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What is the best way to introduce a young person to jazz?

AAJ Staff By

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Date: 22-Dec-1998 15:40:01
From: Stephen ( )
The best way to introduce young people to jazz is by exposing them to it. Just be careful to start with what they will find cool. Not every one likes Live in Seatle so you should probobly start with some new swing or salsa. Stuf like the sound track to When Harry Met Sally and Brian Setzer are a great place to start. Then as the young person developes expose them to more and more outside stuf. Before you know it thell be thinking Ornithology is the hepest thing since Jelly Roll.

Date: 23-Dec-1998 02:50:48
From: jon ( )
Stephen, your e mail address is more interesting than the body of your message..

i have collected Django records for many many years. back to about 1952. he was the greatest.

and say.....have you heard the small group from austin texas.....names....(8 1/2)...they are great...see them in person if you can......they have a french guitarist that sounds exactly like Django....they have been signed by RCA recently and maybe more people will hear them.

as to getting young people interested in jazz......ah now thats difficult. i think it has to be one of gentle exposure....too much or our preaching about it will only discourage them...

when you are talking to a young man/woman they are mostly interested in the course of the conversation if they talk about some life crisis or problem or some related interest...(dancing,,,,singing) we can tell of how a certain jazz record seemed to help yourself be it anger at parents,,,,school,,,,girls,,,,,boys,,,,society,, race issues....ect. this being able to tell how you feel; will open the young person up to perhaps thinking this jazz record or maybe just one cut....can help me too.

then maybe they will hear something again and again to where they can feel the music. its a slow process.

now in a school situation the teacher can work in these feeling about the music in an educational way....but in a one to one situation...its very hard to do.

i have loved jazz for over 50 years....(dinosir)...and looking back i will have to say jazz is a very lonely hobby.....few will share your interests even if they like jazz......

but i would not trade this experience for any other i have and roll.....ect ect.

i believe for a lot of young people they associate music with their early romantic yearnings....of course later in life its takes on other feelings....anger,rage,beauty, spiritual qualities,....i really hope these new swing experiments will bring the kids back to see having fun and dancing ,,,,they get it all....the ear for jazz....the rhythm.....and its fun.

for give the length of this post.


Date: 23-Dec-1998 07:20:21
From: Chris Genzel ( )
Jazz should get prohibited, so that it's illegal to listen to it. Or at least start large campaign about how dangerous this music is. You wouldn't believe how many youths would suddenly find jazz hip. Honestly, I guess there's little hope to turn on a lot of young people to jazz—it's a music for outsiders, and youths are regarded as outsiders by other youths when they are listening to jazz. I know that because I experienced it myself. I do agree that they should be led very casually towards jazz; give them the "Get Shorty" soundtrack by John Lurie or explain to them where US3 stole all these wonderful melodies and ideas from. Then let them proceed with "Doo-Bop" or "Dis Is Da Drum" or whatever.

Herbie Hancock & Bennie Maupin discographies at:

Date: 23-Dec-1998 15:40:37
From: Peter Kenyon ( )
I know it is corny and the purists would turn their noses up in disdain, but good compilation CDs work—"Mellow Miles," the "Best of Blue Note" etc. I have (a few) young friends who have heard something like Miles doing Round Midnight and have very quickly progressed to the 65-68 Quintet and then on to Coltrane, Dolphy etc. But realistically, most kids just don't get it! Similarly with classical music. Try getting kids to listen to good chamber music. It's the same with good jazz. basically, these are difficult genres of music as they require you to LISTEN and not just have the music there as background sound. Jazz (and classical) are simply never going to be popular.

Date: 28-Dec-1998 20:45:46
From: David Kurtz ( )
I stand by the notion that jazz is best experienced live. The electricity generated by seeing a jazz ensemble work together is infinitely more exciting to the untrained ear than sitting through Miles solos in your living room. Live jazz has an organic feeling that connects the listener to the culture of jazz that other live music does not. After sitting through a Joshua Redman set at Yoshi's or the Vanguard, no arena rock show can compare, as a whole experience. Live jazz is the best way to introduce the culture of jazz.


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