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This Spotify Playlist is a collection of jazz tunes that are considered ‘straight ahead’ (according to my opinion that is). It is a playlist comprising of 158 tunes with 17 hours and 28 mins of run time (as of April 21st, 2020). A Collection that feature tunes that I found to be essentials and more importantly interesting. Along with my other Spotify and TIDAL playlists, this playlist is what I listened to almost every single day. 

how it came about

I started ‘STRAIGHT AHEAD’ after a hang at Blu Jaz Cafe with some notable local jazz cats a few years ago. We were hanging out and we listened to Jack Wilson’s Frank’s Tune and Lee Morgan’s A Lot of Livin’ To Do. Due to my lack of listening experience, I’ve decided to start a playlist with these two tunes and called it ‘STRAIGHT AHEAD’. Over the last two years, I have added more and more tunes which I encountered in everyday life occurrences such as discovering tunes at a jam session or a hang session. Over time, the playlist grew into more of a collection of ‘good music’ rather than strictly straight ahead jazz tunes. There are a few tunes in this playlist that you might not considered straight ahead such as Charles Mingus’ Fables of Faubus or Anthony Braxton’s version of Donna Lee. ‘STRAIGHT AHEAD’ playlist is a living project for me.

what’s my goal with ‘STRAIGHT AHEAD’

other playlists?

I started it to find music that I found interesting and explore it deeply and in detail. I believe that listening is the most important part of being a musician. One have to listen to music until it became second nature in order to effectively express themselves. This is because, in order to communicate through music, you need to be able to hear what you would like to ‘say’. In music, that means how are you to going to interpret the melodies or how are you going to approach the improvisation aspect of soloing. How are you going to phrase your next melody, what melody are you going to spontaneously compose to communicate your music to the audience. The only way to do that is to listen to what the masters have to ‘say’ through music. Absorb, copy and interpret. 


The other weakness of many aspiring young musicians such as myself is the tendency to focus too much on one’s playing rather than listening and communicating with band members. This effectively means you are not playing music as a group. In order to work on this weakness, I tend to listen to more of the ‘comping’ aspect of a tune and not to focus entirely on the melody that is being played but how the band communicate. 


I believe having a dedicated playlist of tunes that I like will help me dig and listen deeper into the music and become more self aware of the music itself once I am on the bandstand. Hence, help me to be able to effectively communicate the music to the audience with more intent and freedom of expression. 

I have a few playlists on Spotify including playlists that I started at the same time as ‘STRAIGHT AHEAD’ including ‘not so straight ahead’ and ‘modern’. Furthermore I also have playlists that are my guilty pleasures such as ‘COUNTRY STUFF’ and more. On TIDAL, I have a playlist that is dedicated to high quality jazz tunes that I found on that platform. I’ll link all the playlists below. 


not so straight ahead
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