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nate

Jazz Starter Kit

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there are many variants of jazz, and it is helpful to hear many of them to decide where your particular tastes lie--so here we go, from an historical and stylistic timeline (not comprehensiv, just a basic overview, add to it with your own favorites)

early--dixieland/ragtime--roots in new orleans, heavy on brass and piano--this is a wide genre that spans from Scott Joplin stuff from the late 1800's to today. as with everything jazz, there is a certain amount of overlap

old:Jellyroll Morton --he was recorded by John Lomax in the 1920's--his music is populated by a large brass section, an acoustic guitar (usually inaudible) , and a piano

recent:Leon Redbone--using the same basic instrumentation as Jellyroll (and songs from the era), Redbone modifies the formula slightly by replacing some brass with his voice (since Redbone is an anachronism, his music has sort of fallen into the "novelty" category)

more recent:Squirrel Nut Zippers riding on a swing invasion about 5 years ago, they had a hit with their new orleans stylings in the form of "Hell"--heavy on brass, acoustic rhythm guitat on the side

improv/scat vocals become more prominent, including nonsense lyrics or "scatting" instrumentation gets a little more sparse, less regimented

old Louis Armstrong he got his start in King Oliver's orchestra, and set out on his own--his career spanned from the 20's until his death in the 1970's--a trumpeter, but also famous for scat

recent Denver and the Mile High Orchestra another throwback, a combo of old big band orchestras and scat

Lounge small combos-- trios, quartets, quintets often include a trumpet/coronet, bass, piano, or sax--very tight compositions but they still allow for each player to have an improvised solo. (this is one of my favorites)

Dave Brubeck his combos include as many as 8 members (sometimes his son on bass)--piano driven. a great starter album is "Time Out!"

Vince Guaraldi most famous for his work on Charlie Brown cartoons, he has a much wider selection including latin rooted jazz

Cannonball and Nat Adderley sax led lounge (as opposed to piano led like Brubeck and Guaraldi) for Julius "Cannonball", and coronet for Nat--they often worked together

recent Ben Foldsrock merged with Brubeck style piano-led lounge--i like this a lot

Latin lots of percussion--congos, bongos, and marimbas, very gritty vocals, high energy, and lots of brass--influenced by the music of the Carribbean and South America

Poncho Sanchez personifies the above description, often infusing jazz standards with gigawatts of pure energy

Carl Tjader a variation on the latin theme, flutes, bass--more mellow and subded than the raw energy of Poncho or Tito Puente, but still excellent

Mongo Santamaria he had a hit in the 60's with "Watermelon Man", often used in commercials to personify "hip" products--he isn't afraid to yell in the middle of a song--high energy

Solo Legends artists that carved their own niche

Bill Evans there are 2 (3 if you count Yusef Lateef, since that was his name too) one sax, and one piano--the piano Bill evans made about 100 solo albums--the sax one is still working--Piano Bill did some pretty avant-garde stuff, lots of ground to cover if you check him out

Miles Davistrumpet an unbelievable variety of stuff, ranging from trio and lounge to wahwah pedal fueled weirdness--a 50 year career with more than 100 releases of his own, plus collaborations

Django Reinhart early pioneer of classical/jazz guitar

insert your faves here!

Edited by nate

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I would add Jazz Rock or Fusion to this kit. Artists in this genre would include:

Herbie Hancock (particularly the Headhunters albums)

The Crusaders

Deodato

Bob James

Chick Corea

Jeff Beck (Blow by Blow)

Pat Metheny

David Sanbourn

Airto

Flora Purim

Weather Report

Grover Washington

...

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i would have, but i was sick of typing

Traffic and Blind Faith are fairly jazz influenced also

quick addition of King Curtis sax and Champion Jack DuPree piano

Edited by nate

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Nice thread, NB :good job:

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That's a helluva great effort and a lot of great info for anyone who wants to get into jazz of any type. There are many sub-genres in jazz, enough to scare newcomers off. I advise people to just listen to all the different types of jazz and find what they like... from fusion to smooth jazz, it's all good stuff.

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nice recommendations nate.... thanks.

I'll be checking the ones I havent tried yet. :good job:

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I'm gonna put a plug in for a couple of Jazz artists that really do it for me...one is the late guitarist Wes Montgomery....

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&u...l=Bn9508qxtbtz4

Another is Stan Getz, also deceased, who was a great tenor sax man. I especially like his bossa nova work.

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&u...l=Bn9508qxtbtz4

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Thanks Nate, I'll check some of these out.

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Acid Jazz

artists...

jazzanova

i would name some more but i cant think of any thats just that and doesnt cross into downtempo or trip hop..

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Acid Jazz

artists...

jazzanova

i would name some more but i cant think of any thats just that and doesnt cross into downtempo or trip hop..

go nuts

the thing is, i covered the stuff i like

that's why i opened the floor at the end--so others could put their faves

jazz is huge, and crosses into blues, rock, and any other number of genres

the fact that there are styles i didn't mention by no means says that they don't exist or aren't popular or worth listening to--i'm not a big fan of smooth, but nobody can love everything, right?

now that p2p is around and you can sample the stuff for free, try it all!

(as a sidenote, emusic.com and allmusic.com have lots of good info and reviews, all cross referenced to others)

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well..in that case!

bonobo - dial m for monkey, animal magic

quantic - apricot mornings, 5th exotic

boards of canada - music has the right to children (more electronica)

skapel - skalpel

cinematic orchestra - motion, man with the movie camera

four tet - pause, rounds

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the above have jazz influence but most songs are too electro to put in the jazz category imo.

You could call groups like stereolab or zero7 jazz but i would leave them for the electronica section...

Excellent post nate!

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Frank Zappa once said, "Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny."

And if you want to hear jazz, Zappa certainly recorded a fair amount--pretty much every Zappa album has at least one track that would qualify as "jazz." But there are "jazzier" artists I'd recommend before FZ, or perhaps it would be better to say that jazz wasn't Zappa's primary intention, but he often committed many acts of jazz in the course of his artistic pursuits.

Jazz... There is a great episode of "Reading Rainbow" that would be an excellent intro to anyone new to the artform, but who knows when that will be on again? I'll briefly summarize how Levar Burton sums up what jazz is. Jazz happens when a highly proficient musician/musicians start playing on a theme, then improvisize off of that theme, often deliberatley creating tension by playing with time signatures, dissonance, strange key changes and unusual chord patterns before returning the listener back to the 'comfortable and familiar' of the original theme just before the end.

There are many styles that jazz can follow--Ragtime, New Orleans/Chicago, Bebop, Big Band, Jazz Folk, Jazz Fusion, Hard Bop, Post-bop, Avant-Garde (or "Out There") Jazz, Scat, Latin Jazz, Mainstream Jazz, M-Base, Acid Jazz, Smooth Jazz (can be often mistaken for elevator music or Muzak...), Swing, and Lounge. One could document the styles, or just list the various "greats" and the style or styles they created or contributed to. I'm just going to throw out some names and genres that I would recomend to someone starting out, stuff that come to mind as signinficant which means its really stuff I've listened to more recently than other genres/artists.

First post was quite excellent, Nate--I'm not up on all those old guys like I used to be, but Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet...all good "old stuff." I have nothing to add or amend to that list, and would recommend anyone who likes the old old stuff to listen to Ray Smith's Jazz Decades streaming on WGBH Sunday nights. Personally I really like the direction that jazz in went after the late 40's, when Miles Davis and Charlie Parker first started to stand out from the Big Bands like Duke Ellington, so that's mostly what I will recommend here.

Trumpeters Dizzie Gillespie and Miles Davis, along with Charlie Parker, basically these three took jazz out of the Big Band era in the late 40s and into the solo/improvisational Bop or Bebop style played in smaller groups...Bird went in the ground, Miles went Cool and Dizzy went Latin...Meanwhile the Modern Jazz Quartet, led by pianist John Lewis--with the cool vibes of Milt Jackson, took jazz in a more erudite direction. They're an incredible West Coast sound ensemble -- give Django and Concorde a good listen...also the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond on alto sax, whose musical goal was to try to make his horn sound like a "dry martini." He succeeded brilliantly with that. Brubeck's 1959 Time Out and his 1963 At Carnegie Hall are good places to start to hear that West Coast / Cool Jazz sound at its best.

One essential jazz musician from this era is saxophonist John Coltrane. He came to the fore playing Hard Bop with Miles in the mid-50s, developing an absolutely mind-blowing style of playing called "sheets of sound." He also began deliberately incorporating overblowing into his playing, much the same way Hendrix would deliberately introduce feedback into his compositions a decade later. (My Favorite Things and Giant Steps are a good starting place to begin with Coltrane -- anything he did in the 50s with Miles Davis, Red Garland or Thelonius Monk. Coltrane's essential masterpiece, A Love Supreme), with his classic quartet of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. After 1965 Coltrane parted ways with modal jazz and went way out into free jazz--a lot of squonk and honk; some people like it, other people call it noise. Ornette Coleman (another early leader of the Avant garde "free jazz", start off with "The Shape of Jazz to Come"), Eric Dolphy is another free jazz sax player -- Out To Lunch is required listening.

Ben Webster was another often unsung sax great of the 50s and 60s, more west coast though, and defintely not avant garde. Talk about "acid jazz" though, one night in the mid-80's WGBH played 6 hours of nothing but late 50s Ben Webster while my friend Uncle Meat and I were tripped our asses off, sitting his AMC Gremlin and drinking cheap--ah, never mind all that. Ben Webster's warm warm tones will be permanently etched in my mind...Another great alto sax player from this time is Cannonball Adderly.

More about Miles Davis. First the guy invented Be-bop with Charlie Parker. Then in the early 50's Birth Of The Cool laid the foundations for Cool Jazz, but then he abandoned it almost immediately for hard bop and his first great quintet with Coltrane, then went Modal with Sketches of Spain and the classic jazz album of all time, Kind Of Blue. After this he puts together his Second Great Quartet with Wayne Shorter (sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Tony Williams (drums) and Ron Carter (bass), a group that composed some of the greatest most sophisticated Modal & Post Bop ever laid down. Almost anything any of those guys recorded in the sixties is worth a listen, especially Wayne Shorter's stuff. Then Miles plugged jazz into the wall in the late 60's. First he invented what would later be called ambient with In a Silent Way and then all out Jazz-Rock Fusion with his next release, Bitches Brew.

Out of those sixties Miles Davis bands came just an amazing slew of 70's fusion: Tony Williams Lifetime, Chick Corea's Return to Tomorrow, Wayne Shorter's Weather Report (with the incomparable Jaco Pastorius on bass, well, maybe Les Claypool is comparable...). John McLaughlin, guitarist on Bitches Brew, founded the absolutely brilliant The Mahavishnu Orchestra--check out Inner Mounting Flame and especially Birds of Fireif you really want a good dose of jazz fusion...

Just before Hendrix died he jammed with Mclaughlin, but perfectionist that he is McLaughlin won't let the tapes of those sessions see the light of day (hell, it's taken nearly 20 years just for "the lost Trident sessions" to see the light of day)--but is you want an idea of where Hendrix was heading, Larry Young, (also from Davis' B-Brew band) jammed out on Hendrix's posthumous "Nine To The Universe" Too bad Jimi choked to death one week before he was scheduled to go into the studio with Miles himself...

By the time Chick Corea left Miles to form Return to Forever (employing the young Stanley Clarke on bass) jazz fusion began to blur into prog rock, and bands like King Crimson, Yes, Traffic, Emerson Lake & Palmer and even the Grateful Dead begin to sound jazzier and jazzier as a result...

And the masterpiece of it all, Miles Davis 1975 Agharta. No band ever jammed harder or more telepathically than Miles band did that afternoon in Osaka... absolutely amazing stuff.

This is getting long, so I'm just going to throw out some more great names from the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Each of these guys put out some phenomenal material (and those that's still alive still do): Freddie Hubbard, Paul Desmond, Horace Silver, Red Garland, Roy Haynes, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson...

Current--go check these guys and gals out if they come to a jazz fest or club near you: Joshua Redman, Eric Alexander, Christian Scott , Anat Cohen, Brad Mehldau, Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Baron, James Carter, Steve Coleman, Joe Lovano, Cyrus Chestnut, John Scofield, Christian McBride, Wallace Roney, Chris Potter, Geri Allen, Marcus Miller...Medeski, Martin and Wood and The Bad Plus are worth checking out too.

cooljazz.gif

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Good grief, reading your excellent post made me realize I forgot to include Milt Jackson in my favorites list! Shame on me....

There are so many jazz greats that it's impossible to think of everybody....

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Don't worry, Koop--We could write a book on jazz greats and leave some out. I know tomorrow I'll look at that post and go "Doh! What about so and so, and..."

Jazz--Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination...Spock would grok jazz, man.

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Good grief, reading your excellent post made me realize I forgot to include Milt Jackson in my favorites list! Shame on me....

There are so many jazz greats that it's impossible to think of everybody....

Yeah, Milt Jackson and ANYTHING produced by CTI records - all their stuff was just great.

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A site that some may find wothwhile for broad spectrum of info and jazz festivals throughout the year. Interesting articles, highlights of new releases,

Jazziz Website .... free membership allows you to view some articles in full, artist searches etc

and they provide this page of links to other Jazz music sites:

page of Jazz music site links

page for lists of jazz festivals in US, International, and Club Guide:

Jazz Festivals: US, International, Club Guide

hope you find it as interesting as I have, enjoy.

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:good job:

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Cool thread. Thanks for reminding me about Weather Report. Always dug them.

How about Mahavishnu Orchestra and Count Basey?

also I always dug John Coltrane and remember reading somewhere that Jimi Hendrix was inspired by Coltrane. There are a few versions of "My favorite things" that Coltrane covers and I have never been able to locate the first version I heard but it was a live set somewhere in New Jersey and really blew me away when I first heard it.

If you check him out do hear that cover.

peace

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How about Mahavishnu Orchestra and Count Basey?  Allso I always dug John Coltrane and remember reading somewhere that Jimi Hendrix was inspired by Coltrane.

I like John McGlauglin's guitar work on the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and as Ive posted elsewhere, particuarly on Miles Davis's Jack Johnson sessions. Santana also does a pretty good cover on John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Count Basie and Benny Goodman ran with swing jazz in the forties... this is one art form that is constantly evolving..

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Zoot Sims tenor/soprano sax

Art Pepper alto sax

Art Tatum piano

nore variations on my favorite theme, bepop/ lounge

Edited by nate

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Let me add a couple of very high profile names from the mainstream:

Henry Mancini

He did scores for, well,...scores of films, many of them brilliant. The album I'd most recommend is The Jazz Sound From Peter Gunn

Nelson Riddle Like Mancini, Nelson Riddle was very prolific in movies and TV work, but for me his signature work is the theme from the early '60's TV show, Route 66. I could quite easily listen to a 2 hour loop of this...and I have tapes of every episode of the ancient show.

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Henry Mancini

When I was a grad student at UCLA, a bunch of us helped produce a tribute to Henry Mancini, which featured Quincy Jones and Pavorotti. Quincy Jones performed a versin of Peter Gunn that was smokin' Henry Mancini created a lot of great movie scores and gave Quincy his first break..

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Peter gunn's hangout on the old TV show was a smokin' jazz club named "Mother's". The show actually gave many TV viewers their first exposure to real jazz.

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