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Arthur R George

Journalist / Attorney / Skier / Surfer / Jazz Enthusiast Based in Northern California

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About Me

Originally from New Jersey, now north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. Graduate of Rutgers University and University of San Francisco. Hobbies include skiing in Sierra, surfing at Bolinas and Santa Cruz on the Pacific coast, playing saxophone at Christmas for the Salvation Army, and favorite music: jazz.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it challenges and stimulates; it's like being part of a club that meets in the coolest of places. I was first exposed to jazz through the theme song of the old "Route 66" TV show: syncopated movement. Much later, a fellow by the name of Chris Link sat me down and taught me how to listen with two magic words: "Dig this..." I have met several great jazz musicians who have now passed on: Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, and was lucky to see them at their best late in their careers, just before they left town. I've been privileged to meet Charles Lloyd, Ravi Coltrane, Eddie Henderson, Jimmy and Tootie Heath, Andrew Cyrille, and Hiromi. Without exception, as great as these musicians are, they are courteous, humble, and grateful to be appreciated. In another venue, like sports or rock, the stars are all but inaccessible. In jazz, when you're in the right place, like a small club, you walk among the giants who are standing right next to you. The best show I ever attended was the pianist Hiromi, every time I've seen her. And Elvin Jones, every time I saw him. The first jazz record I bought was "Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall" in high school. I figured that because it said Carnegie Hall my parents could not object even though they thought it sounded like "stripper music." "Forest Flower" by Charles Lloyd came later in college, and has been a friend ever since. My advice to new listeners is to be willing to listen, and find someone to guide you. Within any piece of music, count 1-2-3-4 as slowly as necessary to find a structure you can hang on to. Start with "Kind of Blue" by Miles, the most popular jazz album of all time, and for good reason: it is accessible, and can point you to the wonders beyond; or with someone more contemporary who makes for enjoyable listening, like Esperanza Spalding; anything early Coltrane, to see where the modern advenuture really begins; or "Girl from Ipanema" by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto to know what setting a mood is all about; and Frank Sinatra: listen to his voice above the Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Quincy Jones arrangements behind him. And then branch out: ask who are these people, who else did they play with, why are they significant, do you like them? Read, listen, ask. The jazz universe is a library of sound and experience.

My House Concert Story

Jazz clubs provides an intimacy you will never find in a stadium or big hall. If you're in New York City, go to Smoke or the Blue Note; can't fail: the musicians are right among you. Scullers in Boston, Blues Alley in Seattle, the Dakota in Minneapolis, Anthology in San Diego, Yoshi's in Oakland. The grooviest of California beach clubs: Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz, still something like a coffee house, and the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society south of San Francisco in Half Moon Bay, a jazz living room. When going to a distant city, check out who will be performing when you get there, and go! Both you and the musicians will be happy you did....see you there!

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