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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Instant Download Jazz Collection for under $50!!

Here's an article if you're newly intrigued by or drawn to jazz. Below are 10 albums, a sort of 'starter kit' for less than $50 ($47.54 to be exact). The first 5 are classics to help make you more knowledgeable, and the last five are popular off-beat choices to make you casually hip. Most of all, of course, there is the immense enjoyment to be had of this awesome music - America's greatest contribution to the global world of art! All of these albums are in download form, and all are under $7! Ah - the instant musical gratification of the new millennium. Enjoy!! :)

The most popular jazz album of all time. Marvelously pairing modal jazz with short, catchy melodies and a highly unique sound and chill-out mood. Great introduction to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Bill Evans!

Also hugely popular, includes "Take Five". Album was revolutionary incorporating unusual time signatures into standard jazz forms, but as in all great jazz albums, it's the melodies, the mastery of instruments, and the feel that make this one so wonderful. A killer quartet at their peak!

The first two tracks of this album are some of the most beloved recordings among jazz musicians as well as lovers of the genre. Spark, intensity, spirituality, immediately memorable melodies and performances. The 'classic quartet' featuring McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison & Elvin Jones.

Thelonious Monk at one of many peaks. The title track is a bit daunting, musically, but certainly evokes an intriguing mood with enjoyable experimentation. The remainder of the album is pure Monk - crazy, fun melodies, driving rhythmic motifs with quirky harmonic punctuations. All-star cast including Sonny Rollins and Max Roach. The cover pictured here is not the original Brilliant Corners artwork, but the music is the original.

Mingus influenced a whole generation of jazzers he either played accompanied or directed in his bands and workshops. Incorporating traditional jazz and gospel into new thinking for ensemble performance, his music is expressive and at times, subversive. This album contains a half dozen classic Mingus standards.

A more modern choice from 1998. Scofield incorporates his highly stylized guitar sound and bluesy approach to a set of groovin' and musically satisfying numbers, with the kings of easy-groove backing him up - Medeski, Martin & Wood. A 10 out of 10.

This is actually another 'classic' album, albeit from her very late period. Her voice is not what it once was, but the raw emotion was never more pronounced, and the arrangements are gorgeous. Holiday's phrasing and gift of interpretation influenced countless jazz musicians, most notably Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra.

Joe Farrell is stunning on both sax & flute. He's best known for his outstanding performances on the first 2 Return to Forever albums. He's at the height of his creative and performing abilities here. A fine introduction to Chick Corea, Elvin Jones and the underrated bassist Buster Williams and great music for 3 bucks!

Gil Evans collaborated with Miles Davis to create brilliant albums like "Sketches of Spain" and "Miles Ahead". Here he teams up with legendary alto sax player Cannonball Adderley to put more modern (for the time) spins on older jazz tunes. Great way to get familiar with standard songs from early jazz like "St. Louis Blues, Lester Leaps In, and Struttin' With Some Barbeque".

One can never have 'too much Monk' - and this is actually something of a classic live album for a ridiculous price ($2.49). People who were lucky enough to catch Monk's shows at the legendary hole-in-the-wall jazz dive The Five Spot will never tire of telling you just how magical they were. Johnny Griffin is one of the best tenor sax players you may not have heard of.

Nearly all the albums can be obtained in cd form on the pages linked here, except "Outback" and "New Bottle Old Wine". This is simply for a quick 'starter' collection, there are scores of other important jazz artists who were crucial to the development! Note: Once on the pages, be sure to click on the "Buy MP3 Album" button to purchase. Buying the tracks individually will cost you much, much more!

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