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The great pianist George Shearing (1919-2011) helmed a classic jazz quintet from 1949 through 1978. The best of these recordings were made while Shearing was contracted with Capitol between 1955 and 1969. Here is a sample of the finest of the George Shearing Quintet's recordings.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.