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Meet Dr. Judith Schlesinger

AAJ Staff By

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I currently live in: Dobbs Ferry, NY

I joined All About Jazz in: 2002

What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz?

Was thrilled to discover it back in 2002. Happy to do whatever I can to nurture and promote my favorite music.

How do you contribute to All About Jazz?

By doing CD reviews and two columns: Shrinktunes, about the overlap of music and psychology, and Nite & Disk, where I discuss a CD and its live performance.

What is your musical background?

I studied classical piano as a child, still play; have variously added vocals, guitar, percussion, and drums, and now have my own jazz quartet.

As far as how long I've been listening, the best summary is this: if I didn't have music, I would probably just dry up and blow away.

What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today?

I would listen to every early LP today—including all my Beatles, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Laura Nyro, Kenny Rankin, Stan Getz, etc. I still have most of them.

On the other hand, I could (and did) bag most of the original 45s.

What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most?

Tough question. Often depends on my mood. If I had to choose one, I'd say piano trio. But I may also reach for solo piano, Brazilian, Latin, big bands, vocals, and virtually every instrumental constellation except for free jazz. I don't do what someone once called "a fire in a pet shop."

Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy?

Classical, rock, some pop, Motown, R&B, blues, some bluegrass and Broadway (especially Sondheim), and a range of world music, such as fado, bouzouki, and klezmer. The common denominator is music played with genuine chops and perceptible heart.

What are you listening to right now?

One of my iPod playlists called "Heal 2012" (for relaxing)—the tune as I write this is "Hugging the Edges" from the Sean Smith Quartet's terrific Poise CD.

Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste?

Nilson Matta's Black Orpheus (Motema) by Nilson Matta & co.

What inspired you to write about jazz?

I love to write. I love jazz. Natural combination!

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?

Gardening, kayaking, movies, trying to keep fit.

What role does jazz music play in your life?

Huge, central, and enduring.

How does writing about jazz contribute to the music itself?

Whose writing? And where? Some people (groups, magazines) are actually destructive, imho.

What do you like most about All About Jazz?

It's supportive and respectful of both musicians and writers.

What positives have come from your association with All About Jazz?
I can give back to the musicians who give so much to me.

Dr Judith Schlesinger at All About Jazz.

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