Both new and established fans of jazz now have the opportunity to listen to all of their favourites in a variety of different ways. Whether you’re just in the process of discovering the likes of Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, or you’ve been listening to Billie Holiday and Charles Mingus since you were six years old, the musical back catalogues of the jazz greats are now more accessible than ever before.
The spread of reliable internet access across the globe has brought with it a revolution in online entertainment. There are many free and affordable options for all types of media, ranging from popular gaming platforms like Pokerstars and Steam to all the latest TV and film releases at Netflix and Disney+. This has meant widespread access to music too. Despite this (or perhaps in reaction to it), there has also been a recent return to traditional recordings on vinyl.
Whatever your preferred way to listen, there is one thing for sure: it is now much easier for you to experience the music you love at home, on the go, or live and in person. So, let’s review the different listening options available.
Online Streaming Services
First off, online streaming services have become the fallback option of many eager music fans. With their enormous libraries of studio albums, live recordings and singles, they are a one-stop shop for almost any type of music you can think of. This simple way to listen is now available through PC, mobile devices, and even gaming consoles and wearable tech, making them the platforms with the farthest reach in terms of a listener base. The biggest names include Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music, but there are also alternatives like Soundcloud and Tidal which offer slightly different features. Whether you want to rediscover that obscure live performance from the 1970s or analyse an artist’s brand new single, this is where you’ll find the fastest and best quality access to most music on the planet. Many platforms have both free and subscription based payment options, so listening needn’t cost the earth and remains firmly in your control.
Buy New and Second-hand
Perhaps you’re a vintage and retro obsessive, or maybe you just think that music sounds better through physical media; well, even though the world’s gone digital, you can still enjoy jazz the ‘old fashioned’ way. Vinyl, CDs, cassette tapes and even mini discs are still available to buy if you know where to look. Whereas fashionable outlets like Urban Outfitters and Rough Trade sell shiny, newly pressed vinyl, there are still plenty of record stores and second-hand shops where you can find the originals for a good price. eBay and other online retailers are another good bet if you’re looking for physical music media, with sellers dedicating their entire stores to seemingly obsolete objects like cassette tapes and CDs. It may take a little extra time to find what you’re looking for, but it’ll be worth it in the end – especially for the original album art.
Connect with Friends
Of course, one of the best ways to discover new and new-to-you music is by connecting with other jazz buffs. This is where the internet comes in handy again. Social media has given the world an unprecedented opportunity to forge connections and friendships like never before. If you already have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, then seek out groups and pages dedicated to jazz artists, albums or music in general. You’ll soon find that a whole new world will open up to you, introducing you to recordings and musicians that you never would have heard otherwise. You could also check out websites like Meetup, where people organise to meet in real life based on shared interests. This is a great way to find gigging buddies who you can attend live concerts with, safe in the knowledge that they’ll geek out just as much as you. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.
Speaking of which, the live performance is not dead (yet). If you really love jazz, then the best way to experience it is live. Seek out jazz performers in your local area or check when your favourite artist or cover band is next going on tour. Even if the musician themselves is no longer with us, hearing their music performed live by talented players can still be a great encounter. There’s also plenty of opportunity to hear up and coming new talent in jazz clubs, bars and venues across the world. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say, “I saw them first” once they make it big? Immersing yourself in the live jazz scene can only be a positive experience, as you’ll make connections with fellow fans and local musicians, taking your passion to the next level. It only takes minimal effort on your part whereas the rewards are long-lasting.