A lifelong listener. It’s in my blood.
My love affair with jazz began in high school. A scratchy old record of Buck Clayton and Don Byas steaming their way through Them There Eyes hooked me for life. I was a jazz proselytizer even in those days, coaxing half-interested buddies to go to jazz clubs with me. (It didn’t help that a kid trying to nurse a glass of ginger ale through two sets got the worst seat in the house and a pissed off waiter anxious to make room for the big tippers.) I took dates to jazz clubs, too, hoping my enthusiasm would rub off on them, but they sat expressionless, wishing they were at the movies. Still, a few of my friends ended up bitten by the jazz bug and, happily, they were infected for life.
I kept trying for converts even as an adult (and actually managed to make a few) by teaching short courses in jazz and playing bits and pieces of my CD collection for small groups in my home. Now I'm excited to be reaching a far larger audience through my column on this site called Getting Into Jazz, which teaches newcomers how to listen to jazz (and also drops a few interesting nuggets for seasoned fans). I'm also contributing to the Building a Jazz Library” section (see my article on Stan Getz), helping to spread the word to folks who already like jazz but want to expand their horizons.