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Intro to Jazz??

Gatsby

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In a nutshell, I want to listen to, learn more about, appreciate, and engage in (i.e., go to live performances of) Jazz, without looking like a completely poser. Like many, I've listened to Jazz, but more as interior backdrop music. Does anyone out there have any CD/performer/book recommendations, or can point to a decent site that has good basic knowledge? In particular I want to know more about leading present day performers and good lives to attend. My goal isn't to learn the intricacies of musicality, improvisation, etc., but to grasp the greater landscape of important jazz works, artists, and more importantly WHY they were/are important.

Any help would be much appreciated..
 

bachbeet

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Gatsby: Anyone who listens to jazz (or music, in general) will tell you that Miles Davis's Kind of Blue is probably the best jazz record ever. You MUST have it. And, John Coltrane's stuff is terrific. He played with Miles for a while. Today, the Marsalises (Wynton and Branford) are excellent. They also do classical works. Keith Jarrett. Stan Getz. Joe Pass. Kenny Burrell. John Abercrombie. Pat Metheny. Richie Beirach. Bill Frist. Jan Garbarek. Paul Winter's ECM stuff. Oregon. So many more. Enjoy.
 

yanks2182

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There's a great website www.allaboutjazz.com. It has a forum, some jazz guides, and a special section devoted to the beginning listener. There are many types of jazz. It might help to determine if you like a certain instrument being the lead instrument in the ensemble. Another great beginner jazz album is "Time Out" by the Dave Brubeck quarter.
 

Buster

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for some contemporary good jazz: Terence Blanchard will visit Tokyo at the end of August. One of best trumpeters (just went to a session in the Blue Note this weekend that was amazing).

I think "Kind of Blue" is kind of good entry point, but you will be probably more intrugued with albums from the second quintet when he played with Herbie and Wayne. John coltrane: start with " A Love supreme".

my 2cents.

B
 

Matt

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Miles Davis's Kind of Blue is probably the best jazz record ever. You MUST have it.
be high on my list of best record ever - and im not especially a jazz lover.

its amazing

ps - cool avatar gatsby
 

romafan

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The Smithsonian put out a historical retospective (maybe 6 or 7 CDs) which is well worthwhile, and is periodically updated. From ragtime through ??? it gives a nice overview of jazz - obviously the genre is too broad and deep to be thoroughly covered by any sinlge collection, but it's a start. If you can find a copy Leonard Feather's 'Encyclopedia of Jazz', grab it. This will abe an invaluable resource as you discover new musicians and styles you enjoy listening to.
 

Buster

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And I thought Gatsy wrote
In particular I want to know more about leading present day performers and good lives to attend
 

romafan

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Gatsby said: "My goal isn't to learn the intricacies of musicality, improvisation, etc., but to grasp the greater landscape of important jazz works, artists, and more importantly WHY they were/are important." You need a historical perspective to achieve this, otherwise you're listening to leading present day performers in a vacum...
 

Eric

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I'm also starting to listen to more jazz. Though the only thing I own is Gato Barbieri's "Complete Last Tango in Paris" soundtrack, which I love.

Eric
 

AlanC

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And I thought Gatsy wrote
Quote:
In particular I want to know more about leading present day performers and good lives to attend
Yes, he said "in particular". He also said he didn't want to look like poseur, and wanted an "introduction" to jazz. I don't really know about the usefulness of an introduction that doesn't discuss foundations and origins. And I figured he might actually want to listen to good jazz. But I could be wrong. Â
Get a couple of CDs by Don Stiernberg. He's not dead yet, so you can see him live. If you can find them live, worth seeing would be John Jorgenson, Angelo DeBarre, and Jimmy Rosenberg. I'd love to see Harmonious Wail and The Royal Garden Trio, but they're more localized.
 

Buster

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It seems that all of you suffer from the same problem that tje Jazz documentary by Wynton Marsalis suffers (even tought it's a real gem): you fail to recognize the importance of the Jazz in the 60's to contemporary Jazz. Django (with all due respect) isn't as important for contemporary jazz as Miles, Art Blakey, Coltrane and Minugus. I am not saying that you have it explicitly, but that was the main theme of your posts. I think in order to have a full landscape you have to listen and know both (or most) streams, but it seems that your recommendations are somewaht stuck 80 years ago.

B
 

bachbeet

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Eric: Another good one by Gato is his album with his version of Santan's Europa (Earth's Cry, Heavens weep; something like that).
 

Gatsby

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Thanks to all for all the recommendations. I guess I was a little too general and specific at the same time... I obviously DO want the whole historical background and context but at the same time be able to be "˜up to date' with contemporary artists, etc. Essentially I feel like I'm in the boat where "I know enough to know that I know nothing."
Anyway, everything here has been of great assistance. I actually just picked up "Kind of Blue" yesterday. Haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but will definitely give it a spin tonight.
 

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