Jazz Primer

JAZZ PRIMER

John Coltrane and the Meaning of Life

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Few jazz musicians inspire more respect or demand more attention than John Coltrane. Elvin Jones, Coltrane's drummer in “The Classic Quartet" (1961-65), said that most people who listen seriously to John Coltrane's music eventually acquire all of his recordings. I find that those who hear Coltrane for who he was want to hear all that he was. I am one of these completists, ever scanning music stores and the Internet to find new releases. The man behind the music fascinates ...

JAZZ PRIMER

How to Listen to Jazz

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All About Jazz readers are usually very hip to the joys and challenges of listening to this uniquely American and endlessly fascinating art form we call jazz. Aficionados of jazz like to talk about jazz, like to recommend jazz to others, and like to listen to how others listen to jazz. This is why strangers can so easily talk jazz. In that spirit, consider how to grow even bigger ears for the music. Obstacles may stand in ...

JAZZ PRIMER

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. ...

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 ...

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. ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Cool Thoughts on West Coast Jazz

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"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 ...

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 ...

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 ...



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