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janbb's avatar

What jazz musicians should I start listening to if I am just a "beginner"?

Asked by janbb (53818points) November 28th, 2009

I love all kinds fo music, but I know much more about classic rock and folk music than I do about jazz. A piece on NPR this morning made me realize I’d like to start listening to some more jazz music. I imagine more formally composed stuff (like Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5”) might be more accessible than improv but am open to suggestions. Got any?

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27 Answers

RareDenver's avatar

There is a saying that Jazz Musicians are the only people that enjoy Jazz Music, it’s like some musical masturbation thing, having said that this would be a good place to start

there is some great modern jazz like this, Soulstice – Fall Into You [acid jazz]

janbb's avatar

@RareDenver Thanks for responding. Read details – that is where I started, now I want to move further.

RareDenver's avatar

@janbb as Homer would say “Doh” .... hope you like the other suggestion, a couple labels to look out for are TruThoughts and Zebra Traffic, they release some great jazz/hip hop artists

And Morcheeba are always great

janbb's avatar

Thanks – will check them out.

RareDenver's avatar

@janbb the shoegazing scene was reminicent of Jazz too, you might want to check some of those bands out like:

Ride – Leave Them All Behind

Catherine Wheel – Black Metallic

And then the ultimate acid jazz of Jamiroquai

aprilsimnel's avatar

Louie Armstrong, his “hot” style from the 20s and 30s.

debzilla's avatar

I spend some time on youtube searching for jazz music. I like street performances more than studio produced jazz music. Search “loose marbles” :) Traditional jazz + swing.

PretentiousArtist's avatar

Uh, hello, people?

higherground's avatar

John Coltrane and Miles Davis (= If you miss them out , you miss out Jazz on a whole (=

Mamradpivo's avatar

Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue.”
Charlie Parker, the Bird albums.
Definitely Dave Brubeck. And just start finding things from there. Pandora is always a great place to start finding music, even if it is a little imperfect.

PupnTaco's avatar

Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”
Kenny Burrell “Midnight Blue”
Dexter Gordon “Go”
John Coltrane “My Favorite Things”

evegrimm's avatar

If you like piano jazz, try anything Thelonious Monk has done.

You might try listening to a jazz station on, say, or Pandora, to see what kind of jazz you like. There are as many subdivisions of jazz as there are of rock music.

I would start with older jazz and move forward, neatly sidestepping Kenny G and his ilk.

dpworkin's avatar

Try Miles Davis’ (Sketches of Spain, Straight, No Chaser); Dave Brubeck; John Coltrane; Charlie Parker; Thelonious Monk; Louis Armstrong; Billie Holiday; Ella Fitzgerald; Lambert, Hendricks and Ross; Lambert, Hendricks and Bevan; The Modern Jazz Quartet; Blossom Dearie…that’s a good start.

sndfreQ's avatar

Acid Jazz =! Jazz

just being snobby! j/k

Certainly Miles and Coltrane; you also need to understand that there are a lot of subgenres of Jazz by era, and in most cases, purists and the like will steer you toward icons from the Cool Jazz, Swing/Be-bop, Big band, Ragtime, etc. eras. Jazz has such a rich and vibrant history, and is also closely tied to the blues.

When I studied an ethnomusicology course in college on African-American music, one of the very good references were the Smithsonian series of recordings, though it may be hard to find. You may want to research catalogs and samplers from notable labels such as Blue Note Records, and some of the majors…you will often find anthology works of the period you’re interested in most.

janbb's avatar

Thanks. Yes, I’m interested more in classical jazz, I think.

dpworkin's avatar

Django Reinhardt. Fats Waller. Art Tatum. Dizzy Gillespie. Count Basie.

janbb's avatar

I love Django Reinhardt. The piece on the radio mentioned Art Tatum and said that many jazz pianists were discouraged about their own playing after hearing him play.

Billie Holiday is considered a jazz singer? Love her too.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Art Tatum was so good, even the classical players of his day were in awe of him. Sergei Rachmaninoff supposedly said that he may have been the greatest player ever.

Rubinstein and Horowitz would go to see him play whenever he was in New York. Listen to him play Humouresque here. Mind you, this rare appearance on early TV was after the height of his playing powers.

Fats Waller (no slouch on the ivories himself) saw Art come into a club where he was playing and ceded the bench, saying “I only play the piano, but tonight, God is in the house.”

hearkat's avatar

88.3FM WBGO – an NPR affiliate out of Newark, NJ – is a good Jazz station, Jan.

janbb's avatar

@aprilsimnel That’s a great story.

@hearkat Thanks for the station info. I will check it out.

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. Lots for me to explore!

smartfart11's avatar

I would say Dave Matthews. Because it’s jazz but also pleasantly mainstream.
And I love Dave.

OutOfTheBlue's avatar

LTJ Bukem makes some nice Jazzy Intelligent D&B ;)

PupnTaco's avatar

Dave Matthews is jazz? Not rock?

janbb's avatar

@PupnTaco I was wondering about that too.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Here is a ”101” from Downbeat Magazine, the Jazz mag.

higherground's avatar

I am not sure if I am right , but if you listen carefully to the drum beats of some of DMB (Dave Matthews Band) music , you’ll realize that it is almost similar to the drum beats found in jazz pieces . One song in particular would be ‘Ants Marching’

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