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Michael Tharrington for The DEV Team

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Music Monday — What are you listening to? (Blues & Jazz Edition)

cover image source: Giphy

In honor of Black History Month here in the US, I thought it'd be fun to spend the rest of February focusing on different genres of music that originated from Black American culture. Because our time is limited, I'm gonna group some genres together, and while I know Blues and Jazz are often considered to be at different ends of the spectrum, I think they share quite a lot in common and are a worthy pair. Both genres go back at least 100 years — a quick Google search claims Blues originated in the 1860s while Jazz came about in the 1910s. Early Jazz was created in the great melting pot of New Orleans, its ingredients including a big dose of Blues, some ragtime, and various other genres. Without Blues and Jazz, we wouldn't have the music we have today — they are crucial pillars for modern pop, hip hop, rock, and more. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to either blues- or jazz-based music, and I'd be willing to bet you have too. So, let's hear it! Share with us some of your favorite blues and/or jazz tunes.

A grey-haired BB King is playing electric guitar in a blue paisley jacket and black bow-tie. He focuses hard while he passionately uses a technique called finger vibrato to get a bluesy sound out of the guitar.


How we do

In this weekly series, folks can chime in and drop links to whatever it is they've been listening to recently + browse others' suggestions. You can follow the suggested genre if you'd like, but don't feel confined to it; you're free to suggest whatever you wanna. 🙌

If you're interested in having other discussions about music, consider following the aptly named #music discussions organization.


Let's hear some blues and jazz! Note: you can embed a link to your song using the following syntax {% embed https://... %}. This should work for most common platforms!

Looking forward to listening to y'all's suggestions! 🎶


p.s. Check out @rachelfazio's new series Podcast Palooza— What are you listening to?

Top comments (29)

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ksolomon profile image
Keith Solomon • Edited

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, so I’m in a very New Orleans frame of mind today…this one brings back memories of sleepless nights on Bourbon Street and days on the parade routes watching the floats and yelling “throw me something mister!”

Laissez les bon temps rouler! 🎭⚜️

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Wow, Keith! Well-timed playlist right here. This is a super cool list! I'm liking all the brass, and ya gotta love Professor Longhair — that's New Orleans royalty right there.

With Mardi Gras happening tomorrow, I should've thought to put the spotlight on NOLA today. Reckon I'll have to save it for next year, haha!

Still, Blues & Jazz are very much intertwined with New Orleans, so with that in mind, lemme think of a good response suggestion.

My mom's favorite musician is Aaron Neville... as such, the Neville Brothers have gotten a lot of airtime in my ears, haha. It's hard to confine them to one genre really, but one of my favorite tunes by them is Yellow Moon ... so good!

Another of my parents' favorites is Louie Armstrong... here's a good New Orleans themed tune by him:

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srbhr profile image
Saurabh Rai

Fantastic Recs @michaeltharrington

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Glad to hear that you're likin'em Saurabh!

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ksolomon profile image
Keith Solomon

Both solid picks!

And yeah, I assure you, I know what it means to miss New Orleans. As a friend of mine said long ago, New Orleans is one of those places that seeps into your soul.

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Glad you dig'em. And your friend put it nicely — it truly is an amazing place with one helluva culture!

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Saurabh Rai

Ayy that's an awesome playlist mate @ksolomon

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt ☕ • Edited

I don't have Jazz music, sorry Michael :c

Edit : I like this one

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

Wow, such a good pick, Thomas! I'm glad you edited, haha.

Nina Simone is amazing. 🙌 She is also originally from North Carolina. There's a great doc about her on Netflix. She had a really rough life, especially growing up in NC... I leave it to the documentary to explain, but it's well worth the watch.

And since you chose someone from my area, I'm gonna turn ya on to an old-school jazz guitarist who gained fame in Paris, France — Django Reinhardt. Technically, he's from Belgium, and was of Romani-Belgian descent, but as Wikipedia states:

With violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Reinhardt formed the Paris-based Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934. The group was among the first to play jazz that featured the guitar as a lead instrument.

So yeah, France played a big part in his uprise and I think it's fair for y'all to celebrate him as one of your own too. (Granted, if I was from Belgium, I'd totally claim him, haha!) Anyway, Django Reinhardt is one of the early, important European jazz players... he absolutely added a new flavor to the big bowl of Jazz soup.

Here's what he sounds (and looks) like:

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt ☕

Ooh cooool ! 🎸
It's great to know all that! I'm not really into blues/jazz, but I have to admit that I really liked this one by Nina Simone!

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Thomas Bnt ☕

oh syntax error!

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Haha, whoops! 😅

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fyodorio profile image
Fyodor • Edited

Official Apple's Jazz Piano Essentials playlist on Apple Music is awesome, I love to listen to it lately

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

OOo alright, I'mma have to look that up! I do feel like my Jazz knowledge is somewhat limited, so it'd be cool to hear what they consider to be essential listening.

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Mr. Linxed

Right now:

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Michael Tharrington

Not sure if you're familiar with Jacob Collier, but I've been listening to him this morning and the handpan made an appearance. 🔥

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Michael Tharrington

So calming! I really love the handpan. 😌

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Michael Tharrington

Coming at ya with a couple inspiring guitarists from the 60's...

Jimi Hendrix gets a lot of deserved cred for being one of the most exciting blues players of his time, but there's another blues guitarist from the same era who's playing is similarly (but differently) unhinged in a beautiful way — Buddy Guy. Also, you gotta love that howling voice. Check him out here:

On the jazz side of things, it's hard to beat Wes Montgomery's chops. Just check out this performance from 65' ... dude is absolutely on 🔥 with this group.

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Michael Tharrington • Edited

Haha, just realized looking at these preview images that they're both wearing blue suits. Keepin' it classy!

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Michael Tharrington

Gotta give it up for Andre 3000's latest release, New Blue Sun. It's got jazzy elements for sure and is very experimental. As a fan of ambient music, I dig it, but I recognize that a) it's not what folks expect from Andre 3000 so some will be disappointed and b) regardless of the artist involved, experimental instrumental tunes are not everyone's cup of tea.

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Michael Tharrington

Here's a good one for y'all... check out this killer jazzy performance by The Yussef Dayes Experience.

And yes, that is the great Pino Palladino's son on bass. 🔥

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Bala Madhusoodhanan

BB King have some awesome collection... Now let me change my playlist :-D...

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Michael Tharrington

Heck yeah he does, Bala. Dude has got soul!

Side note, I've always loved the Rolling Stones. Just a few years ago I came across this video of them attending a Muddy Waters performance and him coaxing them up on the stage. Gotta love it!

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Jordan Spencer

One of the most perfect albums of all time...

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Michael Tharrington

Oh heck yeah! What a great suggestion, Jordan!

I really can't say I've listen to Alice Coltrane before, but this is awesome! She's a harpist... woaaa! So cool. That's a rare gift and she sounds phenomenal on these songs you've shared.

Wikipedia told) she's a pianist too. Good stuff!

I'll def be digging into this one more tomorrow. Thankya for sharing!

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jun

Found a hidden gem lately: "There's A Lull In My Life" by Chet Baker. So peaceful, with gentle guitar and his soothing voice.

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Michael Tharrington

Oh wow, this is very calming. And what a fantastic voice! I've heard about Chet Baker, but don't know his music that well... I like this. 😀

Really good stuff, Jun! Thanks for sharing. 🙌

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schemetastic profile image
Rodrigo Isaias Calix

Anyone in the mood for some old Italian music?

If you want more, write me in a comment!

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Michael Tharrington

This is cool, Rodrigo! Very classy and classic.