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Jazz you say?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by AlphaMale, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    I'm intending on being a music major and I need to start listening to and play jazz. But the closest thing to Jazz I listen to is Jamiroquai, which is Acid Jazz. So where should I start as far as listening to Jazz. I've gotten over expecting myself to like all of it so I think I'm reading, any Jazz suggestions.
  2. TheBassBetween


    Jun 25, 2005
    Miles Davis! Get the "Kind of Blue" CD.
  3. You should check out some Count Basie and Duke Ellginton, especially Ellington because it is said that Ellington is a master of melody and creating new melodies which is a valuable tool in jazz that if you study will improve every aspect of your playing.

    You should also listen to Charlie Parker,Thelonius Monk,Sonny Stitt,Sonny Rollins,Hampton Hawes, Bill Evans, Harold Land, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and a whole lot more

    My favorite newer jazz is Joshua Redman,Pat Metheny,Brad Mehldau, Kenny Garrett, and the like.

    I suggest you go to Janek Gwizdala's forum and read around you will learn a lot
  4. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    KNTU (North Texas State radio station) plays jazz most of the time

    They've got a live-streaming whatchacallit ==> click
  5. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    +100 Kind of Blue is the classic starting place. It's modal jazz so easy to hear what going on. Also check out Cannonball Adderley's Somethin Else CD, his solo on Autumn Leaves is a classic solo to be learned and studied. Also listen to some Jimmy Smith on B3 funky Jazz that's good for Jazz rookies.

    Also listen to Jazz radio and find some players and styles you like. Jazz is like Rock there are lots of different kinds of Jazz.
  6. Ben Rolston

    Ben Rolston

    Aug 30, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    Are you planning on going for a Jazz degree, or is the degree a more comprehensive degree?

    I'm kinda confused as to why you would need to learn about Jazz if it's not a Jazz degree.

    That being said, I play almost all Jazz, and love it. If you just feel like you should learn about Jazz, that's awesome.
  7. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Jamiroquai is way more pop than jazz. If you want some jazzy pop, check out and try to improvise over for instance these songs:

    - "Street Life" by Randy Crawford
    - "After The Love Has Gone" by Earth, Wind and Fire

    Then check out these artists:
    Steely Dan - Jazziest "pop" band in the world
    Sting - Especially the Mercury Falling and Ten Summoner's Tales albums
    Stevie Wonder - Almost anything, but especially "Songs in the key of life", "Innervisions" and "Fulfillingness' First Finale"

    All these artists use a lot of jazz harmonies in their music and it's a good exercise to find out the chords to their songs by ear.

    Jazz is nowadays my favourite music. My route to like jazz went from artists like Jamiroquai and Toto (both totally different though) to Tower Of Power to Steely Dan to Herbie Hancock to Weather Report to Keith Jarrett, John Coltrane etc etc etc..... I didn't like "straight-ahead jazz" very much say 5-10 years ago, but now that's the kind if jazz I like the most. You never know how you'll develop... :cool:
  8. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    I don't know it's just whenever I talk to professors about majoring in music performance they start telling me about Jazz, I guess because I'm a bassist.
  9. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    If you have already selected and been accepted to a school, I would pose this question to a music professor at that school. It would show good initiative on your part and could form a relationship with the teacher that will last and enrich your whole experience at college.

    If you haven't been accepted somewhere, I'd try and ask a current student at one of your prospective schools about the curriculum, what kind of listening 'homework' they have, what the freshman experience is like, the expectations, etc.

    There are hundreds of lists concerning the 'best jazz albums'. Here's just one: http://www.scaruffi.com/jazz/best100.html

    I was at a Border's Books this weekend. They typically have a decent jazz selection, and also have little inserts for 'essential jazz recordings' that will guide you to such albums (in their opinion).

    Or try to find some of the lists on iTunes- I know there are some Apple-produced lists for jazz. Preview all you find, and maybe take notes and buy the discs at a nearby used cd store.
  10. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    A lot of legit schools now have Jazz studies programs now as an alternative to Classical. Back in the day even finding a Jazz Performace major hard.

    If you want to other styles of music you're going to have to look to private schools like Berklee or similar places. Even most of those schools have a Jazz influence. MI is the school that caters to Rock players.

    I would say take whatever kind of program you can, what you learn can be applied to any style of music. You can alway play other style music outside of school.
  11. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Do you only play electric? Options for electric bassists getting performance degrees are still fairly limited - it is a young instrument and a lot of music schools are departments are fairly conservative and rooted in musical traditions. I'm pretty sure the majority of schools focus almost entirely on classical and jazz, and there aren't too many electric players in the classical programs. I'd take a guess that most bassists in jazz performance across the country also play upright to some extent.
  12. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    I agree with all the old artists that have been mentioned, but don't get mired in it. You need to keep your ears fresh, hip to what's happening now, how the music is getting pushed forward. In addition to all the old greats, I'd be checking out:

    Chick Corea
    John Patitucci
    Dave Weckl and Dave Weckl Band
    The Rippingtons
    Spyro Gyra
    Sting (I know, very poppy, but very heavily influenced by jazz, and sting was a jazz cat before the police)
    Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
    Michael Brecker
    Pat Metheny
    Dave Holland Quintet/Big band
    The Yellowjackets (seriously, incredible band)

    For straight-ahead guys that haven't been mentioned yet:

    Kenny Drew
    Pat Martino
    Stan Getz
    Oscar Peterson
  13. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    I would start here:


    That website is a wonderful resource for pre-1930 jazz, most of which is in public domain material. Check out some of the other material from member's of Louis's band like Johnny Dodds and Earl Hines. Then move on to Big Band and Bebop.
  14. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    +1, good list. I already suggested Sting though... :)

    Yellowjackets are very worth checking out indeed - Their music is ranging from traditional jazz to very poppy like the song Mile High. Even gospel is represented, at least in the song "Revelation", which is really a great one. I also like the song "Top secret" that is kind of a jazz/fusion/pop song. Try nailing the intro with the polyrhythmic guitar riff. There's some challenge for most of us I think... ;)
  15. Best suggestion that was made (many times now) was Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. It's essential listening, and is often the most cited album by people who are just getting into jazz (and jazz converts who thought they didn't like jazz before). I'd also throw in John Coltrane, John Coltrane Plays The Blues, for the same reason someone mentioned Kind of Blue: It's a great primer for jazz newbies.

    A few people mentioned Tower of Power and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. While I love both these bands and would not hesitate to recommend them to people, I wouldn't really call either of them jazz. TOP is more old-school funk, and the Flecktones, well, they're beyond classification IMO (although, you can only find them in the jazz sections of music stores). YMMV
  16. -1. Not jazz.
  17. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Do you want to play Jazz?
  18. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I agree with listening to all music past and present, but to learn to play like someone you admire you need to go back and listen to what they listened to, to understand where they are coming from. That is why most interviews go into what a musician listened to in their development stage. I would say the same goes for learning a style of music, what did it evolve out of what are the roots of the style.
  19. Good suggestions so far. I especially agree with talking to professors about what they think you should listen to.

    The word "Jazz" covers such a wide variety of music that what some may define as jazz, others may not. I think mostly everything mentioned so far is good for listening, but what you will be diving into first is "how the heck do I make some sort of coherent walking line out of all of these complicated changes in front of me?" For that, stick mostly to albums like "Kind of Blue" and "Blue Train"... but don't limit yourself to the older guys. The stuff Pattituci plays with Chick Corea is pretty unbelievable also.

    Also, it's important to listen to more than just bass players. Listen to what the other instruments are doing and their approach to the music. Their phrasing, articulations, sense of swing, etc. has everything to do with what you are going to be doing.

    Good Luck!
  20. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    + another one. Go and buy Kind of Blue right now.

    For a general introduction to jazz, I think it's hard to beat the Ken Burns series on Jazz. It comes on a 10 disc DVD set, which you can get fairly cheaply on ebay. Here's the amazon page for it...


    It will give you a fairly good rundown of the history of jazz, at least to the 1960s, and will give you an insight into what defines Dixieland, Swing, Bebop and Cool Jazz, as well as giving you a taster of many of the innovators and major artists in those styles.

    It's not perfect, in that it reflects some of the biases of the contributors. For instance, it pretty much dismisses fusion and jazz guitar and electric instruments get little mention, but the negatives are completely outweighed by the positives, particularly for a newcomer to the style.

    I really can't recommend it enough. Go and get it. You can always sell it again.

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