Skip to content
Clear all

new to Jazz

4 Posts
3 Users
0 Reactions
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 61
Topic starter  

Im wanting to add something new to my playing and i've decided to delve into jazz. I've been listening to a few snippets here and there and trying licks out. my question is where could I find some good learning aides/tutorials. and what would be some good listening material.


"I named my son Marshall, yeah I named him after the amp. Of course that wasnt my first choice, I was gonna name him Peavy but my wife didnt like it."- Ron "Tater Salad" White

Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 630

Ya i was thinkin the same thing. Two of my friends from highschool were really good jazz musicians. I've been askin them about it, they say its pretty complicated, basically you need to be able to know what pretty much any chord would sound like so when you do something strange you know the sounds to make to fix it. And there is a lot of improv where you have a basic idea but everyone makes it there own. I would also like a good website about it, ill bet they sell books on it in guitar stores though.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

Depending on your current playing level, I have a couple of suggestions:

1) if you consider yourself a fairly accomplished player who can read music, Pick up Johnny Smith's The Complete Johnny Smith Approach to Guitar and just start working through it.

It's a bit of quirky book in that Johnny believes that guitarists should see everything in concert pitch. But he covers everything you need to know, technique wise, in order to play at a fairly high level within the Jazz genre. It is the best single source book on Jazz for guitar I know of.

2) If you're a fairly new player, the Jody Fisher series from Alfred publishing, starting with Beginning Jazz Guitar is a very good series that will get you playing at a fair level very quickly. There's a lot of material to work through, but it's very comprehensive, well layed out, and you can do the whole book by only reading tab (actually I consider that a negative, but your milage may vary).

In either case, you'll definitely want a "FAKE BOOK," which is a collection of jazz standards with melody and chord changes.

I'd also recommend one or both of Robert Rawlin's Jazzology or Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book Neither has much in the way of excercises, (though Jazzology has some) but both are great discussions on applying theory to jazz, and why what you're doing sounds good.

Lastly, the Jamey Aebersold series is a great source of backing tracks and lead sheets that will let you experiement with what you're learning, and get you used to listening to what other players are doing.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

. and what would be some good listening material.

By no means a complete list, and people will surely argue about my classification of some of these people, but ...

Swing Era guys:
Louis Armstrong - hot 5's and 7's and anything else
Billie Holiday
Duke Ellington
Benny Goodman
Count Basie
Django Reinhardt
Coleman Hawkins
Chick Webb
Charlie Christian

Bebop Era Guys:

Early Miles Davis
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Dexter Gordon
Sonny Stitt
Charlie Christian
Max Roach
Tal Farlow
Herb Ellis
Kenney Burrell

Post Bop Players:

later Miles Davis
Bill Evans
John Coltrane
Chick Corea
John Scofield
Sonny Rollins
Wynton Marsalis
Bill Frisell
John McLaughlin
Herbie Hancock
Art Pepper

Cool / West Coast Era:
Miles Davis again
Bill Evans
Stan Getz
Dave Brubeck
Chet Baker
Mel Torme
Gerry Mulligan
Art Farmer
Zoot Sims
Jim Hall
Tal Farlow
Barney Kessel

Early/New Orleans:

Louis Armstrong
Coleman Hawkins
Scott Joplin (not really jazz, but still important)
Leon Redbone
Sidney Bechet
Jelly Roll Morton
King Oliver
Bix Beiderbecke

Latin/Afro-Cuban/Bossa/World Fussion:

Sergio Mendes
Stan Getz
Bebel Gilberto
Tito Puente
Stephane Grappelli
Herbie Man
Avishai Cohen
Al DiMeola
John McLaughlin
Oscar Lopez
Celso Fonseca


George Benson
Medeksi,Martin and Wood
Jimmy Smith
Grant Green
Horace Silver
Cannonball Adderley


Herbie Hancock
John Schofield
Charlie Hunter
Donald Byrd

Blues based Jazz:

Kenney Burrell
Pat Martino
Sonny Stitt

Avant Guarde:

Charles Mingus
Bill Frisell
Ornette Coleman
Sun Ra

Bebel Gilberto
Roy Ayers
Gretchen Lieberum


Late Miles
Herbie Hancock
Bela Fleck
Pat Metheny
Chick Corea
John Scofield
Wayne Shorter
Jaco Pastorius
Al DiMeola
John McLaughlin
The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Mike Stern

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST