Jazz for People who Like Classical Music

So, basically, a little while ago I Tweeted and posted on Facebook the following question:

“What ONE CD would you recommend for someone who likes classical music and thinks they might like #Jazz if they found the right way in?”

Pleasantly surprised by the number of responses, and borderline astounded by the variety of directions from whence the recommendations came, I thought I should capture them for posterity and as a guide for others.  The recommendations were (in order of me finding them to cut and paste)…

  • If a 2CD counts, then combined albums for which Wynton Marsalis got Grammies for a jazz & classical disc IN THE SAME YEAR!
  • Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. And The Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett
  • (Kind of Blue got another supporting vote)
  • Miles Davis Cool, or John Coltrane Blue Train
  • Spaces in Between by John Surman
  • Fats Waller Ain’t Misbehavin’. He was classically trained and you can hear it in some of the piano solo pieces
  • Gil Evans. New Bottle, Old Wine; Miles Ahead; Porgy & Bess; or Out of the Cool. All great records! And I’m sure others will have suggested A Love Supreme
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Courtney Pine
  • The Mahavishnu Orchestra

I also discovered a couple of absolute bargain box sets on Amazon which cover many of these recommendations



Having been largely unaffected by Jazz in my life to date, but realising I will need to be au fait by the time I’m 50, I am enjoying exploring this new (and it would seem highly elastically-defined) genre.

For what it’s worth, and for the ones I’ve heard, I think the best recommendation, in the spirit of the question asked – ie the transition from Classical to Jazz, is John Surman’s Spaces in Between.  

4 thoughts on “Jazz for People who Like Classical Music

  1. Did you buy the two multi-disc sets? They’ve got some amazing music in there – I’m shocked that I failed to recommend any Mingus!

    There was something about Mingus, Miles and Duke – they managed to get so much pour of the musicians they played with. Someone once said that Duke Ellington’s real instrument was the orchestra. Though he’s was a superbly minimalist pianist as well…

  2. Patrick, I did get the two sets – the timing was very good for a birthday present!

    Am going to an event at the London Jazz Festival too.

  3. Jonathan, interesting discussion and I’m gladyou wrote it up. I think you might also like the Tord Gustavsen Trio, either The Ground or Changing Places. It’s a bit more like piano jazz but with a chamber sort of quality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s