Last week a friend asked me to recommend a jazz compilation for someone new to jazz. I resisted, telling him that they're all death traps. First, they're loaded with old things (pre-World War II) that are great later but certainly would turn off a newcomer. Second, compilation song choices often stink.
Instead, I urged him simply to buy 10 albums that would win over a newcomer and put him or her firmly on the road to discovery. "But choosing 10 is impossible," he protested.
Not so. Here are 10 albums I would play or buy for a beginner who's curious about the music. And I'd do so in the following order, to draw in the person little by little (all are available as downloads):
- Bill Evans—How My Heart Sings (1962)
- Oscar Peterson—Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook (1956)
- Dave Brubeck—Jazz Impressions of Eurasia (1958)
- Miles Davis—Musings of Miles (1955)
- Sonny Rollins—Newk's Time (1957)
- Lee Morgan—Lee-Way (1960)
- Red Garland—It's a Blue World (1958)
- Coleman Hawkins—Night Hawk (1960)
- John Coltrane—Stardust (1958)
- Jack McDuff—The Honeydripper (1961)