All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
In this children's picture book, Django the golden retriever tries to emulate his master, Cole, an aspiring jazz musician. Cole, who we never actually see, has just received a guitar and a drum set as presents. You can imagine what ensues.
Simply illustrated, with little touches of humor (e.g. a "Fetch" drum set), Neftzger's appealing book puts typical conflicts between pet and master in a jazz context, with quite a thought process underlying Django's actions.
In a three-page Frequently Asked Questions section, Neftzger takes on the difficult task of explaining jazz, improvisation, syncopation and Django Reinhardt, with a little bit of fudging (how about including the African-American connection in jazz's origins, or Django's ethnic heritage?)
An accompanying three-song CD leads off with a country swing tune, "So Misunderstood," (from the dog's point of view), co-written by Amy Neftzger and her husband Tyra, a Berklee grad. Lead sheet and lyrics are provided. The last cut is a jazz waltz/swing/blues version of "Oh Where, Oh Where?" (Has My Little Dog Gone). All songs feature Tyra Neftzger on guitar and Chas Williams on dobro.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.