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  1. #1
    it's about the music
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    Now that i've been listening to the classic jazz, what about some contemporary?

    What contemporary jazz artists would you recommend?
    Cheers!
    I remember the days when I thought 128kbps sounded great and had never spent more than 10 bucks on cables...

  2. #2
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity...

    ...what classic jazz have you listened to? Any Benny Goodman? Charlie Christian? Bix Biederbecke? Glenn Miller? Dizzy Gillespie? Charlie Parker? John Coltrane? Miles Davis? Wilbur Harden? Lionel Hampton? Thelonius Monk?

    jimHJJ(...there's tons of it...)
    Last edited by Resident Loser; 06-08-2005 at 11:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of what some refer to as 'smooth' or 'cool' these days, so unless those radio formats sound appealing to you, I'd avoid it at all costs. Some might say Pat Metheny, but I've just never heard anything by him that did it for me. I have heard a Brad Mehldau rec or two I thought were decent, ditto Joe Lovano, but for the most part it seems like the most significant contributions to the genre were made a long time ago. The people I like these days I just can't get too excited about because, good as they may be, masterful even, when it comes to playing, their playing is great, but their artistic vision is mostly playing off stuff from long ago. Wynton Marsalis is an example, and if he weren't such a jerk about what it is that he does I might find it in me to like or even respect him just a bit more. One of the few cases where I allow what I think of an artist as a person--in this case his persona revolves 100% about being a standard-bearer for his chosen art form--to influence how I view their music.

    If this sounds like a typical 'there is no good music anymore' rant, as is often heard by fans of older rock music, well, jazz ain't rock. I certainly don't feel there is no good jazz out there, but I do think that the best stuff is just not very original. There are harsher criticisms. But anytime I hear one of these recs I invariably end up feeling like I'd rather be hearing Miles, or Parker, or Coltrane, Rollins, Monk, Mingus, whoever. Are those recs that much better? I think so.

    I like Jane Monheit quite a bit & highly recommend her first album; and the last Madeleine Peyroux album is amazing as well. But while I don't think it's a dead genre, I enjoy it most in live performance, for the most part.

    Interesting discussion here: the first one is by a guy who's (wrongly, in my opinion) suggesting that it's easy to pin down "good vs. bad" jazz on the basis of how each leader approaches standards:

    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/mus...es/125774.html

    And another one, more relevant to the topic at hand, by a guy who happens to be a professional jazz musician & provides what I'm thinking is good info for ya if you're seriously interested in hearing some contemporary players:

    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/mus...es/125857.html

    I don't like others.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Ex Lion Tamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    What contemporary jazz artists would you recommend?
    Cheers!
    I seem to gravitate to the women making jazz these days. One in particular who is always interesting, with a nice take on some classic pop songs, and has an absolutely smoking band, is Patricia Barber, either one of her first two albums; Cafe Blue or Modern Cool are indispensible in my house. Another artist along the same lines is Cassandra Wilson, try Blue Light til Dawn. And The Holly Cole Trio continues to be a favorite.

    As for instrumentalists....Don Byron has an album or two I enjoy, specifically his take on/tribute to the compositions of Raymond Scott, John Kirby & Duke Ellington; Bug Music.

    I'm also a fan of Charlie Haden, especially his work with his Quartet West. Try Haunted Heart, if you're in the mood for some classic music for film-noire.

    Note, though that the Byron and Haden stuff is an example of contemporary artists performing jazz standards, so they may not be exactly what you're looking for.
    "I don't know. A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." The Right Honourable JC.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I have trouble finding contemporary jazz that I like, but will toss out one suggestion of a 2004 recording that I think is fantastic. The Dirty Dozen Brazz Band: Funeral for a Friend is a New Orleans style funeral cycle dedicated to one of their recently passed founding members. It's not strictly modern I guess in that the tunes are classics and standards, but it is a modern recording by a still functioning jazz band that just blew me away.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Never Mind What He Said...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    What contemporary jazz artists would you recommend?
    Cheers!
    It really depends what kind of jazz you like.

    You may want to try the new Pat Metheny Group album, This Way Up. First Circle is also great.

    The latest Patricia Barber is very good. Although any of her albums are winners.

    I like The Rippingtons for modern guitar-based uptempo west-coast jazz. Kinda like a more guitar-centred Spyro-Gyra.

    If you like your jazz more romantic, then try David Benoit or Dave Gruisin for piano-based jazz.

    On the fusion track, try Tribal Tech or ealy Al DeMiola and Return to Forever. If you like prog rock, then try Bruford, or perhaps his latest project, Earthworks. Some great work here.

    If you your tastes stretch beyond the easily accessible, try Kevin Eubanks, Sprit Talk.

    Another great one in the more traditional vein is Gerry Mulligan, Dragonfly.

    Dave Brubeck's Take Five is a classic of cool, with Paul Desmond on saxaphone. Not modern enough I guess.

  7. #7
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MindGoneHaywire
    I'm not a fan of what some refer to as 'smooth' or 'cool' these days, so unless those radio formats sound appealing to you, I'd avoid it at all costs. Some might say Pat Metheny, but I've just never heard anything by him that did it for me. I have heard a Brad Mehldau rec or two I thought were decent, ditto Joe Lovano, but for the most part it seems like the most significant contributions to the genre were made a long time ago. The people I like these days I just can't get too excited about because, good as they may be, masterful even, when it comes to playing, their playing is great, but their artistic vision is mostly playing off stuff from long ago. Wynton Marsalis is an example, and if he weren't such a jerk about what it is that he does I might find it in me to like or even respect him just a bit more. One of the few cases where I allow what I think of an artist as a person--in this case his persona revolves 100% about being a standard-bearer for his chosen art form--to influence how I view their music.
    I must completely agree with you. I've spent some time listening to those cool jazz radio formats and I must say that its fairly stale until they put some older jazz into the mix. This is a genre where the participants get much respect for their chops, but as artic accomplishments go, they are somewhat bankrupt. I became very interested in jazz some 15 years ago and found myself peetering out around five years ago, after digesting mostly classic jazz. There just isn't any ground breaking jazz out there (same for blues, though).

    But I will say there are some fine jazz albums to peruse(parouse?) I do like Bill Bruford's Earthworks projects (shameless prog reference) as well as a couple of Bob James albums Restless and Trio (but not the Four Play stuff). Elaine Elias is a good jazz pianist. But I'm going off a ten year old memory at that.

    I like Donald Faygen's paen to '60s jazz in the form of Nightfly, even though it merely revels in everything that came before it.. Even his Kamakiriad is a good diversion and is a bit more modern sounding.

    GRP releases are for elevators. If you're into fusion you need ask elsewhere as I do not get fusion.

  8. #8
    it's about the music
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    Mainly T. Monk, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Brubeck, Oscar Petersen Trio (gotta love this one), The Bad Plus (i need to be in the mood for this), some Charlie Parker, LOTS of Django Reinhardt, Jaques Lousier...
    I remember the days when I thought 128kbps sounded great and had never spent more than 10 bucks on cables...

  9. #9
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    Dont know if these guys count as 'jazz', but nobody else has mentioned them. Definitely worth a listen.
    Herbie Hancock, i cant believe nobody has mentioned him in the above posts.
    Medeski Martin Wood not real jazz with trumpets and stuff, but really really really good music.
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  10. #10
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Has anyone here checked out Tomasz Stanko. His last two albums have gotten great reviews in the press, especially "Suspended Night" released in '04. But I would like to know what REAL people think about it.

  11. #11
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    Unfortunately...

    ...most of what I have been exposed to re:contmporary jazz is about as exciting as watching wallpaper peel...the rest seems sooo...self-indulgent...There is so much older stuff I've missed while enamoured of rock and the rest, that it all seems like new to me...

    If guitar is your thing, Django(with or without Stephane Grappelli) is a good place, you may also be interested in Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd. Early George Benson, Earl Klugh's "Finger Paintings" is tasty...The L.A. Guitar Quartet's "Guitar Heroes", while not jazz, strictly speaking, is quite inventive and entertaining IMO...and of course, Chet Atkins...maybe a bit too smooth and a little bit country, but boy could that man play. Another choice is Les Paul...he does tend to get "pop"-y(especially with Mary Ford), but considering how much he contributed to the guitar and it's evolution, not to mention recording techniques, I consider him some essential listening...

    If you haven't gotten into Coltrane or Davis, try "Blue Train", "Soul Trane" or "My Favorite Things" from the former and "Round Midnight" and "Kind Of Blue" from the latter. Since I discovered KOB, I've been advising anyone looking to get into jazz to pick up a copy...even if you didn't like jazz, per se, this is THE one to have...it features both artists.

    As I said in another thread, visit your local library's Fine Arts and Recreation section, see if you can pick up some of the stuff...it's free(as long as you return 'em when due)...and if you don't like them, it didn't cost you anything but time.

    jimHJJ(...good listening...)

  12. #12
    Forum Regular newtrix1's Avatar
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    Another nod toward Patricia Barber here. "Companion" was my first PB album and IMO a good starting point.

  13. #13
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    You can't go wrong with any CTI re-issue. Along with a lot of other people here I have to admit there is not a lot of good new jazz. Most of it is jazz lite (smooth jazz). If you want to know how a sax should sound get Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus. Of course the aformentioned Mile, Train and others are all good. The Return to Forever stuff from Chick Corea is always good especially the rare first one with Flora Purim singing. Airto is playing the drums and Joe Farrell is playing the flute on this one.
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  14. #14
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    noddin0ff's jazz opus

    Finding contemporary Jazz is hard. Especially if you can't get out to clubs. The stuff pushing the envelope isn't for everyone. The stuff that keeps the quartet sound is accused of being too conventional. Just got to keep trying to find what you like.
    From my random walk through Jazz, my recommendations

    Must haves from absolute must (top) to less must.
    Miles Davis (Trumpet): Kind of Blue (there is no other)
    Charles Mingus (Bass): Ah Um (this one opened my ears and mind--politics, race, and jazz)
    John Coltrane (Tenor): Blue Train (the JC beginner album)
    John Coltrane (Tenor): A Love Supreme (for advanced study...deep. The album is an extended prayer, coming about as close to God as you can get with out burning your ears)
    Thelonius Monk: Brilliant Corners or Monk's Music (angular and unique, simple and cerebral)
    Dave Brubeck (piano): Time Out (overplayed, but classic, and flawless)
    Sonny Rollins (Tenor Sax): Saxophone Collosus (an alternative to Coltrane, also try On Impulse!)
    John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (baritone): (Defines romance)
    Billy Holliday (vocal):Lady in Satin (Defines heartbreak)
    Stanley Turrentine (Tenor): Blue Hour-Complete sessions w/ Three Sounds(Initmate classics))
    Stanley Turrentine (Tenor): Sugar (Sweet! Incredible rich gooey sound, goes down well)
    Bill Evans (Piano): Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Influential pianist)
    Herbie Hancock (piano): Head Hunter/Speak Like a Child, Maiden Voyage (stuck in the 60-70's but worth a listen, a better side man IMO)
    Miles Davis: Silent Way (MD leaves Jazz Standard behind)
    Thelonius Monk (piano): Himself, and T. Monk w/ John Coltrane
    Sun Ra: Jazz in Silhouette (a good album made before he departed the solar system)

    Some relatively current pics

    Nicholas Payton (trumpet): Payton's Place, also Nick@Night
    Cassandra Wilson (vocal): Blue Light til Dawn, Traveling Miles
    Dee Dee Bridgewater (Vocal): Live at Yoshi's (track 'Love for Sale')
    Mingus Big Band: Que Viva Mingus, Blues and Politics (I can't get enough Mingus!)
    Christian McBride (Bass): Getting to it, Number Two Express


    For the Jazz that's different, perhaps adventurous try

    Medeski Martin & Wood: Shackman, Combustication (Really must listed to Shackman, Groove, funk, noise, Trio, wow!

    Liquid Soul: Best live, they rock and funk, makes you want to dance. All albums good try 'Make some noise'. If you have a pulse, you'll like them.

    John Scofield: Uberjam (All over the board, Song titles include Acidhead, Ideofunk, I brake for Monster Booty, Uberjam. Fun, Fun, Fun)

    Lounge Lizards: Voice of Chunk, Queen of all Ears (maybe too sterile some, lots of repetitive motifs,

    Bela Fleck: If you like Banjo jazz he's really good.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Nina Simone, Shirley Horn and Betty Carter. I love Nina's voice and her music covers such a huge gamut from pure jazz to political activisim. Shirley is know for her voice and also her playing of the piano. Betty Carter is another truly talented singer.

  16. #16
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    Contemparary Jazz....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    What contemporary jazz artists would you recommend?
    Cheers!
    Different people have different interpretations of the term "contemparary jazz".

    If you think of classical jazz (as I do) as the works of legends such as Miles, Trane, Monk,
    Bird, and Mingus then I would say their "contempararies" are Branford, Wynton, Garrett,
    Hargrove, McBride. On the other hand some people think of contemparary jazz as fusion artists such as Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker and the YellowJackes and even (God forbid) smooth jazz drival such as Kenny G, Chris Botti, and Rick Braun.

    I pretty much love most forms of jazz except the aforementioned "smooth" version.
    CD's I can whole hearted recommend include:

    Branford Marsalis - Requiem, Random Abstact, Crazy People Music
    Wynton Marsalis - Black Codes, Think of One, Standard Time (Volume 1)
    Kenny Garrett - Standard of Language, Song Book, Pursuence
    Christian McBride - Number 2 Express
    Roy Haynes - Birds of a feather
    Jeff "Tain" Watts - Bar Talk
    Ralph Peterson Jr. - V
    Geri Allen - The Nuturer
    Wallace Roney - The Villiage
    The B Sharps - The Go 'Round

    As for fusion I'd can recommend the following:

    The Yellowjackets - The Spin, Like A River, Four Corners
    Bob Berg - Cycles, Short Stories
    Mike Stern - Time in Place, Jigsaw, Play, Upside/Downside
    Michael Brecker - Tales from the Hudson, Two Blocks from the Edges
    Pat Metheny - Still Life Talking, Letter from Home, Pat Metheny Group, Speaking of Now
    Marcus Miller - The Sun Don't Lie
    Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius
    Weather Report - Black Market, Mysterious Traveler
    John Scofield - Loud Jazz, A go-go, Bump, Groove-elation
    Joshua Redman - Elastic, Momentum

  17. #17
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    bump..

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