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If you believe in the premise that exposure to the arts is an important and vital part of a young person's growth and development, and that a regular curriculum of art and music is just as important and necessary as English, mathematics, and social studies, you will be shocked to learn that most young people across this land are oblivious to an entire art form we know as "jazz". It's not their fault. Jazz gets virtually no media exposure. Yeah, kids might hear a jazz soundtrack here and there, or background music to a television commercial; but with no frame of reference, kids don't know what they are hearing. They don't know what they are hearing, because it is not being taught to them in school. The reason for this is simple: all but the more progressive people in this country, do not give jazz the recognition and legitimization that it deserves, not just as an art form of the highest order, but as an American artform. The reasons for this are many, and to lengthy to describe for the purposes of this review, but let's just say that when American kids don't know who Duke, Diz, Bird, Trane, and Lady Day are, it's a sad reminder that we really don't give a damn about our artists in this country.
Lisa Yves, a jazz singer, composer, and educator residing in Massachusetts, is doing an outstanding job of educating our young people about the world of jazz, and at the same time has created an aural testament to this end. Jazz for Kids is a not a silly attempt to corner the kiddie market in jazz CD sales, nor is it a mediocre or lightweight record; as a matter of fact you will find more bonafide, unadulterated jazz on this disc, than you will find on any Kenny G. record. The tunes are clearly of the bebop persuasion, and the performances( including that of the children!) are all on a very high level. The program of bop standards and swing tunes varies with renditions of such popular classics as "Boplicity," "A Night In Tunesia," as well as some lesser known gems such as Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing." There are also some wonderful originals penned by Lisa Yves which are clearly in the spirit of Bebop. In addition to making a fine jazz record, Ms. Yves has been able to inject a little soul, spirit and swing into a new generation of young people, who now stand poised to develop their own voices in the world of jazz, and pass their linage onto successive generations. And for that, I can't help but think that God is looking down and smiling upon her.
Track Listing: Sing, Sing, Sing; Bird And Diz, Bebop Lives; Everybody's Boppin; Alphabet Scat; In a Mellow Tone; (Hey) Daddy; The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines; I'm Beboppin' Too; Colors Of The Blues; Straighten Up And Fly Right; Counting To Ten; A Night With Bach In Tunesia; Cute; Twisted: Ray G. Biv; Jazzabye; Clap Your Hands
Personnel: Lisa Yves (vocals); Brad Hatfield (piano); Marshall Wood (bass); Jim Gwin (drums); Mike Monaghan (tenor, alto sax, flute); Ken Cervenka (trumpet) Sarah Konowitz, Alexa Madeloff, Lindsay Opper, Amy Kaplan, Hayley Katz, Emily Snidman, Leah Fine, Abby Kobrin, Rachel Konowitz, Zoey Schwartz, Alex Worgaftik, Jill Breitner, Ashley Tabroff, Chelsea Vantine-Kelley (kids vocals)
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.