I could use some jazz mentoring.

I'm a relative newbie to jazz. I know what I like, but I can't find anymore of it. I figure this might be a good place to ask.

Generally, I think I like the sound of bluesy, laid back jazz.

My two favorite cds are:

Wynton Marsalis - Midnight Blues (it's the 5th in a series of cds he did)

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

If you've heard both of these cds, I hope you can see the commonality between them in the same way I do. To me they are both moody, introspective, and romantic albums.

Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm really looking forward to discovering more of a great genre.

Coltrane Lush Life, Blue Train, and standard Coltrane. Hank Mobley Roll call ( look for the RVG edition or SACD hybrid if using CD's ), Mile Davis, Blue Miles. Just a few personal favorites. Happy listening!!!
Many of Bill Evans piano recordings have a quiet, ethereal quality to them. One of my personal favorites is a recording the Evans did with Jim Hall around 1963 titled "Undercurrent", which has been re-released on CD.

If you like "Kind of Blue", then you should listen to Miles' early recordings from the 1953-55 period. Four of his best from that era were the group of recordings sometimes known as the "Cooking - Relaxing" albums. These have been available on both CD and LP reissues for some time.

For one of the most relaxing tenor sounds ever recorded, check out the recordings by the great Zoot Sims. He did a series of LP's for the Pablo label in the mid-1950's (with pianist Jimmy Rowles), which included several of my favorites: "Warm Tenor" and "Suddenly It's Spring".

Another great ballad player was tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, who had one of the fullest, smokiest sounding horns of all time. Stan Getz also had a wonderful ability with a ballad, so I suggest you look for some of his more laid back albums (the recordings he did in the final few years of his life are particularly poignant -- such as "People Time", which featured duets with the stellar pianist Kenny Barron).

In a somewhat different vein, you might also like the recordings aht guitarist Grant Green did on the Blue Note label in the early to mid-1960's. Grant has a rather laid-back style, and the guitar that he played had a particularly mellow tone.

Last suggestion: for a much more contemporary sound, you might try one of the recent CD's by Tomas Stanko, a Polish trumpet player. Stanko leads a very cohesive quartet, and his sound is very much like Miles Davis from the 1950's.

If you'd like to discuss some of these choices, or learn about others, feel free to drop me a personal E-mail.

Best regards,

Scott C-
Well--I'm going to recommend some DVDs--and they aren't even DVD-A or some other music only. Ken Burns--Jazz. This was originally broadcast on PBS. I am not an expert in jazz--I love it, but I do not know the history and want to have the connection to the roots of jazz. You know they are there, and I know that most of it was before my time. I have thoroughly enjoyed this DVD collection (10-discs) because I couldn't see it when broadcast (good ad for Tivo I suppose). This will not only give you an insight into other performers you may like, but also into the history of jazz, which to me makes the music all that more interesting.
Along the trumpet idiom, look into Lee Morgan. Maybe a little less laid back, but very well thought out solo work.
If you can log on to internet feed you can educate yourself very quickly with 2 very good jazz PBS stations.

kplu.org Tacoma, WA
kuaz.org Tucson, AZ

In all my travels, these are two of the very best for traditional jazz. Graveyard shift of kplu turns wild with some avantgarde and very unknown talented artists.
How about Chet Baker for moody. On Coltrane(tenor sax) try Coltrane plays the blues, his later stuff classifies as free jazz.
Try this thread.


It was quite helpful to me as I was starting to build a library. Those that I generally enjoy include Mile Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins to name a few of the "better known" names.
Wstritt nailed it.
Coltrane & Evans played w/Miles in his fifties' band; this was the best-loved and best-known that did for cool jazz what Led Zep did for hard rock bands in the early 70s.
Check out the ads for Classic Records 45RPM series, in the rags or on their website or acousticsounds.com. Although you might not want the $50 versions, it's a nice list of LPs many of which are what you are after.
If you also like Classical music, Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain is a great, moody LP w/his pensive solos atop a lush full orchestra. The perfect blend of jazz & classical...
Cheers, Spencer
Ahhh...great! Thanks so much for your well thought out response. I really appreciate them. I can't wait to start investigating these recommendations.
If you are looking for rather melancholy sax, try the Art Pepper CD "Ballads". It'll make you cry.
If you like Art Pepper, Acoustic Sounds had(has?) great sounding test pressings for around $10. I bought the LP "Eleven"; it sounds amazing.
And the plain white label scares and confuses my friends...just a side benefit.

Cheers, Spencer
Try Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, or Gerry Mulligan. All sax players with amazing lyrical styles that tend toward mellow, bluesy music.
David "Fathead" Newman

Sonny Rollins - "Way Out West", "Saxophone Colossus"
Art Pepper - "Meets The Rhythm Section"
John Coltrane - "Blue Trane"
Bill Evans Trio - "Waltz For Debbie", "Sunday At The Village Vangard", "Moonbeams"
Bill Evans - "Alone"
Ella Fitzgerald - "Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie"
Dave Brubeck - "Time Out"
Miles Davis - "Sketches of Spain"
Soundtrack from "Finding Forrester"
Louis Armstrong - "Satchmo Plays King Oliver"
Wes Montgomery - "Full House"
If you want Blues based laid back jazz, the artist is Oliver Nelson. The album/cd is "Blues and the Abstract Truth". The tune is "Stolen Moments". Guaranteed to grab you now and later.
Check out some Roy Hargrove. Two I can recommend are. "Parker's Mood", Hargrove with Christian McBride and Stephen Scott. Great cd. And "Roy Hargrove with Strings".
Marcus Roberts-Deep In The Shed
Albums that are heading down that same road that pop into my mind would be Gil Evans "Into the Cool" and Herbie Hancock's "Empyrean Isles."
almost anything one the ecm label[in the jazz genre]is a good choice.metheny,gustavsen,stanko,garbarek,weber,art ensemble.jazz is music where there is almost to much good to list.could make many more suggestions if interested[just my preferences remember].collecting is never ending,good luck.
In my first post, I forgot to include the recordings done by Charles Lloyd since he returned to the jazz scene in the late 1980's. While Lloyd's contemporary work may, on the surface, sound bluesy and laid back, his work is complex and very satisfying over the long run (just as Miles Davis' early recordings still retain their appeal).

The first recording that he released (recorded in July,1989), titled "Fish Out of Water" (ECM 1398), remains one of my favorites, but the following recordings are all worth having:
1. Notes from Big Sur (ECM 1465);
2. Voice in The Night (ECM 1674);
3. The Water is Wide (ECM 1734);
4. Hyperion With Higgins (ECM 1784).

Good listening to you!
I just listened to some Dexter Gordon mp3s that someone sent me. They were from his "Ballads" album. Absolutely perfect. Sometimes I lose sight of why I spend my money on audio gear. I just remembered!
All good recommendations. I just want to add on to Sdcampbell's Charles Lloyd recordings. Check out Forest Flower; nice mellow sax with some great piano works from Keith Jarrett. For some reason, Jarret's works with Miles Davis didn't stand out in my mind. It was here that he first grabbed my attention, and I've been buying his cds like a madman for the past month.
ok, reporting back, after a buying/listening spree.

From the above recommendations, my favorite by far is Tomasz Stanko. Absolutely gorgeous music. I'm listening to "suspended night" right now, and I love it. I initially purchased "soul of things" which was so good that I bought "suspended night" and "from the green hill". Both are superb, and seem to be very nice recordings.

I also really really like Bill Evans' "Undercurrent".

Any more recommendations along these lines, guys?

By the way, thanks for all your contributions to this thread. I'm really learning a lot.