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Jazz Stories: 2017

Michael Ricci By

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My advice to new listeners -remember that jazz has a vast catalog. No one can listen to everyone no matter how much time you have. My strategy is to spin new music often, explore areas of the back catalog as time permits, respect and learn about past masters to inform my appreciation of new and current masters, and keep an open mind. Jazz is very much a "flow" music—cerebral, emotional—but clearly a music of the moment. And the best jazz is in the moments where creative, improvisation, innovative and classical influences all come together to produce art at the highest level.

From Perry Thoorsell

I love jazz because it is a blend of group dialog, empathy, and individual meritocracy. Only jazz brings these diverse elements together in such an uplifting and satisfying way.

From Jim Worsley

I love jazz because...jazz is soothing...jazz is beautifully complex....jazz is Django and Steve Gadd....jazz is cool...jazz is hard bop and big band....jazz is cats, birds, and chops...jazz is Hank Mobley and Hiromi.....jazz enriches the soul....jazz is hot....jazz is fusion and the blues....jazz is Paul Chambers and Jean Luc Ponty...jazz is evocative... jazz is at the center of the universe...jazz is Arturo Sandoval and Michael Brecker...jazz is free and invigorating...jazz is timeless....jazz is bebop and latin...jazz is Vinnie Colaiuta and Marcus Miller...jazz is the Blue Note...jazz is an eternal groove...jazz is essential...jazz is Freddie Hubbard and Joe Sample...jazz is forever.

From Zette St.Charles

I love jazz because it takes me to my escape place as a writer!

I was first exposed to jazz at 16 driving around in my t-top yellow corvette and my father was a local DJ and dedicated this song "to my princess in her yellow carriage" and played Doc Severinsen's "The World's Gone Home" (1975) and I was forever hooked.

From Robert Miller

I love jazz because the music is ever-changing. Great improvisational music is never played the same exact way twice. The framework may be the same, but the notes change with the interplay and mood of the musicians as well as the feedback and mood of the audience. Pop is the exact opposite—every song is played note-for-note. Boring!

I was first exposed to jazz when I was 20 years old. Before that I only played rock and roll. I took a music course that summer at a local NYC college, and as part of the course they set up each student with a private teacher. As luck would have it I was matched with Jimmy Garrison, John Coltrane's bassist. Jimmy opened my eyes and ears to jazz. He taught me how to "walk" on the bass. He was an inspiration. When I decided to return to Boston in the fall he set me up with several musicians there, and my musical life took off from there.

I met Sonny Stitt, the great alto saxophonist, in the early 1970s at a famous club outside of Boston called Lennie's On The Turnpike. He was the headliner that evening and my band—Sagov—was the opener and backing band for Sonny. What made the night especially memorable is that when Sonny took the stand he was stone cold drunk. I mean he could hardly stand. But when the spotlight shone on him somehow he played, and played masterfully. No one in the audience had a clue that he was drunk. It must have been muscle memory.

The best show I ever attended was about 5 years ago when I saw Chick Corea together with Gary Burton at Tanglewood in Massachusetts. I have long adored both musicians. In fact, Sagov opened for Gary Burton in Boston in 1973. And Chick has been one of my idols for many years including his Return To Forever days. Hearing these two masters play together was just awe inspiring.

The first jazz record I bought was Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. This album was the start of the fusion era in jazz, which I loved. The record was unlike anything that I had ever heard. It didn't really consist of tunes. It was more like long tone poems, with an electric feel. Totally captivating.

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