If you want to familiarize yourself with the world of jazz, or even if you just want to broaden your palate, music is the best way to do it. Listening to music and studying the concepts and guitar techniques used within is one of the best ways to evolve as a player.
While it won’t take the place of practice, it will allow you to become a better player and help you to familiarize yourself with the tricks of the trade.
In this article, we will discuss the best jazz guitar albums to listen to. These are the albums that will change your playing and your approach to guitar forever.
The first album on our list is by gypsy jazz guitarist Al Di Meola. Di Meola’s sophomore offering, Elegant Gypsy, is one of the greatest pieces of jazz guitar music ever written. Not only was it an entirely new approach to jazz guitar, but the songs within have withstood the test of time. It broke bounds with its release in 1977, and since then has become one of the standards of jazz guitarists.
The second album on our list is by jazz genius Allan Holdsworth. Watching Holdsworth play is one of the most humbling experiences a musician can undergo. Secrets is one of the most complex jazz guitar albums on the market. Being Holdsworth’s seventh album, he really found his niche with this 1989 offering.
While his other albums are more critically acclaimed, Secrets is one of his most mature offerings. It is also one of his most complex. Holdsworth plays licks and runs that seem almost inhuman. He also approaches jazz from outside of the box and uses some of the craziest chords you will ever come across.
Our third album is Pat Metheny’s Secret Story. This album is a perfect showcase of how an album can speak a story without a single voice. Metheny is a master of jazz, with an amazing and fluid style. Not only can you learn a lot from listening to the complexity and fluidity of his licks and runs, but you can also learn a lot about how to take those runs and make them a cohesive piece. Metheny takes the impossible and makes it possible. Secret Story is, above all, a work of art.
The fourth and final album on our list of best jazz guitar albums to listen to is Jazz Samba by Charlie Byrd. Byrd was one of the most versatile and influential guitarists to ever not-quite-be a jazz guitarist and release a jazz album.
Byrd played in a variety of genres and styles, but Jazz Samba was one of his greatest offerings. His career spanned almost forty years, and even up to his passing he was still playing shows and making music. Byrd was a legend, one of the best players to ever dabble in so many different styles, and what made him so great was his ability to make each style his own.
When he played flamenco, he had his own take. When he played jazz, he had his own take. He wraps up our list not because he was the least, but because he was the best of his kind.
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