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A Crash Course in Jazz

Question: What recordings are essential to a crash course in \r\njazz? 

Bill Frisell: Oh, there’s so many. That’s the \r\nthing. It’s incredible how much music there is, you know? If you just \r\nfollow one person, it’ll lead you to... like it’s all connected somehow.\r\n I was in high school and my band director gave me a Wes Montgomery \r\nalbum; he wanted me to learn this piece on the guitar for a talent show.\r\n And so he gave me this Wes Montgomery record and that was a beginning \r\nfor me of becoming aware of that music. And it was Wes Montgomery with \r\nRon Carter playing bass, right? Recently I’ve been blessed to be able to\r\n play with him; I can’t believe I get to play with some of these \r\npeople. 

But, so there’s this first record that I really listened\r\n to that’s a jazz record and there’s Ron Carter’s playing bass. So then I\r\n go, "Well I’m gonna get another jazz record." So I get a Kenny Burrell \r\nrecord and there’s... Ron Carter’s playing bass on that one. And then I \r\nget a Miles Davis record and Ron Carter’s playing bass on that one. Then\r\n Ron plays with Miles Davis and Miles Davis played with John Coltrane \r\nand then John Coltrane played with Duke Ellington, and Duke Ellington \r\nplayed with Louis Armstrong. I don’t know what to tell somebody. If you \r\njust start... just listen to anything great. Listen to Thelonious Monk \r\nand Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington, any of those \r\nguys. It’s easy to find out who they are... they’ll all lead you off \r\ninto all these unbelievable... it’s more than a tree, it’s like a forest\r\n of all the seeds coming down from this giant tree and it’s amazing.

Recorded on May 5, 2010
Interviewed by Victoria Brown

Guitarist Bill Frisell constructs a playlist for someone who wants to dive into the genre.

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