In my continuing musical experience as a player and a listener, few styles have captivated my ears and my mind as much as French impressionism (particularly Debussy and Satie), and of course, jazz.
Though each movement came about in different centuries, they are not as unrelated as they may seem on the face — both styles blurred the boundaries between previously defined structural and harmonic “traditions,” spawning creative revolutions that effectively erased any existing definition of “right” and “wrong.”
However, while the impressionist era has come and gone, jazz continues to develop and assert itself as one of the world’s most prominent and intriguing varieties of music. As artists continue to create, explore, and push the limits, the term “jazz” has become as broad and open-to-interpretation as “classical,” and the diversity that exists throughout the genre is a testament to its constant expansion and development.
As hard as it is to narrow it all down into a single playlist, here are a few of my favorite cuts by some of jazz’s most notable players (John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock), a few lesser-known but just-as-impressive names (Brian Blade, Red Garland) alongside a flight of samples from our expanding jazz catalog including Douglas Detrick’s AnyWhen Ensemble, Jean-Philippe Gregoire, and Christina Rusnak — enjoy!