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Old 03-15-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
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Starting point for jazz music

Hi guys,

I listen to mostly punk and alternative rock alongside some psychedelic and acid jazz. My only exposure to jazz has been Jamiroquai and some aspects of The Police. I know I like be-bop from what I've heard of it and would to get further into jazz.

Does anyone know of a good place to start?

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Old 03-17-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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I kid you not, a good place to start with Jazz is 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. It's one of my absolute favorite jazz albums.

Or you can just try the classics like 'A Love Surpreme' by John Coltrane or 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis. The latter is the best selling jazz album ever; if you can't at least appreciate it, then there's not much else for you probably.

...unless your flavor leans more towards Jazz Piano, in which case you'll want some Thelonious Monk; 'Brilliant Corners' is probably his most famous one.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
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Thank you, I will listen to the one you recommended!

As you said, "Kind of Blue" is a classic, and many other sites claim that to be the place to start!

Cheers for the Thelonious Monk recommendation, I think I've heard him play in a few recordings with Charlie Christian, who I have got quite into in the last few days
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:58 AM   #4
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Do not start with a 'A Love Supreme' that's a pretty experimental one, and hard to get into for a first timer. Though you might like it right away, who knows. Monk is good too, he's got some variety to choose from

Kind Of Blue is indeed a great album, but if you don't like modal jazz, it can be a bit boring. It's very mellow, but has some great songs. Plus it has Miles and Coltrane jamming together, so you can't pass that up either. There's a lot of different styles of jazz out there, so there's various places that may be a better start for you. Here's some recs to consider:

"Locomotion" - John Coltrane, from Blue Train
Honestly, there's no better place to start in jazz than this album. This is John Coltrane's Blue Train. It's a classic, and on the hard bop vein so it's pretty accessible for everyone. Bop is arguably the easiest subgenre to get into.

"Maiden Voyage" - Herbie Hancock, from Maiden Voyage
Modal jazz. This is actually one of Herbie's best. Very relaxing, slow paced stuff.

"Jeru" - Miles Davis, from Birth Of The Cool
This is cool jazz, has a chill/lounge sound. Miles basically explored every dimensions of jazz, so no matter what genre you're trying to get into, Miles covered it in some way. If you like cool jazz, start with this box set 'Birth Of The Cool', it's incredible.

"The Creator Has a Master Plan" - Pharaoh Sanders, from Karma
This is experimental side of jazz, birthed from the avant-garde and free scenes (though not as crazy). Karma shows the indian spirituality vibes that quite a lot of jazz musicians were going for in the late 60s. It's a pretty accessible album in the avant-garde scene, probably even more so than Coltrane's stuff I think.

"Free Jazz improvs" - Ornette Coleman, from Free Jazz
Balls to the wall Free jazz. This is just energy and spontaneity. No chord arrangements, harmonic frameworks of any kind. Each musician just kind of doing they're own thing in the jam sessions.

"Spain" - Return To Forever, from Light As A Feather
This is one of the most celebrated songs in jazz, and one of many masterpieces by pianist Chick Corea. This is from the early days in Return To Forever, when they were doing a style closer to post-bop, before they evolved into a funk-oriented, progressive jazz-rock band. By the name, you can already tell that this song has a very latin kind of feel to it.

"Celebration Suite, Parts 1 and 2" - Return To Forever, from No Mystery
This is the band's evolution into a prog rock feel. It's got some great drumming, insane guitar soloing, and overall spacey/mildly trippy goodness.

"Black Market" - Weather Report, from Black Market
This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest jazz-funk records ever made. And by hearing this song, you'll see why. Every instrument flows so smoothly.

"Vital Transformation" - The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Within like the first 30 seconds of this song you'll start to question whether this is even a jazz song, and it is. This is straightforward jazz-rock. This band is one of my favourites of all time, and this song being my main choice from them. I mean, it's fucking incredible. Believe me, you've yet to hear someone beat the shit out of a drum set like Billy Cobham, and a guitarist set off some relentless solos like John McLaughlin.

"One Armed Bandit" - Jaga Jazzist, from One Armed Bandit
Nu jazz, meaning it's got some influences from electronica, rock, funk, and among others. Jaga Jazzist is one of the best bands out there. And this song is so layered that it will blow your mind.

Anyway, enjoy man. Hope your journey into jazz goes well.

Last edited by hernan; 03-19-2013 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:26 PM   #5
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You are a true gentleman sir! Cheers for all that!

It seems a few Miles Davis and John Coltrane albums are the way forward.

Was also reading up on Ornette Coleman and free jazz the other day; probably will be the next thing I'll check out.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:05 PM   #6
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No worries, man. Glad to see people taking into jazz more. And yeah, id say miles and coltrane would be good starting places since theyre so popular. Ornette coleman is good too. In fact ive been meanining to write about his Free Jazz album, ive gotten really into it lately but it's an insane jam.

A good album by coleman would be The Shape of Jazz To Come. It's the first to not feature chord progressions and instead kind of focuses on solo instruments pushing along the melody, but it is relatively accessible and fun. Anyway, enjoy.
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