Jazz Piano Trio / Spanish Guitar

Hello All,
I'm looking to broaden my musical pallet and I'd like to take some baby steps into jazz trios (piano, bass, drums). Please recommend some artists (groups?) that are easily accessible to virgin ears. I'd like to still hear a melodic line somewhere in the song, so nothing to avantgard or "free jazz"ish.... and of course sonic beauty is important as well, so I guess I'd be biased to more recent recordings.
I'm also looking for some recommendations of Spanish guitar artists. NO flamenco please, (yikes, too crazy for my tastes)..... just some beautiful Spanish guitar artists with albums that contain tracks that are solo guitar AND tracks with soft accompaniment.

"Momma let that boy play some rock and roll. Jazz is much too crazy, he can play that when he's old"

Guess I'm there, hehe :(
Bill Evans, a premier jazz pianist. Bill Evans Trio recorded by Riverside. Waltz for Debby is a good recording to start with.

Tommy Flanagan - A trio with Peter Washington & Lewis Nash on a release called "Lady Be Good" by Verve is a good place to start.

Gene Harris & the Gene Harris Quartet on the Concord Label

Ahmad Jamal - He has some late recordings on Telarc which are Trios and excellent listening.

Oscar Peterson, another premier pianist, with the Oscar Peterson Trio. I perfer his earlier recordings on Verve. "We Get Requests" is a good place to start. He did a bunch of stuff for Telarc as well.

Andre Previn has some great 'Dinner Jazz' recordings with Mundel Lowe on Guitar and Ray Brown on bass (NO drums!). I think Previn is a far better jazz musician (pianist) than folks might be aware from his later years prominence in conducting, performing, and writing classical music.

And for 'Spanish' guitar artists, I don't know, but for some classic jazz guitar don't over look Joe Pass.

Hope that helps a bit. All are very assessible.
For the Guitar, check out the LAGQ - Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Personally, I like the Flamenco excitement. The LAGQ is definately more subdued than the Flamenco.

Also, check out a great CD by Nils Lofgren - Live Acoustic. He is/was a guitarist for Bruce Springstein. This is really one of the best guitar CDs. It is tough to get and you should search for it used as I think it is sold out everywhere in the world new. It is one of the best albums I own, a great recording with great music - an excellent demonstration of guitar.

If you want, send me your e-address and I can e-mail you one song from the album for you to listen to (in WAV).
Good suggestions - here are a couple more pianists of high calibre...

Dave Grusin - Homage to Duke - very nice classic Duke Elllington stuff - very melodic. Not your pretty Jazz trio stuff but more meaty material.

Dave Brubeck

Guitar ;-

Gipsy Kings is some pop stuff - if you trying to get into Spanish music from rock/pop then they are good (slower type of flamenco).

Paco de Lucia
Hey, one bit of advice--older recordings and sonic beauty are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it's often quite the opposite.

Recordings made the old fashioned way (no overdubs, no compression/limiting, no complex ADC conversions, no processing, no equalization, etc.) with musicians all playing together with minimal mic use has yielded some of the most spectacular recordings of all time.

Some of these old master tapes have been lovingly preserved and then re-cut to digital using the best mastering gear and minds available (not early digital), has made for excellent re-releases.

Likewise, there's a lot of new music that's not lovingly produced. I'd respectfully suggest you re-examine the original assumption and seek some other views as well.

As for selections (and I know this just sounds so damn predictable), but I was just listening to "Kind of Blue" this afternoon, and for me, each new listen is better than the last. Keep in mind that while Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and many others may not be solely balladeers, their ballads are simply magnificent.

Bill Evans (as noted earlier) is a great suggestion. Look for some Art Pepper as well.

If you want to find some really "minimalist" music, look for "Lords Tundra" by Dean Peer (bassist) or "Wood" by Brian Bromberg (bass also).

I don't really have much in terms of Spanish Guitar, but there's a jazz guitarist named Grant Geissman that's very melodic.

Finally, a favorite of mine is Ry Cooder (guitarist) with V.M. Bhatt on "A Meeting by the River". It's an improvisation with a definite East Indian feel, but is very melodic and amazingly recorded live.
Newbee's list is fairly comprehensive. Can't go wrong with anything there. Since you didn't specify format ... a CD you might want to try is "Young at Heart" by Tony Williams. He's joined by pianist Mulgrew Miller and bassist Ira Coleman. It features great production quality, with the ensemble putting forth nice interpretations of a few jazz standards. For vinyl, pick up John Di Martino's Romantic Jazz Trio rendering of "Music Of The Night" ... kind of a jazzy take on some show tunes and recognizable melodies. Sorry, no help on the Spanish Guitar. Good luck and happy listening!
Although not specifically "spanish guitar" I would
certainly recommend the following CDs that are very good:
Ottmar Liebert "Little Wing"
Antonio Forcione "Acoustic Revenge"
"Guitarre de Pasion" various
Enrique Coria "Latin Touch"
For jazz guitar its hard to beat Kenny Burrell "Soul Call"
you might want to try some 19/20th centrury guitar works by spanish/latin american composers; Albeniz, Turina, Rodrigo, Leo Brouwer, Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, Astor Piazzola, and Villa-Lobos (Brazilian compser).

there are several recordings of by classical guitarists like Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, Christopher Parkening or older generation folks: the Romeros, Julian Bream, John Williams and even some Narciso Yepes.

for jazz piano (trio) you might want to add Hank Jones (Elvin Jones's brother), Kenny Drew, classic Sony Clark (Blue note or mosaic), Keith Jarrett.

on the slightly "light" side; try George Sharing, Red Garland (miles'pianist from the 50's), Marcus Roberts (wynton marsalis' pianist from the 80/90's).

for more modern (not necessarily "free" jazz) sound, Brad Mehldau's trio cd's are great.
Some really good suggestions here; but I can't resist the urge to include a few more. I really like Newbie's recommendations, and the jazz piano stuff Zachhanh mentions is great.

1. Bill Evan's "Waltz for Debby" is essential.

2. Still thinking about the first response above....Oscar Peterson with Joe Pass kills. No drums on these, but check out Peterson's "The Trio" or "The Giants" (guitar, bass, drums). Can't go wrong with those!

3. You really need to hear some of Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio. Perhaps the best traditional piano trio working today. Take your pick from the titles. These guys can do it all. Plus, excellent sonics.

4. I'll also second any of the classic Blue Note Sonny Clark recordings.

There is always more to mention, but these are excellent choices...I'm going to put on some joe pass!
Just wanted to tell everyone that the Nils Lofgren CD Live Acoustic is avialable on cdbaby.com for $14.99. They have lots of great music and service is first rate.

Great reccomendations. A thread like this can easily cost me $100.

My reccomendation in the jazz department is Jessica Williams "Live at Yoshi's Vol 1." I have 5 of her cd's and have never been dissapointed.
Lots of good suggestions here. I've got a dark horse: Its called 'The Three'. Joe Sample on Piano, Ray Brown on Bass & Shelly Manne on Drums. Released in 1976. Get the Japanese version on the EW Label (There is an inferior US version too). Its a direct cutting disc. Good music and a really really great recording.
Bobo stensons war orphans,Peter erskines as it is,Bill evens you must remember spring.
Do you have an example of what you mean by "Spanish Guitar?"

If you want easily accessible jazz guitarists try Barney Kessel or Charlie Byrd or Herb Ellis. They play together on the album "Great Guitars at the Winery"

Kenny Burrell on Ike Quebec's "Soul Samba"
Jazz Piano:
Keith Jarrett "Live at the Blue Note," The Cure," "Whisper Not"
Bill Charlap "Live at The Village Vanguard"
Kenny Barron "Live at Bradley's and the "Perfect Set"
Mulgrew Miller "Live at The Kennedy Center Volume Two"
Jessica Williams "Live at Yoshi's volume two. To name a few.
If you can find "The Three" its going to cost you, the vinyl version in good condition is going run you anywhere from $35 to $50 or $60.
Brad Mehldau Trio, "House on Hill" and "Day Is Done"
Bill Evans, "Sunday at the Village Vanguard"
Oscar Peterson Trio, "We Get Requests"
Keith Jarrett Trio, "Standards Vol. 1" (or the new boxed set, "Setting Standards")

For guitar:
On the Telarc label, two collections by David Russell: "Spanish Legends" and "Reflections of Spain."

John Williams has a nice collection called "Latin American Guitar Music."

On the Naxos label, get the works of Barrios Vols. 1 and 2 -- budget price, excellent sonics, superb playing. Naxos also has a collection called "Cavatina" -- a very nice compilation, mostly Spanish or Latin American. Another nice anthology on Naxos, with modern composers, is "Latin American Guitar Music," played by Ricardo Cobos.

If you're feeling adventurous, try various solo guitar discs on Naxos -- for example, there's an excellent disc of works by Villa-Lobos. I experimented with works by Leo Brouwer and really like his music. Naxos has a guitar "Laureate Series" featuring guitarists who have won major competitions playing mixed programs -- a great way to discover some wonderful music.
Bill Evans Trio
Paul Desmond Trio
Three Sounds Trio
Just to name some of my favorites.

I'd have to look at my collection to see whom else I have
playing spanish guitar other than: Jim Hall, and Paul Williams. There are so many acoustic guitar players out there that are pretty good.

Look at what they are playing. If you like Bill Evans you will love the other two and there are so many more. Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander, and more. Look for them playing standards. If they are playing songs you are familiar with from composers like Gershwin, etc. You normally have a pretty good set. I have been doing this for years and I only have a couple hand full of recordings I don't like. I'm speaking of 50's and 60's vintage jazz only.
Oh I forgot The Ray Brown Trio. He is on several labels and almost all of his recordings are pretty good.
Spanish Guitar,
grisha goryachev
Narciso Yepes

I am a novice to jazz and you can't go wrong with the Bill Evans trio.
Trio da Paz combines a lot of things and they've recorded with piano.
Thank you for the wonderful responses. Like Lokie said, "This thread is going to cost me some $" ..... lol. I also should have mentioned I'm only looking in the CD format.

Thanks again!
I'll take you a bit off the mainstream track here. Here are a few that I've found on my frequent rotation list on a regular basis. These selections tend towards the moody and sometimes darker, low-key. They are all outstanding recordings:

Achirana which is currently only available used but well worth the price of admission IMO.

Changing Places or anything by Tord Gustavsen Trio

For Spanish Guitar, I'd point you to a different flavor:

Try Carlos Paredes on the Portugese guitar. Very beautiful.

Of course you cannot go wrong with Andres Segovia.

Also, for a more modern interpretation, and I don't know that much about her, check out Milica Ilic. If you search out her video's on YouTube you can get a sense of her playing. Sadly not too much on recorded music from her, but her playing is beautiful, as is she.
Many, many good suggestions above. I'd add the following trios/quartets:

Bill Evans: Sunday at the Village Vanguard (a classic)
Marcus Roberts: The Truth is Spoken Here (his piano solo cd "Alone with Three Giants" is a special favorite)
Brad Mehldau: The Art of the Trio (various volumes)
Charles Lloyd: The Water is Wide (a beautiful work)

Have fun!
Jim Crane
The Lynne Arriale Trio.

She plays beautiful, lyrical piano in a trio that includes a very unique drummer whose playing is also almost melodic. This is not New-Age music though, it's definitely jazz.

Her first three albums on the DMP label are the place to start. She has gotten a little less accessible since then.

I recommend this artist to anyone who likes jazz piano, not just people looking for an entrance point into jazz. Read the reviews of her albums at Allmusic.com. I can't understand why this woman is not better known by jazzers.

Also, maybe she's been overlooked because she's so obvious, but if you don't like Diana Krall you probably won't like jazz piano.
Trio Cd's

"Jaquees Loussier Plays Bach Encore" TELARC
Ray Brown "Some of My Best Friends Are.....The Piano Players" TELARC

"Spanish" Guitar

John Williams "El Diablo Suelto" and anything John Williams
Jose Antonio Escobar" Guitar Recital"
Julian Breem anything he plays
Band called "The Triangle".
you can listen to it here and see if yo like it. Band called "The Triangle".

Also, check out Lynne Arriale Trio
Here's a real strong recommendation.

Jason Vieaux, Guitar Recital, Naxos 553449

Wonderful performance, wonderful recording. Really shines on a good system.

Plays mainly Spanish "classical" composers, but they all still have that "Spanish" flavour. Merlin, Pujol, Orbon, Barrios, Bustamante, etc.

I can't imagine you not enjoying this.
Great examples already given,but just a couple more very good ones ImhO I did not see in the mix: Alan Broadbent Trio,Personal Standards,and David Hazeltine Trio,Classic Trio.Both are excellent sound quality on cd.Oh,yeah,one more excellent one,sound quality and music,George Cables Trio,A Letter to Dexter.
p.s.,another excellent one is Junior Mance with different people over the years.A favorite is,Junior Mance Trio,Blue Mance.Excellent sound quality also.
Check out "Tord Gustavsen Trio" three CDs on ECM label. Excellent! Try " The Ground' first and the other two are kind of similar but great all the same. TGT has Piano, Double bass and drums.

Also great is the Tin Hat Trio. They play different instruments but music is great.
Marilyn Crispell's ECM trio recordings...wonderful.