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Jazz Stories: 2017

Michael Ricci By

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Even though he died before I ever sang professionally, he remains my inspiration and all my CDs are dedicated to him. I like to think that he'd like my music, since it's built on the foundation he handed down to me.

From Jules Travers

I became jazz fan after meeting Miles Davis at a café in Forest National (Belgium) in 1984.

From Christopher A Wade

Jazz is a different experience for everyone that hears it. It is never the same way twice and your experience... is your experience. Jazz is all about spontaneity, improvisation, not conforming to's all about style.

I was first exposed to jazz as a child. My parents were avid jazz fans and by the time I was five years old I was listening to all types of Jazz—everything from Mose Allison, Nancy Wilson and Astrud Gilberto to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Dave Brubeck.

I have met many musicians in my time, but my most memorable encounter happened when I was about 20 years old and I met Nancy Wilson—needless to say... I was mesmerized!

The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny Group at The Meadowbrook Amphitheater in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Pat and the Group performed cuts off of a new CD that wasn't out for release yet. It was called the "First Circle"! I was blown away! The first jazz record I bought was by John Tropea called "Tangerine." My advice to new listeners: "Jazz is not about hearing it, it's about feeling it. Take the time to listen and you will hear something new every time you do."

From Clemens Grassmann

I love jazz because it gives you the opportunity to express your deepest emotions and feelings without any words. Activating all senses, listening to your surroundings and being aware of who and what you are in the moment creates an environment that takes your mind and body to a different place for a while once you embrace and let go. It teaches you how to share, live in the present and become one with the people around you. You overcome your ego to become part of something greater.

I was first exposed to jazz in my High School Big Band. My first steps were tremendous fun and set me on the path I would eventually pursue to become a dedicated professional musician. It was through my former music teacher that I started listening to and learning jazz which led me to the reception of a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music where I received the Armand Zildjian Percussion Award and met and studied with masters and mentors such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson Jr., Billy Kilson, Kenwood Dennard, Danilo Pérèz and Joe Lovano, whose influence in shaping my art, craft and personality is deeply rooted in my mind and beliefs and reveals itself whenever I connect with music.

From Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius

I love jazz because it speaks to a place inside me that no other music can touch.

From Jeff Byrnes

I was first exposed to jazz by my buddy Tom Reaves, the drummer in our high school jazz band. He spun me Miles Davis' Milestones album, and as soon as that up-tempo "Dr. Jackle" (or "Dr. Jekyll," depending on your copy) kicked off, I was hooked.

From Steve Vermeulen

I like the freedom that jazz encompasses. You listen as the performer plays, but you also think about his direction and often puzzle out where it's all going. It's not passive, which is great.

And I like the personal element, in that it's relatively easy to find smaller scale jazz performances where you are both close to the music and the musician.

On a different tack, it's also easy to find great recordings, great venues and great company.

From Patrick Keyes

I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.

I met so many great musicians—including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie—by attending concerts and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.

The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.

The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.

My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or the genre or anything -this is music that is best experienced through discovery.

From Joseph La Barbera

I love jazz because it communicates so completely.

I was first exposed to jazz as a child by my parents on some wonderful 78 RPM recordings followed by Miles Davis LPs my brother Pat brought home.

I met McCoy Tyner with my brothers when we were teenagers. He played in Rochester with Coltrane and spent his entire break talking with us outside the club.

The best show I ever attended was Miles Davis sextet at Lennie's on the Turnpike in Boston. The band was Miles, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Gomez and Tony Williams. Incredible!

The first jazz record I bought was Donald Byrd Pepper Adams Quintet on Brunswick with Herbie Hancock, Laymon Jackson and Jimmy Cobb.


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