A few people who know about my love of jazz have told me that I should put together some kind of list of Jazz artists or recordings I would recommend for someone who didn't know much about the music. In the next few days I'm going to start trying to do that but on a more ambitious scale. I'm going to start writing a series of posts about jazz artists I really love. This will cover a lot of ground so I'll posting sound clips and videos from other places on the Web, first in roughly chronological order, then branching out into some of the sub-groupings I really like such as vocalists, large ensembles and British jazz.
I want to make it clear from the beginning that this will all reflect my personal tastes and not be any attempt at a comprehensive history of the music. Professional writers like Gary Giddins and Ted Gioia have done far better books on that then I ever could. I'll be mentioning some of the bedrock figures who have to be dealt with in this music's history, but eventually it's going to come around to the people I know and enjoy the most. I know I'm going to pass over some crucial names simply because I'm not as familiar with their music as I should be or because I just plain forgot. What I do talk about should just be considered starting points. If you like some of what you hear, investigating that artist's work is invariably going to lead you to plenty of other great artists. That's the path I followed when I first really started digging into this music.
I hope to do the first post in the next few days and try to continue weekly from there (though I can barely say that with a straight face). I have enough material to do this for a while. Just looking around on YouTube I found several film clips by duos or groups I didn't dream had ever been filmed. If you read any of these posts hopefully you'll hear something that will give you a sense of the great variety in this music and make you want to seek out more..
And just as a sample, here's a 1989 clip from a Vienna concert of two people I should be returning to down the line, pianist Carla Bley and bassist Steve Swallow doing Bley's composition, "Sing Me Softly Of The Blues":