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ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Edward Green: Delighting in the Duke

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Duke Ellington's music can be enjoyed on many levels by many people. The simple lover of good music can revel in his more memorable tunes--snap their fingers or dance to “Take the A-Train," “Perdido" or “It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing." Or they may pause reflectively while listening to “Mood Indigo." ...

Good Vibes, Bad Vibes: Jazz in Film

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Several films about jazz depict troubled and vice-ridden musicians, such as Charlie Parker, in Bird, and Chet Baker, in Born to be Blue. I walked out of the latter after twenty minutes of excessive obscenity, graphic vice, and general disgust. These films reinforce the idea that jazz is associated with illegal activities, illicit sex, and generally ...

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 ...