Jazz in mainstream music

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by the-lizard-king, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. OK jazz guys, Im lookin at you!
    Im trying to play more jazz, I've listened to stuff like Coltrane and other real jazz artists, but Im really more interested in the use of jazz in more mainstream forms of music. What mainstream (ie popular) songs are there that use a jazz bassline? I know 'Riders On The Storm' and 'Light My Fire' by the Doors are both jazz. What other songs out there that bring jazz to the mainstream like those two songs?
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    We have an excellent band here in Sweden, who take jazz and latin grooves and translate them into great pop songs, called Bo Kaspers Orkester. You've probably never heard or even heard of them, but they still are a great example of what you're looking for. :)
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Joni Mitchell's stuff is close to Jazz.
    Shadow & Light even has Jaco on bass.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - "The Dry Cleaner from des Moines" has got a pretty "Jazzy" Jaco bassline on the studio version on "Mingus"!!

    So Joni Mitchell's studio albums from "Hissing of Summer Lawns" show an increasing Jazz influence. On that album "Harry's House" moves effortlessly into straight ahead Jazz. The following three albums have Jaco and more Jazz influences, while retaining Joni's songwriting and ear for popular song : "Hejira", Don Juan's Reckless daughter" and "Mingus", which is the most Jazzy.

    "Shadows and Light" is the live album from this period.

    For UK based artists - "Hue and Cry" the Scottish band made early albums with US session players like Marcus Miller as did Scritti Politti - on the latter's album "Provision" - Miles Davis actually plays on one track - presumably through their connection with Marcus Miller and it was a hit single in the UK (don't know about US) - it was called "Oh Patti".

    Hue and Cry have made a more recent album which uses all British Jazz artists from the Linn record label - called "Next Move" - it is basically sophisticated pop songs played by Jazz Musicians.

    If you want to go further back, there was a Jazz/Pop crossover in teh 60s in Canterbury which involved bands like Soft Machine - who had singles in the psychadelic era. Their drummer Robert Wyatt has always retained a loyalty to Jazz musicians, but since being confined to a wheelchair has concentrated on singing more and had a hit single with the song "Ship Building" written by Elvis Costello.

    I could go on but that's enough for now!
  5. Radiohead's newer music can be very jazzy at times.

    And I always thought that Pink Floyd could be pretty jazzy, especially Dark Side of the Moon.
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Thanks Bruce!

    How could I forget the Dry Cleaner From Des Moines?!?

    I even have the Mingus album on vinyl.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Some of Ben Folds Five music was quite jazzy. Also, there was some of the Stray Cat stuff that was jazzy in its own right.

    Bjork has some music that's also very much in a jazz light.

    Unfortunately, not much else is coming to mind right now.
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Oops, I forgot!

    Al Jarreau is cool.
  9. Steely Dan is an obvious one.

    Also check out a new up & coming band called The Gabe Dixon band (www.gabedixonband.com). They do a nice blend of rock/pop/jazz.
  10. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Right on Stingray5! I was scrolling down quickly to add Steely Dan when I saw your post. They are the quintessential "pop" band that always utilizes jazz progressions and harmony in their arrangements. Jazz purists might argue, but then again jazz purists often argue. :cool:
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...Craig's back?!

    I just got Full Moon's debut album in the mail today; I have wanted this record since about '75(?)...anyway, found it as an import @Tower. Definitely "jazzy" in an R&B-ish/Gospel-esque vibe(Dave Holland guests on one track, 'regular' bassist Freddie Beckmeier sounds, at times, like Jamerson...especially rhythmically(not so much 'melodically').

    The obvious mainstream choices to me(in addition to Joni & the Dan)-
    Chicago and Blood, Sweat, & Tears...in particular, their EARLY STUFF!

    These guys aren't mainstream per se-
    Stuff with a Rock edge & a Jazz sense MAY include-
    Tony Williams Lifetime
    Miles Davis' ELECTRIC bands
    Ornette Coleman's Prime Time
    Screaming Headless Torsos
    Sonny Sharrock(Ask The Ages)
    Jeff Beck(Blow By Blow & Wired)
    Robben Ford
    Andy Summers(Last Dance Of Mr. X)
    Aquarium Rescue Unit
    Derek Trucks Band
    The Allman Bros. Band(check out "Stormy Monday" from the classic Live @The Fillmore East...there's a chorus that 'swings' in 6).
    Dave Matthews Band...especially LIVE?

    Maybe I'll think of more, I'm really kinda blanking out, too...
  12. some old stuff that i think has some pretty jazzy bass lines would be blood, sweat and tears and super sessions. it might be kinda hard to find the cd's for super sessions but if you do it's pretty sweet.
  13. Bert is evil, you mad man.

  14. You guys rule :)
    Wow, I gotta lot of cool stuff I have to check out now. Its funny, whenever I've asked someone else, like at a record store, they never know what I mean and always point me to the big band type stuff. Theres some great sounding music that you guys have listed. Some of it I've listened to for years, but it never clicked that I was listening to jazz (Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan). Anyway, Im off to amazon to check out some of this cool stuff!
    BTW, Bruce, I love The Soft Machine!
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    A lot of Van Morrison's material has jazzy bass lines. "Moondance" is probably the best known example.
  16. Of course! I forgot 'Moondance', what a great album!
  17. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Forgetting Eric Johnson?

    I don't about you guys, but I sure wouldn't call any of the Doors' music jazzy!
  18. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I don't know, Angus. An argument could be made that the Doors were one of the first mega-popular "rock" bands to incorporate jazz-like chord progressions into their music. Give a listen to "Light My Fire" (especially the intro) and "Riders on the Storm". Densmore was definitely a jazzer and it's apparent in his style, especially his cymbal work (example - "Break on Through"...is that the right title?). Kreiger (sp?) and Manzarek too. The bass lines are fairly repetitive, but then again Manzarek was playing all that stuff left-hand (I know, I know...except for the L.A.Woman album). Certainly the majority of their stuff was not the same old 1-4-5 good-time rock'n'roll.
  19. What Craig said!
    Angus, listen to 'Riders', that song is pure lounge jazz! The solo on 'Light My Fire'! Psychadelic jazz. Theres also quite a few other songs that just have jazz elements to them. The three Doors musicians were all big jazz fans. After Morrison died, the remaining Doors released 2 albums, which sunk without a trace and are long out of print, but they were supposedly very jazzy.
    Thats one of the coolest things about the Doors, they tried their hand at every genre, rock, psychadelia, blues, jazz, bossa nova (Break On Through), funk (Peace Frog), hard rock (Five To One), eastern (The End), Flamenco (Spanish Caravan), poetry (Celebration Of The Lizard, When The Musics Over), even a sea shanty! (Land Ho!). then theres lots of other weird songs that cant be classified, too many to mention (My Wild Love, The Soft Parade, etc.)
    I dont think most people realise how prolific those guys really were. Its a shame that most people remember them for their 'greatest' hits.