Top 5 Jazz Guitar Albums for Newbies

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Jazz Guitar Albums Everyone Can Enjoy

charlie christian genius of electric guitar

Looking to dabble in the world of jazz? Need to buy a gift for the guitarist in your family? Here are five highly recommended jazz guitar albums, all of which are enjoyable, and easy to listen to. The recordings are listed chronologically, so if you think you might enjoy more a recent recording, choose from the last few albums.

Charlie Christian - "Genius of the Electric Guitar"

Many people believe this is where jazz guitar really all began. The recordings are very old (between 1939 and 1941), so the fidelity leaves something to be desired. The style of music may also be a little hokey, so for some, this won't be the place to begin. But, if you want to get a glimpse into the birth of a style of music, this is a great CD.

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Wes Montgomery - "The Incredible Jazz Guitar of.."

incredible jazz guitar of wes montgomery

Montgomery was one of the first true guitar heroes. Recorded in 1960, this album finds Wes at the height of his powers - and the music is bluesy, and filled with Montgomery's trademark octave playing. The format is guitar, piano, bass, and drums, with no overdubs or vocals. The sound quality of this one is quite good, considering the date of recording.

Wes' big calling card was his use of octaves, and his prowess is on full display here.

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Joe Pass / Herb Ellis - "Joe's Blues"

joe pass joe's blues herb ellis

Recorded in 1968, this recording captures two masters of the guitar, Joe Pass and Herb Ellis, pushing each other to great lengths. Despite their good natured competitiveness, the album retains a great element of fun throughout, and is a true joy to listen to. "Joe's Blues" is an easy to listen to recording, which features the two guitarists, plus bass and drum accompaniment.

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Ed Bickert - "Pure Desmond"

ed bickert paul desmond pure desmond

This album (recorded under saxophonist Paul Desmond's name) will appeal greatly to those interested in mellow jazz. Canadian guitarist Ed Bickert is an undisputed master of subtle chord melody playing, and the more you learn about jazz, the more his guitar work here will astound you. Although it's certainly not a high intensity album, "Pure Desmond" will capture your ears, and leave you wondering "how DOES he do that?!"

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Pat Metheny - "Bright Size Life"

bright size life pat metheny

Metheny's debut as a leader in 1975 is still considered by many to be his best. This is a trio album (including bassist Jaco Pastorius) which includes overdubs by Metheny (on various acoustic and electric instruments). The style of music includes elements of traditional jazz, while also incorporating sounds heard in pop and rock music. Metheny's virtuosity is on display throughout, as are his considerable songwriting talents.

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Your Citation
Cross, Dan. "Top 5 Jazz Guitar Albums for Newbies." ThoughtCo, Sep. 1, 2015, Cross, Dan. (2015, September 1). Top 5 Jazz Guitar Albums for Newbies. Retrieved from Cross, Dan. "Top 5 Jazz Guitar Albums for Newbies." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 21, 2017).