Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, in 1966. I was already into audio; this disc just made me think I could learn to like jazz.
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in the 1960's when I started listening.. I disliked Jazz. Never did learn better until I watched Ken Burn's Jazz on PBS. I watched it again on DVD and fell in love with the Jazz form. I guess I never understood what Jazz musicians were doing until watching the series on TV. Now my main listening is to Jazz and Classical. (I have thankfully pretty much gotten over Rock and Roll.)
Interesting thread. Back when all I listened to was mind bending rock like Hendrix, King Crimson and Procul Harum I bought Miles Davis Bitches Brew for the cover art. Man was I disappointed; it sounded like incomprehensible, unmusical noise. A short while later by a lucky coincidence I heard the McCoy Tyner album Trident and several by Rahsaan Roland Kirk. I've been hooked ever since. 30 years later Bitches Brew sounds out-of-this-world marvelous but hey, that's not really jazz, it's that more mainstream, stepchild fusion music, haha.
Laugh if you want, but I would say that my first step into jazz was listening to Spyro Gyra's Morning Dance on a Nautilus Super disc in a audio store on some Maggie speakers in 1979. I went out and bought the LP, not the speakers. I was still heavy into my rock phase at this time, Zepplin, Skynard, Floyd, etc.
Fast forward about 20 years later, and Miles Davis started developing my current tastes, where jazz is my prime genre of choice.
I have actually on a whim within the last few months picked up a couple used Spyro Gyra albums in mint condition for a pittance, like a buck apiece. These are very good recordings and the music and performances are quite good and enjoyable overall if not earth shattering creatively.
$1 can still buy you some good new sounds these days!
I'm not laughing.....
Ir was my first experiences with good audio circa 1980 that got me out of listening to only pop and rock music, and I too enjoyed Spyro Gyra, Weather Report, John Klemmer and Herbie Hancock.
About 20 years later, I took some jazz piano lessons some years ago, by a very old school musician/composer/professor who asked me what kind of jazz music I liked.
I mentioned a few things which others have mentioned above, including Vince Guaraldi.
I will never forget the embarrassment I felt when he looked at me and said: "That's NOT jazz!"
Since his remark, I discovered and more thoroughly explored Miles Davis and in particular Kind of Blue.
I also enjoy my audiophile classics which I now understand to be "contemporary instrumental music."
For a more profound understanding of what "jazz" really means, check out the DVD of Herbie Hancock collaborating with pop stars including Christina Aguilera and John Mayer.
It is a mesmerizing thing to watch, and during various interviews, Herbie explains that Miles said it was OK to practice, but just make sure that they did NOT do whatever they did practicing when they were on stage.
Anything rehearsed also was not "jazz".
Mapman , I had the pleasure of meeting Al Hirt at Moms in New Orleans about 20 years back.
I listen to Coltrane "My Favorite Things about one a month and each time I listen I still hear and learn something new from this recording.
I also have Mangione's Feels So Good I loved it when it first was released.My wife still enjoys it but I have to leave the room when she wants to hear it.Funny how things change over time.
Now,back to the question.1955 Count Basie "April In Paris"
I too got turned on to jazz at a high end audio shop ("Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note"). But I really got HOOKED when I befriended another customer I met while in that same shop. He invited me over and introduced me to his extensive classic jazz collection. It's hard to know which one really got me; it would probably be between "Kind of Blue" and Keith Jarrett's "Koln Concert".
Not only can I tell the artist (Oscar Peterson) and the LP (Montreux '77 on Pablo) I can tell you the song that got me hooked: "Ali and Frazier". My RA was playing this in his dorm room my first day of college and I've been addicted ever since! I still get goosebumps every time I put on that record.
My Grandma used to let me play her 78's of Ella, Ellington, Hawkins & Lester Young when I was about 4 years old, on an old wind-up gramaphone and then Dave Brubeck was probably a re-awakening about 8 years later.
I suppose 55 years later and still adding to my 12000+ collection of vinyl & c.d.'s, you could say that I'm hooked on jazz.
Was into prog-rock, back in the 70's, so my first expansion into "jazz" was progressive. perhaps Return to Forever or one of those prog-jazz bands of the time. I know I litened to lots of things in that vein as I entered college and was exposed to it by my new dorm friends. RTF, Coryell, Holdsworth, Caldera, McLaughlin, etc.
When I was a teenager my mom owned Billy Joel's album 52nd street. In the song Zanzibar, Freddie Hubbard blows a trumpet solo that, when I first heard it, I listened to over and over. I decided then and there that I liked this jazz stuff. Freddie Hubbard is a long way down on my list of jazz favorites, but I cannot deny that his Zanzibar solo truly was the gateway drug for me.
Your examples are not Jazz in its strict sense and what are "fine and more accessible elements" of Jazz? To me, Jazz is essentially "black music" and for sociological reasons alone, think of Mingus, Parker, Miles, it is not necessarily intended to sound "fine" but rather "dirty" and is essentially, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, a musical answer to the social ostracism suffered by the Afro-American community in the heyday of Jazz. Black musicians will tell you, that later this music was "stolen" from them by and became mainstream. Just to add to what Cwlondon said above.
The jazz domain by black americans is well documented, but we would be in error not to acknowlege the gifts of white musicians of the same period such as Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans,Red Rodney, Ira Sullivan,Shelly Manne, Buddy Rich, Art Pepper, Pepper Adams and the list can go on and on. To me jazz is so much more than a black/white idiom. It is the music itself and the artist that put it forth. During the heyday of the bop and later bebop revolution in jazz all the greats both black and white pushed this music to very lofty heights indeed. And they all worked together in sessions and live concerts to give us this gift.
True of course, Ferrari, I was thinking more of the hard core crowd of those times. I heard Mulligan live in Paris many years ago, collected LPs of all the names you have mentioned, but even in my early years I found their music "intellectual and contrived" in comparison to what Parker, Miles, Coltrane etc.etc had to offer, I found their music gutsier, dirtier. I loved Chet, but he never shook me down to my guts or made me grin as sometimes Dizzy could. It's all personal taste of course. The very origin of jazz however, if I am informed right and no matter to what happened to this strand of music later, is black after all.
Detlof, FWIW, I think we share a 'personal taste' in jazz.
A question. Is Chet singing music an oxymoron? I wasn't part of the jazz culture when he was on the scene. Who was his audience? I enjoyed his trumpet playing some, but then he would pause and 'sing'. Glad he wasn't playing dinner jazz. Or jazz at dinner. :-)
Goldeneraguy, it makes sense what you say of course. Besides this is all purely personal. I don't pretend to be an expert. All I am recounting is the fact, that today, now quite old, I still am moved by the music of those names I mentioned, while the likes of Baker or Mulligan et al don't really get me involved. It is "interesting" for me, but that's it. I does not get below skin level.But this is off-topic anyway. So my apologies and I'll shut up.