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

Genius Guide to Jazz

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

By Published: December 13, 2010
So I was naturally resistant to the idea that exciting new stuff was being made right now by people who weren't born when Trane started jamming with the Infinite. To me, modern jazz—and you'll forgive me for saying this—was like modern art; an inferior product produced by lesser-talented individuals masking a lack of fundamental ability with soulless novelty.

And I was wrong. Icons Among Us presents the new generation of jazz on its own terms, rather than apologizing that it isn't as good as the old or defiantly claiming that the old isn't all its cracked up to be. It allows new music to be measured fairly, and puts a face on those brave few who choose a path they know in advance will not lead to fame or riches except in the most uncommon of circumstances. Much like Your Own Personal Genius, who could probably be making a comfortable living churning out unfunny TV sitcoms rather than writing silly things about jazz if it wasn't for the fact that I'd rather write instruction manuals for toasters than any of the crap currently on the networks.

For the seasoned hipster, or the fledgling JazzNoob, Icons Among Us is very nearly the perfect gift for anyone you care about who cares about Our Music. I confer upon it the coveted Genius Guide Recommendation, which heretofore had not been given to anything that did not contain at least 5% alcohol by volume.

Finally, let us all be reminded once again what the whole holiday season is about. If your economic recovery isn't recovering quite as fast as you'd like, if you're concerned about Wikileaks or Iranian nukes, if you're terrified by the thought of investigative reporters uncovering a horde of undiscovered Kardashians, then this is the time of year to look around you and take stock of all that is good and right in your world. Make sure your loved ones know they are loved. Treasure the silly traditions and useless novelty gifts. Love, and you will be loved. That one small gift, which can not be had at any price, will be more than enough.

Thank you all for allowing me into your lives, however infrequently, for yet another year. I bid you glad tidings this holiday season, and peace throughout the coming year.

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

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