Building a Jazz Library

There's more to jazz than Kenny G and Wynton Marsalis.

That's why we created Building A Jazz Library. With this resource, you can home in on the players and styles essential to the past and future of jazz. Each section in this series features a brief introduction which provides some background and biographical information to shed light on each particular artist or style.

Then we list the discs. You'll find landmark material here, true high-water marks worthy of respect and attention. We recruited a special enthusiast to assemble each section in this series. These people have spent a lot of time with the subject (and probably bought way too many records to back it up). We assure you that the nuggets listed here are carefully considered and on-target.

If you're new to Jazz -- or new to an artist or style -- treat Building A Jazz Library as a primer of sorts. It will provide you with enough information to step confidently into the store (or the library) and find something tasty. Or if you're a serious collector, you might just find that a few of these recommendations may fill some gaping holes on your shelf.

Building A Jazz Library throws its doors wide open to all different kinds of Jazz fans and interests. Certain sounds may mesh with your particular tastes, and this series aims to bring you and the music together in perfect harmony. So dig in, and enjoy!

Essential Buying Tips for Building a Jazz Collection on a Budget.


Film Scores

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Ah, the cinema. We know so many cliches, certain scenes, and can even quote entire passages of movies. Music in film works the same way. As people who are conditioned through a dominantly visual culture, we tend to remember certain themes alongside certain movie scenes. This subject deserves much more attention! Film composers are often underrated and overlooked, even though they must be versed in all styles of music, from jazz to rock, classical to country. Here are just some ...

Tag Team Jazz, Part 1-2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz has always celebrated rugged individuality, praising those who appreciate others but stay on their own path. So what happens when two (or more) intelligent and original musicians come together? Most of the time, pure magic. Stellar tag teams have made some of the finest records in jazz history. Louis Armstrong / Duke Ellington: The Great Summit: Master Takes (Blue Note, 2001) An absolute “must have" for any ...

Tag Team Jazz, Part 2-2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz has always celebrated rugged individuality, praising those who appreciate others but stay on their own path. So what happens when two (or more intelligent and original musicians come together? Most of the time, pure magic. Stellar tag teams have made some of the finest records in jazz history. Lester Young: Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Norgran, 1954) One of Young's greatest sessions, with Prez in ...

Coltrane 101

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OK, let's begin by being brutally honest here; if you really want to build a Coltrane collection, the albums listed below don't even scratch the surface. To do that, you will need to consider investing heavily in some box sets--five spring immediately to mind: The Heavyweight Champion (Atlantic; 7 CDs), The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (Impulse! 4 CDs), The Classic Quartet--Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings (Impulse! 8 CDs), Live Trane (Pablo; 7 CDs) and The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955--1961 (Sony; ...

Jimmy Smith: Master of the Hammond B-3

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Jimmy Smith ignited a jazz revolution on an instrument associated at the time with ballparks, despite never playing one until the age of 28. His legendary multi-part technique on the Hammond B-3 organ, playing bass with the foot pedals and Charlie Parker-like single-line passages with his right hand, shook up the traditional trio as co-players could explore new roles. Yet, while the consensus is Smith's playing is a jazz landmark, his recordings fall short of such acclaim.

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Angels on Earth: Best Living Jazz Chanteuses

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Let's begin by saying that jazz has definitely been swarmed by a plethora of female vocalists. Just because they can sing a Cole Porter or a George Gershwin tune, and remember all the words... does that make them great? No. Just because they look terrific, does that mean that they'll be the next Billie Holiday? Absolutely not! This may work in pop music, but most jazz fans can tell if a female jazz vocalist has hope or is just hype. ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Vocal Jazz: 1969-2001

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The Dark Age followed by the Renaissance. The tumultuous changes of the 1960s radically changed the American musical landscape. Jazz fell off the American cultural radar, nightclubs closed their doors and record companies moved on to rock. With few opportunities to work and little money to be made, jazz became a music played by the dedicated for the devoted. Jazz singers, who had always acted as a bridge between the jazz and non-jazz audience, found that the middle ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Frank Sinatra

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In the 1950s and '60s, there erupted into the world's consciousness a series of celebrities so unique and identifiable, from several different public arenas, that they were known by only one name. It was as if those were names were mythical and could not possibly be mistaken for anyone else. Elvis. Martin and Malcolm. Marilyn. John Paul George and Ringo. Ali. And Sinatra. Frank Sinatra released hit albums for half a century. His career began to take off ...



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