Jazz starter CD?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by audiorocks, Oct 4, 2009.

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  1. audiorocks

    audiorocks Active Member Thread Starter

    I'm really into Classic Rock, Blues, and Reggae. A lot of people seem to really enjoy Jazz, and I'd like to check it out. Can anyone recommend a CD that will help me figure out if I'm capable of enjoying Jazz?
  2. Rocker

    Rocker Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    I just bought my first 2 jazz albums ever.... Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew... and I'm enjoying them both. Other forum members are undoubtedly more knowledgeable on the subject, but from what I've read, those 2 albums are regarded as two of the best jazz records of all time, so that's how I got my start. :)
  3. kiddo4

    kiddo4 Active Member

    I'd go with Dave Brubeck's "Time Out".
  4. Maggie

    Maggie run james run

    Toronto, Canada
    Well, some people find Kind of Blue less than riveting and Bitches Brew is not very jazzlike.

    I've started a few people on jazz with Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus, which opens with an irresistible calypso number called "St. Thomas," and can be acquired very cheaply and just about everywhere.

    I also recommend the following as a 'starter' option:
    * Lester Young - The Kansas City Sessions. A little old-fashioned (from the late 30s and early 40s), but the songs are all brief and sweet, and there's a good variety of instruments - acoustic and electric guitar, tenor sax, clarinet, muted and open trumpet, trombone...to me, it is one of the easiest CDs I own to pop in and groove to, no matter what my mood or the season.

    My first jazz album was John Coltrane's Ascension, which was the right place to start for me (I was heavily into avant-garde and noisy music) but not necessarily for everyone.
  5. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like "Kind of Blue." Probably THEE greatest (and most accessible) jazz album of all.

    Another good starting point is Charles Mingus' "Mingus Ah Um" and Dave Brubeck's "Time Out."
  6. wiseblood

    wiseblood Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    Love Supreme by John Coltrane.
  7. Fletch

    Fletch Forum Resident

    New York
    Coltrane-Blue Train or Giant Steps
  8. Hiro

    Hiro Well-Known Member

    Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady

  9. KenJ

    KenJ Well-Known Member

    Flower Mound, TX
    Most of the re-issues getting discussed on this forum are Hard Bop/Cool/Soul-Jazz/Modal from the 50's & early 60's so that may be want you asking....if so don't let one sound represent it all. Try a different instruments and genres. Try the library or other sources so you can sample.

    I would also try some of the earlier Swing, Dixieland and Bebop sounds from legends such as Louie Armstrong, Duke Elington, Charlie Parker, etc.
    The album "Stachmo Plays King Oliver" and track "St. James Infirmary" is awesome and easy form non-Jazz lovers to enjoy.

    If you want to sample a broad range of genres and time frames the Ken Burns Jazz box provides samples and his JAZZ documentary will help you appreciate the history of jazz.

    If you really want to test the water with the 50's/60's being re-issued and discussed on this forum I would try some of the titles being re-issued on 45 rpm from blue note, Fantasy, etc. Just try to diferent styles and instrumentation focus.

    You can look at top 50 titles of all time as well. Example:

    Coltrane - Blue Train (his later classics like Love Supreme are not as accessible to those new to jazz)

    Sonny Rollins is a great place to start: Way Out West, Saxaphone Colossus, etc.

    Bill Evans - Waltz for Debbie or Night at the Village Vanguard (piano)

    Jazz Messengers - the track "Night in Tunisia" is wild...check it out!

    Horace Silver - Song for my Father - Steely Dan borrow parts for "ricky don't lose that number'

    Miles - Kinda of Blue - the most common jazz album to find in non-jazz collections.
  10. KenJ

    KenJ Well-Known Member

    Flower Mound, TX
    Everyone is different but I would highly recommend NOT starting here. I tried this album early in my jazz listening and found the polyrhthmic drums and wild fast sax to me very hard. I found earlier Colrane more accessible with this title more enjoyable later.
  11. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Ilford, Essex, UK
    One of my earliest jazz buys was Art Pepper - Meets the Rhythm Section. I would say that this is a good start - that and Dexter Gordon - Doin' Allright.

    Won't frighten anyone off unlike Coltrane of the ALS era or Bitches Brew.
  12. KenJ

    KenJ Well-Known Member

    Flower Mound, TX
    Some have said that if you don't like "Kind of Blue" then you don't like jazz. It certainly is the most recommended starting point and if you have one jazz album it's probably the one.
    I wouldn't recommend any one album to be a go/nogo decision on jazz. Some first timers find "kind of blue"....KIND OF BORING.

    "Time Out" is almost as common and more exciting....certainly one to try.

    The track "St. Thomas" is accessible and highly recommended as an entry point. I found Sonny Rollins and early Coltrane as great starts for Hard Bop sax.

    "Bitches' Brew" is FUSION...with it you are trying something much different...a great place to start for fusion but not for classic jazz although perhaps fusion is the way some get migrated into jazz.
  13. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

    There is no single jazz album that sums up the genre. IMO it's somewhat of an insult to any genre to think or insist that there should be such a thing. Jazz is over 100 years old and has changed immeasurably since it began. Whatever one person recommends is going to be a representation of what they think jazz is, and can't possibly represent the genre in its full diversity.

    My interest in jazz goes back to the late 60's and continues to this day. The first jazz artist I heard about was John Coltrane, so I took his album 'Live at the Village Vanguard Again' out of my public library. I didn't listen to another Coltrane album for several years, but I did get into In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew by Miles Davis through my interest in amplified Rock and Blues with extended improvisation. Specifically bands like Cream, Grateful Dead, Santana, and Mothers of Invention in their late 60's heyday.

    If you're looking for an overall view of jazz there are http://www.amazon.com/Best-Ken-Burn...=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1254669175&sr=1-3 and http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Burnss-Ja...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1254669252&sr=1-1 from the Ken Burns series.

    In my generation, http://www.amazon.com/Smithsonian-C...=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1254669346&sr=1-2 was the collection from which we learned the history of the art form.

    For specific artists, chronologically I would suggest Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald,Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, and Ornette Coleman. That gives you an idea of where to start.

  14. I agree with this, not LOVE SUPREME, not to start with.
  15. This might seem odd, but I like Sonny Rollins WAY OUT WEST.
  16. jimac51

    jimac51 Forum Resident

    This question seems to come up so often,it deserves a FAQ. You're favorite jazz album probably won't work here. Mingus' "Black Saint"? "A Love Supreme"? Maybe it worked for the posters,but I would highly doubt that many would use these as starting points.I have tons of compilations in my collection-many are promos,or budget-priced to entice a bigger investment but I would recommend few of them. The PBS documentary,"Ken Burns' Jazz" has such a bias that you pretty much have to be a fan already to separate the problems from the real story.And it breaks down from about 1959. However,the single disc "Best of Ken Burns' Jazz" CD is a great comp at a great price. 20 tracks,also only up to 1959,under 10 bucks. It includes a track from KOB,"Time Out",accessible Coltrane,as well as Louis,Duke,Bird,Dizzy,Monk and Benny. It may be obvious,but it is effective.
  17. Hello:

    I love Jazz, I love Miles music and I love Kind of Blue.

    I have many albums of Miles and I love Kind of Blue, so I have more that forty editions in cd of his album.

    Some friends here have talk to you about many great albums of Coltrane, Mingus, etc, but I think you must listen Kind of Blue, it is wonderful, it is easy and simple, and it maybe it is great because it.

    If you listen Kind of Blue and you like it, yo must return here and tell it to us, and listen: Love Supreme (If you like Santana and you have Love, Devotion and Surrender read the credits), Giant Steps, and Dave Brucbek Take Five.

    When you will listen A love Supreme, you will have 2 options: If you like it, you are ok, if you dont like it, listen again.

    Listen more Miles album: Sketches of Spain, 'Round Midnight, Walkin', and all the works with Coltrane.

    The next step listen Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, and then you will be walking in another way.

    Next time you must listen Bill Evans, on Riverside, on Fantasy on Verve.

    You will understand than Miles changed the Jazz music each ten years, and many of the great musicians had play with him.

    If you like it you will never forget the day you wrote this post.
  18. Jay F

    Jay F New Member

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Also, Soul Station - Hank Mobley
    Go! - Dexter Gordon
    The Sidewinder - Lee Morgan
    Out to Lunch - Eric Dolphy
    Songs for My Father - Horace Silver
    Moanin' - Art Blakey

    Blue Note did some LP reissues of these in the '90s that were nice. Those are OOP today, but maybe not that hard to find.

    I did not like the RVG (Rudy Van Gelder) CD remasters.

    I'm not a big jazz fan, btw.
  19. Jay F

    Jay F New Member

    Pittsburgh, PA
    There's a third option, in which this music fails to reach you no matter how many times you listen to it. The love for A Love Supreme is far more supreme, IMO, than A Love Supreme. If it had been the first jazz record I ever listened to, there would not have been a second.
  20. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    I would start with Jazz light "A Night Out With Verve"

    For $13.95 used you can get a huge starter collection.

    A highly reccomended set for anyone. And the mastering is 1st rate.


    There are four CDs in this boxset. For me it is the best starter Jazz collection you can possibly buy.

    Disc: 1
    1. Come Dance With Me - Oscar Peterson
    2. There Is No Greater Love - Dizzy Gillespie
    3. As Long as I Live - Kenny Burrell
    4. I Wished on the Moon - Coleman Hawkins
    5. Smooth One - Junior Mance
    6. On the Sunny Side of the Street - Jimmy And His Orchestra Hodges
    7. Whisper Not - Anita O'Day
    8. Lil' Darlin' - Joe Pass
    9. Love You Madly - Monty Alexander
    10. What's New? - George Benson
    11. Broadway - Tal Farlow
    12. You Are Too Beautiful - Sonny Rollins
    13. Portrait of Jennie - Wynton Kelly
    14. Fall Out - Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan
    15. Vie en Rose - Michel Legrand
    16. I Still Love Him So - Roy Eldridge
    Disc: 2
    1. If I Had You - Kenny Burrell
    2. Once I Loved (Amor Em Paz)
    3. Isn't It a Pity? - Sarah Vaughan
    4. My Foolish Heart - Bill Evans
    5. I Remember Clifford - Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
    6. It's Nice to Be With You - Jim Hall
    7. It Might as Well Be Spring - Astrud Gilberto
    8. Isn't It Romantic? - Benny Carter, Benny Carter
    9. When a Woman Loves a Man - Ella Fitzgerald
    10. This Can't Be Love - George Shearing
    11. You Go to My Head - Chet Baker
    12. Autumn in New York - Tal Farlow
    13. But Beautiful - Bill Evans, Bill Evans, Stan Getz
    14. Agua de Beber - Antonio Carlos Jobim
    15. Manhattan - Sonny Rollins
    Disc: 3
    1. (Ad Lib) Fast Dances - Fred Astaire
    2. Party Blues - Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams
    3. Sister Sadie - James Clay
    4. Organ Grinder's Swing - Jimmy Smith
    5. Perdido - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
    6. Back Beat Boogie - Harry James & His Orchestra
    7. At Last - Marlena Shaw
    8. Little Girl Blue - Louis Armstrong
    9. So Danço Samba (I Only Dance Samba) - Luiz Bonfá, Stan Getz
    10. Shall We Dance? - Cassandra Wilson
    11. Rose Room - Buddy DeFranco
    12. King Porter Stomp - Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
    13. Taking a Chance on Love - Nicholas Payton
    14. Corner Pocket - Count Basie Orchestra
    15. (Ad Lib) Medium Dance - Fred Astaire
    Disc: 4
    1. I've Got a Crush on You - Sarah Vaughan
    2. It Had to Be You - Billie Holiday
    3. You're a Weaver of Dreams - John Coltrane
    4. This Love of Mine - Al Hibbler
    5. Misty - Don Byas
    6. Invitation - Dinah Washington
    7. Nearness of You - Hank Jones, Abbey Lincoln
    8. Time After Time - Stéphane Grappelli
    9. Imagination - Billy Eckstine L
    10. That's All - Harry "Sweets" Edison, Lester Young
    11. I Should Care - Mel Tormé
    12. 'Round Midnight - Miles Davis
    13. Someone to Watch over Me - Rahsaan Roland Kirk
    14. It's Easy to Remember - Johnny Hartman
    15. Reaching for the Moon - Ella Fitzgerald
    16. You Don't Know Me - Shirley Horn
    17. Where Are You? - Ben Webster
    18. There's No You - Louis Armstrong
    19. Memories of You - Clifford Brown
  21. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    MA, USA
  22. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    For a single Disc I would agree with Getz Gilberto as well.
  23. jhw59

    jhw59 Forum Resident

    Since I consider big band the epitome of jazz, a cd by Duke Ellington or Count Basie would be a good choice. check out the profiles on allmusic. Atomic Count Basie or "and his mother called him Bill" for the Duke are two goodies.
  24. I'd start with these albums which are all very different and all easy to get into if you're new to jazz:

    Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue
    Chet Baker - In Tokyo
    Weather Report - Heavy Weather
  25. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

    Taking your interest in classic rock and blues into account , I think you might enjoy the music of James Blood Ulmer. I'm listening to Blues Preacher at the moment, which I see that you can get used from amazon for $1.96.

    Sure, he's a 'crossover' artist who blends and bends boundaries so it's not like getting into some classic bebop or hardbop sides. But it may be more familiar to you, and you'll see where Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, and all the rest coincide in a music that's perfectly contemporary and timeless at the same time.

    Ulmer hails from the midwest, Cleveland IIRC. He arrived in NYC sometime in the late 60's or early 70's and played with drummer Rashied Ali who was in the John Coltrane band. He recorded with Ali on and off for years.

    Ulmer was in the early incarnations of Ornette Coleman's electric band Prime Time until he moved out on his own in the late 70's and made three albums for Columbia that established him as a solo artist of many colors. Those albums were Free Lancing, Black Rock, and Odyssey.

    Following those he maintained the band called Music Revelation Ensemble for years, recording primarily with the Japanese based DIW label. MRE played its own version of what could be called jazz/blues fusion.

    More recently Blood has concentrated on playing his own brand of the Blues with help from producer/guitarist Vernon Reid of the Living Colour band. I was mildly surprised to see him performing with Alison Krauss in a concert recorded at Carnegie Hall on TV recently.

    Truly a unique and eclectic artist.
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