New jazz fan needs some help...

Discussion in 'Music' started by Gary E., Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Gary E.

    Gary E. Auditioning

    Jul 13, 2004
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    I've just recently gotten into jazz, and am looking for some help on what to get next. I've been looking at some old threads here, as well as on other sites, and have already picked up a few CDs:

    John Coltrane - Giant Steps
    Ella Fitzgerald - The Best of the Song Books
    Charles Mingus - Ah Um
    Art Tatum - 20th Century Piano Genius
    The Best of Ken Burns Jazz

    I got ideas after reading other threads and sampling albums at cdnow.

    I guess like most newcomers to jazz, at this point I am more into vocal jazz and the more melodic stuff. For instance, I have listened to Giant Steps a few times, but still haven't quite gotten it yet (I am definitely going to keep at it, though).

    On the other hand, I have become really into Ella Fitzgerald. I would like to pick up one of her Song Books, but I want to know what you all think of them (I am leaning toward Cole Porter). I also want to hear some good classic jazz - what are some of the essential albums of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, etc.? What other artists do you think I would like? Any suggestions would be very helpful - the amount of jazz out there is overwhelming!

    Just tell me if you need more info, and thanks for any help!
  2. Robert A. Willis Jr.

    Robert A. Willis Jr. Second Unit

    Jul 11, 1999
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    I hesitate to recommend Jazz titles to anyone because there is so much diverse and historic product available. And tastes tend to be very personal.

    My suggestion is to check out the lists from the Downbeat, JazzOnLine and Jazzweek sites (I don't have the links handy) also listen to the many internet jazz radia stations. Let your ears and taste make your decision (although recommendations from other listeners can be of assistance) and not the Jazz Gestapo doctrines.

    Take your time and just listen, listen, listen. Jazz isn't oriented to the "hot" new record more to the "hot" new talent (and I mean talent not splash and glitz).
  3. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Jul 14, 2002
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    Gary, the best advice I have is try the Label "box set" type samplers. They are great baragins, you get to hear many styles and genres as recorded on whichever label you choose. 2-4 disks of Verve, Blue note, etc.

    That may steer you towards individual artists.
  4. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

    Aug 30, 2000
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    Dig up the thread "HTF Jazz club" or something like that lots of good reviews and suggestions on that thread.

    Ella is a great place to continue to explore, songbooks as well as her collaborations with Louis Armstrong.

    Nancy Wilson and Canonball Adderly have a great album together titled just that.

    Sarah Vaughan has some great albums working with the likes of Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass.

    Good lord there is a ton of stuff out there just keep doing research. Two sources I have enjoyed other than reading reviews in each monthly Hi-end audio publication is for an online source and the Penguin Guide to Jazz Albums as a hard source.

    Good luck.
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Aug 24, 2001
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    Cole Porter is, IMO, the most solid Ella songbook. The Berlin is pretty much as good. I personally love the Ellington book the most, but that's 'cause I'm a huge Ellington fan. The only book I'm not that thrilled about is the Gershwin, because I just don't like a lot of their songs. I love Porgy & Bess, but there are no songs from that work on the Gershwin songbook because she did a whole P&B album with Louis Armstrong.

    For other vocals, there's Sarah Vaughan (her s/t is excellent) and Billie Holiday (there are many compilations of her early stuff which is, IMO, her best). These three sing in very different styles, and should give you and idea of what kind of singers you like. I can't recommend any male singers because I don't like any.

    Some non-vocal albums that are universally considered great intros to jazz:

    Dave Brubeck: Time Out
    Miles Davis: Kind of Blue, Birth of the Cool, Cookin', Round About Midnight
    John Coltrane: My Favorite Things
    Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus, Way Out West

    Charlie Parker: Yardbird Suite (for a good intro on real be-bop)

    Others I think are pretty nifty:

    Thelonious Monk: pretty much all of it, very consistent stuff here
    Mingus: Ah Um, Blues & Roots, Tijuana Moods (full disclosure: Mingus is my greatest musical hero)
    Clifford Brown: Study in Brown (or any of those collections)

    Note: my musical biases tend towards non-vocal modern jazz. But for pre-bop stuff, there are a lot of comps of Basie, Duke, Goodman, et al worth checking out as well.

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