Some of you may have used our 24/7 resource Naxos Music Library (log in with your Westminster library card) to listen to classical recordings, but did you know it also boasts an impressive library of jazz legends and contemporary jazz?
Jazz being a bit of a passion of mine, I decided to put it to the test. When asked “Who is your all time favourite jazz artist” I usually answer: “Egberto Gismonti”, which often meets with a blank expression. This quirky Brazilian composer, guitarist and pianist isn’t your run of the mill main stream jazz artist, so I wasn’t expecting to find many – or even any – of his recordings on Naxos… how wrong was I? There are 22 separate albums listed, with all the album information – genre, category, composer, arrangers and artists – given as separate links. So if I wanted to listen to composers featured on Egberto’s albums such as Piazzolla or Villa Lobos, (even though I didn’t know I wanted to at the time) then the links will take me to a new page with a list of all their Naxos recordings, and in the case of an artist or composer, a biography.
I have noticed more and more courses appearing for the study of jazz, it’s frequently part of the school curriculum, and indeed a growing number of our customer enquiries at Westminster Music Library are jazz related. Naxos is a gift if you’re looking to “listen and learn” and don’t know where to start.
Having ploughed through the prescribed jazz text books as a student and saved up for those precious albums, I would have given anything to have access to a resource that not only meant I could listen to thousands of recordings for free without having to dip into my meagre student grant, but also gave me access to information on every category from Dixieland to avant-garde. Throughout each topic there are links to specific music in the main list of suggested listening, and there is also a supplementary list for further listening. Recordings of over 32,000 artists are represented from over 200 labels, and include the catalogue of Blue Note Records, Warner Jazz, EMI, and many more.
Here’s the techy bit. There are three ways you can search: browse the library alphabetically by CD title, keyword search by name of artist, track or disc title, and advanced search by a combination of criteria, plus you can access with iPhone or iPod Touch.
To quote the late Duke Ellington: “the most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.”