All About Jazz

Home » Articles | Reviews Only

Getting Into Jazz

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

Runnin' Wild

Read "Runnin' Wild" reviewed by

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

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

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

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 ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Together (Maxine Sullivan Sings The Music Of Jule Styne)

Read "Together (Maxine Sullivan Sings The Music Of Jule Styne)" reviewed by

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD capsule What do you get if you take a 76 year old jazz singer who's seen a lot of life, surround her with a small group of premier jazz musicians and give her a bunch of vintage Jule Styne songs to sing? You get something you really ought to hear, a disc ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

The Essential Vic Dickenson

Read "The Essential Vic Dickenson" reviewed by

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Timeless, straight-ahead 1950's jazz, played with passion and elegance by seasoned musicians at the top of their game. Don't look for bebop or coolness here. These guys weren't interested in revolutions. Background Although the 1950's are generally viewed as a period of Father-Knows-Best comfort and conformity, that ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Suddenly It's Spring

Read "Suddenly It's Spring" reviewed by

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD capsule Beautiful yet largely forgotten ballads unearthed and given a stunning jazz make-over by tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims and pianist Jimmy Rowles. Tag this one as buried treasure. Background For more about Sims and Rowles, go to the If I'm Lucky in the “Getting Into Jazz" series.

GETTING INTO JAZZ

The Commodore Master Takes

Read "The Commodore Master Takes" reviewed by

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Take a generous scoop of traditional New Orleans jazz, with its intricate three-horn counterpoint, add a hard-driving, hell-for-leather beat, shake well, and you've got Chicago-style jazz. No one made Chicago-style more exciting than cornetist Wild Bill Davison, and these recordings catch him and his cohorts at the top of their game. ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio

Read "Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio" reviewed by

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Saxophonist Stan Getz shines in this disc, recorded early in his career with top-flight musicians who created a perfect setting for his skills and sensitivity. Give him an “A" in “Plays well with others." Background Like Zoot Sims (see If I'm Lucky in this “Getting Into Jazz" ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Let's Face the Music and Dance

Read "Let's Face the Music and Dance" reviewed by

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Stellar renditions of jazz standards by a wonderful singer who understands the songs and extracts genuine tenderness and excitement from them. To top it off, she's surrounded by a group of jazz musicians who share her sensibility. Background Amid the throng of moaners, shouters and chanteuses ...