Recommend Me Some Jazz/Fusion
Ok, here's the deal: I started a new job last week, which permits me to listen to music (through headphones) while I work. I worked in a call centre before this, so I'm pleased to say that the sound of music wafting through my ears beats the absolute crap out of customer complaints. I've got a new (technically second-hand) set of studio monitors on the way from America, so gear-wise I'm all set.
However, I'm wanting to get more into jazz and fusion as I've traditionally been more of a rock/metal guy. Don't get me wrong, I still love the stuff, but I like listening to music that's a bit more cerebral while I'm working, to help me keep my concentration and forget about the fact that working in an office means I did end up failing at my musical dreams.
So far I've got a healthy dose of Marcus Miller, a few Tribal Tech albums, both Gordian Knot albums, a random collection of jazz songs titled "Simply Jazz" (mostly stereotyped stuff, but nice), a few Ray Charles albums, and I'm getting some Herbie Hancock albums. I like Marcus Miller, but he has a bit more of an R&B influence than what I'm looking for.
I like the stuff I've already got, but I'm hoping to get some suggestions here to really broaden my musical pallet. As far as fusion goes, I like Tribal Tech and Gordian Knot, but I can't give you much else to go on there. With jazz, I find myself frequently drawn to funky, modern-sounding styles that have a fairly laid-back groove to them, and I seem to have a distinct lack of music like that in my library. I've heard a few less well-known artists playing music like that, and I always get a real buzz out of it but seem to forget who it is.
Anyway, that's probably enough information to go on. I'd like to say that this website has been a fantastic help to me for many years, and I intent to continue donating to it because it's the least I can do. It's probably the single best online resource I've used for musical purposes..... though I'm not trying to guilt anyone into being helpful here in saying that ;)
Thanks in advance for any responses!
Check out some Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, Brand X, Bruford, Colosseum II...
Those are just a small selection of my own favourites and they could all be labelled as "fusion" even though the musical styles vary a lot in that list. I'm sure people will have many others to add to it.
Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, and Weather Report are always good jazz fusion starting points. There are heaps of great Return To Forever live performances on YouTube.
Loved Brand X and Mahavishnu Orchestra
Chick Corea Elektric Band, Yellowjackets, Zawinul Syndicate, Bruford's Earthworks, Billy Cobham, Damian Erskine, Gavin Harrison & 05Ric, [ Medeski, Martin & Wood, ], John Scofield, KC Roberts & The Live Revolution, Mark Egan, Mike Prigodich, Pat Metheny, Return to Forever, Scott Kinsey, Steve Swallow, Mahavishnu Orchestra...
Those should keep you busy for a while!
Can't go wrong with Miles, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans Trio, Thelonious Monk, & Herbie Hancock to name a few.
...great suggestions, but-
Be careful with a blanket recommendation. If the OP is a Rock/Metal guy & wants Jazz-Fusion...the original RTF group is more acoustic-flavoured Brasilian than what went on in the DiMeola-era.
Same, too, for Weather Report...their early stuff could be quasi-Free Jazz morphed with a World beat.
Miles? The guy crossed genres (& re-invented some) about 15 times...
Blood, Sweat & Tears - same (technically not jazz fusion but close enough)
Davis - Bitches Brew (!! May take a while to grow on you)
Wayne Shorter - Speak no Evil (precursor to his fusion adventures but you can never go wrong with a shorter classic)
Sweet Smoke - they only have two studio records, get both. More in the vein of contemporary hippie psych but awesome nonetheless
Dzyan - Electric Silence (some really weird krautrock jazz stuff)
Loston Harris - Swingfully Yours (modern no BS jazz)
Maybe not so laid-back, though.
A good laid-back, late-nite disc is Manu Katche's Neighborhood. It's on ECM...if that means anything to you.
Left of field:
D.I.G (Directions In Groove) - Speakeasy. Aussie band.
Blue Note Trip are some excellent compilation double CD's that I love to listen to when I work.
eg. Blue Note Trip Vol 3: Gettin' Up, Goin' Down. High rotation for me.
For straight up jazz I would recommend a handful of albums to get started:
Bill Evans: sunday at the village vanguard (the modern Piano Trio)
Charles mingus: mingus ah um (simple jazz close to the blues)
Thelonius monk: Try and get a greatest hits album or some thing is melodies and chords are wack
Miles davis: kind of blue (The start of a lot of jazz fans)
John Coltrane: A love Supreme (where an artist is trying to say some thing in music)
Oscar Petterson: Night train (this man could swing like a BA mofo)
For more modern stuff:
John Scoffield: A go go
mediski martin and wood: are a crazy fun jam band ish check out a couple albums
Herbie Hancock: Thrust and head hunters (Funk)
also check out some James brown, Maceo Parker, Fred Weasly and Tower of power for more funk
the Dave Holland big band: Overtime (one of my all time favorite albums)
brad Mehldau Trio: art of the trio albums
Esperanza Spaulding: check out radio music society (it just won a bunch of awards in Canada)
Rober Glasper: Canvas is a good one
all those artists have many more great albums but those are a good place to start.
Billy Cobham "Spectrum"
John McLaughlin "Electric Guitarist"
Jeff Beck "Blow by Blow"
Herbie Hancock "Flood" and "VSOP: Tempest in the Colosseum "
The Crusaders, (formally known as The Jazz Crusaders).
You guys are absolutely incredible. Thank you so much for all your wonderfully informative responses..... and so many of them! Consequentially, I'm currently looking into getting some stuff from Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, Miles Davis, Sweek Smoke, Manu Katche, and Esperanza Spalding (yes, I do remember her new album winning a low of awards, including some that were expected to go to pop artists).
That's not to say that I'm eschewing the other recommendations though. There are so many recommendations here that I'm spoilt for choice, so I picked a few that seemed to crop up more than once, or looked obscure enough to tickle the part of me that (gregariously) loves obscurity. I'll refer back here again in the future to have a look at some of the recommendations I've initially over-looked.... so in that sense, this thread will act as a proper "resource" to me for new things to look into.
Thanks again for being so empathetically helpful, and so quickly too! Feel free to keep posting recommendations, as I might just deplete these as the months/years go by ;). It'd also be nice to get a bit of a community thing going here, to help get more non-jazz guys get into jazz, and find the right path to properly pique their interest. I'm a firm believer in jazz music being generally very misunderstood, largely because a lot of people find it hard to get into. From my point of view, I believe that this is because it's hard to know where to start (I have the same issue with classical music), as there are so many different styles with so many different players putting their own spin on it. Not everyone has the necessary gumption and articulacy to ask for a starting point in such a way that enthusiasts can accurately read (and not get frustrated with :P).... not sure how one solves a problem like that, but still.
I wish everyone in this thread all the best, and I hope we cross paths again in the future. Actually, speaking of that...... are there any New Zealanders around who could show me some of the better local venues to go see some jazz? Now THAT is a remote request, hahaha.
^ NZ venues.... we have quite a few Kiwi's on www.ozbassforum.com if you want to ask over there. :)
don't miss the two last albums of John Mc Laughlin and the fourth dimension. (was Mahavishnu guitarist)
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