Jazz recommendations for a beginner?

Hello, I purchased my first 3 jazz cds just to experiment: Cafe Blue (Pat Barber), Love Scenes (D. Krall) and Kind of Blue (M. Davis). Now I want to officially start listening more jazz. I really liked tracks 2,3,4,9,10 and 11 on Barber's cd, almost every song on Krall's, but honestly 'Kind of Blue' was not too much of my taste. So based on this brief comments, has anybody some good recommendations for a beginner? I'd appreciate your suggestions. Thanks.
Jorge R.
No offence Jorge but I'm inclined to say if you don't like Kind Of Blue but do like D.Krall then you are in the area of soft jazz and that you will probably not like traditional jazz much at all.
For singers, if you like Krall, you'll love Shirley Horn, she is a bit slower, but eminently a better jazz singer and piano player than Krall. For piano try Bill Evans. For Sax try Houston Persons and Scott Hamilton. For guitar try Joe Pass. For clarinet try Peplowski. For bass try Ray Brown or Charlie Haden. Most of the works by these artists are easily digested, not discordant or avante guard. If this interests you, individual CD's can be recommended or you can find them on a web site, All Music (which also has a guide out as does Penguin, I think). Jazz has a huge discography to explore - read up and enjoy.
If you didn't like Kind Of Blue,
try Miles Davis' "You're Under Arrest", "Amandla", "Tutu", "Do-bop" and "Decoy".
If you will like these above funko albums you may listen to "Bitches Brew" and "Siesta".
A couple things, there are different styles of Jazz and though you may find you like some in each category, you may prefer one style over another.

There are some that may try and make you feel guilty for liking Diana Krall, I too enjoy her music and that is what matters; if you enjoy the CD of hers that you own, buy others and enjoy.

On the same token, there are 'Jazz police' that may want to 'arrest' you if you like Smooth Jazz, again, if you like it buy it and enjoy. I too own the acclaimed Kind Of Blue CD and I don't enjoy it either.

Some others to look into, Eva Cassidy, Chris Botti, FourPlay, Larry Carlson.

Goto to http://www.bmgmusic.com and search for those you have interest in, if they carry those titles you can play short clips. (Some others on here may know better sources for sampling.) My local Barnes and Noble allows you to play segments of tracks of CD's you are interested in purchasing.
This is an excellent thread on the subject, particularly Sdcampbell's contributions:


Helped me quite a bit.
Ben, just what in your estimation defines traditional jazz? I'm curious, not that I don't appreciate Davis, Coltrane, etc, but I certainly found them to be an acquired taste, and not necessarily mainstream, either now or in the era when they performed.
I'm kinda in the same camp with Ben. If you didn't like "Kind of Blue", then your are more aligned with "Singers/Songwriters". I would suggest you try Eva Cassidy, "Live at Blues Alley", Michael Franks, "Art of Tea and/or Sleeping Gypsies". Jazz has a lot of styles. Find out where you fit and jump in !!
For a taste of traditional Jazz, log on to fantasyjazz.com. Under "Various Artist", Fantasy Jazz remastered 12 samplers from their sub labels....orginal jazz clssics, riverside, prestige, swingville, debut, bluesville, contemporary, Pablo, fantasy, galaxy, specialty, jazztime.

I collected all 12 at S.F. Ameoba Records used $7.95 ea. Great way to get a Taste of Jazz!
If you don't like "Kind of Blue" it doesn't mean much IMHO (although I love it). I agree with Newbee. There are lots of things that are kind of acquired tastes and good music is often one. Keep it and listen to it a year from now. There is a lot going on in a minimalist kind of way.

Find a good local university jazz station and listen.

You will like some "traditional jazz" even if you do not like "Kind of Blue." There are so many styles. I'm not one for copilations but scroll down the page and listen to the first disk of this sampler from Blue Note: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00000JB1W/ref=m_art_li_5/002-5144679-4032812?v=glance&s=music

Truth is you proabbly can't get two people on this thread to agree what jazz is. I like Cassidy too butI don't consider her jazz at all.

For a modern album try Charles Lloyd "The Water is Wide"

If you like Krall's trio albums/piano jazz (her first is my favorite)try Bill Charlap. No vocals but a tight melodic piano trio.

All of the above have some melody to them.

As said above, make use of Scott Campbell's lists in various threads here (do a search because there quite a few of them). Don't write stuff off. Go back to it in a year or two.

Good luck,
I remain,
I would also suggest listening to "Kind of Blue" a few more times. You may find that, as you get used to the songs, it will grow on you. It's a superb album.

Early jazz: Louis Armstrong,Hot Five/Hot Seven recordings.(The recordings suck,but that's ok;the music does not.)
Swing:Duke Ellington,Live at Newport.
Bop:Charles Parker,Ornithology
Cool:Miles Davis/Gil Evans,Birth of the Cool
Modern:Bill Evans,Sunday Afternoon at the Vanguard.
John Coltrane,My Favorite Things
Giant Steps
These should give you an idea of what kinds of jazz will appeal to you.
Mark C. Gridley's jazz history text is excellent.In it he includes a list of his recommended recordings.
Happy listening
I won't even get into the discussion of what is and isn't Jazz. Simply judging by the fact that you like Krall and Barber and did not care for Miles I would DEFINITELY go for Eva Cassidy as others have recommended. I like Songbird and Imagine and Live at Blues Alley.

Also no one's mentioned Jacintha. Try "Here's to Ben" and "Autumn Leaves"

Barber's "Modern Cool" would also be a good pick.

Holly Cole's fantastic album of Tom Waits tunes titled "Temptation" would be another great choice.

barber and krall are jazz like john tesh is progessive!
What kind of music do you currently prefer?
Well I didn't mean to insult anybody-if you like Ms Krall then fine,I like lots of things other folks don't.
I tend to think Kind Of Blue( ground breaking as it was in it's day) is on the mainstream of what I would call traditional Jazz.
The other obvious one being Dave Brubecks Take Five-my feeling being that if you don't like these,then well you are into the area of pop/light/smooth or whatever you want to call it Jazz.
Kenny G and the like.
When I started off listening to Jazz,I was recommended Kind Of Blue and well I loved it....that to me is Jazz,the traditional link from what Jazz was into what Jazz became.
A lot of Jazz takes some listening and is challenging and I just think if you don't like KOB well...you are going to struggle with a lot of the greats.
Newbee you are probably right Davis,Coltrane et al they were never mainstream per se but well Kind Of Blue is the biggest selling Jazz album ever...and to me these names along with Ellington and Armstrong are in the line of traditional Jazz.
It's a bit like if you are into movies...Kubrik,Scorsese et al didn't mean ditto at the Box Office.
I recommend you to tune to FM91.1(Toronto). The only 24 hours all Jazz radio station in North America or even in the world !!!
You can listen to it through internet.

Go to www.jazz.fm and get connect....

try the Bad Plus, jazz with rythem, very good
Ben, Firstly let me say that I addressed my comments to you because of earlier comments you made several years ago and which are referred to in this thread. You undoubtedly have a great depth of knowledge on this subject and I should think we would both agree on most things. However, where we part ways is your reaction to an inquiry of a newbie to jazz based on his inability to understand Davis' music and the fact that he likes Krall - you (and others more by implication) seem to want to dismiss him and assign him to the dust bins of elevator music. I would think those of us who heard and appreciated the music of Davis et al were well prepared to hear it thru past experience with the works of other jazz musicians. At best your post makes you sound elitist. Were I you, I would have (and actually did) post a list of good jazz practioners, whose recordings are easy to obtain, and enjoy, without an inate or acquired understanding of jazz. I wouldn't dismiss a classical newbie just because he couldn't comprehend Mahler. We who know should try to lead these folks by introducing them gently. I appoligize in advance for the sermon.
I have found that guests at my house who have little Jazz experience typically enjoy Stan Getz - any of his 3 Brazilian-style LPs. The most popular though is Getz/Gilberto. I generally see their foot tapping from the first track on (my silent indicator of the right choice).

Also, I agree with Newbee. As you explore any creative medium, particularly music, food, art, audio equipment. more, I believe you will become very comfortable with the less complex items first and soon migrate to more challenging material. It is a natural progression and that is the fun of it. The Audiogon crowd can certainly provide ideas to explore at each milestone in your journey.

Those new to enjoying wine often prefer a sweet wine. There is nothing wrong with this. For some, tastes change to prefer a drier beveridge.
if you like krall you may want to try sinatra "songs for swinging lovers". You may also want to try some of the songbook series from ella fitzgerald - maybe the cole porter songbook.
The term "Jazz" is an umbrella that covers a large variety of music. Traditional, Smooth, Vocal, and even New Age. Having said that I would like to recommend recordings by the following:

Cyrus Chestnut
Joshua Redmond
Eddie Harris
Grant Green
Lonnie Liston Smith
Dexter Gordon
Diane Schuur
Jimmy Scott
George Benson
Tom Scott
David Sanborn
Lou Donaldson
Gil Scott-Heron

Not really "Jazz" but worth a listen:

Acoustic Alchemy
The Rippingtons
Special EFX
Spyra Gyra

These artists are not hardcore "Traditional" but lean a little toward that way. Once you get familiar with jazz you can go deeper with Miles and Coltrane, who are kind of like drinking beer, at first you can't stand the taste, but over time as it grows on you, you love it.
Jazz is a very broad category (or genre) of music, along with others such as classical, country, blues, easy listening, folk, rap, latin, new age, pop, rock etc. Jazz has a number of subcategories (or sub-genres) as well, such as ballroom, big band swing, bop, dixieland/New Orleans, fusion, general, vocals, latin, smooth, traditional etc.

In exploring jazz one may discover they like one sub-genre but not another. Jorge, you are gravitating towards traditional vocals (Krall) but not towards general jazz (Davis). Identifying the sub-genre will help you find more of what you like.

At the same time, trying to categorize artists is sometimes a challenge. While Eva Cassidy on "Live at Blues Alley", is mostly "blues", most of her work is actually "folk".

Based on your attraction to Krall, I'd suggest artists like Karrin Allison, Shirley Horn, Jane Monheit, and Tierney Sutton. Then, experiment with other genres and see where it takes you.
A good number of people do not appreciate jazz when they begin this journey. But as they listen, they develop an ability to hear and relate emotionally to the music. There is broad agreement as to who the masters of this art form are. Books like The 101 Best Jazz Albums by Len Lyons are helpful. A beginner like yourself would probably benefit from a chronological approach. Four suggestions from traditional jazz would be:
Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines, 1928 (Smithsonian)
The Billy Holiday Story, Vol. II (Columbia, 1935-41)
Duke Ellington - 1940 (Smithsonian)
Solo Flight: The Genius of Charlie Christian
From modern jazz, you might consider any of the following:
The Very Best of Bird (The "Dial Sessions")
Bird/The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes)
Dizzy Gillespie: In the Beginning
Thelonious Monk: The Complete Genius
The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. I
Clifford Brown: The Quintet
Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus and More
Miles Davis/Gil Evans - Porgy and Bess
Wes Montgomery: While We're Young
John Coltrane: Giant Steps
The Best of John Coltrane: His Greatest Years
Bill Evans: The Village Vanguard Sessions
Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth
I note that you are will be listening to CDs rather than LPs. Suffice it to say, there are many great recordings on LP -- like Clifford Brown With Strings -- that are difficult to recommend on CD. This is a subject for another thread, but thought I should give you a heads up on the problem of unlistenable CD transfers.
Newbee I think you'vegot me mixed up with my namesake Sd Campbell (it happens a lot actually..poor Sd) who is the real Jazz expert.
To answer your point.
I apologise I didn't mean to seem eltist at all.
Zargon's post deals very well with the category issue and I agree whole heartedly with his comments on Eva Cassidy.
I guess the point I was trying to make (my last reply wasn't allowed to be posted)that there is a possibilty that Jorge may not actually like instrumental Jazz at all.
To be positive I will recommend Take 5 by Dave Brubeck.
Mrwigglewm is right. When I first heard John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, I was racing to the volume to turn it down. I was 16 at the time and had no idea how much my musical tastes were going to change. Eventually I fell in love with Coltrane and became an official addict to his music. It was all i listened to for quite some time, and I'm talking the hard stuff( Ascension,Selflessness, Meditations). My point being, stay open minded and listen again. Maybe explain what impressions you had about Kind of Blue that you didn't care for, to help other's with their recommendations.
Get the Crusaders reunion cd - very nice and good guest list including Eric Clapton on 2 tracks with some very nice gittar work.
Female vocal: "Clap hands, here comes Charlie" Ella Fitzgerald

Trio: "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" Bill Evans Trio

Sax: "Way Out West", Saxaphone Colossus" Sonny Rollins

Horns: "Sketches of Spain" Miles Davis (arrangements by Gil Evans)

Quartet: "Time Out" Dave Brubeck

Jazz "supergroups": CTI records, w/ engineering by Rudy Van Gelder put out some recordings in the 60's and 70's featuring folks like Hubert Laws, George Benson, Ron Carter, etc. These were some interesting works. Some live, some studio. I don't know if they have ever been released on CD however.
First of all, thanks all of you guys for the kind suggestions. It seems that the perception of most of you has been that I prefer vocals over instrumental, but actually I feel is the contrary. Yes, I liked Krall but actually I felt more atraction for Barber, and what I really really liked was tracks 2 and 11 (I forgot the track names) on Cafe Blue, does anyboby can tell me what kind of jazz (if it is jazz) is this? I also remembered that my Stereophile CD 3 had one jazz track ("Nevermind" from "Killer Bees" album with Airto Moreira and the Gods of Jazz), so I played that track yesterday at night and felt that kind of jazz is what I really like since it was similar (to me) to those tracks (2, 11) on Barber's cd. But I'm open minded for other kind of jazz that you think I could appreciate now, vocals or instrumental.

I agree with some of you that mentioned that about "taste adquired", and I don't argue "Kind of Blue" is a super album (the best for some of you) and that I might love it in the future, it's just that as a beginner I'm not ready to appreciate it yet, I found it somewhat repetitive.

Thanks again guys, I'm confident that you will put me on the right track with your suggestions. Any more recommendations?
jorge you can bet you will love "kind of blue" in the future.I'm also kind of new to jazz and I remember my first live show about 6 yrs ago, it was Terrence Blachard Quintet I tell you I left that place with a headache.There was so much stuff going on within those five guys that is was incredible.As you listen and learn more you will appreciate what those guys are doing and how difficult it is to reach a level of playing that high, hell you might event get into Tim Berne or John Zorn stuff, i know i did and I can get enough of it
Yes, I was thinking female vocals too Jorge. Two of the very best instrumental jazz albums I've purchased over the past year that you might enjoy are:

"Achirana" on ECM usually listed under Vassilis Tsabropoulos

"Detail" by Marc Ducret on Winter & Winter

The latter is rather progressive and edgy improvisational jazz guitar and is a wonderful recording if you like that kind of music.


PS OK, I'm editing my post after coming home and listening to cuts 2 and 11. I do enjoy both those cuts as well and would strongly suggest the Achirana CD I mentioned above. The Ducret is just a bit more edgy and if you prefer the more traditional it may be more hard to swallow. I love it, but realize it is not for everyone. To add to those two after listening to the cuts you liked I'm also reminded of another recent favorite that is rather unusual and hypnoticly melodic in a similar way to the cuts you mention, but a bit more sedate: Anouar Brahem "Le Pas du Chat Noir" on ECM also....just gorgeous!
I second the Crusaders. Try there Healing the Wounds and the latest Rural Renewal. If you like that, then try Wilten Felder last solo cd or Joe Sample's 'Best Of.' Also try Joe Becks' Back to Beck cd. You can get it for 3 bucks from Acoustic Sounds or Amusic Direct.

Without meaning to offend you & without meaning to be the "Jazz Police" - "Kind of Blue" is an awesome album!
My friend lent me the CD, which is a Sony SBM i.e. 20-bits, etc, etc & it promised to be a good recording. I heard it a few time & I just didn't like it! I wonder why the performers were making so much noise in all the tracks?? Where was the music? Anyway, I just had a gut feeling that I was missing something 'cuz everyone I spoke to - young or older - expressed to me just how great this album is & that it represents some seminal Jazz work.
So, I bit the bullet & bought the Classic Records re-issue LP from Music Direct.
I can tell you emphatically & confidently that it completely changed my opinion of this album! The LP is just dynamite & the CD version just plain sucks!
The SBM recording CD might be a good recording but the LP takes this music to a higher level that the CD just *cannot* match. The synergy of the instruments in all the tracks is just incredible & the album now sounds like music.
Another thing that will help you (& it helps me a lot) is to read some liner notes & other info that you can find re. this album. This helps to explain the existing conditions of Jazz & the resp. artists during the year that the album was recorded. It helps to transport you to that era & mentally sets you up to listen to the music in the correct context. Some people call this their "mood" - somedays we want to rock the house w/ Rolling Stones, other days we want some calming music, still other days we want a seductive voice like Diana Krall, etc. To apprciate "Kind of Blue" you must set your mood correctly - it is "heavy" Jazz in that it is Bop Jazz, which is not casually listened to as background music while cooking dinner! Maybe one day you will when you become more acustomed to listening to traditional Jazz.
The new Jazz of Pat Barber & Diana Krall is very good & has its place but the traditional Jazz of Miles Davis, Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, etc, etc. is richer music. It doesn't follow a conformist pattern that most music to today follows. Thus, the artists are able to show of their tremendous skills while still playing to a beat/rhythm! This same non-conformist accent is very much present in "Kind Of Blue" & is perhaps the reason it didn't appeal to you.
Tough dam crowd huh Jorge,you would think you were a
republican at a union assembly.Duck those rocks bra.
I love all three you bought,and you did kindly lay it out there that you just started out in this.My god the guy
just asked for some "music" suggestions but we audiogeeks
eat our young don't we?
I started out in smooth jazz too.Hope my life insurance is paid up.Try out Pat Methany"Speaking of Now","Secret Story"
Marilyn Scott,"Avenues of Love",P Barber,"Modern Cool"
Bob Beldin,"Black Dahlia",Norah Jones,"Come away w/Me"
Post back if you tried and liked any of these.Just hang on
to Miles Davis for occasional checking back with as your tastes shift over time.Look for Verve and Blue Note Various
artists CD's.These are wonderful to hear many artists old and new,smooth and not in the huge catagory of Jazz.Even
Miles got hammered by the critics of the day,now those albums are masterpieces.Listen on young Jedi....
If you check out the used music stores many have the Jazziz
magazine compilations.They have non standard paper cases
labeled in the months they sent via mail to subscibers with
its partnered magazine.Excellent way to check out many artists cheaply.
I would recomend Don Shirley as an instermental jazz artist- his sound is quite diffret from that of Davis and Coltrane. As for vocal music Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan are both quite good (as are many others). I would also recomend Ellington's black, brown and Beidge. If you do not have acess to good jazz radio it may by advisable to by a few inexpensive, but broad compalation cd's to see with styles and artists you like.