Jazz. The original American art form. Some would say the only truly American art form. To which I would add the Western film, but that’s a discussion for another time.
For some of us, jazz is like math. Inscrutable and dense and beyond our capabilities. We know it matters, but we can’t wrap our heads around it. But it’s more than just “background music.” If nothing else, one of the best uses for jazz, even for the uninitiated, is music to fuck to. Yeah, that’s right. Put it on when you get it on. You don’t want music with lyrics anyway. That can bring up all kinds of imagery that could detract from the main event. And you don’t want someone trying to sing along whilst en flagrante. Jazz will enhance the mood, but it won’t intrude. Besides, it’s kinda groovy to play while things are getting intimate, and she might find it sexy and mysterious and sexy. Especially if she’s worth your time.
Here are our favorite jazz albums for getting down. This isn’t a definitive list of the all-time greatest, but they’re all albums you’d find on several best-of lists.
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
Almost universally acknowledged as Miles’ best; this was before he got overly indulgent. Somewhere in the back of your head, while you’re thrusting away, you’ll appreciate the beauty and sweetness of his tones.
John Coltrane – Blue Train
Coltrane probably did heroin just to mute the pure sex of his saxophone playing. It’s almost too damn sexy. But for you, it should be just about right.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out
You already know the song Take Five, even if you think you don’t. It may be weird to get it on to a song in 5/4 time, but Brubeck makes it work. You’ll find yourself listening to this while she’s not even naked.
Art Blakey – Moanin
We had to include this for the title alone. But it’s also a classic.
Chet Baker Sings
Chet Baker was an underrated trumpet player who never really got full respect because he was a white boy. But he was also a helluva singer, with a sweet, soulful voice, that can almost make you forget his miserable and sad end. We’re breaking the previously laid down rule about nothing to sing to, but we can promise that she won’t be singing. Unless you make her sing, big fella.
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
This pairing of two of jazz’s most brilliant and enigmatic geniuses together was reissued in 2010 after the discovery of three additional tracks. Because it’s a live album, you may feel like all that applause is for you. And because the songs are long, you may deserve that applause.