Jazz music is much like the sea, with surface tensions failing to corroborate the underlying mutinous vibeand you can drown in it. Meet Paco Pastorals for example: piccolo jazz-moister extraordinaire and great entrepreneurial genius of late. Late-night drinking sessions of old; way back before the newer, rather ambiguous although legal, 24/7 binge promos, though!
Enter the valiant-vainglorious: Victor, in propria persona ex-naval functionary sea-dog struggling on the dry, dry land whilst, rather shakily trying to balance the log in his cul-de-sac public house: The Chequers. In the nick-of-time, he was approached by familiar, after-hours acquaintance, Pacowith a view to the establishment of an auxiliary, once-a-month only, Musicians" Club. To be held in the back room, away from the mainstream, c/w entry feevirtually all-night.
In actual fact, the pair of them went way back to '75 when Victor, under the wing of the illustrious Captain Peter Jackson, post [last orders] military career worked as head barman on The QE2; no doubt enjoying The Royal-Connection en route: Mr Pastorals was currently cruising along with one of the resident dance bands, on flute; a free passage to New York. To the famous "Birdland" night club where he was to further his knack for improvisation, Victor"s nemesisJAZZ! Until this little revelation they had enjoyed many a mutinous, after hours boozing session alone/together in splendid isolation.
This was [probably] their finest hour.
Isolated as journeymen in limbo before Old Victor, the proverbial drunken sailor, jetsam washed-up on the floundering shore of the South Hamptons somewhere; before he came into his bar. Literally: inherited a last-chance-saloon, out in the sticks; a bottle-bottom kickback from his dear, late Uncle Romilly. Paco was soon to follow in Victor"s wake, though. Accused, on a return booking, of being "too precious." Far too "jazzy" now, as he condescended to the cabaret [my friend] music, and walked the short pier that was effectively his plank to the promenade. He tracked Victor down. It wasn't hard to do as the bullish man left a trail of broken china all over the shop, as if a loose canon off the rails; a runaway train gunning it upcountrynorth of Windsor, High Wycombe way.
So, there was Pacopost-Cunnard, and his scruffy entourage, to include chairman; treasurer [himself] and vice-presidentVictor, of course would be nominally elected as the Main Man presiding over the victuals, he would have to sanction the issue of meal/off-the-roll raffle/tickets (a legal requirement for any late drinking club at that time) on receipt of the café-culture entry fee. Such fee to cover the costs of guest musicians... blah, blah and, that was it! A done deal so it seemed: with Victor effectively having to do Sweet Fanny Adams.
Strangely, there was a conspicuous lack of any music whatsoever in the pub proper; just the brittle ambience of well-worn bar billiardsclonk; the addled grandfather (if time were a river this one would be an eccentric eddy) clockwhir, clinkety-clank, set against the contrapuntal, dulcet church bells beyond: no conflict of interest by juke-box, then. No loss of disco revenue.
However, round about midnight, just when things were getting nicely mellow; the guest player"s swinging and singing, it didn't mean a thing. The proprietary "Old Vic" ran into a sudden squall; bawled them out! Pulled out the proverbial plankTHWACK! A broadside on the bar; first off they all thought he"d decided to join in, liven it up... have a bit of a go at it himselfpost-modern-jazz being as it does (?) Outside the box, he was right there on the down beat, though: the old bugger meant it"Treason!"
The rocking boat downscaled on a high "C" of Star-Spangled nonsensical fusion... stuff as the much dreaded post-maritime migraine ensued: THWACK! THWACK!! "The Yanks Are Coming" he further declaimed. What musical brouhaha, the planky end grain staring like loaded barrels of sawn-off menace, straight at them: Thelonious Monk's classic "Round about Midnight" at the deviant blowing section really yanked his ball-and-chain (loose from the metaphorical dungeon of p.m. melodies) it seems.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.