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Jazz Primer

What's the best way to introduce someone to Jazz?

By Published: December 9, 2004
Date: 20-Apr-1998 09:13:47
From: JIM SMITH ( SMITHJ@PBS.PORT.AC.UK )
I CAN ONLY STATE AT THIS TIME THE ADVISE GIVEN TO ALL US JAZZ LOVERS BY THE GREAT JON HENDRICKS " LISTEN "


Date: 20-Apr-1998 10:56:59
From: Deborah Yordy ( dlyordy@woodteam.com )
I rather "eased" into jazz as I grew older. For me personally, it was a natural transition from the more complex Rhythm & Blues of the 70's to contemporary jazz. Also, I grew up under the strong influence of classical music, which I believe has had a tremendous influence on the development of jazz (along with Blues, of course). And I have always loved the Big Band sound. So, one way for me would be to "ease" someone into jazz. Another way would be to ask them to come along with you to a jazz festival. The Chicago Jazz Fest, for example, has a good variety of artists. But, your pupil needs to have a ready ear: "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink."


Date: 20-Apr-1998 11:16:35
From: George Barker ( george.barker@usa.net )
When I was a teenager (a long time ago) I was given 2 albums that got me into jazz: "Live at Montreaux"- Les McCann and Eddie Harris and "In A Silent Way"—Miles Davis. For something newer I would suggest "High Life"—Wayne Shorter.


Date: 20-Apr-1998 15:09:30
From: howard ( howard.peirce@sdrc.com )
I don't think it's so much a question of specific recordings, as telling new listeners how jazz "works." I tell people it's not so much about liking this song or that song, but that jazz is a kind of game—what happens when artist X encounters song Y. Listening to jazz is like watching baseball. Baseball is incredibly boring if you don't know what's going on, but the more you know, the more you enjoy it. It's the same way with jazz. You can learn the basic rules (head-solos-head, etc.) in about 5 minutes. Then, the more you know about the game, the more you can appreciate the subtleties. That's why "Kind of Blue" is such a great introduction: the rules are very easy to understand, but the game is so well played.


Date: 20-Apr-1998 20:50:51
From: Patrick ( pjknight@polsci.umass.edu )
This topic is great, in fact recently two friends of mine were asking me about jazz and they wanted my recommendations. It is not easy, as others have stated, you have to know what the person likes. If they like funk, then let them sample some 70s Herbie Hancock, Roy Ayers and George Duke. If they like rock, they should try Bitches Brew and fusion.

I was introduced to jazz at an early age by my godfather, he was a huge Buddy Rich fan, and soon I turned into a huge Buddy Rich fan too. Yet I know Buddy is probably not a good choice for a person who likes easy listening and adult contemporary music. So the key is to know your listener. For my friend who loves guitar, lounge and rock, I suggested Wes Montgomery, you can't go wrong with the fast fingers of Wes.


Date: 20-Apr-1998 21:10:55
From: Arun Dias-Bandaranaike ( arundb@serendib.ccom.lk )
Interesting thoughts from all previous. My view is that 'seeing' and hearing is usually far more a powerful way to attract interest, than just to provide music of a record. I have helped initiate people who have little interest in improvised music by just sitting with them at a performance and then assisting them to follow what's going on ( whispering in the ear, of course!). In the 70's I was not that much into Ellington's work ( save the usual 'hit' stuff) until I heard the band in all its glory, with maximum impact up close—Wow! Life was never the same after that!!!! I guess you can follow the drift of my argument. Love always.


Date: 21-Apr-1998 19:05:53
From: K Bray ( kcbray@televar.com )
As a high school photo teacher attempting to introduce my students in a small PNW community to the value of jazz, your comments are most beneficial. I am a new fan. We are excited to visit Western WA U next month to view the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Seeing Jazz." I've been playing the popular Kenny G but we're looking at the masters from Louie to Duke to Dizzy. Your suggestions are most appreciated.


Date: 22-Apr-1998 20:58:20
From: Nathaniel Crockett ( jasbo@cyberdude.com )
Gender is a point of beginning. Women whether faking it or not will go with the flow. They may acquise only to congenial, but if they stick with the music, you may win them. My wife has pursued that path, not really into, however, she does approve of the perks. I have two daughters who have been exposed to the music all of their lives. They enjoy jazz too. So it can be exposure by association. My family's favorite riff is the theme from The Duke, by Bruebeck. With the jazz exposion, they have been known to astonish all by there knowledge of the music. Jazz is an attitude developed from association, appreciation, you don't really have to know it. Either you dig, or you don't.


Date: 23-Apr-1998 15:34:29
From: Chris S ( cslawec9@idt.net )
Interesting that the topic of genre has been introduced here...


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