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Thread: Piano Jazz

  1. #1

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    Default Piano Jazz

    I'm just getting into jazz, but I've been looking for a CD of a group or band that plays contemporary jazz music, especially where the piano is emphasized. I enjoy that piano sound, but it's gotta be accompanied by other musicians.

    Not sure if this makes sense, 'cause of the terminology I'm using. But I'm not into that slow piano stuff like those cats played in the 50's and 60's. It's gotta have a nasty groove. Sort of like a nice jam session where it doesn't seem to be rehearsed. Just a few fellas getting together on a Friday night to throw down.

    Anyone understand what I'm trying to say here?

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    This doesn't really fit your description much...but you should check out Scott Joplin stuff on piano...

    Again, not what you asked for, but cool nonetheless...
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    Early,

    To start of, check out Bob James - Fourplay (Heartfelt, etc.) He is very dynamic...

    next, Monty Alexander (My America). Try these two and see if you like 'em. Have fun listening!
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    Checkout Joe Sample's "Rainbow Seeker" and "Spellbound". Also checkout his work with his band, The Crusader's. Joe's stuff is funky and grooves. Another one is Dave Grusin. He's written film scores and TV themes like "St Elsewhere" and "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow (Baretta's theme). Get Dave's "Discovered Again" (it's on XRCD and it's one of the best sounding Direct to Disc recordings [that's a vinyl recording cut live to disc, no tape])

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    Great suggestion, Tony!

    Joe Sample - "The Best of", is one of my favorite.

    Gene Harris - At Last is another one.
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    Thanks. I'll check them all out.

    Update: Well, seems Fourplay and Joe Sample fit my taste, so I ordered a couple of CDs from them. I like Gene Harris, too, so I'll buy his "Concorde Years" CD next. He's the best contemporary jazz pianist I've heard so far.
    Last edited by Early B.; 06-09-2004 at 12:08 AM.

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    Default Don't ignore. . .

    Don't know just what your parameters are for "contemporary" jazz piano - but please don't overlook the great Oscar Peterson. He's pure genius! Also, Keith Jarrett has done some very fine piano jazz work - and if you look carefully, you'll find that Mr. Jarrett also does amazing classical work - a major crossover artist, fer shore!
    Do you have/like Diana Krall? She's been into jazz for some time, and is now also "crossing over" into old-but-good "smokey room ballad" stuff - I love the lady in both genres!
    Hope this helps a bit - they're just my "personal favorites," so subjectivity rears its ugly head! GRIN Larry R.

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    Thumbs up

    Not contemporary but Thelonius Monk, Cole Porter, Dave Brubeck, etc. do it for me.

    Steely Dan has always relied heavily on piano too.

    Good luck.
    Make it Funky! :)

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    David Benoit - Every step of the way
    Beautifully recorded and upbeat/driving jazz; check it out.

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    Unfortunately, with a few exceptions such as Fourplay, most "contemporary jazz" is pretty light, created as "New Age" background music during the late 1980s and 1990s. Not to say the musicianship is lesser than in other periods, but for more dynamic music I'd suggest looking back to the late 1950s through the early 1970s, and not just for pianists taking a lead. Trumpet and saxophone leads were usually accompanied by great jazz pianists as well.

    I'd suggest doing searches on Allmusic.com to get ideas. Their search engine works really well to turn up music in different genres.
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    I suggest the two Bob James Trio CD's. They are traditional jazz, but are very melodic and not too weird. Here are the titles:

    Straight Up

    Take It From the Top

    Both are piano trios: piano, bass, and drums. I love 'em. Peace.
    Mark Wellman ><>

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    Quick note:

    Bob James: Take it from the top recording quality is top notch! the "acoustic" quality of the trio is very clean, you can hear the piano, drum, and bass very distinctly. The sound of bass drum is very clear, deep, and tight. All in all, a very nice redbook recording.
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    If you like Bob James be sure to checkout the Audio Fidelity SACD hybrid " In HiFi " . Sounds so good .

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    I heard Monty Alexander on NPR and became an instant fan. His latest album is a great collection of songs.


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    If your looking for good jazz piano Diana Krall is a must! Her newest cd 'the girl in the other room' is awesome, and her cd 'live in paris' is also very good, both worth checking out.

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    Get the SACD hybrid version of "The Girl in the Other Room" it's only $14.99 at BB. It sounds so good in SACD . This way when/if you move up to hi-res audio you won't have to buy it again.

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    just came out last week:

    Benoit Freeman Project II

    It's a very smooth album - if you like Grusin-Ritenour duo, this one will put you in the same mood!

    happy listening..
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    Since I posted this thread, I've purchased Foreplay, Gene Harris, Davis Benoit, and Joe Sample based on suggestions from folks on the forum. I also picked up some Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Nina Simone, Liz Wright, Wayman Tisdale and Norman Brown. To keep expenses down, I buy used CDs off amazon.com.

    A few weeks ago I would not have been interested in any of these artists. But since I've set up my 2-channel rig, it's a whole new ball game. In fact, the wife insisted on re-arranging the living room to take full advantage of the music system.

    Keep the suggestions coming...

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    Nat "King" Cole Trio....before he achieved international success as a vocalist, Nat "King" Cole was the leader of a piano-based jazz trio. His piano playing will be forever overshadowed by his vocal performances, but definitely check out his trio. There's a reason why he, a jazz musician, is in the rock 'n roll Hall of Fame.

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    I love that Lizz Wright CD! When Christmas comes around, get David Benoit's Christmas CD, which is wonderful. I posted a review of it on Amazon.com.

    The drummer in Fourplay, Harvey Mason, has a new CD that features different bass, piano, drum trios. It will be my next CD purchase. The pianists are some of the best, e.g. Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. I heard one tune from it on Sirius this morning. The guy on Sirius said it was his favorite jazz CD so far this year.

    There is nothing like finding cool new music. Peace.
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    Default What about DVD-A

    I found a place that does mostly Jazz/Acoustic & Classical - www.aixrecords.com.

    The music is recorded in 96/24 with top of the line equipment, then mixed into different categories such as 96/24 stereo, audience 5.1, stage mix 5.1, Dolby Digital, DTS, and MLP lossless (DVD-A side).

    The stuff is outstanding - I have 13 DVD's now, and am planning on a lot more purchases.

    The two DVD's I have that would match your criteria are:

    Piano, Bass & Drums:
    Patrice Rushen - Piano
    Darek Oleszkiewicz - bass
    Ndugu Chancler - drums

    The Latin Jazz Trio:
    Luis Conte - Percussion
    David Garfield - Piano
    David Carpenter - Bass


    These are outstanding DVD's - the music is recorded as it is played (there are no overdubs or added effects). Both titles recored in Zipper Auditorium at the Colburn School for Performing Arts.

    I know you said "CD", and judging by where you are looking you are looking for something on the cheaper side. However, these DVD's are well worth the price, and they will also send you a free sampler that includes music off of their acoustic, classical, and jazz collections.

    They will play on a regular DVD player (not the DVD-A stuff, but they have lots of options) and I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed.

    Oh, and no, I don't work for them (I am in Canada) but like you Early I was looking for some good Jazz (and acoustic and classical) and I wanted a proper recording for my Universal player, not the regular trumped up stuff. You won't believe your ears if you get this!
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    Thanks for the heads up on AIX Records. I will be getting some of those for sure. Peace.
    Mark Wellman ><>

    "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

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    You're more than welcome. I wish I lived in the US so I could get this disc's cheaper. I haven't located a reseller here in Canada as of yet, but my guess would be that since it would be an 'import' here (AIX has no Canadian Distributer) it would be cheaper for me to buy direct (imports go for about $35 to $40 cdn, and with shipping and GST/Broker fees it works out to be about $32 / disc this way - all prices in Cdn funds, not US).
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    Hey Early B.

    Here's my two cents:

    Shelly Manne & His Men At The Blackhawk Vol. 3

    Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echos " Expansions"

    Might not be so easy to find but well worth a listen.
    JmasterJ Polk to the Death

  25. #25

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    not so much piano in these ones but it's some darn good jazz, get some Jaco Pastorius albums, you'll be blown away with his electric bass playing i'd recommend his self titled album Jaco Pastorius, it's a blac and white cover with his face on it, awesome album. He was the bassist for Weather Report in the 70's for those of you who don't know who he is, and if you don't know who he his you should most definately check him out, it's a tragic story :( he single-handedly changed how the electric bass was played and influenced music so much... he was a genius, but i'm gonna stop before i type a biography, lol

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    Can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet. If it has, I apologize.

    Hands down, my favorite for piano jazz is Vince Guaraldi. Don't laugh, but the Charlie Brown Christmas album is incredible. I listen to that one year round, more so in the winter though. I just love his sound, and he is my piano jazz man.

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