I’ve been asked recently where to start with jazz music. I have so many different recommendations that I decided to create this page for anyone who is looking to get into jazz. For me jazz has been a very long and rewarding journey and I’d love to share what I’ve found with others.
One recommendation for starting with jazz is to listen to Miles Davis, find the period that you like best, and begin to investigate his sidemen. While I had never heard this advice when I started listening, if you tracked my introduction to jazz I absolutely followed Miles’ sidemen given the vast number of jazz giants Miles played with over the years.
To investigate Miles’ records and sidemen check out this wonderful, interactive site, Scaled In Miles.
Here is a list of some of my favorite jazz albums. I love vocal jazz, fusion, modern jazz, and a fair amount of swing, but for Jazz 101 I am sticking with instrumental jazz music released in the 1950s and 60s. This is considered the Blue Note era of jazz where bebop, cool jazz, modal jazz, hard-bop, soul jazz, and avant garde ruled. I will eventually follow up with some of my favorite vocal jazz albums and fusion albums.
This list is in no particular order, except for Kind of Blue. That album has long been considered the best jazz album of all time. And it is the album to start with if you are new to jazz. If you don’t enjoy that album then jazz music is probably not for you.