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New Book Teaches Newcomers How To Listen To Jazz


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“Lots of people want to listen to jazz, but they don’t know where to start,” says Mark Barnett, author of Getting Into Jazz, a new book from Canoe Tree Press that offers lively tips on how to listen, along with step-by-step guides through some classic jazz CDs featuring such artists as Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz and Chet Baker.

Dipping your toe

“With so many artists available on so many albums, it’s like a vast swimming pool out there,” says Barnett, “and people don’t know where to dip their toes.” That’s where this book comes in. It’s a toe-dipping guide written in plain English that can help newcomers start their own jazz journeys.

Listen, enjoy, repeat

Barnett stresses the importance of listening to a jazz piece multiple times. It’s a necessity, he says. “By the fourth session,” he says, “you may have made a new friend, and after half a dozen, you may have fallen in love.”

Wonderful tunes in your head

As you keep listening to the CDs reviewed in the book, Barnett predicts that ”the improvised parts will become old friends, and you’ll end up with more wonderful tunes in your head than you thought possible.”

About the Author

Mark Barnett's 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 him for life. He was a jazz proselytizer even in those days, coaxing half-interested buddies to go to jazz clubs with him. A few of his friends ended up bitten by the jazz bug and, happily, they were infected for life.

He kept making converts even as an adult by teaching short courses in jazz and playing bits and pieces of his CD collection for small groups in his home. He has also shared his passion for jazz with a wider audience through a monthly column on the All About Jazz web site called “Getting Into Jazz.” The column provides the foundation for this book.


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