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Old 01-26-2010, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Where do I start with the whole genre of Jazz?

Alright, well I have always like jazz, but never really bothered to get into it. I was just wondering if I am just starting brand new getting into jazz, who do I start with?

I was also listening to this college radio and the dj said it was ambient jazz/funk music. I could definitely tell there was a jazz influence in the music. Is there even a sub-genre such as ambient jazz/funk music. Not sure if that is even the best description for it but oh well...

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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there are as many jazz sub-genres as there are rock sub-genres. so yeah, ambient jazz/funk could be legit. probably something by Modeski, Martin, & Wood.

as for getting into it, it really depends on what style you like and what you're looking to get. there are plenty of recommendation threads on this site. they're all good.

there's also a very good reason why these three names (Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane) appear in every single top X jazz list ever.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I grew up on the music of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. That's just scratching the surface though! Start with those guys, it's just straight jazz. Kind of Blue by Miles is a good album to start with.

There is ambient jazz, and there's also interpretive/fusion jazz. I'm not a fan of either of them but they do exist, as do many other sub genres like Dave said
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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exactly, there's so much stuff and styles of jazz out there that it's really easy for two fans to have sizeable collections that have little overlap or common ground.

personally, Miles Davis doesn't do much for me. i'm more of a Mingus guy. i'd also take Eric Dolphy over Coltrane, but that's just me and a reflection of where i'm coming from and the influences that had effect on my own musical development.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm always hesitant to recommend an album, artist, or even sub-genre for newbies to start with. Hunt around; find a piece of music or artists that really resonates with you and speaks to you and you'll use that as the starting point for, if you're like me, a wild scavenger hunt that is never ending. For me, Miles Davis Bitch's Brew got the whole ball rolling, but the world of jazz is absolutely immense. Miles and Coltrane, all the big names that get thrown around a lot are great for their own individual reasons, but there's so much amazing stuff out there you'll run into sooner if you don't follow the standard prescription of picking up a copy of Kind of Blue and listening to it repeatedly until you figure out why you should be in love with it. I say just find an album with a really cool album cover and go for it. It worked for me eventually.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Some of the first jazz albums I ever got, and they seemed to work really well for me as now I absolutely love jazz.

Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue, Round About Midnight
John Coltrane - Blue Train
Ornette Coleman - The Shape Of Jazz To come
Charles Mingus - Pithecanthorpus Erectus, Mingus Dynasty
Dave Brubeck - Brubeck Plays Brubeck
Sun Ra - The Futuristic Sounds Of Sun Ra
Thelonious Monk - Straight, No Chaser

Although some of these may not be considered easy to get into, they were for me, and everyone is different so give them a bash if you want.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'll throw in my $0.02 for what it's worth..........

I don't like Blue Train. I just don't. I've tried because on some level I know I should, but I don't. I'm convinced that I just don't enjoy jazz sax.

I do, however, enjoy Kind Of Blue.

My preferred jazz band includes Keyboard/organ, big-ass bass, and drums. So I loved Jimmy Smith's The Sermon, it's a fantastic album.

Also loved Medeski, Martin, and Wood's Combustication

Lastly, while it may not be considered jazz by purists, the album The Tourist by St. Germain is funky as hell, and jazzy enough for beginners, and vets alike.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Lastly, while it may not be considered jazz by purists, the album The Tourist by St. Germain is funky as hell, and jazzy enough for beginners, and vets alike.
if you haven't done so a long time ago i strongly suggest looking into the guitarist they feature on that album. Ernest Ranglin. he's a little more raggae than St. Germaine though hehehe but if you're digging on MMW...
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Here is an older write-up from me where I mention some forms of jazz and post youtube videos as examples.

It's not a brilliant write-up and I would do it a little differently today for example by perhaps removing Soft Machine and adding more about jazz rock fusion, but it still might be helpful.

Since it doesn't contain any examples from jazz fusion, I can recommend it here perhaps. In the late 60s, Miles Davis and his band introduced rock instrumentation to jazz and created the jazz-rock fusion sub-genre which is often just referred to as jazz fusion or even just fusion. Some of those who played with Miles Davis were inspired and made their own jazz fusion bands in the early 70s. One of them was keyboardist Chick Corea who created the band Return to Forever. His approach to jazz fusion is perhaps a little different to that of other fusionists of his time, so it may not be the best example .. But on the other hand, Return to Forever's self-titled debut from 1972 is bloody gorgeous

Here are the first two tracks from it :





There are 3 "greats" in the jazz fusion genre. The other two are "Mahavishnu Orchestra" and "Weather Report". Ask here, search for a thread about them or look'em up on Wikipedia if you're interested!
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Alright I am listening to Kind Of Blue right now, and it is exactly what I'm looking for.

I kinda of feel intimidated by it all which may sound stupid but I mean it in the sense that it seems like there is so much out there from the regular jazz to this fusion that tore mentioned, which I'd like to definitely check out too.
As a quick reference, should I check Allmusic.com for the artists mentioned, and just check out all their 4-5 star rated albums? Or would that not be a good route to take?
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