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ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz, Suffering, and Meaning

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"Primary progressive aphasia" was a disease I had not heard until March of 2014. Now it is darkly stained into my life, since it is the form of dementia that afflicts my wife, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis. As Rebecca and I walk down this road, we are not alone. We have our church, our friends, and our ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and Philosophy

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Philosophy warms to jazz, but not as much, perhaps, to rock or blues. We can talk through the night about rock and blues, and it may be fun. But just how philosophical can we get about rock and blues--even with the help of a few smart friends and a few adult beverages? Rock is the rambunctious ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Pat Martino at Dazzle

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Pat Martino
Dazzle
Denver, CO
July 16, 2017

How can you introduce Pat Martino? I was asked to do this shortly before the Pat Martino Trio performed at Dazzle in Denver, Colorado on July 16. A lecture would have been easier for me, since I am a professor ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne

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Keith Oxman Quartet
Nocturne
Denver, CO
March 10, 2017

Jazz is enjoyment. Lent is denial. Or so it seems. Can the twain meet? Yes, for me. I am observing Lent for the first time in my sixty years. The significance of Lent is clear and compelling. My church has taught ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz Popularity and You

Read "Jazz Popularity and You" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Twenty years ago I read in a William Bennett book that jazz made up only 3% of the music market. I often lamented that when jazz came up in any of the classes I taught. I further wondered if that lamentable percentage included sales by Kenny G. If so, all the worse, since, as Pat Metheny ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEWS

Why Jazz? A Concise Guide

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Why Jazz? A Concise Guide
Kevin Whitehead
184 pages
ISBN-10: 0199731187
Oxford, University Press
2011

Small books on big themes are a tough gig. Jazz is a uniquely American, musically challenging, and highly improvisational musical form. Jazz is also a rather vexing topic to explain to the uninitiated ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Virtues of Jazz

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Any jazz aficionado knows the musical virtues of jazz, whether they are a musician, a jazz writer, or simply a committed jazz listener. In classical Western thought (that is, in the musings of cats like as Aristotle and Plato), a virtue is a kind of excellence in performance that flows from a settled habit. One who ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

How Teachers can Swing in the Classroom

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I am a jazz aficionado as well as a philosophy professor. Being in front of a classroom teaching is my favorite place on earth, second to a good jazz club with hip friends. In the midst of a philosophy class, I may wax enthusiastic about the transcendent qualities of a John Coltrane saxophone solo or the ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Pat Martino Trio at Mount Vernon Country Club

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Pat Martino Trio
Mount Vernon Country Club
Golden, Colorado
February 18, 2016

Musical greatness and human fragility mixed uneasily on February 18, 2016, when Pat Martino and his trio worked their magic at the Mount Vernon Country Club high in Golden, Colorado. The performance was grand, but the ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and Moral Theory: Swinging the Right Way

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Morality matters to all of us. We protest when we are robbed or defrauded. We praise heroes and heroines. We condemn moral monsters. We laud a Mother Teresa and condemn a Ted Bundy. We recognize good and bad habits. We rebuke those who do evil; we praise those who do good. We attempt to honor our ...