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This document from a 2004 tour stop at one of the West Coast's best-known rooms finds two septuagenarian saxophone players revisiting and reshaping songs they have been performing throughout the years, often as duets. Play close attention to their rendition of Eden Ahbez's beautiful "Nature Boy, which Bud Shank introduces as a slow-tempo ballad, until the band picks up the beat and turns it into a more of a West Coast cool jazz tune.
Before Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz made bossa nova a hit with their landmark Jazz Samba album in 1962, Shank had been fusing Brazilian beats into jazz when he worked with Laurindo Almeida in the mid '50s. "Carousels, a Shank composition (co-written with manager/promoter Linda Shank), is evidence of that: while Bill Goodwin's drums and Bob Magnusson's bass deliver a samba-inspired backing, the sax players and pianist Mike Wofford keep their feet in American soil.
Benny Carter's "Serenade is another great moment in the album, Phil Woods soloing on the track and giving the listener goose bumps with his soulful performance.
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.