Five Classic Jazz Songs For Your Classic Rock Friends

One of the things that music nerds like me like to do is to try and turn people onto music we love (that’s really what this blog is about). So over the years I have tried to get my friends, whose tastes tend to classic rock, into jazz. I’m talking straight classic jazz, not fusion . Over time, I’ve accumulated a list of jazz songs that seem to have struck a chord (pun not intended) for those who are more likely to listen to Hendrix than Coltrane. I’ve noticed that these songs tended to be Hard Bop tunes, a subgenre of jazz, popular in the f1950’s, that incorporated elements of blues, gospel and R&B, elements shared by much of classic rock, making the music more relatable to rock fans. These tunes also tended to have a driving groove, imparting an energy that my jamband friends would appreciate.

Let’s start by taking it to church with “Better Git It On your Soul” by bassist/composer Charles Mingus. From the opening bass riff to the awesome sax break accompanied by only hand claps, this tune rocks.

Charles Mingus – Better Get It In Your Soul


When you see anything about Miles Davis’ modal period, it almost always centers on the album “Kind Of Blue” with the tune “So What” given as the prime example. But before Kind Of Blue there was “Milestones”. Similar modal chord structure as “So What” but Milestones has a more aggressive swing feel that your non jazz friends will dig..

Miles Davis – Milestones

I’ve written about guitarist Grant Green previously. He’s played on countless sessions for Blue Note records in it’s prime. His style is bluesy and direct. A jazzy version of B.B. King if you will. Check out my previous post on Grant Green (

Grant Green – It Ain’t Necessarily So


Wayne Shorter is probably most well known for his essential roles in Miles Davis groundbreaking “second great quintet” and the group Weather Report but from 1964 through to 1970, Wayne recorded a series of records that feature some of his strongest playing and writing. This tune features standout playing from Herbie Hancock on piano and Joe Chambers on drums.

Wayne Shorter ― Adam’s Apple

Another tune I wrote about previously ( The song had lyrics added to it and subsequently covered by artists like Eric Burdom and The Animals, Nina Simone and Bobby Darin. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band did a great instrumental cover of it on their classic album “East-West”. I would of loved to hear what The Allman Brothers Band could have done with this song.

Cannonball Adderley Quintet -Work Song

More classic jazz for classic rock next post.

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Posted in Jazz, Music Appreciation and Analysis
One comment on “Five Classic Jazz Songs For Your Classic Rock Friends
  1. […] of my previous post “Five Classic Jazz Songs For Your Classic Rock Friends” (  In that post, I was talking about classic jazz tunes that might appeal to your friends who are […]

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