Hardbopjazz

10 most influential jazz artists of all time.

56 posts in this topic

Charlie Christian, who not only influenced an entire generation of post-war jazz guitarists (including Wes), but was also a huge influence on a guy named B.B. King, whose musical influence is equally immeasurable.

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Absurd that any list would not include Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor

Unless as many people demonstrate here and elsewhere that all really great jazz was made over 40 years ago.

Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman came to mind for me... massively influential, although if i was being completely ruthless and objective i'm not sure they would make my top ten of all time for all of jazz.... impossible to fit in every highly influential artist... not being in the top ten doesn't mean they weren't extremely influential... it's a bit like trying to pick your all time favourite top ten... very hard...

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As a bassist Mingus certainly helped bring the instrument out further into the foreground, paving the way for people like Garrison, Haden, Peacock and Izenzon. As a composer, it's a little tougher to make the claim.

Shouldn't Jimmy Blanton get the nod ahead of Mingus .......... or going back further Pops Foster

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Armstrong and Ornette should be at the top - they initiated the two most extensive revolutions in jazz. I'd then say Parker, Ellington, Young, Davis, Coltrane, Hawkins, Coltrane. Hines or Tatum? Roach? Fletcher H.? Blanton? It's probably true that a head count of pianists would now show more Bill Evans-influenced players than Cecil Taylor-influenced players, maybe even more than Bud Powell-influenced players.

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Interesting that no mention is made of a Latin Jazz musician. Latin Jazz is probably one of the most vibrant forms of the music around these days, at least it would seem so here in California. Perhaps Machito deserves some respect for the influence he had on the following generations of Latin Jazz musicians?

Wes Montogmeery, perhaps? The guitar has surpassed the piano as the primary instrument in American musical culture. It used to be, 60 to 100 years ago, that every middle class home had a piano. Now, middle class kids pick up a guitar instead. It seems like those who seriously pursue the guitar, but who are not especially jazz fans, can still dig Wes Montgomery. Does that count as influence? I don't know.

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

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Wes Montogmeery, perhaps? The guitar has surpassed the piano as the primary instrument in American musical culture. It seems like those who seriously pursue the guitar, but who are not especially jazz fans, can still dig Wes Montgomery. Does that count as influence? I don't know.

As much as I love (and prefer) Wes, and as hugely influential as he was, I don't think he could ever equal Charlie Christian's influence on the evolution of guitar playing. Without CC, you might not have had Wes at all. You can't be a big influence on B.B. King and not be considered hugely important in the world of guitar music.

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

Yes. This was an excellent trolling venture - and they did it without adding Kenny G!

By the way, I think you could make a case that Wynton, the Metternich of jazz, really does belong on this list. Nobody said the influence had to be positive.

Edited by Guy

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

Yes. This was an excellent trolling venture - and they did it without adding Kenny G!

By the way, I think you could make a case that Wynton, the Metternich of jazz, really does belong on this list. Nobody said the influence had to be positive.

Don't think that Wynton has been influential on the music per se (name a significant player whose music owes a debt to Wynton's) but on how the music has been perceived and marketed.

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

Yes. This was an excellent trolling venture - and they did it without adding Kenny G!

By the way, I think you could make a case that Wynton, the Metternich of jazz, really does belong on this list. Nobody said the influence had to be positive.

Don't think that Wynton has been influential on the music per se (name a significant player whose music owes a debt to Wynton's) but on how the music has been perceived and marketed.

Don't you think a lot of jazz recorded/played in the 1980s "went in a certain direction" because of his prominence/influence? Maybe that's the same thing as what you're saying.

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Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans. In terms of influence, these guys seem in a class of their own. Most influential BTW does not mean "the best" in my book. Evans's influence has been immense, but he seems a flawed player to me.

P.S. Bud and Rollins, too, maybe Clifford Brown.

I don't understand Miles in this list of the pantheon of most influential. Miles is sui generis as you put it for Duke. What trumpeters after Miles sound like Miles? Maybe I'm missing someone but they all seem to come from Dizzy/Clifford or Freddie Hubbard.

I think Bud and Clifford have to be on the list of most influential.

Off the top of my head: Enrico Rava, Paulo Fresu (there seems to be a whole 'school of Miles' among Italian trumpeters), Erik Truffaz, Roney, Eric Vloiemans, Donald Byrd had a Miles phase, Johnny Coles (Gil Evans used him as a stand-in for Miles). Some of it I'd class as 'imitation', some of it stands on it's own merit. Miles is in there unquestionably.

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

Yes. This was an excellent trolling venture - and they did it without adding Kenny G!

By the way, I think you could make a case that Wynton, the Metternich of jazz, really does belong on this list. Nobody said the influence had to be positive.

Don't think that Wynton has been influential on the music per se (name a significant player whose music owes a debt to Wynton's) but on how the music has been perceived and marketed.

Don't you think a lot of jazz recorded/played in the 1980s "went in a certain direction" because of his prominence/influence? Maybe that's the same thing as what you're saying.

Yes, but I don't think it was for musical reasons but for political/rhetorical ones. That is, I don't think that any/many actual musicians listened to Wynton's music and said, "How lovely/interesting that is -- it inspires me to create some music of my own in that vein." Rather, it was more like "That's the correct way, or the way that we're being told is correct and seems to be regarded as correct, so here we go."

Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans. In terms of influence, these guys seem in a class of their own. Most influential BTW does not mean "the best" in my book. Evans's influence has been immense, but he seems a flawed player to me.

P.S. Bud and Rollins, too, maybe Clifford Brown.

I don't understand Miles in this list of the pantheon of most influential. Miles is sui generis as you put it for Duke. What trumpeters after Miles sound like Miles? Maybe I'm missing someone but they all seem to come from Dizzy/Clifford or Freddie Hubbard.

I think Bud and Clifford have to be on the list of most influential.

Off the top of my head: Enrico Rava, Paulo Fresu (there seems to be a whole 'school of Miles' among Italian trumpeters), Erik Truffaz, Roney, Eric Vloiemans, Donald Byrd had a Miles phase, Johnny Coles (Gil Evans used him as a stand-in for Miles). Some of it I'd class as 'imitation', some of it stands on it's own merit. Miles is in there unquestionably.

Also, Eddie Henderson, John McNeil and I'm sure if I went downstairs and leafed through all of my CDs, I could come up with a long, long list.

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

Yes. This was an excellent trolling venture - and they did it without adding Kenny G!

By the way, I think you could make a case that Wynton, the Metternich of jazz, really does belong on this list. Nobody said the influence had to be positive.

Don't think that Wynton has been influential on the music per se (name a significant player whose music owes a debt to Wynton's) but on how the music has been perceived and marketed.

Don't you think a lot of jazz recorded/played in the 1980s "went in a certain direction" because of his prominence/influence? Maybe that's the same thing as what you're saying.

Yes, but I don't think it was for musical reasons but for political/rhetorical ones. That is, I don't think that any/many actual musicians listened to Wynton's music and said, "How lovely/interesting that is -- it inspires me to create some music of my own in that vein." Rather, it was more like "That's the correct way, or the way that we're being told is correct and seems to be regarded as correct, so here we go."

Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans. In terms of influence, these guys seem in a class of their own. Most influential BTW does not mean "the best" in my book. Evans's influence has been immense, but he seems a flawed player to me.

P.S. Bud and Rollins, too, maybe Clifford Brown.

I don't understand Miles in this list of the pantheon of most influential. Miles is sui generis as you put it for Duke. What trumpeters after Miles sound like Miles? Maybe I'm missing someone but they all seem to come from Dizzy/Clifford or Freddie Hubbard.

I think Bud and Clifford have to be on the list of most influential.

Off the top of my head: Enrico Rava, Paulo Fresu (there seems to be a whole 'school of Miles' among Italian trumpeters), Erik Truffaz, Roney, Eric Vloiemans, Donald Byrd had a Miles phase, Johnny Coles (Gil Evans used him as a stand-in for Miles). Some of it I'd class as 'imitation', some of it stands on it's own merit. Miles is in there unquestionably.

Also, Eddie Henderson, John McNeil and I'm sure if I went downstairs and leafed through all of my CDs, I could come up with a long, long list.

Henderson unquestionably. Maybe Kenny Wheeler in his earlier days.

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Armstrong

Ellington

Hawkins

Young

Parker

Navarro (yeah, I'd pick him over Brownie)

Powell

Monk

Coltrane

Blakey (focusing on the influence he had on everyone who ever passed through his band. Call it influence as a teacher/mentor.)

Dang, ten already?

Swap out Fats for Miles and that's pretty close to my top ten.

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The Platters

Oliver Platt

Sir Laurence Olivier

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Wes Montogmeery, perhaps? The guitar has surpassed the piano as the primary instrument in American musical culture. It seems like those who seriously pursue the guitar, but who are not especially jazz fans, can still dig Wes Montgomery. Does that count as influence? I don't know.

As much as I love (and prefer) Wes, and as hugely influential as he was, I don't think he could ever equal Charlie Christian's influence on the evolution of guitar playing. Without CC, you might not have had Wes at all. You can't be a big influence on B.B. King and not be considered hugely important in the world of guitar music.

Saw Pat Martino last year. He sang the praises of Charlie Christian and played "Seven Comes Eleven". Seventy years after the death of Charlie Christian is what I call enduring influence!

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No Buddy Bolden?

Still firing on all cylinders! :smirk:

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Silly game built to generate "hits" on Yahoo. They won and nothing else was accomplished.

Yes. This was an excellent trolling venture - and they did it without adding Kenny G!

By the way, I think you could make a case that Wynton, the Metternich of jazz, really does belong on this list. Nobody said the influence had to be positive. Don't think that Wynton has been influential on the music per se (name a significant player whose music owes a debt to Wynton's) but on how the music has been perceived and marketed.

Don't you think a lot of jazz recorded/played in the 1980s "went in a certain direction" because of his prominence/influence? Maybe that's the same thing as what you're saying. Yes, but I don't think it was for musical reasons but for political/rhetorical ones. That is, I don't think that any/many actual musicians listened to Wynton's music and said, "How lovely/interesting that is -- it inspires me to create some music of my own in that vein." Rather, it was more like "That's the correct way, or the way that we're being told is correct and seems to be regarded as correct, so here we go."

Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans. In terms of influence, these guys seem in a class of their own. Most influential BTW does not mean "the best" in my book. Evans's influence has been immense, but he seems a flawed player to me.

P.S. Bud and Rollins, too, maybe Clifford Brown.

I don't understand Miles in this list of the pantheon of most influential. Miles is sui generis as you put it for Duke. What trumpeters after Miles sound like Miles? Maybe I'm missing someone but they all seem to come from Dizzy/Clifford or Freddie Hubbard.

I think Bud and Clifford have to be on the list of most influential.

Off the top of my head: Enrico Rava, Paulo Fresu (there seems to be a whole 'school of Miles' among Italian trumpeters), Erik Truffaz, Roney, Eric Vloiemans, Donald Byrd had a Miles phase, Johnny Coles (Gil Evans used him as a stand-in for Miles). Some of it I'd class as 'imitation', some of it stands on it's own merit. Miles is in there unquestionably. Also, Eddie Henderson, John McNeil and I'm sure if I went downstairs and leafed through all of my CDs, I could come up with a long, long list.

Henderson unquestionably. Maybe Kenny Wheeler in his earlier days.

The early Art Farmer, although LeRoi Jones once memorably wrote that those who confuse Farmer with Miles need "ear Braille."

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We need for somebody to write a book about this.

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Louis

Bix

Duke

Hawkins

Lester

Christian

Blanton

Bird

Miles

Coryell

Eddie Jefferson

That's eleven.

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Louis

Bix

Duke

Hawkins

Lester

Christian

Blanton

Bird

Miles

Coryell

Eddie Jefferson

That's eleven.

I like Eddie Jefferson, but King Pleasure's the man!

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We need for somebody to write a book about this.

Let's hope Crouch doesn't read your post.

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We need a book, not a tome. A real book that gives broader context and scholarly researchful insight. If it's real, it can be quantified, and since jazz influence is being posited as being in fact being real, it is time for science to step up to the spotlight and do its thing for the benefit of humankind now. And if fails - then this whole "jazz influence" thing has just been a misperceived romanticized perception of a quantifiable social behavioral and/or phenomenon. That too, then, should be written as a book, lest there be debate about facts.

We need a book. Now more than ever, before this thing gets out of hand.

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