Best Jazz Anthology for Educational Purposes

Say I’m teaching a class on the history of Jazz, and I want the kids to listen to some recordings every night for homework. What would be a good anthology for these purposes. Maybe say why you think this one is better than some others.

One of the first CDs I ever owned was this compilation which featured a few highlights from the circa-1990 “Columbia Jazz Masters” reissues of many albums. I don’t know if it’s widely available anymore, but I think it would hit the right notes, so to speak, for the purpose of your class.

Here’s Volume 1, which looks as good as Volume 2, maybe better – and which is available for download as MP3s. Not sure how you were planning to make the music available to your students, but maybe there’s a legal way to buy it once and burn a limited number of CD copies for educational purposes. Or are you allowed to just ask them to YouTube 'em? I’ll bet more kids have access to YouTube than they do to CD players of one sort or another these days.

However, these Columbia samplers seem to miss a lot of post-1965 stuff, so maybe this isn’t the right way to go after all.

I suggest the Smithsonian Folkways Jazz Anthology.


Thirded. That’s some great stuff there! But the Columbia selections also look like really good choices, just not as broad.

Looks pretty good with the book too.

The CD box set companion to Ken Burns Jazz is pretty good, too.

And it’s half the price.

Or you could just get a copy of “Time Out” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, play it, and tell the class that everything else is commentary.

I meant to mention the Ken Burns one. I’d go with that.

Or if you have some money to spend, pick up the entire Pacific Jazz Recordings of masters like Clifford Brown, Gerry Mulligan and many others.