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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: New to Jazz
Category: General Questions
From: Jazz Online (sf,ca)

I am new to jazz music and wanted to know if you can recommend some CDs for me to introduce me to the artform. Keep up the great work.

Pat’s Answer:

that's always a hard one cause i always leave some important ones out. but i'll go ahead and try to write down some of my favorites.

with anything by miles davis pre-1972 you can't go wrong, especially;

four and more

nefertiti plus 19 with gil evans

filles de kilmanjaro



kind of blue

anything by wes montgomery (one guy who never made any bad records. guys who think they're really hip always put down the verve and a&m stuff outright. some of my FAVORITE wes solos are on those records. basically he always played beautifully and DEEP even if it was just the melody.) in particular though, i suggest;

smokin' at the half note

the wes montgomery trio

full house

down here on the ground

further adventures of jimmy and wes (with jimmy smith)

anything with john coltrane especially 1958-1964 period

the sonny rollins "live at the vanguard" trio dates with elvin jones and wilbur ware

paul bley - footloose (to me one of the most harmonically revolutionary records ever- also paul's solos on the sonny rollins record "newk meets hawk", especially "all the things you are". the shit.

anything that has herbie hancock in the rhythm section, especially the blue note stuff.

plus herbie's own records;

maiden voyage

speak like a child

the prisoner


freddie hubbard (to me the single most under- appreciated musician of our era. he had to live in the shadow of miles for all those years and now there are bunches of young cats not even in the parking lot to his ballpark that get all the glory and everyone seems to just write him off. no wonder he's having trouble. is there anyone else who played that great on so many great and significant records that is still alive who gets less recognition that what freddie gets now?)

night of the cookers

red clay

first light

all the stuff with blakey

joe henderson (five years ago i would have said the same about jh as freddie hubbard. but, he's getting the appropriate degree of attention these days. what a GREAT improvisor.

state of the tenor

power to the people

black narcissus

keith jarrett ( another GREAT improvisor. the guy has more real music under his fingers than just about any other single guy i can think of. and his touch on the instrument is unprecedented. he is also totally underappreciated as a composer. for me, the "american quartet" (with haden, redman and motian) was one of the last great acoustic quartets.)

facing you

death and the flower

survivors suite


i would also always be interested in any recording that had one or more of these names on it: (in no order)

mccoy tyner, kenny burrell, jim hall, clifford brown, louis armstrong, charlie christian, mike brecker, thelonius monk, tim hagans, milt jackson, duke ellington,cecil taylor, mick goodrick, jimmy blanton, roy haynes, stanley turrentine, ahmad jamal, philly joe jones, george benson, charlie parker, bobby hutcherson, david sanborn, bill evans, joe lovano, jan garbarek, billy higgins, sidney bechet, don ellis, paul chambers, jelly roll morton, ira sullivan, jack dejohnette, gary thomas, jay mcshann, joe pass, daniel humair, attila zoller, julius hemphill, jaco pastorius, branford marsalis, calvin newborn, betty carter, steve swallow, david samuels, ornette coleman, dave liebman, evan parker, joe zawinul, john scofield, ron carter, kazumi watanabe, steve kuhn, abdulah ibraham, kenny garrett, chris potter, tony williams, chick corea, dave holland, sam rivers,..................................................................... ..... ...................................................................

i think i could go on for about another 2 or 3 pages and i would STILL forget some of my favorites. while there are some people trying to limit the "what is jazz" question to a particular zone (not coincidentally usually a spot that puts whatever THEY are playing right in the middle of it ), when i look at my list right there what strikes me again is the variety of sounds, approaches, conceptions and spirits that all manage to fit right under the jazz banner. that seems to be my recurring theme here today with these answers, just how much that variety thing means to me as a defining characteristic of just what IS so important to me about this music. i hope that jazz will continue to grow and expand and deepen and most of all to CHANGE, cause in the end it's that change that is the most traditional part of the tradition itself.