View Full Version : Climbing on the Jazz Train for the first time...


rod
08-10-05, 10:11 AM
Before I start, I know there are many other threads here under "search". It's just that I would like to be specific.

The train has only passed me by - windows open - before. I would like to get a ticket now.

I have only a couple of jazz albums in my collection, probably some obvious choices really. I.e. Kind Of Blue, Blue Train, MJQs Dedicated To Connie. I had a great time visiting the 23rd Street Cafe's Tuesday night jazz session, when I visited my brother in Philadelphia a little while back. I also recall dining in a restaurant in Cape Town to the sound of a live three-piece outfit playing a few feet away. Jazz was new to me then, but it was interesting. I now need to get a proper start to the collection.

What I would like is (very subjective and personal, I know) for you kind people to recommend an artist and one album by that artist, that I should listen to as an introduction to their music.

I have picked up a Blue Note sampler from Tony, here on pfm, but generally would prefer not to do the sampler / greatest hits type packages.

Thanks for your time, and inspiration!

AlexG
08-10-05, 10:31 AM
ONE?

Oh lordy.

Here's my two:

Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else
Sonny Clark - Cool Struttin'

(IMO, go to Fopp if you can, pick up anything recorded from 1958 to 1963 and put out on Blue Note, it's hard to go wrong)

P
08-10-05, 10:35 AM
http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B00000I41G.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

Howdy

I don't pretend to be a major league jazzer (i'm more of a fusion man I guess) but I do remember hearing this album for the first time.

It's easy to get carried away but sometimes what you don't play carries a lot more meaning.

Respect

Jonathan Ribee
08-10-05, 10:40 AM
For my "go" I'd just reinforce the idea of getting Kind of Blue. Perhaps I mean "getting" Kind of Blue. It is an obvious choice, and there are many good reasons why.

Thomas K
08-10-05, 10:43 AM
Hi Rod,

See if you can find some audioclips of Dave Holland Big Band: "What Goes Around" (ECM, 2002) to try before you buy. Obviously big-band-style arrangents, but not as schmaltzy as G. Miller. Immensely enjoyable, with a *hint* of blues and rock at times.

rod
08-10-05, 10:59 AM
ONE?

Oh lordy.Sorry! What I meant to say was - recommend as many artists as you like, but as my pockets are only soooo deep, only suggest one album by that artist.

Hi Thomas, I will give your suggestion a listen via samples (if poss), but I don't really go for the "big band sound".

Jonathan Ribee
08-10-05, 11:03 AM
Rod

You've now moved the task from impossibly minimalist to impossibly maximalist!

Jonathan

rod
08-10-05, 11:03 AM
Ho-ho!

Tony L
08-10-05, 11:05 AM
I have picked up a Blue Note sampler from Tony…

That comp is utterly superb. I bought it on vinyl in the mid 80s when it came out and pretty much bought all the albums that it takes tracks from - some have already been mentioned here already (Somthin’ Else, Midnight Blue). There is not a dud track on it. It eventually taught me that you can, with considerable confidence, buy absolutely any record released on Blue Note between about 1955-67. The same rule pretty much holds true for Impulse, Riverside, Prestige and Verve within this period and many fine things can also be found on Atlantic and Columbia.

How to buy jazz: say you like the Cannonball Adderley on that Blue Note comp I sold you (which you will), then buy the album Somethin’ Else that it is taken from. This presents you with a series of musicians that you now know you like; Cannonball Adderley himself, Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and Art Blakey. Now go out and buy say a Miles Davis album and a Art Blakey album. Say you bought Kind Of Blue as your first Miles Davis album, and you liked it (which you will), you can now go out and buy a John Coltrane album and a Bill Evans album. You now have all the musos on say A Love Supreme and Everyone Digs to explore. This process is exponential and IMHO it is very hard to go wrong if you adopt it.

Tony.

Thomas K
08-10-05, 11:05 AM
I don't really go for the "big band sound"

Neither do I! It's really more "medium band" ;-)

sideshowbob
08-10-05, 11:30 AM
Buy this book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0141014164/qid=1128792429/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/202-8816558-4757437

Then buy everything in it. And everything not in it as well (out of print stuff). Job done.

Tony's approach will probably work, too.

-- Ian

Jonathan Ribee
08-10-05, 11:32 AM
I like Tony's idea. But if you insist...

OK - 10. Nice round number.

Davis, Miles - Kind of Blue
Coltrane, John - Blue Train
Peterson, Oscar - Night Train
Bruebeck, Dave - Time Further Out
Getz, Stan - Focus
MJQ - The Final Concert
Mingus, Charles - Ah Um
Ellington, Duke & Armstrong, Louis - The Great Reunion
Baker, Chet - This is Jazz
Jarrett, Keith - The Koln Concert

Designed as an interesting mix from which to get a view of what you might like.

I've ignored singers, 70s electric fusion, Britain, the Naim lable, that scandanavian stuff with cowbells in it, The French, borderline soul/blues and anything that you can only get on old scratched mono which "Jazzers" will tell you is the definitive etc but is makes "hard" listening when you're trying to decide if you even like the stuff..

Oh - and you can hum most of it.

Jonathan

rod
08-10-05, 11:38 AM
I'll have a proper look at this thread tomorrow (off out for the night soon). Tony and Ian's ideas are likely the way to go. I have a habit of going the Tony way in other musical styles. My pockets wish they could help out more regarding Ian's suggestion, but...

I think the main idea is to get a list of artists, many of whom I may have heard little / nothing, and then I will know where to start!

sideshowbob
08-10-05, 11:52 AM
A list of artists is reasonably straightforward, there are lots of good suggestions in this thread already, but a lot depends on what you discover you like as you start exploring. Plus, the great names (Coltrane, Mingus, Monk, Miles, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Ellington, etc etc) made lots of fantastic records, often very different from each other, so picking a single record is almost impossible. The Penguin Guide is a good starting point because it's very comprehensive, but it's also written by only two people rather than by a committee, so you will discover very quickly where your tastes and theirs coincide, and where they differ.

-- Ian

Jonathan Ribee
08-10-05, 12:43 PM
What I've tried to do is remember the album that first got me into listening to particular artists, or that really switched me on to them - i.e. not too "heavy" - I found the jump between Mingus Ah Um and Dark Saint an the Sinner Lady quite a challenge. Ah Um was just a simple "yeah - that swings" or in the case of "Farewell Lester Young" - the second best musical complement I've ever heard.

That Penguin guide sounds good. For reference I've got the weighty New Grove Dictonary (single volume version) - which is certainly comprehensive but is very much a committee and rather dry. Also, as a dictionary everything has to be packed in and Coltrane gets 2.5 pages out of 1300 - which is clearly wrong!

AlexG
08-10-05, 12:43 PM
bah

Tony L
08-10-05, 12:53 PM
For a refererence don't overlook www.allmusic.com - whilst I frequently don't agree with the ranking of best albums from a given artist it is still a stunningly good and easily searchable resource. Never a day goes by that I don't look something up there.

Tony.

dave charlton
08-10-05, 01:28 PM
Herbie Hancock ~ Maiden Voyage
Miles Davis ~ Relaxin'
Art Pepper ~ Living Legend

d

johnhunt
08-10-05, 03:30 PM
i'd buy the book ssb was talking about and buy anything you like the look of. it's quite difficult to go very far wrong

seagullsnacker
08-10-05, 03:36 PM
I'll second (or Third) the Penguin guide well worth the money the Core collection and Crown Collection schem is a very good way to start feeling your way with the important artists work.

Paul

Mr_Sukebe
09-10-05, 12:27 AM
One question to add chaps, if I were to ask more specifically about guitar based jazz, what would you recommend?

space cadet
09-10-05, 12:52 AM
Guitar-based? Scorch Trio – Luggumt (http://www.runegrammofon.com/v2/catalog.php)

duncan
09-10-05, 02:29 AM
ssb is too modest to mention his excellent beginners guide here. (http://www.zerogain.com/forum/showthread.php?t=131)

AMG and the penguin guide have been very helpful for me too.

I came into Jazz via African and Jamaican music that had been influenced by Jazz, rather back-to-front, so my suggestions are going to be informed by that.

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus. A straight ahead classic. Rollins is one of the all-time greats but very much still with us and sounding fantastic in concert.

Fela Kuti - No Agreement. Not strictly Jazz by some people's understanding (but if Jan Garbarek is...) but it's got a great solo from Lester Bowie and is just one of the finest, grooviest tunes ever.

Various - Blow Mr Hornsman. A collection of instrumental b-sides of Ska, Rock-steady and Reggae singles from the early and mid-1960's. This is where the sidesmen let rip. Again, jazz in all but name. Fantastic party music, if this doesn't make you move your feet, and everything else, then you've got definetely lost your mojo! Recording quality is primitive and if you're very sensitive to this then Jazz Jamaica provide a good facsimile of the genre in modern sound. JJ are also brilliant live - they got the Jazz Cafe in Camden jumping recently, and it's quite a feat to stir this bunch of rather self-consciously cool North Londoners.

jon l
09-10-05, 03:54 AM
One question to add chaps, if I were to ask more specifically about guitar based jazz, what would you recommend?

"Electric Guitarist" by John McLaughlin is excellent, has him playing in a range of settings with great musicians - Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, Jack Bruce, Billy Cobham, Carlos Santana and many others, and despite each track being a different ensemble, is more consistent than many of his releases IMO.

Jon

sideshowbob
09-10-05, 03:58 AM
One question to add chaps, if I were to ask more specifically about guitar based jazz, what would you recommend?

Acoustic or electric?

Django Reinhardt (http://www.djangomontreal.com/doc/DjangoStory.htm) is the obvious place to start. I'm not personally a fan of guitar jazz, unless it's extremely noisy...

-- Ian

Tony L
09-10-05, 04:33 AM
One question to add chaps, if I were to ask more specifically about guitar based jazz, what would you recommend?

Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Byrd and Joe Pass (there are a couple of nice Pablo label Joe Pass albums in my LP list).

Tony.

P
09-10-05, 10:34 AM
Nice list Tone but no Django?

kjb
09-10-05, 11:33 AM
The problem with saying "I want to listen to some jazz" is a bit like saying I'd like to listen to some rock. Its better if you say what rock etc you like and we can then match. The stuff mentioned above is all (or mostly) ace and there's a pile more to add. My call for people coming new to jazz is to go in with some recent stuff, see if you like it and move on from there. Thus, stuff like

EST: A Strange Place for Snow
Matthew Shipp: Harmony and Abyss
Michael Brecker:Time is of the Essence
The Bad Plus: These Are The Vistas
Dave Douglas: The Infinite
maybe also
Miles Davis: In A Silent Way
Is any of thse work, the whole world opens up.

Kevin

rod
09-10-05, 11:40 AM
You've now moved the task from impossibly minimalist to impossibly maximalist!I guess it's similar to to saying "I have a Beatles album and a Zeppelin album, name a rock artist and one of their albums"...

Buy this book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...8816558-4757437

Then buy everything in it. And everything not in it as well (out of print stuff). Job done.Thank you sir, it's now on order. I have arranged a scheme to cast the country into debt in order to finance this grand idea.


Designed as an interesting mix from which to get a view of what you might like.

I've ignored singers, 70s electric fusion, Britain, the Naim lable, that scandanavian stuff with cowbells in it, The French, borderline soul/blues and anything that you can only get on old scratched mono which "Jazzers" will tell you is the definitive etc but is makes "hard" listening when you're trying to decide if you even like the stuff..Good idea, you have suggested the kind of stuff I am looking for, to get a flavour. I shall taste the wierd and wonderful if I have time.


bahWhat did you miss then?


For a refererence don't overlook www.allmusic.comYeah, it has been invaluable.


ssb is too modest to mention his excellent beginners guide here.Ta Duncan, I have recently registered over there and spent some time this afternoon reading this fine treatise. There's not much in the way of musical postings over there, nor vinyl / cds for sale. Perhaps this is the premier place amongst the hi-fi fora for music? Seems so to me anyway.

Buying Methods: "The Lonorgan Stratagem" (as it shall henceforth be dubbed) is also the way I choose music -- not only from Jazz but in general bands today tend to have very fluid line-ups and are constantly branching off and collaborating for occasional releases or one-offs. It pretty much works when I'm not up-to just walking up to a record rack and grabbing a random handful...Seems reasonable to me. When I think about it, I do tend to do this from time to time.

Anyway, thanks to you all for taking the time to post your thoughts. I shall absorb this and purchase accordingly.

rod
11-10-05, 10:23 AM
Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' ElseThis is rather good indeed! Thanks alexg. It arrived this morning in the parcel with...

Buy this book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...8816558-4757437 Cripes! This is a weighty tome, 1700-odd pages! Not bad for thirteen quid. I noted that Brian Morton is one of the authors. He had a good show on Radio Scotland for a while, and I think he also presented "Be-Bop to Hip-Hop" as well. I believe he is now on Radio 3. I should listen out for the show, but 1800-1830 on a Saturday is not the best slot for me.

sideshowbob
11-10-05, 11:51 AM
Cripes! This is a weighty tome, 1700-odd pages!

And remember: you have to buy everything in it, and everything not in it. Your time starts now... :-)

-- Ian

RickyC6
11-10-05, 12:44 PM
Sorry for a slight hijack - but recently bought some Hank Mobley after hearing him at a errm nerdathon (!). Soul Station is cool - just bought Roll Call as well but can't listen to it till later in the week. He seems to be treated by the critics as a bit of a 'steady' player rather than a 'legendary' one. Anyone got any views?

Cheers


Rich - also wading through this complex genre!

sideshowbob
11-10-05, 01:52 PM
I like Mobley. Check out Dippin'. He's one of those Blue Note stalwarts who never seemed to make a bad record.

-- Ian

AlexG
11-10-05, 01:59 PM
What did you miss then?

I had a spare, unused 'Portrait of a Cannonball' by Cannonball Adderley which I had offered. It's not as good as 'Somethin' Else' IMO, but it's still pretty decent.

I'll think of some more starters, but looking at the exponential growth of this thread something tells me you have plenty of places to go. FWIW I use the Lonorgan method in jazz - listen to something, if I like it, track down more by the same musicians.

rod
25-10-05, 02:30 PM
Is this Charlie Parker box set (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000A69QNQ/qid=1130272017/sr=8-18/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i18_xgl/202-0889823-2601427) worth looking at? It's pretty cheap, is it cheap for a good reason?

sideshowbob
25-10-05, 03:01 PM
Impossible to say. No track listing. Could be anything. Look out for compilations of the Dial recordings, that's the really classic Parker.

-- Ian

wheres vuk
25-10-05, 07:00 PM
hank mobley: "caddy for daddy" comes to mind. one of those rhyme-y album titles, with one of those vintage covers of lady next to(on top of in this case) a vintage 60s/50s car.
http://re2.mm-b1.yimg.com/image/451197374


last night i was listening to an andrew hill album, a bit more discordant/edgy, but the first track is called 'pumpkin'. jazz musicians seem to have come up with any old name :D

cliffpatte
26-10-05, 02:55 AM
Keith Jarrett - My Song - on ECM

http://www.ecmrecords.com/Images/cover/ECM/1100/E1115g.jpg