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.

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Evan Parker

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In his biography of Robert Wyatt, Different Every Time (Serpent's Tail, 2015), author Marcus O'Dair describes Evan Parker as “perhaps the finest British free-jazz saxophonist of his generation." The only words in that phrase that seasoned Parker followers might take issue with are “perhaps," “British" and “free-jazz," preferring just to describe him as the finest improvising saxophonist of his generation. Be that as it may, as well as his pre-eminent status, Parker is also notoriously prolific and productive, having appeared ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Forget Old Europe: 15 European Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About

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Since the first half of the 20th century, the Old Continent has played a pivotal role both in welcoming and supporting jazz artists from the United States. Over the following decades it has expressed generations of passionate musicians with increasingly original languages and ever greater improvisatory skills. In the 21st century there are countless excellent, professionally trained, jazz musicians all over Europe (as everywhere else in the world), ranging from the more mainstream boppers to the most radical ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

15 Italian Jazz Musicians You Need To Know About

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It is not unusual for colleagues and promoters from across Europe and the United States to ask me: “Which Italian jazz musicians should I check out?" For decades, Italy has enjoyed an increasingly prominent place in the vast landscape of European Jazz. The names of some of its most famous players, like trumpeters Enrico Rava or Paolo Fresu or pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, just to name few, are well known all around the world. But even younger artists such ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Derek Bailey

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Guitarist Derek Bailey was one of the more prominent and influential musicians from the “first generation of free improvisation" that developed in London in the mid-sixties and gradually promoted the music around the world. Although several members of that generation were leaders, Bailey often seemed the de facto leader of the group. Partly, this was a consequence of his being slightly older than others, Bailey having been born in 1930, compared to Tony Oxley (1938), Trevor Watts (1939), John Stevens ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Jazz From Around the World: Asia

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Asia is the most culturally and ethnically diverse continent. It is, therefore, hard to distill all its jazz influenced musical legacies into 10 albums. Some countries have robust jazz scenes that, nevertheless, are fundamentally derivative of European and American styles. In other musical cultures jazz has just recently made inroads. Below are 10 historic records that successfully melded regional folk traditions with jazz. One of the first Asian countries to embrace jazz music was China. Expats like trumpeter ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Jazz From Around the World: Africa

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There is no doubt that African heritage, particularly that of west Africa is at the root of jazz. This is simply factual and is not meant to belittle the contributions of other cultures to its growth and development. In addition, as a genre, it has proven to have a wide universal appeal. For both reasons jazz was adopted easily on the continent, particularly in post-independence West African nations who put their own unique spin on it. A giant ...

Jazz From Around The World: Latin America and the Caribbean

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The focus of the second installment of Jazz from Around the World is Latin America and the Caribbean. Because of both proximity to the US and the shared African heritage, particularly in the Caribbean, jazz was seamlessly and naturally adopted in this part of the world. Of course Latin jazz with its many guises is a very dominant force in today's music. Highlighted below are 10 early gems from south of the border. One of the first permutations ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Jazz From Around the World: Europe

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Jazz has had a universal appeal since its inception. As soon as the music left its cradle of jny: New Orleans in the early years of the 20th century it quickly spread to all corners of the world. Europeans were among the first non-Americans to embrace the music and place their unique twist on it. Below are 10 classic European jazz recordings. Beginning the list is Mosaic's massive box set of guitarist Django Reinhardt's Swing/HMV sessions. Reinhardt is ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Stan Getz

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The story of Stan Getz (1927-1991) has to begin with Lester Young. Before Young, tenor sax players seemed awash in testosterone. Their sound was full, rich, deep, blown hard out of the instrument's lower registers, with emotion pouring out in lavish swoops and honks. Then along came Lester. In the post-war 1940s, he invented a new way to play the tenor sax: softly, effortlessly, with no wasted notes, and above all, without drama. There was emotion, of course, but it ...


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