is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Sign up below to get the latest from What Hi-Fi?, plus exclusive special offers, direct to your inbox! But regardless of whether or not you know your Basie from your Bird, there's no denying the hi-fi potency of some of the best jazz recordings. Check out our list of 10 albums to get you started on your jazz journey and introduce yourself to some of jazz's great artists. In my opinion, still the best live album on the planet. 1: Jaco Pastorius. Freewill is a prime example of Geddy Lee's melodic sensibility and restraint sweetening... 3. Here he’s helping viewers learn their multiplication tables. While its origins date back to ancient times, modern jazz is generally held to have been birthed in New Orleans, in 1817, when the city council established “Congo Square,” an official site for performing “slave music and dance,” according to Jazz in Amercia.org.. At age 35, Aaron Diehl is the most elegant young pianist on the scene, equally accomplished with Ellington, Gershwin, Philip Glass, jazz standards, and the blues. Monk, though ailing, is in crisp form, and his bandmates—Charlie Rouse on sax, Larry Gales on bass, Ben Riley on drums—play with keen intensity. They all have plenty to tell you about the way your system is performing. You’ve run out of free articles. This is an odd debut album by drummer-composer Raphaël Pannier, featuring a slowed-down cover of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman,” a frenzied zigzag through Wayne Shorter’s “E.S.P.,” one piece each by Ravel, Messiaen, and the Brazilian bandolinist Hamilton de Holanda, and a handful of originals—all fronted by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón (a mentor of Pannier’s) blowing as lyrically as I’ve heard him. Send me updates about Slate special offers. But some legendary jazz guitarists have that universal sound that reaches and touches people deeply. Can your system keep up? Weather Report 8:30 (Live). Soul of the Bass is John Patitucci’s 16th solo record and it may be his most intimate and revealing one yet. 2. The Best Jazz Albums of 2020 Plus the best historical releases. Just amazing. The last four items on the first list are in almost random order. This concert from 1962, its tapes found in producer Norman Granz’s private archive, captures the Queen of Song at the height of her powers, unfurling ballads like “Angel Eyes” with shivering purity and—though she was never known as a blues singer—the likes of “Good Morning Heartache” and “Cry Me a River” with a belting fervor. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, It was the best bass on any of the CP albums IMO and is one of my favorite recordings. A mix of up-tempo rousers and haunting ballads, it’s a gorgeous album with a cooking band (pianist Gerald Clayton, guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Reuben Rogers, drummer Eric Harland) launching the master into some of his most gently adventurous flights. Without proper description of the leading edge of notes (and their lingering departure), a ton of the tune’s sardonic humour is lost. And that’s before Frank Lowe’s squealing sax begins its impression of some enraged geese at around 4:59. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. It’s one thing to establish a soundstage of guitar/bass/drums/voice and have your system describe it convincingly. This may be because this unrehearsed recording session from 1959 marks a great turning point in jazz history as well as showcasing the top … He virtually single-handedly made electric bass an acceptable jazz instrument, and played it like a well-schooled demon (his double-jointed thumbs helped, no doubt). The quality of the other tracks is equally as high. But it’s Corea’s staggeringly lyrical electric piano playing that steals centre stage, and consequently (along with percussionist Flora Purim’s wordless vocal interjections) the midrange. Get past it. Here is the 1937 version of Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli's "Minor Swing" in its definitive performance. Freewill – Rush (Geddy Lee) As a test of your set-up’s ability to establish a sense of space (in a performance that features multiple elements) Three is a Magic Number is among the best around. New York, Jazz has been an integral part of American music for over a century. 3: Ron Carter. Paul is the bassist in many of the albums that a have become milestones in the jazz history, I think that digging deeply in to the study of his lines is a must for all jazz bass players. Your Top 10 Bass Albums Victor Wooten: A Show of Hands. Matthew Shipp is one of the most uncompromising jazz pianists, grounded in Monk, Paul Bley, Cecil Taylor, and Sun Ra. Your set-up’s low-end fidelity has to extend to speed, tonality and speed again if Jaco’s virtuosic showing-off is to be heard to best advantage. December 11, 2020 One of the defining characteristics of the modern music scene is the way … Like the majority of these recordings, Return to Forever is an ensemble piece. Related Pages John Patitucci, Soul of the Bass (self-released) Release date: April 5. Fred Hersch, one of the most inventive jazz pianists, known for lush harmonies and galvanic rhythms, missed playing in clubs, so he set up some microphones around the piano in his Pennsylvania house and recorded a range of ballads and meditations, among them “After You’ve Gone,” “Wichita Lineman,” “All I Want,” and “Solitude.” Listen to it as a collection of anthems for our era. You can buy the album here. I have to list this one as it completely changed my perspective in college. Where understatement and low-temperature swing are concerned, few performers percolated like Mose John Allison. And when surrounded by an extensive ensemble all gathered to celebrate the black notes of the keyboard, he becomes among the most frantic examinations of your system’s dynamic ability you’ll hear. The rest is gold.). The debut album proper from South London sticksman and bandleader Moses Boyd is a heroic example of the London jazz scene’s ability to assimilate diverse sounds and styles – and a … You can cancel anytime. There was a problem. 10 Essential Jazz Albums. No one scores inner voices as rich as hers. By Ran Blake and Christine Correa. The track with Cécile McLorin Salvant singing the Mal Waldron/Billie Holiday tune “Left Alone” is worth the price of admission. The first track, Stolen Moments, is a remarkable use of four horns to create a atmospheric mood with amazing solos from Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy, Nelson, and Bill Evans. Every instrument and voice should exist in its own space on the soundstage, related to but not overlapping the other elements of the recording. Ben Perowsky (a drummer with roots in rock, pop, jazz, and the avant-garde), Chris Speed (a reedman of supple melodies and sinuous rhythms), and John Medeski (the organist from Medeski Martin & Wood, who fuses soul, swing, and wit in a single bar) join together for a session of casual headiness, covering Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and their own excursions in cannily original styles. It’s quite another to populate your stage with koto flute, balaphone, saxophone, finger cymbals, alto flute and cow horn (along with all the more usual jazz ensemble instruments) and assume your set-up will be able to make sense of it. Most of these albums or artists have been featured on Stuart Maconies Freak Zone, Sunday 8pm on BBC6 music. Sometimes the emptiness is just as important to a recording as the sounds, and that’s indubitably the case here. A fusion of Getz playing the sax and Gilberto on the guitar, this album is pretty much single handedly responsible for the bossa nova music scene that swept the United States. Blacknuss starts quietly, gets louder, gets louder still – and then fluctuates between those states for as long as it feels like it. If you buy something through our links, “This album served as the prelude to one of jazz’s most famous albums, Porgy & Bess, which was recorded soon after. Perhaps the most daunting and grandiose jazz tune ever written, John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" pushed the genre to … He unleashes ballads in a dreamlike flow. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. The remarkable discipline of Corea’s playing means he sounds fluent and expressive even as each stab or caress of his keyboard is delivered squarely – so it follows your system needs to be able to deliver all the warmth and wit loaded into the midrange to hear him to best advantage. It lasts about 10 seconds. Maria Schneider is the most brilliant big-band composer of our time, a master of stacked harmonies but also of propulsive rhythms, which she laces with stirring Americana or a Latin tinge, and the musicians in her “jazz orchestra,” as she calls it—many of whom have been following her lead for a couple of decades—are as tight as they come and fine soloists too. Photos by ESP-Disk, French Paradox, Verve, Blue Note, Red Piano, Palmetto, and Mack Avenue. Ran Blake may be the most eccentric jazz pianist, influenced by an odd mix of Bartok, gospel, Monk, rain-soaked film noir, and dark Alfred Hitchcock. The shaken percussion, grinding organ inputs and harp chromatics all work your set-up’s top end – there needs to be smoothness, but not blandness, to all these sounds. A collective like Art Ensemble of Chicago, with the many and various instruments they deploy (a 1969 tour of Europe saw them use over 500, including ‘little instruments’ like bicycle bells and wind chimes), would be difficult enough to organise at the best of times. This trio album spans his waterfront, and it’s all captivating, the more so with each successive hearing. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. Please refresh the page and try again. Drums, percussion, keyboards (acoustic and electric piano, plus Moog synthesizer), acoustic and electric bass, horns and wind instruments all take a turn – and when they’re all chipping in simultaneously (as they do from 5:15) your system will need to demonstrate all its powers of resolution to keep this virtuoso fist-fight in check. And you'll never see this message again. The thundering bass only grows throughout the song, accelerating into intense depths during the chorus. It’s mesmerizing. Legend has it that John Entwistle tracked this bassline in … The best of movies, TV, books, music, and more, delivered to your inbox three times a week. The Real Me – The Who (John Entwistle) All prices were up to date at the time of publication. Recorded a few months before tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath’s death at the age of 93, this is no sentimental farewell but a top-notch romp through a suite of original and standard ballads—one of the last surviving jazzmen who played with Charlie Parker, backed by a rotating crew of master sidemen who aren’t coasting either. This album is a treat of many level. We update links when possible, Her pianist Paul Smith comps with unusually sharp curves. The Ultimate Selection of "the best of the best" Essential Jazz Guitar Albums, Old and New. Probably the most famous jazz album of all time – and almost certainly the best-selling, Kind of Blue represented a new direction for Miles Davis, as he discarded the complex chord progressions of hard bop for something different: improvisations based on scales, or “modal” jazz. Sure, there's thousands of great albums that have been recorded to this day. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. I listened to Jonas Tauber's excellent Storm Walking Singing over the weekend, wondering who else made jazz solo bass albums, and I came up with the following list, aided by a discussion on a jazz forum somewhere on internet. We encountered an issue signing you up. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. They play blues, bebop songs and old standards with exquisite taste. It’s full of popular jazz standards, and the two artists are backed by an incredible crew of musicians: Oscar Peterson (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Herb Ellis (guitar), and Buddy Rich (drums).” —Charles 1. Time to start auditioning new components. Photo illustration by Slate. Best known from the movie trailer for "The Host," "Radioactive" is a modern, unique blend of dubstep and electronic rock. If the criteria is bass on an album and not who is the best bass player I see nothing wrong. If your hi-fi system can keep track of all the different instrumental strands as they career past the microphone, its powers of organisation are to be applauded. The Squier Classic Vibe Jazz Bass 60s Jazz Bass Laurel FB Black is not only one of the best jazz bass guitars ever made, but we think it’s one of the best bass guitars ever made – period. Kirk was a test of dynamism all by himself – after all, not too many horn specialists routinely play three instruments at a time. The 50 Best Jazz Bassists Of All Time. Matthew Shipp Trio, The Unidentifiable. All of a sudden, here was a totally brand-new sound. 5: Oscar Pettiford. After #TGU19 was wrapped, Jayme Lewis came along to visit our studio in Weimar and record some tunes. Red Piano. Jazz is a divisive art-form. If your favorite jazz bassist or album hasn’t been included, let us know in the comments section below; we’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! By Raphaël Pannier Quartet. One of Monk’s last dates, in 1968, at Palo Alto High School, booked by one of its students, recorded by a janitor, the tapes just recently found, this may have the most unusual backstory of any jazz artifact, but it’s no mere curiosity. Her latest is inspired by her longtime battle against digital rip-off artists and privacy invasion. The Great New Book About the Year That Changed Pop, How BTS Made History With the First Korean-Language No. He talked us through his favourite bass albums in his own words… Fragile by Yes (1971) I mean, it was new to us here in America, but obviously, to the people in South Africa, it had been around for a long time. Jazz: John Coltrane (ft. Paul Chambers on bass), "Giant Steps" The final frontier: jazz. Ran Blake and Christine Correa, When Soft Rains Fall. Music, Film, TV and Political News Coverage. Solo bass jazz albums are rare, but when listed, there's more to find than one would think. We're here to help! NY 10036. Here, he and singer Christine Correa (a former student of his) cover all the songs on Billie Holiday’s 1958 album Lady in Satin, but unlike that session’s lush orchestral backdrop, it’s just Correa—hitting every note with a smoky indigo blue—backed by Blake’s strangely dissonant chords. For those who are partial, it's America's single largest contribution to 20th century music and popular culture. New to jazz and don't know where to start? 6. Visit our corporate site. It wouldn’t be overstatement to call Jaco Pastorius a game-changer when it comes to jazz bass. That's why we've selected these dozen pieces. Browse the top jazz fusion albums to find new music and discover artists. Any luck they 'll bring ( at least some ) jazz onto your radar if it 's there! Albums Victor Wooten: a Show of Hands sound that reaches and touches people deeply multiplication... With trailblazing groups such as Soft Machine and Nucleus leading the way waterfront, and more delivered... Leading the way a prime example of Geddy Lee 's melodic sensibility and sweetening. But when listed, there 's thousands of great albums that have been recorded to this day: 3 Mice! A Graham Holdings Company in my opinion, still the best of movies, TV and Political News.... 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