August 3, 2021

5 essential albums to fall in love with jazz

5 essential albums to fall in love with jazz

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It is likely that we have all entered the modern art exhibition in vogue in some city and have enjoyed it without having understood absolutely anything. It is an honest confession, but one of which we are not so proud. And it is that human creation can become so complex that even the arts require something that goes beyond the emotions they produce in order to fully appreciate them.

A simile to contemporary art could be the jazz, a genre that has existed since the early twentieth century, but has evolved and transformed so much in all this time that it is impossible to define it as a gender. It is broadly characterized by syncopated rhythms, polyphonic voices and sounds, a lot of improvisation, and usually deliberate pitch deviations and the use of timbres.

The truth is that it has always been there. We can find it in a fascinating club hidden in the vaults of an old building, playing in a hipster cafeteria, during a taxi ride or performed by talented ensembles at the exit of subway stations and on the streets.

If you feel like taking a dip in this complicated and exquisite genre, here are our five favorite albums to do so:

5 essential albums to fall in love with jazz

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1) Kind Of Blue de Miles Davis (Columbia, 1959)

One of the main qualities that characterize jazz is spontaneity, not only during the live performances of the musicians, but also during the recording sessions in the different studios. One of the cases that resonated the most at the time and that made it an instant classic was that of Kind of Blue by the great Miles Davis. According to specialists, the Illinois native came to the Columbia Records studio with some sketches of melodies written on loose sheets of paper. His band followed him masterfully and each track was recorded in one or two takes. With this, the genre took a big step, completely innovating traditional processes.

2) Bird & Diz de Charlie Parker & Dizzee Gillespie (Clef, 1952)

Perhaps Charlie Parker was the most influential saxophonist of all time. ‘Bird’, as he was nicknamed, was responsible for the creation of the bebop subgenre in the late 1940s. For his part, Dizzy Gillespie was a prodigal trumpet player who accompanied him in his greatest moments. Like other African American genres, collaboration has always been present in jazz. This jewel brings together both figures, who, to top it all, are accompanied by the extraordinary pianist Thelonious Monk, creating a true testimony of genius.

5 essential albums to fall in love with jazz

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3) A Love Supreme de John Coltrane (UMG, 1964)

The album is not only considered the masterpiece of the saxophonist John Coltrane, but, for many scholars in the genre, it is the best jazz album of all time. With only four songs (in its original version) that convey all kinds of emotions (from anger or tragedy, to joy, ecstasy and triumph) the work in which the only wind is the saxophone by Coltrane explores spirituality , but not in a religious way, but in the purest introspective sense, incorporating voices almost as if they were mantras. There are no words to describe this wonder. The best thing is for you to evangelize yourself.

4) Money Jungle de Duke Ellington (United Artists, 1963)

Another of the virtues of jazz is that it is anachronistic and timeless. In the middle of 2018, Duke Ellington’s piano sounds as avant-garde as when he recorded Money Jungle. The incredible thing is that the teacher was 64 years old and his hands hit the keys with the fins of a young man. In addition, he was accompanied by another pair of monsters of the genre: the double bassist Charles Mingus and the drummer Max Roach, who during the recording of the album were 25 years younger than Ellington. The result is listening to two very different generations of musicians merging into an irresistible and immortal sound work.

5 essential albums to fall in love with jazz

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5) Djangology de Django Reinhardt (Weton-Wesgram, 1961)

Although the United States is the country where jazz was born and proliferated, on the other side of the world several musicians incorporated these techniques and applied them to their own realities. A great example is the unsurpassed guitarist Django Reinhardt, gypsy jazz promoter and probably the most influential European musician of the genre. Despite having suffered an accident and left him immobilized by a couple of fingers, he recorded some of the guitar requisites that to date are tried to imitate. Reinhardt died before recording an LP as such, but his work is sprinkled throughout hundreds of compilations. Djangology is definitely one of the richest.