James Cooper

James Cooper is an English professor, a poet, and a longtime fan of jazz.

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2016-05-01

My father exposed me to jazz by playing his Scott Joplin and Stan Getz records when I was growing up. That initial introduction, which later was augmented by the descriptions of jazz in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and The Dharma Bums and Frank Zappa’s experiments with jazz on his Waka/Jawaka and Grand Wazoo albums, led to my own explorations into jazz, starting in earnest with Miles Davis’ Big Fun. Despite my love for jazz over the past forty-some years, I have attended only a handful of concerts; the most recent ones have featured Chris Burnett, Matt Otto, and Alaturka, all of which were in the Kansas City metro area. For those people seeking to explore jazz, I recommend getting a good discography, such as The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (5th ed), and paying particular attention to those recordings that have gotten the most number of stars possible. That approach should lead to years of sifting through the best that has been created.

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