artist. Not so friendly as a learning tool.

The 9th edition of the Penguin Guide to Jazz recordings came out not too long ago. The authors are in the UK. This is reflected in lots of coverage of European artists, especially of the more avant garde persuation. But this book is also very comprehensive.

Excellent living musicians are playing and recording the style of jazz you seem to appreciate. So don't get too hung up mining the Blue Note, Impulse & Prestige catalogs. Check out labels such as Criss Cross, Sharp Nine, Reservoir, IPO, Highnote & Steeplechase for musicians you could see in person. Then you'll really experience jazz.

Andy

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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And, yes, I like rock and I like jazz, so, I'm in if you have a good suggestion.


Miles' "On the Corner" is calling your name. Also try E.S.T.'s "Leucocyte," for a more recent fare...

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

If you're interested in female jazz vocalist give a listen to these Shirley Horn (also a great pianist) recordings: "You Won't Forget Me" & "Close Enough fo Love"

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Excellent list, Lionel.

Since the OP does seem to like the late 1950's / early 1960's I would also throw in some:

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Moanin'
Max Roach Clifford Brown Quintet - Anything one can find would be good.
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
Lee Morgan - Candy
Sonny Clark - Cool Strutin'
Miles Davis - Miles Smiles
Benny Carter - Further Definitions
John Coltrane - Giant Steps or Live at The Village Vanguard

That should be enough to let someone know if they are really going to like jazz or just keep a few jazz recordings around to look cool.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Lots to chew on. Thanks for all the recs!

jazzfan - the only one on your list I have is Maiden Voyage, and I really do like it a lot. With my crowd (at least 98% of them), I don't think "looking cool" would be a motivation for having a few jazz records...

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Lots to chew on. Thanks for all the recs!

jazzfan - the only one on your list I have is Maiden Voyage, and I really do like it a lot. With my crowd (at least 98% of them), I don't think "looking cool" would be a motivation for having a few jazz records...

"Looking cool" never hurts!

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


Quote:

Quote:
And, yes, I like rock and I like jazz, so, I'm in if you have a good suggestion.


Miles' "On the Corner" is calling your name. Also try E.S.T.'s "Leucocyte," for a more recent fare...

On the Corner is one of Flea's (Red Hot Chili Peppers) favorite records-- I've seen him rave about it in interviews half a dozen times. I suspect the Beastie Boys were listening to On the Corner in their Paul's Boutique period, too...

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Excellent list, Lionel.

Yours, too!


Quote:
Since the OP does seem to like the late 1950's / early 1960's I would also throw in some<...>
That should be enough to let someone know if they are really going to like jazz or just keep a few jazz recordings around to look cool.

Since we've all been dancing around him, so to speak, I'll put in a plug for Ornette Coleman's Shape of Jazz to Come. (Which has Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Billy Higgins on it, all avant-garde royalty, and all phenomenal players in their own right) The problem with Ornette is two-fold: his intonation isn't always perfect, which bugs some people; and his "outside" playing might grate on you. (He also has a reputation in some quarters for being a "licks player" rather than a true improviser, but I'll stay out of that argument.) Like all else in music (does anyone really think of Tristan and Isolde as dissonant anymore?), dissonance evolves. American Idol puts more out of tune singing on display every night than Ornette compiled with his saxophone on his first six records, but he still has a rep for being dissonant and hard to listen to. He isn't. You just have to open your ears to what he's saying. From Ornette, Dolphy, Coltrane, and Mingus, there's a wonderful branch of the jazz family tree which goes from Cecil Taylor (almost totally atonal in a trad music theory sense) to weirdos like Albert Ayler, Derek Bailey, and Sonny Sharrock, to offshoots into the rock family tree like the Stooges, Henry Cow and Velvet Underground and not-so-noisy-but-slightly-gauche guys like...Pat Metheny (who is an Ornette fanatic when he's not playing easy listening). We'd be remiss in not mentioning these roots. Even fairly conservative critics nowadays would put at least one of Ornette's early albums on a best of the 50's list. And the first couple of 'em have nice beats. You can dance to 'em.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Since we've all been dancing around him, so to speak, I'll put in a plug for Ornette Coleman's Shape of Jazz to Come.

Lionel,

You bring up a good point: being a jazz fan who happens to love free jazz, I'm often in a bind when it comes to these types of "starter jazz" lists. Do I thrown in one or two relatively mild free jazz recordings or do I stick to the tired and true straight ahead jazz until the new listener has gotten their feet wet, so to speak, before introducing them to jazz's dark side?

Of course there are pros and cons to either approach. Introduce them to free jazz too soon and one runs the risk of scaring them away but by ignoring free jazz altogether one runs the risk of having them also ignore free jazz. What is one to do.

I like to think about things like this: learning about jazz is like learning a new language and free jazz is like a dialect within that language. One needs to learn the "base" language first before one can branch out into the dialects and so I tend to stress straight ahead jazz to beginners rather than free jazz, as much as I love free jazz. I hope you see my point.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

jazzfan - for my part, I'm open to recordings that are further out there. Whatever it is, I'm sure I won't suddenly decide I don't like Kind of Blue or Maiden Voyage. You might want to flag them as such, though.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Great topic, judicata. And great lists, everyone. When I first got into vinyl, I encountered this enormous burst of music discovery/exploration, and jazz and fusion were big parts of it. The fusion part shocked me because I had very little interest in the form, and everything I had heard SUCKED. Then John DeVore introduced me to Herbie Hancock's stuff. Whew: awesome.

I'm still very new to jazz, but easily go back and forth between the straight stuff and the wilder stuff. I don't think you'll have any problems digging any of it.

I also love Miles' In A Silent Way; it's become one of my all-time favorite albums.

The first jazz record I ever listened to on the Rega P3 was John Handy's Projections -- one of my Records to Die For in the latest February issue. Amazing. His Live at Monterey album is also outstanding.

Recently, I picked up Stanley Turrentine's Blue Hour, which is just straight, sweet blues. Easy to listen to and easy to love.

I also second Ornette Coleman's This Is Our Music. I don't find it hard to listen to at all; it just sort of makes sense. It's gorgeous.

And everyone on this forum should pick up Sunny Murray's Big Chief and Red, Black, and Green by Solidarity Unit, Inc., while supplies last.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

judicata, you mentioned Cannonball's album Somethin' Else, which I agree is a great album. In spirit though, it's really a Miles album. If you're looking for an album by Cannonball that's more representative of his work as an individual and a band leader, I can highly recommend At the Lighthouse.

Also, Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch, while a highly regarded album, may not be the best for someone being newly introduced to jazz and Eric Dolphy in particular. It's pretty "out there". A more conventional album of his that I'd recommend is Far Cry.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Also, Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch, while a highly regarded album, may not be the best for someone being newly introduced to jazz and Eric Dolphy in particular. It's pretty "out there". A more conventional album of his that I'd recommend is Far Cry.

Another great "conventional" album by a musician who is normally quite a good ways "out there" is Sam River's Fuchsia Swing Song on Blue Note (1964), which includes, along with excellent title track, River's classic "Beatrice", which has become something of a jazz standard and has been recorded by the likes of Joe Henderson. The absolute highest of recommendations, trust me, you will not regret buying this CD (yes, it's available on CD with 4 additional alternate takes).

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Thanks jazzfan. Sam Rivers is someone I've missed out on over the years, so I will give your recommendation a try.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Also, Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch, while a highly regarded album, may not be the best for someone being newly introduced to jazz and Eric Dolphy in particular. It's pretty "out there". A more conventional album of his that I'd recommend is Far Cry.

It's funny, but Out to Lunch doesn't strike me as all that out there at all-- certainly compared to some of his live dates or even to some of the stuff he did with Coltrane. (Out There is another great Dolphy album, with very unusual jazz instrumentation-- there are not many jazz cello albums!) The vibes ground it in more or less conventional tonality, even if it bends in places.

It's all context. Dolphy's phrasing on bass clarinet or alto sax isn't any weirder than Frank Zappa's is on guitar. (Once my dad walked by me playing Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures, and thought it was late Schoenberg. I digress.) One of the inspirations for Dolphy's flute playing was birdsong-- which got him pegged as a far out loon by jazz critics, while Messiaen was considered a genius for doing the same thing in classical music. A lot of the stigma of free jazz is completely unfounded, forty years later-- someone who likes Slayer isn't going to think that Sun Ra or Pharoah Sanders is all that noisy. (I had this same argument with a friend a few weeks ago in another genre of music all together-- Steve Jones' guitar on Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols is no more distorted than Mick Ronson's guitar was on the Ziggy Stardust album, five years earlier, or the Beatles' Helter Skelter, four years before that.)

Me, I'm a guy who has a lossless rip of Metal Machine Music on my iPod-- and actually play it occasionally. But early Ornette, Dolphy, and Mingus aren't that much of a stretch from Miles, Bird, or (especially) Lennie Tristano. And on the subject of non-noisy albums by free jazz legends, I'll put in a plug for Archie Shepp's first album on Impulse, Four for Trane, which has some absolutely gorgeous horn arrangements on it.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Wow, it didn't take long (about 15 posts or so) for this thread to go from 10 recommended "Intro to Jazz" recordings to noisy versus non-noisy free jazz recordings and the best part is that I wasn't the first one to bring up the subject of free jazz!

As long as we're on the subject, as for good non-noisy free jazz recordings:

The classic "Conference of the Birds" by the Dave Holland Quartet (my avatar is the album's cover art) is not noisy while still very free (at times).

Thirteen Ways - a trio of Fred Hersch (piano), Michael Moore (reeds) and Gerry Hemingway (drums) that plays some very and not noisy jazz.

And I'll also put a plug in for the trio "Jewels & Binoculars", with Moore on reeds, Lindsey Horner on bass and Michael Vatcher on percussion. They have three CDs out to date and all consist entirely of Bob Dylan compositions, in other words, a Dylan cover band but a cover band like no other. While this band is anyway near as free as the prior two, they often times stretch the melody to it's limits, with barely a hint of the original buried deep into improvisation. By the way, "jewels and binoculars" is a phase from the Dylan song "Visions of Johanna".

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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It's funny, but Out to Lunch doesn't strike me as all that out there at all-- certainly compared to some of his live dates or even to some of the stuff he did with Coltrane.

It depends a lot on the listener I think. You obviously have lots of experience in this area, but I don't think the general record-buying public ever really came to grips with Out To Lunch - not that it means anything in terms of its intrinsic value. When I first bought the LP back in the early '70s, it was in the "cutout bin" and had a notch cut into the cover. Later, when I bought the CD in the 80s, it was marked as a "cutout" as well. It literally has a notch in the CD case made with some kind of hot knife . I was trying to put this in the context of someone who describes himself as a jazz newbie as the OP does.

Incidentally, for music that has almost the same personnel as Out To Lunch, I like Andrew Hill's Point Of Departure and find it more accessible than Out To Lunch. I also think Dolphy's playing on Coltrane's records is much more accessible than on Out To Lunch. The former seems to me much more emotionally compelling, while my impression of Out To Lunch is that its abstraction makes it emotionally distant and cold - although there is definitely an element of humor there.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

O'boy you are in for a ride, there are so much great Jazz out there, I have been doing this for years and I still find new artists that I have never heard about.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Judicata,
Like you, I've just recently gotten into jazz as part of my re-discovering vinyl, and been asking friends about their recommendations.

Two albums that are MUST-HAVEs on Impulse, available as an LPs: 1) the John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album and 2) John Coltrane/Duke Ellington. Both are R2D4. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Coltrane/Hartmann album, this is one of the most highly-regarded jazz records of all time, almost as famous as Kind of Blue.

Another recommendations are:

Stanley Clarke, Stanley Clarke
Ron Carter, Pastels

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Great music recommended, but according to the recommendations jazz must be dead for over 30 years. This is not the case and I want to suggest some new 'livin' jazz.

To start with a couple of piano trios.
First a German band EM (wollny/ kruse/ schaefer) I saw a couple of weeks ago, this is really something new. Although I must admit that they are live much better than on CD.
Then an Israeli "The Avishai Cohen Trio". Avishai playes bass with Chick Corea and now has his own piano trio.
Vijay Iyer is from NY (originally India). All the things I heard of him are very interesting. I am looking forward to see his new piano trio.
If you like piano trio's then there are a couple more European trios worth listening:
Esbjorn Svensson Trio
Bobo Stenson Trio
Agusti Fernandez / Barry Guy / Ramon Lopez Trio
Alboran Trio
Marcin Wasilewski Trio
Tord Gustavsen Trio
To name a few of my favourites. These are all young people that make refreshing new jazz. I don't say that Miles Davis is no good. I love jazz from the 50ties/60ties, but great jazz is still made today. And can be seen in clubs!

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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Great music recommended, but according to the recommendations jazz must be dead for over 30 years. This is not the case and I want to suggest some new 'livin' jazz.

Excellent point and some very recommendations.

A few other (mostly) recent releases by still living musicians:

Present Tense - James Carter - another swinging release from the present day sax giant. If fact, JC has more in common with jazz immortal Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge than most people might realize, as in whenever he leads or is present on a recording the results swing and are usually very worthwhile.

Gold Sounds - James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ali Jackson and Reginald Veal (a jazz group doing covers of Pavement songs)

Black Codes From The Underground - Wynton Marsalis (I know that it's one of his older releases but it is still by far his best.)

Almost anything by Keith Jarrett's "standards" trio (Gary Peacock - bass and Jack DeJohnette - drums)

Dave Douglas and Keystone - Douglas is way ahead of the curve with many of his releases available for download (mp3 or flac) here: Dave Douglas

Kenny Garrett - Sketches of MD

Matthew Shipp Trio - Harmonic Disorder

Moutin Reunion Quartet - Sharp Turns

Chris Potter Underground - Follow The Red Line: Live at The Village Vanguard

Dave Holland Sextet - Pass It On

Hadouk Trio - Baldamore (also available as a DVD)

Karrin Allyson - Footprints (A first class vocalist who does need to have the microphone shoved halfway down her throat to sound good.)

Except for the Wynton all of these releases are less than 3 years old and most of them are the artist's current release. Yes, jazz STILL lives!!

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Among mjazz's picks, I think you'll like Tord Gustavsen, since your preference for indie rock bands that emphasize great melodies, moodiness. Another obvious pick for you is Brad Mehldau, with all those Radiohead transcriptions...

jazzfan, I love Matthew Shipp. Saw him at the Miller Theater last year...

Talking about current acts, Guillermo Klein is doing some eclectic work... on my commute to work today on the subway, listened to EST's Leucocyte again. Man, that album's growing on me. All that feedback noise that seemed gimmicky at first doesn't grate anymore... good stuff...

I guess it's un-hip to say so, but I think Bill Charlap is one of the finest pianists around. He's got a really classy and witty way of handling the standards... never kitsch-y, but smart, lyrical, imaginative.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Another way to approach this question might be to structure one's answer in terms of a pedagogic "recommended listening" progression, designed to gradually guide the new listener through various types of jazz, beginning from the most accessible and conventional and culminating at the most abstract and "out there."

Thus structured, then, are my recommendations organized loosely into three categories:

I. (Primarily) Melodic Jazz, including Dixieland
II. Harmonic and Rythmic Inventions
III. (Relatively) "Out There" Excursions

This approach is somewhat autocorrelated with a chronological progression of jazz history, which is perhaps not totally appropriate for an othewise advanced listener coming from, say, a sophisticated background in modern classical music. But it's probably a good first approximation for how most of us might navigate the vastly divergent types of jazz and fully appreciate the complexity and inventiveness of the later work within the context of the earlier, more conventional standards.

I started listening to jazz my freshman year of college, just over ten years ago, and it literally changed my (previously classical music dominated) life. In those days, I used to make my weekly rounds of the various record shops in and around downtown Austin in search of excellent LP copies of anything I could find. I had just bought a Linn Axis turntable and was working at Audio Systems, and was just having a ball. And the UT music library provided me with TONS of CD's through which I could explore and navigate the genres free of charge (this was before the era of online music downloads and even before CD burners!).

I am presenting this list the way that I, in retrospect, more or less gravitated towards jazz. Sure, I tried listening to Ornette Coleman right off the bat, but it didn't "take" the way that Bill Evans and Ray Charles's jazz did. It wasn't until several years later that I would be able to fully "get" the more complex material and fully appreciate it.

Just for the record, my very first jazz LP I acquired when I was 16, at the local KMFA garage sale, where a nice schoolteacher responded to my query "what is jazz?" by pulling the soundtrack for "Round Midnight" out of a used LP bin and presenting it to me with a grin. I still recommend it as a great introduction -- and the movie is fantastic, to boot!

Anyway. Here's my list.

---------------------------

I. Primarily Melodic Jazz, including Dixieland

Django Rheinhardt: Djangology
Ella Fitzgerald: Sings the Gershwin Songbook (popular in the UT honors dorm at the time)
Louis Armstrong: Hot Fives and Sevens
Jelly Roll Morton: Birth of the Hot
Erroll Garner: Jazz Masters Compilation
Art Tatum: Greatest Hits (on Pablo)
Ray Charles and Milt Jackson: Soul Brothers, Blues+Jazz (both double CD sets and both fantastic -- grab any vinyl copies on Atlantic you can!!!!!!)
Dexter Gordon: Go!
Herbie Hancock, et al: Round Midnight soundtrack
Thelonious Monk: Alone in San Francisco or Criss-Cross
Miles Davis: Seven Steps to Heaven
Cannonball Adderley: Something Else
Dave Brubeck: Plays and Plays (solo), Brubeck plays Brubeck (solo)
Bill Evans: Everybody Digs Bill Evans, Portrait in Jazz
John Coltrane: My Favorite Things

II. Harmonic and Rythmic Inventions

Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage, Empyrian Isles
Wayne Shorter: Adam's Apple, Speak No Evil
MyCoy Tyner: The Real McCoy
Freddie Hubbard: Blue Spirits
Jackie McLean: Let Freedom Ring
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
Bill Evans: Conversations with Myself
Dave Brubeck: Time Out
Grant Green: Idle Moments
Kenny Burrell: Midnight Blue
Horace Silver: Song for my Father
Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder
Keith Jarrett: The Koln Concert

III. (Relatively) Out There

Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch! (read the one-star Amazon.com reviews for some fun! - hah!)
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew
Herbie Hancock: Inventions and Dimensions and anything later
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme
Ornette Coleman: Free Jazz

---------------------------

I hope this helps.

Carl Durrenberger
San Diego

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


Quote:

It depends a lot on the listener I think. You obviously have lots of experience in this area, but I don't think the general record-buying public ever really came to grips with Out To Lunch - not that it means anything in terms of its intrinsic value. When I first bought the LP back in the early '70s, it was in the "cutout bin" and had a notch cut into the cover. Later, when I bought the CD in the 80s, it was marked as a "cutout" as well. It literally has a notch in the CD case made with some kind of hot knife . I was trying to put this in the context of someone who describes himself as a jazz newbie as the OP does.

Incidentally, for music that has almost the same personnel as Out To Lunch, I like Andrew Hill's Point Of Departure and find it more accessible than Out To Lunch. I also think Dolphy's playing on Coltrane's records is much more accessible than on Out To Lunch. The former seems to me much more emotionally compelling, while my impression of Out To Lunch is that its abstraction makes it emotionally distant and cold - although there is definitely an element of humor there.

Some of it is a matter of personal reactions. I love Point of Departure, but harmonically, it's way more avant-garde than anything on Out to Lunch. (I've never transcribed anything from that album, but there are some incredibly dense chords-- probably 15ths or 17ths. Out to Lunch, which usually has the vibes as harmonic accompaniment, is much less dense, if only because the vibraphonist can only hit five or six notes at once, while Andrew Hill has ten fingers. Sometimes it seems like he has more. ) Melodically, Out to Lunch is pretty wild, while Point of Departure is within the normal parameters of early 60's jazz. (On a side[man] note, Joe Henderson is someone else from that era and label who's inventive, but still relatively mainstream. He's certainly 2nd tier, but Inner Urge probably gets more play on my iPod than even Andrew Hill does.)

What it comes down to is, buy some jazz albums. Listen to them. Find some you like. Look at the personnel lists, and then find other albums with those personnel. Rinse. Repeat. (Allmusic.com is really good at helping you figure out which other albums people played on.) Enjoy. Someone mentioned allmusic above, and they're great and free, being online. But you can find some incredible stuff browsing through the Penguin Guide as well.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

A friend of mine, who suggested I get "The Penguin Guide to Jazz", warned me: "You'll discover your collection is missing at least 500 albums.". I thought he was joking ...
Here are (just) some more albums that may appeal to someone new to jazz:

Hard/post bop: Dave Brubeck: "Time Out", Dexter Gordon: "One Flight Up", Lee Morgan: "Sidewinder", Andrew Hill: "Grass Roots"

Funk jazz: Donald Byrd: "Black Byrd", Herbie Hancock: "Head Hunters"

Contemporary jazz:Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny: "Beyond the Missoury Sky", Nik Bartsch's Ronin: "Holon" ...

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


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A friend of mine, who suggested I get "The Penguin Guide to Jazz", warned me: "You'll discover your collection is missing at least 500 albums.". I thought he was joking ...

The guy ain't kidding. Every time I page through it, I find another album that grabs me. (Last example: a Blue Note duet album with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore. Clifford Jordan was a post-bop tenor saxophonist who would have been considered a genius if Coltrane and Rollins weren't so much unbelievably better than all other tenor sax players. Mapleshade Records recorded a few albums with him, all of which are recommended if you want "audiophile" albums with real talent on them. John Gilmore started out mining the same ground as Coltrane, then took a weird turn, and he spent the last 30+ years of his career playing with Sun Ra, who was a free jazz bandleader from the planet Saturn. The idea of the two together is bizarre and yet plausible, since they're both coming, in a very distant way, from the same place. In a rock guitar sense, to use a weird but palpable analogy, imagine Jeff Beck playing with Steve Vai. You can understand why I can barely restrain myself from purchasing this album...)

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


Quote:
The guy ain't kidding. Every time I page through it, I find another album that grabs me. (Last example: a Blue Note duet album with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore. Clifford Jordan was a post-bop tenor saxophonist who would have been considered a genius if Coltrane and Rollins weren't so much unbelievably better than all other tenor sax players. Mapleshade Records recorded a few albums with him, all of which are recommended if you want "audiophile" albums with real talent on them. John Gilmore started out mining the same ground as Coltrane, then took a weird turn, and he spent the last 30+ years of his career playing with Sun Ra, who was a free jazz bandleader from the planet Saturn. The idea of the two together is bizarre and yet plausible, since they're both coming, in a very distant way, from the same place. In a rock guitar sense, to use a weird but palpable analogy, imagine Jeff Beck playing with Steve Vai. You can understand why I can barely restrain myself from purchasing this album...)

I know the recording that you're referring to:

Blowing In From Chicago a "blowing" date from 1957 also featuring Horace Silver on piano, Curly Russell on drums and the great Art Blakey on drums. A "blowing" date was a recording session put together usually using the record label's "house band" along with one or two featured soloists and tied together by the thinnest of concepts.

In the case of "Blowing In From Chicago" you have the then up and coming young stars of the tenor sax, Jordan and Gilmore teamed up with the a rhythm section made up of three of Blue Note's best players. Silver, Russell and Blakey were all signed with Blue Note at the time of this recording. The razor thin concept: both sax players hail from the Windy City.

In 1957 Gilmore was not yet fully immersed into all things Sun Ra and it's interesting to heard this great player along side other great "non-Sun Ra" players. While Gilmore may have spent most of his long career working with Sun Ra that didn't make him any less of an outstanding player and Gilmore's playing, along with the playing of fellow Sun Ra band mates like Pat Patrick, Ronny Boykins, Marshall Allen and others, was always one of the main reasons why Sun Ra was, and still is, worth listen to.

As for the Jordan/Gilmore recording, although it's fairly standard hard bop fare and nothing earth shattering it's still very worthwhile and makes for some pleasant listening.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

Jazzfan: Ah, John Gilmore. The non-Ra album I really like is Freddie Hubbard's "Artistry of Freddie Hubbard" on Impulse with Gilmore, Curtis Fuller, Tommy Flanagan, Art Davis, and Louis Hayes. Strange enough to find Freddie on Impulse much less with Gilmore along.

Sadly out of print. In fact I don't really own it myself, I have it on an Impulse two-fer ("Reevaluation: The Impulse Years").

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Jazzfan: Ah, John Gilmore. The non-Ra album I really like is Freddie Hubbard's "Artistry of Freddie Hubbard" on Impulse with Gilmore, Curtis Fuller, Tommy Flanagan, Art Davis, and Louis Hayes. Strange enough to find Freddie on Impulse much less with Gilmore along.

Sadly out of print. In fact I don't really own it myself, I have it on an Impulse two-fer ("Reevaluation: The Impulse Years").

Roy,

A tougher question might be what Sun Ra recording features some really good Gilmore playing?

One of my favorites is the Sun Ra Arkestra (just plain "Arkestra" not the "Intergalactic Multidimensional Solar Myth Science Arkestra") Sunrise In Different Dimensions at two LP set on hat Hut from a 1980 concert in Switzerland.

Two sides are typical out there Sun Ra originals and the other two sides feature the band is full swing mode with compositions by the likes of Monk, Dameron, Henderson, Hawkins, Jelly Roll Morton and Billy Strayhorn.

Great stuff and worth looking for.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?


Quote:

Quote:
I've been getting into jazz over the last few months, and I'm really digging it. But I'd appreciate any input on your "top 10" (or whatever number) of records for a jazz intro. I've been particularly fond of: Kind of Blue; Blue Trane; Monk and Coltrane; Love Supreme; Somethin' Else.

Somethin' Else and Kind of Blue probably top the list (with Blue Trane very close up there).

I'm a total jazz noob - NOTHING is too "basic" to recommend (I'd barely heard of Kind of Blue!). Currently in print or easy to find would be nice. I'm not into jazz fusion (e.g. Weather Report). I also only have about a dozen jazz records or so, so unless I've named it I probably don't own it. Help a guy out?

In no particular order (and I'm not arguing these are the best ever, just 10 I'd buy if I were starting out-- where I mention sidemen, they're great artists as leaders, too):

1. Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um. Probably his most accessible album. Mingus was a genius, probably the best bassist in jazz history and probably the best arranger after Ellington. His work is maddeningly eclectic-- this is probably the best place to start. Sort of the Frank Zappa of Jazz-- way ahead of his time, difficult to work with, but half the people in his bands became famous in their own right after apprenticing with him. (His best live album would either be the 1964 Paris Concert, or Mingus at Antibes)

2. Eric Dolphy-- Out to Lunch. A soloist on a level with Coltrane, IMHO-- he unfortunately died young. (He played alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet) Right at the borderline between the merely avant-garde and really "free" jazz, but he has a sense of melody that's just incredible, and this album is just tons of fun.

3. Bill Evans: either of the Village Vanguard albums. (Sunday at the Village Vanguard, and Waltz for Debby-- I think you can get these as a set, too) The best piano trio ever? Paul Motian, drums, Scott LaFaro, bass.

4. Sonny Rollins: The Bridge. Other people have their own favorite Sonny Rollins albums-- this one strikes me as his best and most accessible studio recording. Jim Hall on guitar.

5. Thelonius Monk-- Live at Carnegie Hall with John Coltrane. This tape was discovered a few years ago, and it got lots of great press, all of it thoroughly deserved. As a bonus, it's probably the best recording of Monk ever made (though it's in mono). It's the only one I can think of where his piano is perfectly in tune, actually.

6. Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Another album with Dolphy on it, thus making 3 so far (he's also on the two live Minguses), but this is just a fantastic, accessible, melodic album. Not avant-garde in the slightest.

7. Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain. Probably his best non-fusion album after Kind of Blue. (Weather Report, though they have their merits, is a rather wimpy form of fusion. If you like actual rock guitar, say so, and I'll recommend some fusion albums that will knock your socks off)

8. Django Reinhardt-- Djangology 49. Other people will recommend different Django recordings-- these are not the famous pre-war ones, but those are repackaged in so many forms that I couldn't even name which version to get (which is one of the reasons, I'm sure, that Art Dudley listed the original 78s in his RTDF column this month, aside from his 78 fetish). This is a splendid 1949 disc of 78s where Django is showing that he was still evolving as an artist, and that he dug bop.

9. Charlie Parker-- Yardbird Suite. This is a two-CD collection of pretty much all the great Bird tunes, from all his eras and labels. With Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, etc. As a starting place, I'm not sure it can be beaten. All of modern jazz is either here or on Kind of Blue.

10. Wes Montgomery- Smokin' at the Half Note. Mellow yet burning jazz guitar. A live date, with Wynton Kelly on piano and Jimmy Cobb (from Kind of Blue) on drums.

I've omitted such undeniable greats as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, etc., but since you've mentioned mostly late 50's stuff, I've gone from the top of my head in that direction.

Well, I`m a little late to this party, however two classics of mine would be, First Light - Freddie Hubbard, and A Day in the Life - Wes Montgomery. Both cds are with full orchestra with strings. Which adds a lushness to the sound, which i love. To musicians at the top of their games here.

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NEW CD

Keeping in line with this thread, one cd that I picked up recently, was in deed a pleasure. For those of us who have nmissed his music, this is good. S.M.V. - is Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten. 3 great bass players laying it down together for the first time.
Good stuff~~

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Back to the Free Jazz

Hi Greg,

It seems that we have a contemporary, smooth jazz (or whatever they're calling the kind of music played by the likes of Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten these days) fan in our midst, which is okay by me. Smooth jazz doesn't cut it for me but if you like it that's fine with me.

However, I'm not just going to sit by while you fill this thread with smooth jazz recommendations, rather I'll add a few recommendations for some jazz of a more adventurous sort to help balance things out, so to speak.

Today's recommendation:

O'Neal's Porch - William Parker Quartet (Aum Fidelity 2002)

William Parker is NYC based bass player, composer, band leader, orchestra leader and festival producer who is slowly beginning to get the respect he so rightfully deserves. Here's a quote from the All Music Guide's review of the above referenced recording:

Quote:
Parker and Drake comprise the best rhythm section in jazz; together, they should go down in the history books as one of the most fruitful and interesting musical relationships this side of Ellington and Strayhorn, Diz and Bird, and Miles and Trane.

The "Drake" they're referring to is Humid Drake, the outstanding drummer from Chicago who basically puts on a clinic of jazz drumming throughout the CD. The man is simply incredible. Also incredible is that, in spite of the whirlwind of sound created by Drake, Parker's bass playing manages to flow both above and within this malestrom and enhance the overall sound. Truly remarkable.

The music itself is very restrained for Parker, with little or no "free blowing" on any of the tunes, more of the classic "head - solos - head" structure found in more straight ahead jazz. There is also a really nice swinging feel to everything but with a looseness one only finds in the best free jazz. The looseness or sense of ease is must likely the result of both Drake and Parker being such masters of their respective instruments and no matter where the music may need to go they both can take it there and back again without ever missing a beat.

This is one recommendation I strongly urge everyone interested in the best of jazz not to overlook. I'm listening to it as I write, and man, does Parker's bass have a nice FAT sound. This could and should become your bass demo recording.

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

*personal favorites
(in no particular order)

Tenor Sax
*John Coltrane
*Michael Brecker
*Donny McCaslin
-Hank Mobley
-Chris Potter
-David Sanchez
-Bob Mintzer
-Dexter Gordon
-Lester Young
-Ravi Coltrane
-Joe Henderson
-Wayne Shorter (check out his soprano stuff too)
-Joshua Redman
-Ben Wendel
-Rich Perry
-Zoot Sims
-Mark Turner
-Bob Berg

Alto Sax
*David Binney
*Sonny Stitt
-charlie parker
-Kenny Garrett
-Art Pepper
-Steve Nelson
-Eric Dolphy (his bass Cl, and Flute stuff is great too)
-Cannonball Adderley
-Loren Stillman
-Ornette Colman
-Dick Oats
Trumpet
-Miles Davis
*Woody Shaw
-Freddie Hubbard
-Lee Morgan
-Terrel Stafford
-Randy Brecker
-Dave Douglas
-Louis Armstrong
-Chet Baker
-Christian Scott
*Clifford Brown
-Dizzy Gillispie
-Terrence Blanchard

Drummers
-Antonio Sanchez
-Roy Hanes
*Elvin Jones
-Max Roach
-Nate Wood
*Brian Blade
-Dan Weiss
-Buddy Rich
-Mel Lewis
-Ted Poor
-Art Blakey
-Steve Gadd
***John Hollenbeck
-Al Foster
-Dennis Chambers

Bass
*Eddie Gomez
-Ron Carter
-Thomas Morgan
-Charles Mingus
-Jaco Pastorius
-Christian McBride
-John Patitucci
-Avishai Cohen
-Dave Holland
-Paul Chambers

Guitar
*Kurt Rosenwinkel
-Pat Metheny
-John Scofield
-Wes Montgomery
-John Abercrombie
-Jim Hall

Piano
***McCoy Tyner
-Oscar Peterson
-Herbie Hancock
-Mulgrew Miller
-Chick Corea
-Keith Jarrett
-Bill Evans
-Horace Silver
-Thelonius Monk
-Count Basie
-Duke Ellington
-Brad Mehldau
-Kenny Werner
-Art Tatum
-Aaron Parks
-Hiromi Uehara
-Jacob Sacks
*Tigran Hamasyan

Ensembles
-Kneebody
-Bad Plus
-Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
-Charles Mingus Big Band
*Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
-Airmen of Note(air force jazz band, albums for free online)
-Bob Mintzer Big Band
-Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge
*John Hollenbeck large Ensemble
-Claudia Quintet
-Jazz Big Band Grazz (get joys and desires)
-Bob Brookmeyer Big Band
-Mel Lewis Big Band
-Michael Brecker Quinductet
-Dave Holland Big Band
*Florian Ross
-GRP All Star Big Band
-Mahavishnu Orchestra
-Return To Forever
-Yellow Jackets

some cats ranging from bob to contemporary jazz

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Re: Introduction to Jazz - Top 10 Records?

This thread is freaking sweet! I have enough to keep me busy for at least the next year. Of course, I've already purchased a bunch of everyone's recommendations and haven't heard a bad one yet!

I hope other people find this helpful.

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Re: Back to the Free Jazz


Quote:
Hi Greg,

It seems that we have a contemporary, smooth jazz (or whatever they're calling the kind of music played by the likes of Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten these days) fan in our midst, which is okay by me. Smooth jazz doesn't cut it for me but if you like it that's fine with me.

However, I'm not just going to sit by while you fill this thread with smooth jazz recommendations, rather I'll add a few recommendations for some jazz of a more adventurous sort to help balance things out, so to speak.

Today's recommendation:

O'Neal's Porch - William Parker Quartet (Aum Fidelity 2002)

William Parker is NYC based bass player, composer, band leader, orchestra leader and festival producer who is slowly beginning to get the respect he so rightfully deserves. Here's a quote from the All Music Guide's review of the above referenced recording:

Quote:
Parker and Drake comprise the best rhythm section in jazz; together, they should go down in the history books as one of the most fruitful and interesting musical relationships this side of Ellington and Strayhorn, Diz and Bird, and Miles and Trane.

The "Drake" they're referring to is Humid Drake, the outstanding drummer from Chicago who basically puts on a clinic of jazz drumming throughout the CD. The man is simply incredible. Also incredible is that, in spite of the whirlwind of sound created by Drake, Parker's bass playing manages to flow both above and within this malestrom and enhance the overall sound. Truly remarkable.

The music itself is very restrained for Parker, with little or no "free blowing" on any of the tunes, more of the classic "head - solos - head" structure found in more straight ahead jazz. There is also a really nice swinging feel to everything but with a looseness one only finds in the best free jazz. The looseness or sense of ease is must likely the result of both Drake and Parker being such masters of their respective instruments and no matter where the music may need to go they both can take it there and back again without ever missing a beat.

This is one recommendation I strongly urge everyone interested in the best of jazz not to overlook. I'm listening to it as I write, and man, does Parker's bass have a nice FAT sound. This could and should become your bass demo recording.

Hey, whats going on jazzfan,

Your recommendations look good. I`ll have to check them out. But first, if you really know Stanley Clarkes music, its not at all smooth jazz, unless you talk about that commercial singing stuff he did with George Duke. In fact, one of the best and baddest jazz/rock/fusion groups of all time has gotten back together, RETURN TO FOREVER. Nothing smooth jazz about that music. Original from day one. Also, Stanley Clarke has a new solo project called - The Toys of Men, and it sounds like a flash back to the fusion days of the 70`s. So, give it a listen.
But, if you want something more traditional, I got one for ya - Across the Crystal Sea by Danilo Perez. A very nice mellow piano cd with great sidemen. Christian McBribe on bass, Cassandra Wilson on 2 tracks, and arranged by none other than Claus Ogerman. This cd will bring peace to your soul.
Enjoy jazzman.

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Re: Back to the Free Jazz


Quote:
Hey, whats going on jazzfan,

Your recommendations look good. I`ll have to check them out. But first, if you really know Stanley Clarkes music, its not at all smooth jazz, unless you talk about that commercial singing stuff he did with George Duke. In fact, one of the best and baddest jazz/rock/fusion groups of all time has gotten back together, RETURN TO FOREVER. Nothing smooth jazz about that music. Original from day one. Also, Stanley Clarke has a new solo project called - The Toys of Men, and it sounds like a flash back to the fusion days of the 70`s. So, give it a listen.

But, if you want something more traditional, I got one for ya - Across the Crystal Sea by Danilo Perez. A very nice mellow piano cd with great sidemen. Christian McBribe on bass, Cassandra Wilson on 2 tracks, and arranged by none other than Claus Ogerman. This cd will bring peace to your soul.
Enjoy jazzman.

Hi again Greg,

I'm glad to see that you took my post about William Parker in the spirit in which it was intended, namely, as one of sharing about music, regardless of labels.

You're quite correct in saying that Stanley Clarke was around long before labels like "smooth jazz" were being tossed around. He is one of the original fusion jazz bass players and as such he has few equals.

So the original RTF is getting back together? Does that include Bill Connors, the original guitar player? I hope so. I cut my jazz teeth (so to speak) listening to early 1970's fusion, courtesy of Miles Davis. As I've often stated, "Bitches Brew" belongs on any short list of essential jazz recordings. I love electric Miles and in my jazz world even his wilder electric stuff, like "Pangaea", would be on "must have" list of essential jazz recordings.

As for Danilo Perez, I've been a fan of his playing for years. I particular like "Panamonk", his Monk tribute recording. It's Monk tunes played with a latin jazz flare. A similar recording but with just a little more fire to it, is "Rumba Para Monk" by Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache Band. A really smoking combination of hot latin jazz and Monk's off kilter but always interesting compositions. Well worth checking out.

And while we're on the subject of latin jazz and piano players, one must mention the late, great Hilton Ruiz. It's difficult for me to single out any one of his recordings since I kind of like them all but at this point you'd be lucky to find anything in print - no wait, I just a quick search on Amazon and there are a few things available and if you don't mind buying a used CD there are even a few really good bargains. Just pick any one, buy it, wait for UPS to deliver it, put it on and enjoy. (Of course in my case there's a few extra steps involved: rip it to a hard drive, add it to SqueezeCenter's music library, stream it to the Transporter and enjoy!)

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Re: Back to the Free Jazz

Thanks for the headsup on Danilo. I was not familaiar with him. A real good friend of mine, told me about him, then sent me a cd-r of the cd. Afterwards, I went to the website. But, I`ll definitely check these other recordings. As far as RTF,. they are out on tour right now, the new cd is excellent called Anthology, a re-mastering of all the classics. Drummer is Lenny White, guitar-Al Dimeola.

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Thanks for the headsup on Danilo. I was not familaiar with him. A real good friend of mine, told me about him, then sent me a cd-r of the cd. Afterwards, I went to the website. But, I`ll definitely check these other recordings. As far as RTF,. they are out on tour right now, the new cd is excellent called Anthology, a re-mastering of all the classics. Drummer is Lenny White, guitar-Al Dimeola.

I didn't think that Connors would be on the tour. Silly me, of course the guitarist would have to be Al Dimeola - he was the guitar player with RTF when they were at the height of their popularity back in the mid to late 1970's and he's a much better choice and guitar player than Connors.

I have always liked Chick Corea and still think that he's one of the greatest piano players in the history of jazz. Basically Chick is the definition of "monster", as in he's a monster piano player. Check out his work with his group Origin or with his New Trio. Both groups feature the Israeli born bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Jeff Ballard - another really fine and underrated rhythm section. Also worth checking out are some of the recordings made by Avishai Cohen under his own name. All of his recordings feature interesting compositions and first rate playing. He's one of jazz's rising stars and with musicians of his caliber moving up the ranks, so to speak, the future of jazz looks very bright.

In fact, Stereophile should do a feature on today's rising young stars of jazz, who are quite a different breed from the record company sponsored "young lions" of years past since these musicians are doing everything on their own without any record company help. It would surely make for some interesting reading. Hey JA, are you listening?

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Re: Back to the Free Jazz


Quote:

Quote:
Thanks for the headsup on Danilo. I was not familaiar with him. A real good friend of mine, told me about him, then sent me a cd-r of the cd. Afterwards, I went to the website. But, I`ll definitely check these other recordings. As far as RTF,. they are out on tour right now, the new cd is excellent called Anthology, a re-mastering of all the classics. Drummer is Lenny White, guitar-Al Dimeola.

I didn't think that Connors would be on the tour. Silly me, of course the guitarist would have to be Al Dimeola - he was the guitar player with RTF when they were at the height of their popularity back in the mid to late 1970's and he's a much better choice and guitar player than Connors.

I have always liked Chick Corea and still think that he's one of the greatest piano players in the history of jazz. Basically Chick is the definition of "monster", as in he's a monster piano player. Check out his work with his group Origin or with his New Trio. Both groups feature the Israeli born bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Jeff Ballard - another really fine and underrated rhythm section. Also worth checking out are some of the recordings made by Avishai Cohen under his own name. All of his recordings feature interesting compositions and first rate playing. He's one of jazz's rising stars and with musicians of his caliber moving up the ranks, so to speak, the future of jazz looks very bright.

In fact, Stereophile should do a feature on today's rising young stars of jazz, who are quite a different breed from the record company sponsored "young lions" of years past since these musicians are doing everything on their own without any record company help. It would surely make for some interesting reading. Hey JA, are you listening?

Cool, real cool. I`ll check Origin for sure. Whats up with the Van Morrison tunes? BTW, listening to Cyrstal Sea by Danilo in the bacground. Its so mellow and nice. Great arrangement by Claus.

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More Recommended Jazz

This thread is starting to die and since I don't want that to happen I'm giving it a little boost with a post about a couple of classic jazz recordings that have so far either been omitted from this thread or given only a passing mention.

Duke Ellington:

Trying to figure out where to start when one is first confronted with Ellington's vast catalog of recording can, to say the least, leave one's head spinning. The real answer is to pick just about any recording and give a whirl, at worst it won't be to your liking but there's a better than even change that it will turn out to be more than worthwhile. However, if that still seems like too much of a risk in these times of tight money here are a few classics to get you started.

The Blanton-Webster Band - a 3 disc set on the RCA label covering 1940 to 1942, a period that many feel was Duke's best. Hearing these recordings will help you to understand what all the fuss is about.

Ellington At Newport (complete) - a 2 disc set on Columbia from the famous 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. After the death of the big bands in the post war years, Duke and orchestra staged a rousing comeback in 1956 propelled in part by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves' 27 choruses on "Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue", which must be heard to be believed.

...And His Mother Called Him Bill (2002 reissue) - another RCA title but this one is from 1967 and his Ellington's tribute to his long time musical partner (who had recently passed away from cancer), Billy Strayhorn. Johnny Hodges' solo on "Blood Count" is truly one of the all time great recorded alto sax solos and it alone is worth the price of admission.

So that's three different recordings from three different periods in Ellington's long career and all three are essential and recommended jazz. Chances are that if you give any one of them a listen you may well end up, like me, with plenty of other Ellington recordings in your collection.

And here's a bonus recording: The Great Paris Concert - a two disc set on Atlantic taken from a concert recorded in 1963. Plus there's even a bonus to the bonus: 10 extra tracks at the end of the second disc which were originally issued as "Duke Ellington's Greatest Hits". Another "can't miss" Ellington recording.

Next up: Charlie Parker
In the hole: Thelonious Monk
(Hey it's almost baseball season again!)

struts
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Re: More Recommended Jazz

Thanks JF! After seeing The Killers last Monday the rest of the week passed entirely jazzless. Your recommendations just corrected that aberration

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Re: More Recommended Jazz


Quote:
Thanks JF! After seeing The Killers last Monday the rest of the week passed entirely jazzless. Your recommendations just corrected that aberration

You are most welcome, my friend. An entire week spent without jazz! How sad and how you could ever let something so terrible happen? Try this: every week day, i.e. Monday thru Friday, morning WKCR-FM, the radio station of Columbia University in NYC, has a show called "Bird Flight: The Music of Charlie Parker" which runs between 8:20am (eastern standard time) and approximately 9:30am (eastern standard time). WKCR features realtime web based streaming and can be reached at WKCR. I realize that it may be on in the middle of the afternoon for you over in Sweden but anytime is good time to listen to Charlie Parker.

Note: you can also stream WKCR via SqueezeNetwork if you own one of Slim Devices' music streaming devices, just add the following url to your SqueezeNetwork favorites: http://kanga.college.columbia.edu:8000/listen.pls

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Re: More Recommended Jazz


Quote:
Ellington At Newport (complete) - a 2 disc set on Columbia from the famous 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. After the death of the big bands in the post war years, Duke and orchestra staged a rousing comeback in 1956 propelled in part by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves' 27 choruses on "Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue", which must be heard to be believed.

Or seen .

I don't think this is the Newport performance, but it's outstanding. You can tell they're having a ball, too.

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Re: More Recommended Jazz


Quote:
Or seen .

I don't think this is the Newport performance, but it's outstanding. You can tell they're having a ball, too.

Thanks for the great link. I enjoyed watching it. And no, it's not the famous Newport solo but it's fun just the same. Duke, being the consummate professional, always knew how to keep the audience happy. Once Gonsalves and his famous solo had managed to vault Ellington back into the limelight Ellington certainly wasn't against riding that wave until the end and besides, it was what the people wanted to see and hear and Duke didn't like to disappoint his fans.

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Recommended Charlie Parker Recordings

As promised here are a few recommended Charlie Parker recordings to help jump start your jazz collection. Even though most of Parker's important recordings were made before the era of long playing vinyl records (LPs) over the years all of these recordings have issued and reissued countless times. Sometimes his recordings have been issued in well thought out and carefully put together packages and, more often than not, in a careless and haphazard fashion.

The good news is that there several very good packages available which cover all of the important periods of Charlie Parker's relatively brief and remarkable career. The first great series of Parker recordings are those he made while under contract with Savoy Records. These recordings are available in various different compilations but to get the meat of this essential material I recommend hunting down the 2 disc set "The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes)" on which you'll get to hear 30 be-bop classics recorded by Parker at perhaps the height of his awesome powers.

The next series of Parker recordings were made for the Dial Record label and these are available on the 2 disc set "The Legendary Dial Masters". Over the course of these 52 tracks one gets to hear Parker at both the high and low points of his career since one of the Dial recording sessions took place right before Parker had a nervous breakdown. Parker's failing mental state is captured in raw form on the heart wrenching "Lover Man". Other sessions took place after Parker's brief stay in a California mental hospital and feature a well rested and refreshed Parker who was once again in top form.

Parker next recorded for the Verve label and the best these recordings are collected on "20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Charlie Parker". It's rather short with only 12 tracks but if you find yourself wanting more you can always pick up the ten disc set "Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve" for a more comprehensive picture.

And of course no Charlie Parker collection would be even half way decent without at least a little of the many live Parker recordings available. Once again you're in luck since perhaps one of the best live Charlie Parker recordings was only recently discovered and issued in 2005 on the Uptown label. Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker "Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945" is 40 minutes of jazz bliss and features Parker and Gillespie at the dawn of the be-bop age with both in top form on this remarkably well recorded discovery. If you're only going to own one Charlie Parker recording than by all means this is the one to get.

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Monk - Live at the It Club

Again, as promised, here's a quick and easy recommendation for something by Thelonious Monk: Live At The It Club: Complete on Columbia. Recorded in Los Angles in 1964 and featuring Monk's working quartet of Charlie Rouse on tenor, Larry Gales on bass and Ben Riley on drums this double CD contains 19 tracks with 15 classic Monk compositions along with 3 standards. And no, my math's not incorrect "Epistrophy" is played twice. Although many others may argue (and rightfully so) that this set is not as essential some other Monk recordings, I feel that this recording manages to capture the true essence of Monk, which is, Monk out there reworking a handful of his compositions in front of an audience.

Monk may have only composed 70 or so tunes but so many of his tunes have become modern jazz standards that it's fair to say that Monk may turn out to be the most important composer in the history of jazz. It's rare to see a young jazz musician who doesn't include at least one Monk composition on their first recording and if not there than a Monk tune is almost sure to be played during their live performances. How one plays a Monk tune has become the litmus test for all young jazz musicians. Introduce a new twist or wrinkle and you pass the test with flying colors.

With that said, no one was better at adding new twists and wrinkles to Monk compositions than Monk himself and the material on Live At The It Club is no exception. Start with this set and work your way backwards and forwards through the rest of Monk's recordings because there are plenty of other great Monk recordings to discover and explore.

By the way this will be my last recommendation unless I start to see some feedback from my fellow forum members. Perhaps I'll just join the blogging revolution and put all my jazz recommendations into a blog. What do you think?

JoeE SP9
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Re: Monk - Live at the It Club

OK! I'll bite. I'm going to buy the Monk you're recommending tomorrow. Is that enough of a response?

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