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Best Jazz Music Albums to Listen to While High

March 28, 2017
Hands trumpeters in the orchestra closeup
The 60s was, among many things, an era of musical exploration and discovery. Rock, pop, soul, and even jazz all went through a period of transformation as the age of electronic instruments began to take hold and new sounds, unlike anything that had come before, began to surge into pop culture.

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The latter, jazz, slowly evolved into the genre known as jazz fusion. Classic improvisational style was combined with other genres such as rock, latin, funk, and the blues, among others. The result is music that is truly unique in its complexity and sound. In appreciation of this genre, which developed out of the late 60s and the same era that saw a huge boom in the popularity of cannabis, enjoy this suggested collection of wonderful jazz fusion albums to listen to while stoned.

1. Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Acapulco Gold

There are only four songs on the album Head Hunters, but don’t be fooled–there’s over 40 mins of gloriously funky rhythms to get lost in. Released in 1973, the first song, “Chameleon,” is perhaps one of Hancock’s most famous. This comes as no surprise as the 15 minute track features a powerful, enthralling bass line which sets the stage for a whirlwind of funk and intricacy. What follows is an album which compels the listener to dive ever deeper into a wild cacophony of madness and brilliance. The album ends with the aptly named “Vein Melter,” which slows things back down with a sound that is at once both melodious lullaby and intricate wordless tale.

2. Black Market by Weather Report

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Maui Wowie

Released in 1976, this seven track album is a collaboration of eight musicians, including pianist Joe Zawinul; sax player, Wayne Shorter; and bassist Jaco Pastorius, who is featured on two tracks. A fundamental jazz fusion album, Black Market features a range of musical influences and draws heavily from African sounds. The album is often described as “world fusion.” From the title track, “Black Market,” to the final “Herandu,” the album takes the listener through a range of emotions, sensations, and intricate melodies that leave one feeling as though they’ve visited a world’s worth of spaces.

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3. Innervisions by Stevie Wonder

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Blue Dream

Stepping away from the instrumental albums brings us to Innervisions and Wonder’s effortlessly smooth voice paired with personal, politically impactful lyrics. One of the most remarkable aspects of the album is that Wonder recorded it nearly single-handedly, playing all the instruments on the majority of the nine tracks. Lyric themes include classics such as love and hard-hitting topics such as systematic racism, drug abuse, and even US politics. The tracks fluctuate in sound from funk, ballads, soul, and rock, while weaving classic jazz sounds throughout. The album is at once both engaging, entertaining, and stimulating, granting a look into the mind of one of the greats.

4. In a Silent Way by Miles Davis

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Released exactly 10 years after his acclaimed jazz album, Kinda Blue, Davis’ introduced the world to In a Silent Way, a brilliant blend of spacey, ambient, and rich jazz fusion. The album marks the beginning of Davis’ venture into the “electric” and “fusion” worlds, stepping away from the more classic jazz records he had previously produced. Recorded in a single session, the album gently lures the listener into imaginative and compelling landscapes of sound. Best paired with a creative mind and mellow strain, In a Silent Way will happily paint pictures in the mind of those willing to see.

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5. Thrust by Herbie Hancock

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Coming full circle, we revisit Hancock to explore his album Thrust, released in 1974. The album followed Head Hunters and received similar acclaim. Once again, Hancock proves he needs no more than four tracks to present nearly 40 minutes of immersive jazz-funk. Addictive bass lines and a superior blend of electric instruments cook up a recipe for four tracks of tantalizing, funky, spacey sound and a truly immersive musical experience. This album can be heard, felt, and nearly tasted as it winds together in perfect harmony. The strong funk influences will make it hard not to groove and move as you listen along.

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The world of jazz fusion offers a plethora of sounds and experiences as it explores the many ways in which jazz can complement and invigorate other genres such as rock, funk, soul, and more. I can think of no more immersive genre to explore hand-in-hand with the music-amplifying power of cannabis. Turn on the tunes and enter a world, a story, and an experience.

Rae Lland's Bio Image

Rae Lland

Rae Lland is a freelance writer, journalist, and former editor for Weedist and The Leaf Online. With a focus on culture, music, health, and wellness, in addition to her work for Leafly, she has also been featured in numerous online cannabis publications as well as print editions of Cannabis Now Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @rae.lland

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  • Great cannabis culture article. Cannabis and music go wonderful together.

  • Timothy Krieger

    Thanks for the new playlist!

  • Larry English

    I love Herbie too, but spread it out, ya know? Just a little. You’ve made some great picks, but I’m partial to slightly earlier works – start with Miles (“Kind of Blue”) and Trane (“My Favorite Things”, “Giant Steps”). Miles’ Gil Evans albums are great for the Indicas – “Porgy and Bess” and “Sketches of Spain” are standouts and, in their time, were great make-out LPs (except for the flip every 20 minutes or so) and CDs (except for the 45-minute changes, but by that time …). More couch jazz would include anything by Bill Evans (the pianist, of course, not the saxophonist) or especially a huge favorite of mine by Jim Hall (guitar) and Paul Desmond (alto) on “Concierto” – the 20-minute track “Concierto De Aranjuez” which you should grab and put on repeat.

    • Dr. Suess

      Have you ever heard the Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan album? Paul on alto and Gerry on Baritone its insane

    • Dr. Suess

      Dude how about Rowland Kirk?. If you don’t know who he is then just stop listening to jazz and go back to listening to Winger, and Cinderella. He’s the master of circular breathing he plays the alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. He plays them all at once. Also he plays clarinet and flute, some times with his nose cause hes playing 3 saxophones at once.

    • oldtimer

      Our tastes in jazz are very similar!
      You listed some biggies that I most def would have chosen!

  • Tian Li

    LOL – I already own all of these albums. If you want to enhance your listening pleasure seek out these releases on SACD (Super Auidio CD).
    Some SACD releases contain surround sound multi-channel programming (You will need a Universal Blu-ray player like OPPO or late model Sony DVD/Blu-ray players compatible with SACD). Look for the symbol http://www.hraudio.net/images/logo_sacd.png
    All SACD’s contain high resolution DSD audio.

    Stereo SACD
    http://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=949
    http://www.hraudio.net/search.php?format=0&keywords=bitches+brew
    http://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=7140
    Multi-Channel/Quad SACD
    http://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=11289
    http://www.hraudio.net/search.php?format=0&keywords=In+a+Silent+Way+Miles+Davis

  • MudFlapp

    Jabberwocky or Sumo Grande and Sun Ra Space is the place. Or any of the experimental sun ra stuffs.
    Fella Kuti and Durban Poison, not really jazz but I just listen to those this morning.
    Hehehehehehehehehehe that is the way they laughed in the 70s.