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Jazz Stories: 2017

Jazz Stories: 2017
Michael Ricci By

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All About Jazz—a longstanding internet destination for all things jazz—is a community bound by its love of the music.

Since March 2016, we've solicited jazz stories from our members asking them to answer any of a handful of questions and we wanted to recognize some of our submissions from 2017. New stories arrive daily and we've gathered over thousands to date—well over EIGHT years of jazz stories!

Inspired, touching, funny, helpful (to newbies) or simply providing snapshots in jazz history, we've included several that capture the spirit of jazz and articulate the many reasons why we love the music.

So, on with the stories...

From Shelly Liebowitz

My parents used to play all of the big band music and I was hooked at an early age. I had a 2 cousins in music business and they had a great influence on me. I was working at Roulette Records on rock acts when I met Count Basie. I was fascinated with his style and we would talk music for hours. He introduced me to Sammy Davis Jr and then to Ella Fitzgerald the rest as they say is history!

From Akosua Gyebi

The first jazz record I bought was Bill Evans' Sunday at the Village Vanguard. When I was in high school, I somehow stumbled across the track "My Man's Gone Now" and was instantly transfixed. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. So I saved up (times were hard for a teenager back then) and went out and bought the album.

From Dan McClenaghan

I've always loved music. One of my earliest memories is from 1956, my older brothers bringing home two brand new 45 rpm records: Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" and Bill Haley and the Comets' "See You Later Alligator." The animal themes appealed to this four year old. And the sound of Elvis' up-from-the-gut power and The Comets' shake-rattle-and-roll rhythm mesmerized me. Jazz came to me later, in 1968, via a friend's Chico Hamilton album, The Dealer (Impulse!, 1966). I was hooked. I still am.

From George Richardson

I love jazz because of the freedom of expression and endless fusion of genres and styles old and new.

I was first exposed to jazz when my college tutor played Charles Mingus "Haitian Fight Song" in class and it just opened my mind to a world of musical possibilities and that's where my journey started. After that I continued to explore new genres always looking forward to be moved again like the first time i heard pure soul and feeling poured out in that stampede of a bass solo!

The best show I ever attended was GoGo Penguin—all of their concerts have be a life experience.

The first jazz record I bought was Charles Mingus Featuring Eric Dolphy, Live at Cornell 1964.

My advice to new listeners is don't just give up because of some confusing manic be-bop line that sound's like noise because you've never heard anything like it before. It takes time to appreciate new art whether visual or audio but like all art there are many styles, sub-genres and beautiful marriages of different musical cultures under the canopy of "Jazz" music. It's so vast it's worth searching for that first composition or artist whose sound suits you and once you find that you will grasp a deeper understanding of art in its creativity and still see its ever evolving form changing and growing right in front of you. Whether musician or listener being open to one thing can lead to the ability to be open to many other things both in and out of music but music can be a great catalyst for starting a creative journey of your own that will hopefully never end.

From Mark Klemow

I was first exposed to jazz when I took a Jazz & Blues class in college in the early '80s. Gary Giddins (at the time, jazz critic for the Village Voice) was the instructor and his passion for the music ignited a fire in me that burns brightly to this day.

From Simon Pilbrow

I was first exposed to jazz via playing Scott Joplin rags on piano in early 1970s, reading a book about Joplin and then how jazz evolved from this and the blues and marching bands through Louis Armstrong et al, and then seeking out the music on some wonderful jazz radio programs in Melbourne Australia in the 1970s, and via our next door neighbour Terry's jazz record collection, and then trying to play the music with my brother Tim—and that's where my love of this great music began. It hasn't stopped growing.

The first jazz record I bought was the mid-1940s recording Sugar Hill Shuffle by Count Basie and His Orchestra.


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