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Looking for good jazz (updated)

ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
With a couple of conditions:

- No vocals, please.
- I'd prefer it be slightly lower tempo, although I'll take anything that fits the above description.

Of course, if you like anything that doesn't really meet either of those conditions, that's fine too. I'm trying to open myself up to the jazz world and I don't even know where to start.

Zombiemambo on


  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I am not a jazz connoisseur at all, but I've heard a few things and I know what I like.

    If you're looking for slower tempo stuff with piano and bass focus along with classical guitar, maybe look into Oregon:

    Or more specifically just Ralph Towner if you like the guitar. Oregon uses a lot of woodwinds and leans more toward "world music" than specifically jazz. Maybe they're a little too elevator/department store for you though, I dunno.

    This is going to sound stupid, but what do you think of the Sims' build mode music? Is that the sort of jazz piano you're looking for?

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  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    That second one isn't jazz at all, at least to me. I'm thinking Duke Ellington, John Coltrane etc.

    Zombiemambo on
  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    A fantastic group that is just piano, bass, and drums is the Bad Plus. My favorite song by them is probably Never Stop, but they have a lot of beautiful slower songs as well.

    You might find some things you like on this list that I made a while back:

    lyrium on
  • TrentusTrentus Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Hmm... as a horn player, it's gonna be hard for me to come up with some horn free stuff... but let's see what happens. Kinda wish there were some actual albums I could recommend... Also, keep in mind that one track isn't enough to showcase what these dudes can do. Their music might head in a different direction in a different time in their life.

    Art Tatum is pretty awesome, but his stuff is older so it's more stride ragtimey.

    Thelonious Monk is quite a bit more modern, and an absolute freak. I really gotta get more of his stuff.

    You all know McCoy Tyner. His quartet and trio are horn free, and he does solo stuff now and again as well.

    George Benson on the guitar. Some of his stuff is sort of fusiony, so if you're not really in to that it could be a bit off putting. Here's something a bit more traditional I suppose (what is traditional in jazz? dixie? bop? cool? modal?). Still, whatever he plays, he plays like a motherfucker.

    Pat Metheny is one of the other top jazz guitarists of the times. He's younger and his sound reflects that, being more sort of fusion pop postbop... if that makes sense. Also, monster of a note from the flugel player in this one.

    Keith Jarrett. Brilliant pianist and composer. The only thing is, it's kinda hard to know what you're gonna get with him. It could be jazz, classical, completely free improvisation... whatever he feels like. I heard a recording of him slowly building low end harmonics until the entire piano was resonating so violently that it sounded like a storm. It was awesome. He's completely insane and entirely unreasonable, but man can he play.

    That should give you enough to look through for now me thinks.

    Trentus on
  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Nina Simone did some great stuff, but my second-favourite piece of jazz has always been the epic piano solo in "Love Me Or Leave Me." Seriously, four minute song, and two minutes of it is just a guy tooling around on a piano with some low-key bass and drums in the background.

    My favourite piece of jazz is this, which was also well-loved by my grandfather.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    As a double bass player who also dislikes horns, I feel for you. Here's some of my favorites:

    There's also Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi, and the above Oscar Peterson. Most of the time the group won't be named for the drummer or bassist, which often results in the group being named for the guy playing the lead melody instrument. So you're looking for trios or quartets fronted by pianists, vibraphonists, and so on.

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  • soxboxsoxbox Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Jazz is a very very broad term. Based on your description, you seem like you might like some minimalist experimental jazz? Let me introduce you to The Necks.

    They even have an album called Piano Bass Drums, though Sex is probably the best starting point:

    soxbox on
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Cool, thanks for all the suggestions! Horns are fine, I just want to see if there's anything that uses piano a little more heavily. Stuff with horns is fine, too, so post any jazz you like.

    Zombiemambo on
  • KealohaKealoha Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Max Roach's stuff is pretty solid. It has a lot of horns still, but he's a drummer so when he's acting as band leader the drums are fairly promenant. Skip "We Insist!" and go for "Percussion Bittersweet." If you like it, go for "We Insist!," though it's very racially/politically themed. So is most of his stuff, but that is definitely the most in-your-face.

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  • IcemopperIcemopper Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I'm also here to suggest Thelonious Monk. Very very very very very talented. Excellent if you love the piano.

    Icemopper on
  • garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Bill Evans - Sunday At the Village Vanguard. Seriously, don't even think about it. If you don't have this album, you need it. You can't go wrong with Bill Evans, but SatVV is just glorious.

    Chick Corea - Now He Sings Now He Sobs

    Herbie Hancock - Sounds like you may want to stay away from his more fusiony stuff (Headhunters) and stick with some of his more straight-up stuff (Maiden Voyage).

    Art Tatum - Don't have a specific album in mind, but he's one of jazz's great innovators

    Also seconding (thirding?) Theolonious Monk

    Keith Jarrett is one of the biggest names out there right now

    Also, one of my favorite piano players out there today is Hiromi Uehara. She does a lot of electric trio stuff with synth, which is probably not what you're looking for, but once in a while she'll bust out something like this

    EDIT: Better video

    garroad_ran on
  • GalactusGoGalactusGo Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Miles Davis, Kind of Blue....widely recognized as one of the finest albums available for human ears. Please give it a listen, it really is amazing.

    GalactusGo on
  • Caution! RobotCaution! Robot Registered User
    edited April 2011
    I'll second the Bill Evans recommendation:
    • Sunday at the Village Vanguard (his best? trio)
    • Conversations with Myself (solo piano)
    • Affinity (with the amazing Toots Thielemans on harmonica)
    • Undercurrent (duo with guitarist Jim Hall)

    Caution! Robot on
  • SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2011
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Lots of brass, but very clean and 21st century: Kytecrash a combo-killer-band of Kyteman's Hip Hop Orchestra and Eric Vloeimans band

    Melody Gardot is [1] a gorgeous lady, [2] a great voice and [3] a great introduction to a lot of jazz. She's far less famous than John Mayer and those other wankers who mostly cash in on the world's gigantic crush on Frank Sinatra.

    Can't mention jazz without paying tribute to the man. Chet Baker

    And have you ever listened to Django Reinhardt, there's not really any brass instruments in his orchestras, because they're gypsies.

    Aldo on
  • metaghostmetaghost Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Mouse on Keys, a very modern Jazz trio of 2x Piano + Drums with occasional double bass and brass accompaniment, somewhat similar in approach to the previously mentioned Bad Plus (minus the covers):

    Double Bind

    Going back to the Blue Note era, one of my favorite groups is Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, somewhat unique in that being Art Blakey's group, percussion was a dominant force in their performance:

    Calling Ms. Khadija

    EDIT: Forgot to mention Grant Green, one of the masters of guitar-oriented jazz, who also had a ridiculously long and diverse career:

    Alone Together

    metaghost on
  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Brad Mehldau:

    Wynton Kelly: (like a vastly improved Red Garland)

    Hank Mobley:

    Miles Davis & Gil Evans:
    Sketches of Spain album, Porgy and Bess

    CygnusZ on
  • ThroThro [email protected] Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Snarky Puppy - It's like if Weather Report was still around and made up of younger people.

    Weather Report- Actually give them a listen too, if you don't mind synthesizer noises.

    Thro on
  • TrentusTrentus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I would just about say that Coltrane's A Love Supreme is my absolute favourite album. You've really gotta listen to the whole thing in one sitting to grasp the full impact of the work. This'll get you started.

    I've been listening to a fair bit of Roy Hargrove lately. There's an album, With the Tenors of Our Time, where he plays with various tenor sax players (Branford Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Henderson just to name a few) that's pretty awesome, and his quintet stuff is pretty cool too, though at times frustrating. I found that on a few recordings the solos feel like they end prematurely... they begin to build and then all of a sudden they just stop. The live stuff is where it's at though.

    I love afrobeat, so I'll second Fela Kuti and also mention his sons Seun and Femi. Fela was quite a pioneer of afrobeat, and his sons have carried on his legacy. Seun seems to follow his father's style more closely, where as Femi has sort of done his own thing with it. They're both fantastic though.

    Little bit surprised no one's mentioned Charles Mingus yet. Fantastic bass player and genius composer/arranger. Mingus Ah Um, Mingus Dynasty, they're all great albums.

    When it comes to Miles, there's a good half a dozen albums or so that are defining. As other have mentioned, Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain, but there's also Birth of the Cool, Bitches Brew and the live album My Funny Valentine. Milestones is damn cool too.

    Michael Brecker would have to be one of the more influential jazz guys of the modern era. He played on an album, Directions in Music : Live at Massey Hall, with Roy Hargrove and Herbie Hancock where they paid tribute to Miles and Coltrane. He performs a beautiful rendition of Naima, really made the piece his own. Other great albums are Tales From the Hudson and Pilgrimage.

    Lots of great suggestions in this thread so far. I always like to hear what people suggest. Keep em coming guys.

    Trentus on
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