Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Jazz Starter Kit

I've been asked by friends on numerous occasions to give them a list of Jazz albums they should start their collection with. It's always slightly difficult. You know the top three or four right off the top of your head but then it starts to get a little subjective.

So I've decided to get a little subjective.

Below is short list of Jazz albums I think most people who enjoy music shouldn't be without. No difficult listening. Just great starters for anyone. I've tried to break it out by instrument with a brief commentary. All of these CD's are easy to find at your local record store or online. Enjoy.

1) Miles Davis "Kind Of Blue": The trumpeter's great masterpiece and also considered one of the greatest all around albums of all time.

2) Dave Brubeck "Time Out": A classic piano driven album.

3) John Coltrane "Blue Train": While there are a number of Coltrane albums that can make this list as a start point I think this is one of the saxophonist's most palatable for new ears.

4) Thelonious Monk "Brilliant Corners": For many Jazz music lovers this a good way to start with Monk. His playing and compositions are complicated but Brilliant Corners highlights a group built on tension and precision.

5) Charlie Parker "The Quintet-Jazz At Massey Hall": An amazing and historic live album featuring the legends Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach and Charles Mingus.

6) Charlie Parker "Yardbird Suite": A compilation but the perfect primer of his most influential recordings and performances.

7) Charles Mingus "Mingus Ah Um": A beautiful session from the legendary bass player featuring the classics "You Better Get It In Your Soul" and "My Jelly Roll Soul" makes this a standout in his catalog.

8) Clifford Brown & Max Roach "Alone Together": Brown and Roach were both extraordinary an trumpeter and drummer in their own right but together they are unstoppable. This two disc set as the title suggests features material of both together and with their own groups.

9) Billie Holiday "Lady Day: The Best Of Billie Holiday" and "Lady In Autumn": Both are compilations but both feature two separate periods in Holiday's career. So if you want the complete overview these are a good way to get the most of everything in a quick shot and impress your friends.

10) Charlie Christian "The Original Guitar Hero": This compilation gives a strong representation of what Christian did with the guitar. His career was cut short by TB in 1942. There are numerous compilations but this one shows how important his music truly was then as now.

1 comment:

  1. Great list! #1 & #7 are two of my favorites and you are so right about #9 - the perfect quick shot and people always love that one!