Thursday, January 6, 2011

5 Albums For a New Jazz Listener

A blog post recently caught my eye. The interest evolved into an intriguing question. It was Wynton Marsalis' "top 5" must listen albums for a new jazz listener. At least, that was the way it was presented. I immediately clicked on the link, getting ready to debate the choices. Once I got there I found it was actually Wynton's picks from his own discography, to acquaint a new listener to his music. You can check it out yourself here.

My first thought was it would be very interesting to hear any of the current jazz legend's view of how a new listener should approach their music. That would have to be fascinating. The challenge would have to be picking releasing that were not necessarily the best, but those that were most reflective of their artistry. Poll a group of die-hard fans of any artist and there is likely to be strong debate over those five album titles. When the list comes from the artist, where's your grounds for debate?

The question quickly came to mind, what 5 releases would I choose for a new listener? An automatic impulse is to pick my favorite 5 albums. Even that is a major challenge, but then, if I truly want to enlighten a new listener to this music, the selection will have to be much broader than the favorites that come to mind on that particular day. Remember, this is for a new listener, not someone that wants to find out what I like in jazz.

So, I open Jazz Currents for 2011 with a question to the collective. What 5 would you pick? Feel free to post a comment/response to this posting. I'll post my choices in my next update. I want to have some fun thinking about this for a minute. First, some additional context. Assume the person asking knows nothing about jazz, and nothing about your personal taste, but they know you are a serious fan of the music. They would like to learn more about the music in general, and would like your recommendations. What would you pick, and why? I'll post the updates as they come in. Only one ground rule: no attacking someone else's suggestions.

Happy New Year!!!

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