How To Start Your Own Jazz Collection

So you’ve always dreamed of having your very own personal jazz collection, an enthralling tribute to John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong and all those other greats who never cease to strike a chord in our hearts? In the far-flung and diverse world of jazz music, it can be tough to decide where to start. Here are a few tips on building your collection.

1. Start out with the heavyweights

a) Just as an aspiring classical music collector is unlikely to go wrong with Mozart and Beethoven, there’s little harm in starting off your jazz music collection by populating it with the likes of John Caltrone, Louis Armstrong and Charles Mingus.

b) As a starter, avoid listening to ‘smooth jazz’. While it’s debatable whether this genre is a welcome evolutionary-outcome of ‘pure jazz’, it’s not considered a good representation of jazz music in general. So for time being when you find yourself listening to Harry Connick Jr. on a lazy afternoon, consider leaving Kenny G aside.

2. Mingle with other Jazzheads

Every community has its jazz lovers. Odds are, there are a couple of fanatics in your college / workplace you’ve probably never met. Find them. Ask them questions, hear their recommendations and take them on a pilgrimage across the best indie record stores in your town. You can also take a jazz course in a local college together, should such an opportunity be available.

3. Use technology to your advantage

a) Surround yourself with song recommendations. Participate in online communities on websites such as subreddits and jazz forums where you can discuss and share contemporary as well as classical jazz all day with people from across the globe.

b) Use song suggestion applications. Internet radio services such as, and iTunes’ Genius playlists use sophisticated algorithms and draw input from the ‘hive-mind’.

4. Patience Pays

Jazz music comes wrapped in layers of mystery and intricacy. For a beginner, it can take a while before they appreciate the subtle nuances that the veterans can so easily pick out. If you find in your early encounters with jazz that you just don’t ‘get it’, stick with it anyway, for the potential rewards are ethereal.

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