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Jazz Primer

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What is Jazz? Good Question...

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What is jazz? According to Wynton Marsalis jazz is music that swings. According to Pat Metheny jazz is not the music of Kenny G. According to Webster's jazz is characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre. Personally, I prefer the definition found in the old musician's joke about jazz being “better than sex, and it lasts longer." Certainly, the question is a highly subjective one. Ask 100 different people “What is jazz?" and you're likely to get 100 different answers. The debate becomes even more ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Miles Davis: Unlimited Miles

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I can't think of an artist who has had greater influence over jazz the past forty years than Miles Davis.For music, style, language and business, Davis was at the top of the game. One to never step aside and let critics dissuade or impede his aspirations, he constantly retooled his band with the brightest most gifted young players of the moment. There are those who will argue that Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson were equals. But while these artists contributed mightily, Davis took note of what was happening outside the idiom and adapted ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Essential Buying Tips for Building a Jazz Collection

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O.K., so you're trying to build up a nice little jazz recording library for yourself and you want to be able to do it without breaking the bank or facing dirty looks from your spouse for blowing the vacation budget on the latest round of CDs. Well, this writer has been there and done that (including the dirty looks), so I'd like to share what I learned about how to collect jazz recordings in the most economical and resourceful way. Because while jazz CDs seem readily available at some of the major retail record stores, it's easy to waste money ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Cool Thoughts on West Coast Jazz

"During the last half-century, New York's preeminence in the jazz world has faced a serious challenge only once. For a brief period following World War II, California captured the imagination of jazz fans around the world. “West Coast jazz" suddenly became a catchword, a fad, a new thing." ~ Ted Gioia , Author of West Coast Jazz.

With the close of the Second World War, jazz underwent a massive transformation. For musical, cultural, technological and economic reasons, the swing era dominated by the big bands drew to a close. To fill the jazz void, the music split into ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Jazz... Where to Begin?

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The AAJ guide to getting started with jazz Starting a jazz collection is something every well-rounded music listener considers. Unfortunately, most folks have trouble getting started because they don't know where to begin. Do you start chronologically with Louis Armstrong or do you jump right into the new stuff--how about the '50's and '60's? Everyone is different, so where you begin will depend a lot on your musical taste. We hope the information on this page provides you with some insight on how to build your CD (or download) collection as well as discover ...

JAZZ PRIMER

More Obscure Favorites

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Ask for the best 10 or 100 albums of all time and you'll get the usual suspects: Kind of Blue, Saxophone Colossus, Armstrong's Hot Fives and Sevens, Jazz at Massey Hall, etc. Without a doubt, these albums have earned their acclaim and no collection would be satisfying without them. But what about the great, less well-known, even obscure albums? Don't we all have favorite albums that don't ever seem to make the top 100--yet always find their way to our turntables? Let's share our discoveries... Date: 11-Oct-1998 09:34:35 From: Jonathan Kranz ( jonkranz@mediaone.net )A ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Great, but obscure albums to purchase

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Ask for the best 10 or 100 albums of all time and you'll get the usual suspects: Kind of Blue, Saxophone Colossus , Armstrong's Hot Fives and Sevens , Jazz at Massey Hall, etc. Without a doubt, these albums have earned their acclaim and no collection would be satisfying without them. But what about the great, less well-known, even obscure albums? Don't we all have favorite albums that don't ever seem to make the top 100--yet always find their way to our turntables? Let's share our discoveries... Date: 06-Dec-1998 17:16:43 From: steve bidwell ( ...

JAZZ PRIMER

What is the best way to introduce a young person to jazz?

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Date: 22-Dec-1998 15:40:01 From: Stephen ( djangorhinehart@yahoo.com ) The best way to introduce young people to jazz is by exposing them to it. Just be careful to start with what they will find cool. Not every one likes Live in Seatle so you should probobly start with some new swing or salsa. Stuf like the sound track to When Harry Met Sally and Brian Setzer are a great place to start. Then as the young person developes expose them to more and more outside stuf. Before you know it thell be thinking Ornithology is the hepest ...

JAZZ PRIMER

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

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Date: 17-Apr-1998 12:57:44 From: Chris S ( cslawec9@idt.net ) There probably isn't one, or even one dozen, particular place(s) to start. The beautiful thing about jazz is often one of the most frustrating things about it too--it is just so flexible and stylistically varied. I have a friend who really digs King Crimson; I'd be inclined to throw “Bitches Brew" at him to start. But then I have another friend who's into serious bluegrass--he'd hate “Bitches Brew" but would most likely appreciate Bill Frisell or some solo Pat Metheny. I hope I don't have any friends ...

JAZZ PRIMER

John Coltrane: A Newbies Guide

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By Tim Price When John Coltrane died in 1967, he left behind a huge legacy of recorded music. Making sense of it all is an enormous task. Check out our suggestions for six views of Trane's last ten years. With Blue Train , John Coltrane not only firmly established his own voice on the tenor saxophone, but also proved his abilities as a bandleader and composer. The musicians on Blue Train , hand-picked by Coltrane himself, play superbly not only as individuals, which is to be expected of players of such high caliber, but also as a ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Double Time Top 100 Historically Significant Recordings

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We get many calls from jazz listeners just like yourself asking us for recommendations on what recordings are good. Our catalog represents our top 100 historically important jazz recordings. Our new program lets you pick the recordings that you want and during the next year or so we will send them to you without having to place an order each time. It is an easy way to listen to some of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. There are no fees whatsoever. It is simply a list of what we consider to be the top 100 jazz recordings listed ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Jazz Lovers Top 100+ List

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Many people seem to want to know about recordings they should have. This is one attempt to answer this sort of question. I don't think it is at all satisfactory, since there are thousands of recordings that are necessary. This list was generated by some of the subscribers to the Jazz-L mailing list, compiled by Eric Saidel, and I have added links. The links are selected quasi-randomly. Look around on the web for much more on these and many other artists. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue John Coltrane: Giant Steps Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool Charles ...

JAZZ PRIMER

What is Jazz? Round 2

What is jazz? Those three words form one of the toughest questions in music. Ask a hundred people and you are likely to get as many different answers. Few things have given me more pleasure in life than listening to the music we call jazz. Even after hearing several thousand recordings in over 15 years and seeing countless live shows, I cannot offer a definitive definition of the word “jazz." The challenge may lie in the term “jazz" itself. Can a living music, one that may well be the most colorful and varied art ...

JAZZ PRIMER

A Bottle, a Rag, and a Pint of Gasoline

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Jazz? Ask for a definition of this music, and you're bound to start a volatile discussion. My grandfather will tell you with a quickly drawn breath that jazz is noise, non-structured and irreverent of the conventional wisdom musicians have learned from centuries of practice. His thoughts on jazz conjure images of a plague set upon the world of musical composition. Though conversations usually end with a head shaking and “I just don't understand it," more than once in an elevator he's turned and said, “This fellow has a nice melody to him." A favored ...



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