10 Jazz Albums to Listen to Before You Die

Categories: all that jazz

6. Miles Davis, Bitches Brew

Now, I'm not saying that you have to like this album.  But it's an album you just have to listen to before you die; it's kind of like looking at Abstract Expressionism or listening to Morton Feldman -- it just might not jive with you.  Bitches Brew was released in 1970.  The first time I heard this album, I thought it was a joke.  In fact, I was kind of pissed.  Where was the melody?  Where was the catchy rhythm?  Well, it's so shocking the first time you hear the album, even today, that it forces you to question what jazz and music can be.  It makes you think about structure and limitations of our current music.  The prison of the human ear.  Ah, enough of that.  Just listen to the album.  Chaos and cacophony defined. 

5. The Thelonious Monk Quartet, Monk's Dream

Probably one of the hippest figures in jazz, Thelonious Monk was a genius who was able to see notes on the piano that didn't even exist in Western music.  Here's what I mean: when he would sit down on the piano, he would strike two half notes (notes next to each other that sound awful when played together) to simulate the imaginary notes between the two piano keys.  He was so out there and amazing, and Monk's Dream (1963) is just an example, an imprint of strange and beautiful blaps and boops that were being electrified in his mind.  Monk's Dream was about color; it's a visual experience as much as an auditory one.  Listen to the album and just let it take over. 

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