Listening to the Language of Jazz

There are three fundamental elements our young musicians need to fulfill for any school Jazz Program to be successful: 1) Attend Rehearsals 2) Know Your Music; and 3) Listen to the Language of Jazz. After all, everything we need to know about jazz has been captured in the recordings. This is best accomplished with our students by playing a known jazz artist for the students as the students enter the room or before they exit our rehearsal. Then, spend a few minutes debriefing the students by providing some basic historical context about the musician/music following the recording. 

Below is a list of prominent jazz masters by instrument, many of which can be found on Youtube:


  • Alto Saxophonists: Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Stitt, Phil Woods, Marshall Royal (lead alto), Paul Desmond, Frank Strozier; Steve Wilson, Dick Oatts, Ted Nash, Jim Snidero, Vincent Herring, Paquito D'Rivera, David Sanborn  
  • Tenor Saxophonists: Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Hank Mobley, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Frank Wess, Stanley Turrentine, Michael Brecker, Bob Berg; Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Joe Lovano, Josh Redman, Ravi Coltrane, Rich Perry, Chris Potter, Bob Mintzer, Jerry Bergonzi
  • Baritone Saxophonists: Harry Carney, Serge Chaloff, Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams, Nick Brignola, Joe Temperley; Gary Smulyan, Ronnie Cuber, Denis DiBlasio (today)
  • Trumpeters: Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, "Sweets" Edison, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard; Snooky Young, Cat Anderson, Wayne Bergeron; Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Nick Payton, Jeremy Pelt
  • Trombonists: Ellington trombonists, JI Johnson, Al Grey, Bob Brookmeyer, Curtis Fuller, Carl Fontana, Kai Winding, Urbie Green; Steve Turre, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Robin Eubanks, John Fedchock, Bill Watrous, David Gibson, Steve Davis, Michael Dease
  • Pianists: Art Tatum, Red Garland, Count Basie, Bill Evans, Teddy Wilson, Erroll Garner, Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton, AIU11adJamal, James Williams, Mulgrew Miller; Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Kenny Barron, Harold Danko, Jim McNeely, Bill Charlap
  • Guitarists: Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Herb Ellis, Jim Hall, Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass; Freddie Green (Basie); Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, John Scofield, Mike Stern, Kevin Eubanks, George Benson, Peter Bernstein, Julian Lage
  • Bassists: Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Charles Mingus, Niels-Henning 0rsted Pederson, Rufus Reid, Christian McBride (acoustic); Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, John Patitucci, Steve Swallow (electric)
  • Drummers: Jo Jones, "Philly Joe" Jones, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Sonny Payne; Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash, Billy Hart, Steve Gadd, Dave Weeki, John Riley, Ma,rk Giuliana
  • Vocalists: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Carmen Mc Rae, Dinah Washington; Diana Krall, Bobby McFer,rin, Kurt Elling, Kevin Mahogany, Cecile McLorin Salvant

Historic Jazz Albums

  • Miles Davis Kind of Blue Columbia CK 40579 (w 1Adderley, Coltrane, B. Evans)
  • Charlie Parker Yardbird Suite (2 CDs) Rhino R2-72260 (historic tunes, multiple labels) John Coltrane Blue Train Blue Note B21Y-46095 (w ILee Morgan, Curtis Fuller)
  • Clifford Brown Beginning and the End Columbia CBS 66491
  • Dizzy Gillespie Sonny Side Up Verve 825 674 (w ISonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins)
  • Oscar Peterson Trio lNe Get Requests Polygram 810 047
  • Count Basie Jam No, 2 Pablo OJC-631 (w 1c. Terry, Benny Carter, E. Davis, L. Bellson) Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage Blue Note B21Y-46339(w/Joe Henderson)
  • Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard Riverside OJC-140 ArtBlakeyNightAtBirdlandRiversideOJC-090(c.Brown,1.Donaldson,H.Silver)