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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Genius Guide to Jazz

Test Your Jazz IQ

By Published: January 19, 2004


  • True or false:

    If Duke Ellington leaves New York on a train traveling at 45 miles per hour, Louis Armstrong leaves Chicago at the same time on a train traveling at 50 miles per hour, and Charlie Parker leaves Los Angeles on a train traveling at 40 miles per hour, it still won’t take as long for them to meet Miles Davis in St. Louis as it will to watch the inevitable Ken Burns film about the whole thing.


  • Baroness Panonica de Koenigswarter:

    1. Used her wealth and position to act as a faithful patron to jazz and jazz musicians.
    2. Suffered the odd misfortune of having both Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk die while at her residence.
    3. Could do 15 shots of Jägermeister before taking off her top and singing Embraceable You.
    4. Had the only New Jersey driver’s license ever to have a fold-out in order to get her whole name on it.



  • Miles Davis essentially invented Fusion in order to:

    1. Advance jazz to its next inevitable incarnation.
    2. Maintain his stature even as jazz’s popularity waned.
    3. Make good on a misunderstood deathbed promise to J. Robert Oppenheimer.
    4. Figure out how the hell Bob Dylan was getting so much tail.



  • The 1970’s saw jazz:

    1. Explore the full boundaries of Free jazz and Fusion.
    2. Embrace the early analog synthesizer, making way for the electronic music of coming decades.
    3. Sport clothes and hairstyles that made the Partridge Family look hip.
    4. Prepare for the coming Marsalisization.



  • For his contributions to jazz, Kenny G should be:

      —>
    1. Added to the roster of great soprano saxophonists, alongside Sidney Bechet and John Coltrane.
    2. Stripped naked and left at a bus station in Detroit.
    3. Tapped repeatedly in the face with a shovel.
    4. Smeared with bacon grease, placed in a cage with three underfed Kodiak grizzly bears, and whatever happens, happens.



  • Pianist Brad Mehldau finds himself at the vanguard of the current jazz scene as a result of:

    1. His evocative, inventive compositions.
    2. His enviable technical faculty.
    3. His intense, charismatic presence.
    4. All those years of poring over Reader’s Digest’s “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” finally paying off.



  • The influence of the Internet on jazz is most noticeable in:

    1. The sudden sway the electronic media now casts over the entire hierarchy of jazz.
    2. The exponential increase in popularity of jazz websites such as All About Jazz.
    3. The developing worldwide marketplace for jazz made possible by e-commerce.
    4. The torrent of spam with the subject line “N*U*D*E pix of DIaNe KraLL whjp85y.”




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