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Eastern culture often seems far removed from our mostly Western sensibilities. Epistemologically speaking, when the most New Worlders hear the word "chant" in relation to music, we immediately think of Fifth Century Gregorian Chant, so named for the sitting Roman Catholic Pope at the time, Gregory I (590-604).
Presently considered is a cycle of Tibetan Buddhist Chant with which the monks and nuns of the Karma Kagyu Lineage begin their day, and the ritual chant with which they close their day. The idea is not so different from what Catholic Monks do during morning prayers and evening vespers. The chant cadences are considerably different. Whereas monophony is characteristic of the Roman Catholic Tradition, a quasi polyphonyalmost conversationalcharacterizes the Tibetan tradition. The music is not exactly soothing, but is introspective with a mantra-like quality.
The true value of this music is its utility in breaking us Westerners out of our Eurocentric trance. This music demonstrates all that is similar and different in our respective cultures. That makes it indispensable.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.