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

Vic Dickenson: The Essential Vic Dickenson

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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

Zoot Sims and Jimmy Rowles: "Suddenly It’s Spring"

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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

Wild Bill Davison: The Commodore Master Takes

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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: Stan Getz And The Oscar Peterson Trio

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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

Donna Byrne: Let's Face the Music and Dance

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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 ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Louis Armstrong: The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens

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Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Portrait of the artist as a young genius. In these immortal recordings, Armstrong blew new life into jazz and changed it forever. Background Many people remember Louis Armstrong only as a popular entertainer, recalling how he wrapped his warm, gravelly voice around such hits as “Hello, Dolly" ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Barney Kessel: The First Four Albums

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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 work by a luminary of the jazz guitar. These albums are a showcase for Kessel's skill and sensitivity, and a reminder of how gifted he was as an arranger. Background Barney Kessel, perhaps the most celebrated jazz guitarist of the 1950s and ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Chet Baker & Russ Freeman: Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman

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Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Iconic West Coast jazz by the legendary trumpeter at the cusp of his career. Baker made a slew of recordings in his lifetime, but this is among the crème de la crème. Background Trumpeter Chet Baker rose to prominence in the mid-1950's and continued to ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Zoot Sims & Jimmy Rowles: If I'm Lucky

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Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Gorgeous improvisations on some beautiful yet rarely played songs by tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims and pianist Jimmy Rowles. Background Zoot Sims was one of several tenor saxophonists who played in the spare, “cool" style originated by the legendary Lester Young. This meant a smooth, breathy tone without ...


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