Time and time again I have friends contacting me asking for a list of recommended jazz artists. Some of these friends are already jazz enthusiasts, looking for fresh new sounds. The rest of these friends are novice jazz listeners, trying to break into a new world of music.
Anytime we begin listening to a new genre of music, it’s easy to get lost in the thousands of playable artists and tracks. Let’s face it, the internet is an infinite portal of content that can be difficult to navigate. So, for those new jazz enthusiasts who want a list of recommended jazz artists…here are some recommendations as a place to start your musical journey.
Classic Jazz Artists
Louis Armstrong is easily one of biggest legends in the Jazz music scene. With hits such as What a Wonderful World, When the Saints Go Marching In, and When You’re Smiling – Louis’s music is considered a timeless classic.
Nicknamed Satchmo, Satch, and Pops…Louis was a trumpeter, singer, composer, and the occasional Hollywood actor. With roots in New Orleans, Louis became a prominent jazz musician in the 1920s. Around 1922, Louis trekked to Chicago with his mentor Joe “King” Oliver to play in the Creole Jazz Band. This new destination opened up a new world for Louis, for he met the biggest players in Jazz music. It was these connections that allowed him to find a new home in New York City.
Though Louis died in 1971, his music lives on to this day. Check out his music whenever you can, especially the listed tracks above. Click here (INSERT LOUIS ARMSTRONG LINK) to read more about Louis Armstrong.
When it comes to recommended jazz artists, Duke Ellington is up there with Louis Armstrong as a forever remembered artist. With hits such as Take the “A” Train, Caravan and Satin Doll…Duke’s songs set a precedent for what is considered to be incredible jazz music.
Duke was a pianist, composer, and bandleader of jazz orchestra. His career began in 1923 and spanned over fifty years until he passed away in 1974. His roots came from a middle-class family in Washington D.C., but it was his time in New York City that brought him into a world of fame. Duke became known widely for his performances at the private Cotton Club in Harlem. Again, check out the tracks above when you begin listening to Duke. If you want to read more about Duke Ellington, click here (INSERT DUKE ELLINGTON STORY).
When it comes to women in jazz, Ella Fitzgerald is easily considered to be one of the greatest of all time. With hits such as Summertime, Dream A Little Dream Of Me, and a Ticket a Tasket…Ella’s tracks provide a rich and calming melody. Don’t be surprised if you hear Ella singing alongside the two legendary jazz musicians above (Duke and Louis), for she spent a prominent part of her career collaborating with the two.
Check out the tracks above when you begin delving into Ella Fitzgerald’s work. You can also click here (INSERT LINK TO ELLA STORY) to read more about the legendary Ella.
Modern Jazz Artists
With two hits on the Top 25 Billboard list, Van Morrison is a modern-day jazz phenomenon. His song Versatile is currently listed as number 22 on the Billboard list for jazz music. On top of Versatile, Van’s song You’re Driving Me Crazy is listed as number four (a collaborative song with artist Joey DeFrancesco).
Formally known as Sir George Ivan Morrison, his stage name has always been known as Van Morrison. Van is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, record producer, and talented instrumentalist. With such great achievements, he was knighted in Northern Ireland for his contribution to charity and tourism.
Make sure you check out the two tracks above that are currently hits on the billboard. They are two of my favorite songs at the moment!
R + R = Now
Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin are known musicians and producers who have collaborated with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Quincy Jones. Last year the two talented producers teamed up with a wide array of musicians to form what is known as the R + R = Now band, which is influenced by R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Soul.
Besides Robert and Terrace, the band consists of jazz trumpeter Christian Scott, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Justin Tyson and multi-instrumentalist Taylor McFerrin. Their song Collagically Speaking is currently listed as number one on Billboard’s list of Top 25 Jazz Songs. When it comes to recommended jazz artists d, you have to check out R + R = Now.
With a hit single (Laid Back) as number two on the Billboard’s list of Top 25 Jazz Songs, Marcus Miller is the definition of talent. Marcus is an American jazz composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who is most famous for being a bass guitarist.
With roots in Brooklyn, Marcus’s inspirations derived from the New York City culture. He has played with legends such as Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Herbie Hancock, and David Sanborn.
If you get a chance, you must check out his newest album Laid Back and his 2015 released album Afrodeezia
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