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Jazz Primer

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

By Published: December 9, 2004
Date: 12-Apr-2000 01:49:42
From: Intonarumori ( atonalwarrior@hotmail.com )
Well if they are stuck up metalheads like I once was...play em something off of Di Meolas "Elegant Gypsy" or something from the early Mahavishnu Years...and if they have an open mind and really want to know jazz...give em something by Sun Ra..that will keep their ears busy for a week...haha


Date: 18-Apr-2000 11:15:07
From: Scott Parker ( park_36@hotmail.com )
I learned my love of jazz from my sister. A true 60's/70's baby, Gil Scott Heron, Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock. I too believe that it is dependent to "whom" your introducing to this great art. Finding out what "their" idea of jazz is, can be a starting point more so than just recommending music. It can't be explained.


Date: 15-May-2000 08:43:28
From: Xabier encinas (France) ( jazz.on.line@caramail.com )
Befor to became a jazz trumpeter (2 years ago), I was DJ, hip-hop DJ. One day, I went to take some old records from my father to find something to scratch with. I tried a lot of records and I have heard "My funny Valentine" recorded by The Miles Davis Quintet. The day after I let down my turn tables and I begin to learn trumpet. Jazz is a kind of music who everybody can learn something you just need to heard Miles or coltrane... Jazz can open your eyes... Peace


Date: 12-Jun-2000 14:09:38
From: Sharon ( moss.94@osu.edu )
I have been scanning this site some, because I am trying to find a nice way to "break in" new friend of mine. So, if I repeat anything on here, I'm sorry. I got into jazz by playing it and seeing/hearing it played live. In those experiences, I felt like a part of the action. For the non-musician, playing isn't really an option (at least realistically). So I take 'em to a live show (of the kind of jazz I think they'll like) and explain what's happening (soloing, etc) as it happens. They usually want to go back for more! (Of course having an enthusiastic friend along helps!)


Date: 15-Jun-2000 08:30:15
From: Ken Watters
Well, from my experience, Coltrane's "Ballads" or "The Gentle Side of John Coltrane" usually gets 'em RIGHT into it. Folks hear either of these for the first time and immediately think of SEX! Also, most recordings by Woody Shaw get folks pretty up & around. There's been many a classical trumpeter turned on to jazz by him because of his sheer fire, plus they have NO CLUE what he's doing harmonically (which makes him a "challenge"). The funny thing is that for most classical musicians, SWINGING is a big ENOUGH challenge!


Date: 20-Jul-2000 00:43:38
From: Nat Catchpole ( n_catchpole@hotmail.com )
First I should say I'm 19, and I've been into Jazz since I was five or six, so I haven't experienced coming to it from another style. (I'm a British student, studying Saxophone at Berklee). However I have tried to get many of my friends to listen to Jazz, both successfully and unsuccessfully.

I think musicians from different backgrounds respond best to what is closest to their field. Classical musicians seem to prefer ECM, rockers like early fusion, people into funk will like Herbie etc, Death Metal cats, and Grateful Dead fans dig Pharoah.

With non-musicians (this isn't supposed to be disparaging, but I think non-jazz lovers, indifferent, haters, can be easily separated into those who are and are not musicians), it has to be a completely different approach.

Apparently Homicide Life on the Streets includes Mccoy Tyner in the soundtrack, any number of advertisements (especially in England), feature Nina Simone, or Cantaloupe Island (Us3 version), or vocal Louis tracks.

Also playing Sanborn, or Spyra Gryra to Kenny G fans, then Brecker Brothers to Sanborn Fans, or Weather Report, and gradually working backwards seems to work. (my listening went from Sanborn to Brecker, to Rahsaan, to Free jazz and Impulse, then Blue Note, and continues to go backwards chronologically). Most consumer type listeners should be introduced to the kind of jazz which they hear every day (I don't mean supermarket $%%$#). Someone even suggested to me that some of Ornettes Prime Time stuff, especially the ballads, would maybe pass unnoticed if the volume was at the same level.

I think hitting someone with a really beautiful/classic album also works.

This getting to long and boring so I'll shut up.


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