Getting Into Jazz

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

You'd like to listen to jazz but you're not sure where to start. With all those artists, all those albums, all those sounds, jazz is like a big, mysterious swimming pool. How do you decide where to dip your toe? That's where "Getting into Jazz" comes in. Every month, I'll post a detailed guide to an outstanding jazz CD. The guide will give you some background on the artist, and then point out exactly what to listen for on the CD, minute by minute.

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Marlene VerPlanck Loves Johnny Mercer

Read "Marlene VerPlanck Loves Johnny Mercer" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. Capsule An outstanding sampler of Mercer's lyrics, served up by a first-class singer who deserved to be better known. Background How many song lyrics did this man write? Are you ready? 1,200, according to the Johnny Mercer Foundation. They weren't all hits, of course, but each of the 54 Mercer songs listed in Wikipedia is ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Jam Session Coast To Coast/Jammin' at Condon's

Read "Jam Session Coast To Coast/Jammin' at Condon's" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule 1950's straight-ahead jazz, spiced with ad lib commentary by impressario/guitarist Condon. The musicians are laid back and having fun. Kick off your shoes and join them. Background In the 1940's and '50s, Eddie Condon was a legendary presence in the world of jazz. A tireless promoter, proselytizer and spokesman, he presided over his ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book

Read "Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting StartedIf you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. Background The Great American Songbook--songs written from the 1920's to the 1950's by giants such as Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart, Duke Ellington and the Gershwin brothers--has inspired jazz musicians and singers for generations, supplying the raw material for endless improvisation. In listening to jazz, a good rule of thumb is “Know the song and you're halfway there." ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Runnin' Wild

Read "Runnin' Wild" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Two hot jazz legends melt the thermometer, pushing each other to produce the most inspired work of their careers. As the sportscasters say, “They came to play." Background “So these two alpha-male jazz musicians walk into a bar..." No, in this case they walked into a studio and made some outstanding (and oddly ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book

Read "Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. Background The Great American Songbook--songs written from the 1920's to the 1950's by giants such as Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart, Duke Ellington and the Gershwin brothers--has inspired jazz musicians and singers for generations, supplying the raw material for endless improvisation. In listening to jazz, a good rule of thumb is “Know the ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Chet Baker Sings

Read "Chet Baker Sings" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD capsule Trumpeter Chet Baker's singing still provokes debate. Some love it, others wish he'd saved his singing for the shower. Here's a chance to make up your own mind by sampling some of the best singing of Baker's early career, when the voice was fresh, the ideas new. Background

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Jazz/Concord

Read "Jazz/Concord" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD capsule Two masters of the jazz guitar in a wonderful give-and-take session, listening to each other as they play and playing as one. The emotion is contagious, the songs well chosen, the sound pristine. A perfect union. Background Guitarist Herb Ellis had a remarkable talent for connecting musically ...


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