Not heard any jazz properly on record — like ever? Let’s help out a bit. Some or all of these tips may help you navigate choppy waters. 

1 Ignore compilations.
Best to start with a single artist, one preferably not playing their greatest hits either.
2 Follow a hunch.
Try not to figure out how and why you like what you are hearing – there will be time.
3 Think about the kind of music already on your radar.
Make a guess and choose something roughly similar (eg guitar/synths heavy) that you think might suit.
4 Read a few good long form writers.
Spend quality time with the books of Gary Giddins, Robin DG Kelley and Nate Chinen.

5 Realise that jazz is a huge music and not get too hung up on that.
It might feel that you are staring at a shelf stacked with ten types of cereal packaged up in contrasting ways. Think of it as a trick of the light.

6 Be outrageous and go hear a band live. That might well help straight away. If you like what you hear trouser a CD if the band are flogging one of theirs afterwards.
7 Ask a jazz-loving friend if one is available for a suggestion or two. 
Warning, the acquisition of new lingo may often be painlessly involved.

8 Ignore glossy marketing. Always off-putting. 
9 Bypass reissues for now. Restrict yourself to artists who are still around. Narrow it down to local artists first.  
10 Remember. While you actually may well have heard jazz passively discovering jazz actively is a constant renewal and pleasure.
Detour Ahead (Ubuntu) by Nick Costley-White, above, left, is out now.
Beyond the straightahead, four contrasting albums to experience:
1 a heads up, to be released in August from Steve Coleman in the style often known as MBASE eg derived from the late-1980s hip hop and tech influenced post bop adapted and made fresh on a huge release for fans Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets);
2 Afrofuturist drum centred imaginings from Justin Brown NYEUSI
3 hippie jazz with an Americana twist from Forest Flower legend Charles Lloyd and the Marvels + Lucinda Williams on Defiant; and finally
4 playing the compositions of alto innovator and still as vital as tomorrow John Zorn, on the marvellous Lage-significant Insurrection.