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

Genius Guide to Jazz

How to Listen to Jazz, Part II

By Published: October 11, 2010
This brings about a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that more music is available than ever before. The bad news is that it can be harder to find, and has not been through the vetting process that once not only separated the wheat from the chaff but also some of the wheat from the wheat. But, it remains an unfortunate truism that some unheard music deserves to stay unheard.

Which brings us to more good news. The same Internet which allows virtually unlimited content distribution also provides the wherewithal to gather, sort and review this content. Websites such as, say, this one, are a perfect source for both discovering Our Music and finding out where to see it live. And hilarious, well-written, self-congratulatory articles such as, I dunno, this one can provide you with insight into the various types of jazz (see above).

Which brings us to.

Now that you know how to listen to jazz, and where to find it, there comes the larger metaphysical question of why to listen to jazz. Why deliberately seek out a music that, by its own choice, lacks pop culture appeal? Music that will not be heard on American Idol, will not be performed by pubescent TV actors seeking to make the largest possible flash in their allotted pans, and will not be blasted by ridiculous carloads of lilywhite college dinks who are about as urban as an IKEA store?

I probably just answered my own question, but next month (or whenever the hell I get around to it), Your Own Personal Genius will explore that question in depth. Either that, or a daring exposé uncovering the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs in jazz. Can the same stuff that gave Barry Bonds that gigantic Pez dispenser head help the average jazz cat swing harder? Stay tuned to this URL for the shocking truth.

Till next month, kids, exit to your right and enjoy the rest of AAJ.


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