These days I listen to lots of world music and field recordings. Some of my favorite stuff is from Africa, in particular, Mali. Oumou Sangare from Mali is one of my favorites! There are lots of field recordings from Africa available as well as great studio recordings. I would also recommend the field recordings of Alan Lomax. They are available online for free.
Here is a partial list of some ‘jazz’ to check out…
* Duke Ellington – ANYTHING
* Thelonious Monk – ANYTHING
* Miles Davis – ANYTHING
* Count Basie – ANYTHING
* John Coltrane – anything. but some in particular… A Love Supreme, Ballads, Crescent, Giant Steps, Blue Train. Soultrane, Africa/Brass, Live @ the Village Vanguard, w/Johnny Hartman, w/Duke Ellington – again I feel the same about Trane as I do about Miles. If you are new to Coltrane, start with something like Ballads.
* Ornette Coleman – my favorite stuff is on Atlantic
* Johnny Griffin – A Blowing Session (w/Trane, Hank Mobley, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan etc…), Introducing Johnny Griffin
* Alice Coltrane – (Anything)…I love the harp and her piano playing!
* Cannonball Adderley – (Anything)
* Lee Morgan – The Gigolo, Sidewinder, etc…
* Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch, Live at the Five Spot, stuff with Mingus
* Kenny Dorham – Whistle Stop (great trumpet sound), etc…
* Bill Frisell – Anything…
* Stan Getz – pretty much anything. what a sound!!!
* Dexter Gordon – anything. Check him out in the movie Round Midnight!
* Elvin Jones – Live at the Lighthouse, all his stuff with Trane.
* Coleman Hawkins – anything, esp. Body & Soul
* Lester Young – anything, esp. The Aladdin Sessions
* Joe Henderson – anything
* Keith Jarrett – Standards Live, My Song, Belonging, the Koln Concert, etc…
* Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Anything!
* Joe Lovano – From the Soul, Live at the Village Vanguard, Landmarks
* John Scofield – Time on My Hands, Meant to Be, What We Do
* Charles Mingus – Oh Yeah, Ah Um, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, etc… pretty much anything.
* Hank Mobley – Soul Station
* Charlie Parker – anything!!! the Verve Sessions, the Savoy Sessions, Bird & Diz, Jazz at Massey Hall, etc..
* Chris Potter – most anything – one of the great young players.
* Joshua Redman – anything.
* Pharoah Sanders – w/Trane, The Trance of Seven Colors, etc…beautiful expressive musician
* Sonny Rollins – ANYTHING – I’m especially fond of East Broadway Run Down! * Wayne Shorter – anything. One of the greatest composers.
* Horace Silver – Song For My Father, Horace Silver Trio, etc…
* Billie Holiday – anything
* Nat Cole – the Trio Recordings
* Nancy Wilson – w/Cannonball Adderley
* Michael Brecker – Heavy Metal Be-Bop, Michael Brecker/solo recordings, w/Steps Ahead, any solo recordings…ANYTHING!
* Ray Charles – the Genius of Ray Charles, etc…
* Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Live at Birdland, Live at Cafe Bohemia, Indestructible, Three Blind Mice, w/Thelonius Monk, etc…
* John Zorn – Naked City, Masada, etc…
* Jimmy Smith – Chicken Shack, the Sermon
* Albert Ayler – anything
* Milford Graves – anything you can find
* Kenny Garrett – Pursuance, Songbook, Black Hope, anything he did with Miles Davis…
* Hariprasad Chaurasia – Indian Flute (Bansauri) Player
* Shrinivas – Indian Mandolin Player
… this just scratches the surface of what has influenced me. There are still MANY recordings I haven’t checked out. My listening is not limited to a particular genre. I actively listen to music of other cultures and time periods in order to stay open to new possibilities. I strongly suggest you do the same.