Read the Funkish Jazz Resource Guide because it highlights the best classic & current Jazz, and points you to many remarkable resources you can refer to when you’re looking for your next favorite Jazz artists, or want to explore the timeless Jazz catalogs of the past.
Get a few Jazz playlists on Spotify, and a tremendous tribute mix to Horace Silver by Gilles Peterson.
You might just learn something cool in the process! And, best of all connect with other Jazz lovers (by highlighting in the comments section at the bottom) your own favorite resources and places to discover Jazz that’s new to you. Bookmark this page, and come back to it when you want to get a little deeper into Jazz.
Stick around and watch fantastic videos with today’s top Jazz musicians, as well as interviews and more…
See & hear one of today’s greatest Jazz bands, the Stanton Moore Trio,
perform “Carnival” live…
Blue Note Records, Jazz Stories, Live Jazz,
Today’s Jazz Musicians…and more
I don’t have words for how to describe the feelings. Professional music journalists come up with wonderful adjectives, and can turn a phrase to communicate what it’s like to hear the opening notes of “Freddie Freeloader” for example.
Me, I just like to listen to it. I like to search for Jazz songs that are new to me, or re-listen to an iconic track with new ears. I want to keep having that groovy feeling I get when I hear Jazz I haven’t heard before, yet immediately grabs my attention and keeps coming with layers of soulful music.
I’ll leave it up to the pros to describe Jazz feelings well. I simply want to share the feeling I have for Jazz with other like-minded individuals, by pointing you in the right direction of where to find great Jazz music — old and new.
This article is meant to be a resource guide that you can refer back to when you want to dig for some Jazz tunes that are new to you. I don’t know how to talk about Jazz by utilizing the language of music, so I’ll just get the conversation going by pointing to what I love.
Hard-Bop and Jazz Funk resonate most with me, so that’s the majority of the Jazz you’ll find in Funkish. Splitting hairs about the proper names of all the various Jazz categories is not for me. I like what I like.
I want it joyful (yet, it can be a little blue too). I want a tight band that grooves, vamps, and harmonizes. I don’t want too much soloing, avant-garde experimenting, or weird cacophony. This is an excellent website that defines the genres, and is a very good Jazz education resource.
I’ll keep adding to this article as time goes on, and I come across more great resources. For me, Spotify has been the best resource ever for discovering tons of Jazz. Ever since I got it, I’ve listened to more Jazz than ever, and keep digging deeper, finding more amazing music to listen to and share.
Be sure to click on the links highlighted throughout this article because many of the resources & interesting articles reside therein. For example, explore these great sites to see Jazz history in fantastic photos thanks to the national archives. Also check out classic Jazz photos, as well as my Jazz Pinterest Board.
Please add your own resources in the comments section. Have your own favorite places online to search for Jazz music, learn about the musicians, read titillating Jazz stories, and watch quality live videos? Let us know in the comments below…
Now, watch this slideshow of fabulous photos of the Jazz age…
Blue Note Records — The Best In Jazz Since 1939
Watch a great video with a brief Blue Note history…
Blue Note Records keeps making great new Jazz too. Artists like, Robert Glasper, help keep the Blue Note spirit alive by releasing exciting, unique Jazz records. He also collaborated on an epic Jazz Funk tune, “Play It Back,” on Dr. Lonnie Smith’s outstanding 2016 record, Evolution. This is Smith’s first Blue Note release since 1970, and it’s as good as his classic jams.
Current label president, Don Was, a great musician and producer in his own right is committed to keeping Blue Note Records poignant and authentic. He couldn’t be doing a better job.
Jazz music started out being released on vinyl, of course. Nowadays, with the resurgence of vinyl records, Blue Note has started to re-release some of its classics on vinyl, in re-mastered form, in gorgeous collectors’ editions.
This is all in honor of the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records. What’s cool about the vinyl records is that these re-issues will have the original iconic artwork & photography that was a big part of establishing its legendary status. How cool is it to have the full-size album artwork for Art Blakey’s Free For All and other Blue Note Records classics!
The Blue Note 100 will eventually be 100 of these remarkable re-issues on vinyl. And, as happens with these types of things, there is a little controversy.
They can’t do them all I guess. So, inevitably, some of the greats get left off, like Blue Mitchell. Read the article, then chime in in the comments below to let us know what Blue Note vinyl records you’d like to see re-issued (but weren’t on the list).
And, Blue Note doesn’t stop there. They have a massive Spotify collection, which is the easiest way to discovery their back catalog and learn about the individual musicians. Combine this with the Blue Note Spotlights, which highlight their marvelous musicians, and you could spend an enormous amount of time digesting all the phenomenal Jazz music available there. There’s an App for that too.
In addition, listen to Blue Note’s Podcasts free. They often make outstanding playlists for Spotify too, like this one, meant to turn your friends on to Jazz. And, this one for the already initiated that want to dig deeper into the Blue Note catalog to find more Jazz gems.
Listen to & follow my Best of Blue Note Spotify playlist…
A Jazz Wizard At The Controls…
And, you can listen to this enormous Spotify playlist with most of the Rudy Van Gelder productions…
Blue Note Records isn’t the only Jazz label out there, of course. Many other labels have also been home to the best Jazz musicians that have left their mark on the genre and music culture.
Verve, Concord, Fantasy, Capitol, Atlantic, Columbia, Prestige, and others have released more than their fair share of outstanding Jazz releases. Consult this incredible resource for discovering the complete discographies of all the best Jazz musicians and Jazz labels. Then, you can do a label search in Spotify by typing label:Fantasy (for example).
Mercury Records was the first label to put out a vinyl collectors’ edition of their artists’ best work, along with photos and stories about the artists. Now this marketing strategy is becoming very popular today with the resurgence of vinyl. Listen to a terrific Spotify playlist representing that collection and read the story here.
It’s also been said that 1959 was the best year ever for Jazz. With timeless classics like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, I can see why. Read this article for the whole list and reasons why it was such a pivotal year in Jazz music.
Listen to my Spotify playlist with all of the 1959 classic Jazz records…
Feelin’ The Good Vibes…
Vibes are just cool! Jazzy, funky, and Latin-jazzy too. The vibes do much to enhance any song by giving it a special shimmering quality that’s also profound.
Check out contemporary Jazz vibraphone maestro, Stefon Harris, demonstrating how to play the vibes in this stellar video…
Sadly, he passed away in 2016. Read this heartfelt tribute to Bobby Hutcherson by his drummer, Joe Chambers.
Get into his vibes with this playlist of some of his greatest albums, then dig through Spotify for lots more…
Fascinating Jazz Tales…
Jazz is part of the history of African-American culture, and a treasure for all the music lovers of the U.S. and the world. So, undoubtedly there are incredible stories and legends about fantastic characters that made Jazz colorful and alive.
For example, Slug’s Saloon in the East Village ran from 1964-1972. Most of the greats passed through there, and it was a legendary place in an infamous neighborhood that unassumingly created its place in Jazz music history during those turbulent times. The terrific trumpeter, Lee Morgan, was one of the regular players there — until his girlfriend shot him dead at the bar. Slug’s closed soon after. Hear the incredible stories from its founder here.
There are wonderful stories about Jazz musicians and their feats that are such a joy to hear. Read this one by Mike Longo about Dizzy Gillespie. And, this scintillating story about Miles Davis at a White House event.
The guys from The Huntertones got a grant to go around the country and record stories of great Jazz and Blues musicians for their superb album and documentary Your Song. In it, there is a story told by Bobby Watson about starting out in the band of an elderly Art Blakey, who had more energy than all the young guys, and drove them hard. I was fortunate to see the film’s debut at The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus, Ohio in the historic Lincoln Theater. JAG is America’s oldest not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to producing, performing and promoting Jazz.
My personal best Jazz story/experience is while on vacation in New York City in July 2014, I got to go with my good friend to the memorial service for great Jazz piano player, Horace Silver. We heard the announcement on New York’s best Jazz radio station WBGO, and decided to go.
Mr. Silver’s family, friends, fans, and plenty of Jazz musicians (like Lou Donaldson telling great stories) packed an old Episcopalian church in the Lower East Side, played his music, and eulogized this great man. We walked out feeling full of soul. I’d never felt such a soulful vibe before.
Listen to this Gilles Peterson mixed tribute to Horace Silver here…
Today’s Greatest Jazz Musicians
Jazz music is alive and well. Magnificent young musicians, like bassist Christian McBride, lead the pack of extremely talented current Jazz players.
He has an excellent program on NPR — Jazz Night In America — where you can also go to get turned on to what’s happening now in Jazz. Check out here what McBride has to say about exciting sounds developing currently in Jazz.
Listen to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, one of the most progressive young Jazz musicians on the scene today & his breathtaking band as they perform live on NPR Music Tiny Desk. And, hear his fascinating Jazz tales behind the songs…
This playlist and the live music videos there represent the musicians giving Jazz “a shot in the arm” — playing it funky, vibing & experimenting, as they create fascinating new Jazz on top of classic traditions. Listen to Jazz from 2016, 2015, and throughout the 2000s.
Kamasi Washington was the contemporary Jazz musician making the most waves in 2015. His massive record, The Epic, topped many 2015 Best Albums lists. Read more about his cutting edge compositions here. The record’s epic Jazz Funk masterpiece, “Re-Run Home,” was one of my favorite singles of 2015 — watch & listen to a phenomenal live version below…
Go Hear Jazz Live…
Live Jazz music is certainly a wonderful experience anywhere. New York City and New Orleans, arguably have the best Jazz scenes. The Blue Note Jazz Club and The Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village being two of the world’s most famous.
Here is a resource for Jazz clubs in the rest of the world, in case you want to take a Jazz vacation.
Jazz Festivals all over the world can be an amazing experience and the perfect way to get into some wonderful Jazz music in an exotic place. The ultimate Jazz festival is New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the perfect opportunity for a funky music vacation (not 100% Jazz, and yet still one of the world’s best music festivals).
Jazz At Lincoln Center — Enriching A Global Audience
Jazz At Lincoln Center is one of the best Jazz resources on the planet too. They have a lot of amazing events all year round, and put millions of dollars into Jazz music education programs. For all they do for the Jazz art form, there has been some controversy lately about their use of the Jazz.org URL.
Many artists see it as a move to be the defining voice of the genre, even though it is a deep, diverse entity that a corporate structure can’t possibly dominate. I think it’s just a name and a URL, which will help their SEO, not a nefarious plot to dominate Jazz.
Either way, read the article for a passionate discussion from both sides. One thing that was suggested was to use Jazz.org as a place to curate various Jazz music resources and be open to various voices. I think that’s smart because Jazz At Lincoln Center could then use the site to promote its own programs, as well as giving a platform to other artists where they could post their songs, videos, gigs, etc. JALC could curate it and present it in a first class manner to all kinds of Jazz lovers.
Enjoy this video of Wayne Shorter playing with The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, as well as a fascinating conversation with this living legend…
Jazz Lives and Thrives…
Jazz is a living, breathing spiritual asset of American culture, and gift for the entire world. It’s such a deep subject. People dedicate their whole lives to it. Hopefully this little Jazz resource guide can point you in the right direction.
I’ll keep adding to it. It’s possible to spend your whole life getting deeper into Jazz. Feel free to add your favorite Jazz resources in the comments below.
Make sure you bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you want to get turned on to new Jazz to listen to.
Click here to buy yours at the Funkish Teespring store 😉
Get New Spotify Playlists…
And, if you love Jazz, you’ll surely love the Spotify playlists I send to subscribers of the Funkish mailing list. Sign up to the Funkish mailing list because you’ll get two free Spotify playlists each week, plus bonuses and other curated content celebrating diverse funky music from around the world (and plenty of great Jazz).
I carefully curate and compile funky, soulful, joyful music from around the world for your listening pleasure. There will be some Jazz-only playlists, and you can expect a variety of music from around the world, many of which are all-instrumental, jazzy, percussive, and exotic.
Once you’re on the list, you’ll be looking forward to your next playlist with bated breath, anticipating the next hour of new, novel, groovy sounds to come your way…and funkify your life.
Enjoy Christian McBride playing “Used ‘Ta Could”…