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There was also this vast influx of younger players from all over the country who came to New York well prepared, proficient, articulate and ready to learn. This was the beginning of what was unfortunately called the "young lions period." We were also the last beneficiaries of the apprenticeship system and had the grand opportunity to play with our heroes. But after us, a lot of people passed on and stopped having groups, so we became the bandleaders younger players started to look toward. But we wanted it organized.
I met fellow saxophonist Steve Coleman and found we had a great deal in common and a great deal of aspiration to revitalize the scene and not just make it this young lions thing. We didn't want to reinforce that. Even though we did play traditional music, we also wanted something that was reflective of what was going on now. We wanted an experimental environment where we could write new music and talk about new concepts, new approaches and implement things that were of our own concoction. Once we were organized, we met once or twice a week in our basements or apartments and talked about music. It was really a self-propellant entity, where if one of the members had a meeting with a music executive, an attorney or had a session in the studio, we would address the group and detail our experiences. Consequently, we all lived vicariously through each other's experiences, and when we had to confront those experiences on our own, we were well prepared. We also pooled our money, and paid for our own studio time, and put on our own concerts as well as starting an outreach program for student teaching with a musicians' referral service. And through these efforts, a lot of the journalistic elite took note and started to call us 12th and Brooklyn, but we wanted to nip that in the bud.
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.