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Jazz... Where to Begin?

AAJ Staff By

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The AAJ guide to getting started with jazz

Starting a jazz collection is something every well-rounded music listener considers. Unfortunately, most folks have trouble getting started because they don't know where to begin. Do you start chronologically with Louis Armstrong or do you jump right into the new stuff—how about the '50's and '60's? Everyone is different, so where you begin will depend a lot on your musical taste.

We hope the information on this page provides you with some insight on how to build your CD (or download) collection as well as discover the essentials about the music, its players and its rich history.

There's a lot of great music out there. Take your time and have fun exploring the world of jazz!

Jazz is NOT exactly rocket science, you know.

Jazz is creative, spontaneous, lively, energetic, romantic, boisterous and playful... It is incredible driving music and whimsical dinner accompaniment. Jazz is the ultimate romantic encounter companion...

It is the sort of music that crawls inside you slowly and captures a place in your heart normally reserved for romance and passion...It is a burning glow of seduction and a life-long journey of discovery...

Welcome to All About Jazz!

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History of Jazz
Time Line

Where to start and what to buy?
Building a Jazz Library

Just for fun
Jazz Humor (slang, nicknames, pronunciation guide...)

Defining Jazz
What is Jazz? Good Question
What is Jazz? Round 2
What is Jazz? (Humor)
A Bottle, a Rag, and a Pint of Gasoline
The New Shape of Jazz
Language and a Voice for the 21 Century
Thinking Outside The Musical Box
You Too Can Be A Jazz Fan!
Genius Guide to Jazz: Prelude
Genius Guide to Jazz: Rondo

From the Archived AAJ Message Boards...
What's the best way to introduce someone to Jazz?
What is the best way to introduce a young person to Jazz?
Great, but obscure albums to purchase
More obscure favorites
Click here for more tips on where and how to get started.

Your Roadmap to Jazz
From Bluegrass/Country to Jazz
From Blues to Jazz
From Classical to Jazz
From Folk to Jazz
From Funk to Jazz
From Gospel to Jazz
From Rock to Jazz

More Guides
AAJ Editor's Choice Awards
Genius Guide to Jazz
John Coltrane: A Newbies Guide
Jazz Jam Sessions: A First-Timer's Guide
1959: A Great Year in Jazz
Reader Desert Island Picks (1999-2000)
More Desert Island Picks
AAJ Reader Polls (2000-2001)

Popular Record Lists
Jazz-L Top 100
Double-Time Top 100's Rosetta Stone Jazz Picks
Jazz Picks
Len Lyons' 101 Best Jazz Albums

What to Listen for In Jazz
The Jazz CD Listener's Guide
Jazz for Dummies
Playboy Guide to Jazz


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