Jazz Playlists For Modern Hep Cats
Jason sez: Like it or not, music streaming is here to stay. And while there are obvious problems with streaming services as regards paying the musicians in question, the flip side is also undeniable: We now have access to most of what’s been recorded through the history of audio recordings.
I grew up in a small town with no record store in the age before the internet. Finding jazz was a huge challenge. Now I can listen to nearly anything at any time, no matter where I am. If you’re a music fan, it’s a great time to be alive.
That said, the vast ocean of available music can be hard to navigate, so I thought I’d highlight a few Spotify playlists that bring together particular kinds of music. You can play these on your computer with a free Spotify account, or using the app, also with a free account.
Yanow’s Hardbop Essentials
Jazz writer Scott Yanow wrote a list of the albums he considers core components of the hard bop genre. I turned that list into a playlist.
The Blue Note Records Discography
Does what it says on the tin. Here’s that classic Blue Note sound. All of it.
Here’s a Spotify-curated playlist of hip hop that draws on jazz, and jazz that draws on hip hop.
The “Complete” John Coltrane
97 hours of Trane as a leader and sideman. Yes please.
ECM Records: 1001-1999
Or how about 800+ hours of music from one of the great European record labels?
Yeah, things always are changing for the better or worse, but before following any new development, scoping out potential ills is wise. Listen, for example, to guitarist Marc Ribot’s incisive critique of streaming services on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf music podcast (as well as Ribot’s take on so much of his and other’s music): https://greenleafmusic.com/a-noise-from-the-deep-episode-32-marc-ribot/
Mr. Ribot’s point is simple: if production of a product costs $100 and some distributor wants to sell it for $10, what difference does it make if the distributor pays the producer 80% of the selling price? In short, new medium or not, streaming services can be a terrible ripoff for musicians–nothing new in that, of course, but just a new way to shortchange musicians. As members of a thoroughly commercial culture, we still have to be quite conscious of the enormous power of commerce to subvert any creative/artistic endeavor and just deliberately resist as necessary.