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i reckon i'd prefer the earlier stuff, as opposed to the total freak-out psychedelic stuff.
Birth of the Cool
Porgy & Bess soundtrack
Sketches of Spain
Kind of Blue
Trane: Blue Train
My Favourite Things
They're both amazing, so have fun! :-)
the way they build up these super hard grooves you'll barely notice that Coltrane is doing something face-melting metaphysical and almost supernatural. Getting some sounds out that saxophone that a barely musical anymore, its unbelievable.
Bitches Brew for Davis for similar reasons I guess, though its definitely more psychedelic and less groovy.
Thats when they really clicked for me I guess anyway.
I don't see any point going for indie points by pretending that this is the biggest selling jazz album ever for any reason other than that it is fantastic.
You get Miles and Trane both on top form and the other musicians are brilliant as well. The music will be familiar but that shouldn't disguise how wonderful it is.
After that I would advise:
Milestones (Trane's on that one too, basically a sketch for Kind of Blue)
Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain or Miles Ahead (with large brass ensemble directed by Gil Evans)
Filles De Kilimanjaro (the 'second' quintet with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock)
In a Silent Way (wonderful, drifting, electric, almost ambient)
Bitches Brew (the funk freak out begins)
Giant Steps (his most accessible solo record)
A Love Supreme (challenging, spiritual, utterly brilliant)
Blue Train (another pretty straight ahead one)
My Favourite Things (as you've never heard it before)
Accession (if you're feeling brave)
forgot that one
Miles Davis: pretty much anything by the second quintet so...
(Kind of Blue)
Miles In The Sky
Round About Midnight
Also check out Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock's earlier solo work. Wayne Shorter is extremely underrated - great tenor saxophonist and equally great composer.
Then check out Jackie Mclean and Freddie Hubbard.
Then wonder where all your money went as jazz begins to takeover your listening habits until it's all you listen too.
Just felt it obligatory to include.
Not usually mentioned in lists of 'The Classics'
if you're looking to get into jazz they needn't be your first port of call.
Giant Steps is clearly Coltrane's best album, not only because it contains the groundbreaking title composition but also for its diversity (the 2 minute high speed 'Countdown', his most beautiful ballad 'Naima') and accessibility. Nothing else has ever sounded like A Love Supreme and it too remains highly accessible, if that's what you're after. Ascension is a nice introduction to free jazz.
I'm not that big a fan of Miles Davis but Sketches of Spain and In A Silent Way are safe bets. Kind Of Blue is fairly dull in comparison.
It's the only one on Blue Note and has the iconic name and cover beloved of student bedroom walls (including my own). It's fairly unremarkable though. Giant Steps is where he really takes off. Rarely a week goes by that I don't listen to that record.
In addition to the obvious masterpieces (Love Supreme, Giant Steps and My Favorite Things) I would add Africa Brass and Crescent. Both incredible albums, also the Live at the Village Vanguard 1 or 4 CD sets. All the above are from the 1960-64 golden era of Coltrane.
I don't agree that Kind of Blue is dull in comparison to those other 2 albums, it is just different. All 3 are among the greatest music ever recorded.
an overlooked gem from the Atlantic era.