Home » Jazz Articles » What's the best way to introduce someone to Jazz?


Jazz Primer

What's the best way to introduce someone to Jazz?


Sign in to view read count
Date: 17-Apr-1998 12:57:44
From: Chris S ( [email protected] )
There probably isn't one, or even one dozen, particular place(s) to start. The beautiful thing about jazz is often one of the most frustrating things about it too—it is just so flexible and stylistically varied. I have a friend who really digs King Crimson; I'd be inclined to throw "Bitches Brew" at him to start. But then I have another friend who's into serious bluegrass—he'd hate "Bitches Brew" but would most likely appreciate Bill Frisell or some solo Pat Metheny. I hope I don't have any friends who like the Spice Girls, because I don't know what I'd do with them!

Date: 17-Apr-1998 13:31:21
From: Chris S ( [email protected] )
I guess what I'm attempting to say is: It's going to depend on the "who" in question. But some things are constant regardless of the particular taste of that individual: I would be inclined to recommend stuff that's endured for decades as meaningful and important to you, rather than something that might have your ear now, but you might not want to hear five to ten years from now. I tend to be rather catholic (small "c") with this sort of stuff among my friends and family.

Date: 18-Apr-1998 18:47:03
From: Michael Ricci ( [email protected] )
I'd like to add to Chris's comments. It certainly does matter where someone is coming from musically. If you're a folky then you may want to give Marc Johnson's "Sound of Summer Running" a try. Classical: Eddie Daniels "Beautiful Love." Rock: stuff by either Pat Metheny or John Scofield. And Country: Bill Frisell. Not everyone needs to start with "Kind of Blue" but it ain't a bad way to go! One thing that I've found that turns most people off during an initial listen is frenetic bebop or avant-garde (music that's difficult to wrap the ol' noodle around). Me, I discovered jazz through hard bop and latin music, and I still listen to Jimmy Smith, Horace Silver, Cal Tjader and Stan Getz to this day.

Date: 19-Apr-1998 19:17:01
From: Steve Irons ( [email protected] )
Ditto on what everyone else has said. What it comes down to is that you need find something of quality which is accessible to the target listener. And what is accessible will depend on where their tastes already lie. I myself came into Jazz via rock/blues/soul. It was late 50s Mingus, and the hard bop that got me started- it sounded like a more complex version of the sort of music Ray Charles and company, et.al., were doing. This general phenomenon is probably why people like Kenny G are popular- it sounds like the saccharine pop that a lot of people have grown up listening to, but with something different, i.e., jazz inflected melodies. (I don't know if the G meister qualifies as jazz or not- I vote no). So if you have a friend you want to Jazz, find out what they already like a turn them on to whatever the next logical step is (remember, I said QUALITY in my opening statement.) Maybe someone like Dexter Gordon—strong sense of melody and structure, but challlenging and inventive at the same time.

Date: 19-Apr-1998 22:55:09
From: Vicki D. ( [email protected] )
It really does depend on what musical tastes the person already has to determine who to introduce them to jazz-wise. My own personal trek began with the 70's fusion. Then I fell into that Kenny G. phase (Duotones). However, it wasnt' until I got into the live scene here in my hometown that I was really exposed to the straight ahead stuff. Live performance commands your attention and you really notice melodies and vibes that you may not notice if you are listening in the car or at home while on the phone (as I used to). Now I'm into Miles, Trane and all the greats. So my suggestion is take them to a bar or jazz club with a jammin' house band. You are usually prone to get a variety of genres and most people sort out exactly what it is they like and seek out those recordings.

Date: 20-Apr-1998 07:06:01
From: Nigel Burtt ( [email protected] )
I came to jazz through blues/rock (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, Steely Dan, Buddy Guy)—my entry point being Miles' "In A Silent Way" and "Kind Of Blue"—I defy anyone really into music not to find something in these records that they like and to possibly kindle their interest to look further. If you get into this then look at the players and try some of their own records—I went via 70s fusion (McLaughlin & Mahavishnu, Wayne Shorter & Weather Report, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea & Return To Forever) from the former and on to Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins among others from the latter. Each time you buy a new record, check out new names read up on the people they cite as influences generally or for particular pieces. But in general, once you dig Miles & Trane, you're well on your way to discovering an enormous field of exciting music from Satchmo to the Avant-Garde.

Date: 20-Apr-1998 09:13:47
From: JIM SMITH ( [email protected] )

Date: 20-Apr-1998 10:56:59
From: Deborah Yordy ( [email protected] )
I rather "eased" into jazz as I grew older. For me personally, it was a natural transition from the more complex Rhythm & Blues of the 70's to contemporary jazz. Also, I grew up under the strong influence of classical music, which I believe has had a tremendous influence on the development of jazz (along with Blues, of course). And I have always loved the Big Band sound. So, one way for me would be to "ease" someone into jazz. Another way would be to ask them to come along with you to a jazz festival. The Chicago Jazz Fest, for example, has a good variety of artists. But, your pupil needs to have a ready ear: "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink."

Date: 20-Apr-1998 11:16:35
From: George Barker ( [email protected] )
When I was a teenager (a long time ago) I was given 2 albums that got me into jazz: "Live at Montreaux"- Les McCann and Eddie Harris and "In A Silent Way"—Miles Davis. For something newer I would suggest "High Life"—Wayne Shorter.

Date: 20-Apr-1998 15:09:30
From: howard ( [email protected] )
I don't think it's so much a question of specific recordings, as telling new listeners how jazz "works." I tell people it's not so much about liking this song or that song, but that jazz is a kind of game—what happens when artist X encounters song Y. Listening to jazz is like watching baseball. Baseball is incredibly boring if you don't know what's going on, but the more you know, the more you enjoy it. It's the same way with jazz. You can learn the basic rules (head-solos-head, etc.) in about 5 minutes. Then, the more you know about the game, the more you can appreciate the subtleties. That's why "Kind of Blue" is such a great introduction: the rules are very easy to understand, but the game is so well played.

Date: 20-Apr-1998 20:50:51
From: Patrick ( [email protected] )
This topic is great, in fact recently two friends of mine were asking me about jazz and they wanted my recommendations. It is not easy, as others have stated, you have to know what the person likes. If they like funk, then let them sample some 70s Herbie Hancock, Roy Ayers and George Duke. If they like rock, they should try Bitches Brew and fusion.

I was introduced to jazz at an early age by my godfather, he was a huge Buddy Rich fan, and soon I turned into a huge Buddy Rich fan too. Yet I know Buddy is probably not a good choice for a person who likes easy listening and adult contemporary music. So the key is to know your listener. For my friend who loves guitar, lounge and rock, I suggested Wes Montgomery, you can't go wrong with the fast fingers of Wes.

Date: 20-Apr-1998 21:10:55
From: Arun Dias-Bandaranaike ( [email protected] )
Interesting thoughts from all previous. My view is that 'seeing' and hearing is usually far more a powerful way to attract interest, than just to provide music of a record. I have helped initiate people who have little interest in improvised music by just sitting with them at a performance and then assisting them to follow what's going on ( whispering in the ear, of course!). In the 70's I was not that much into Ellington's work ( save the usual 'hit' stuff) until I heard the band in all its glory, with maximum impact up close—Wow! Life was never the same after that!!!! I guess you can follow the drift of my argument. Love always.

Date: 21-Apr-1998 19:05:53
From: K Bray ( [email protected] )
As a high school photo teacher attempting to introduce my students in a small PNW community to the value of jazz, your comments are most beneficial. I am a new fan. We are excited to visit Western WA U next month to view the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Seeing Jazz." I've been playing the popular Kenny G but we're looking at the masters from Louie to Duke to Dizzy. Your suggestions are most appreciated.

Date: 22-Apr-1998 20:58:20
From: Nathaniel Crockett ( [email protected] )
Gender is a point of beginning. Women whether faking it or not will go with the flow. They may acquise only to congenial, but if they stick with the music, you may win them. My wife has pursued that path, not really into, however, she does approve of the perks. I have two daughters who have been exposed to the music all of their lives. They enjoy jazz too. So it can be exposure by association. My family's favorite riff is the theme from The Duke, by Bruebeck. With the jazz exposion, they have been known to astonish all by there knowledge of the music. Jazz is an attitude developed from association, appreciation, you don't really have to know it. Either you dig, or you don't.

Date: 23-Apr-1998 15:34:29
From: Chris S ( [email protected] )
Interesting that the topic of genre has been introduced here...

Date: 23-Apr-1998 15:35:56
From: Chris S ( [email protected] )
I meant GENDER, not "genre." Doh!

Date: 23-Apr-1998 20:02:13
From: Tom ( StarEast@aol.,com )
Chris is right ... Gender should be the NEXT subject of this discussion if not part of it. It has been my experience that all but a very few women are as appreciative of jazz ss one would hope. Happily, many that are are also extremely knowledgeable. But they constitute a miniscule part of the listening audience. It's unfortunate that so many come to jazz through its "soda pop" variety "a-la-Kenny G." Some never outgrow that trash and learn something about the historical evolution of this essential and pervasive art. I have had some success in the past with introducing women to jazz through the vocalists—most especially the Three Divas: "Ella, Sarah and Lady Day." And if my intentions aren't particularly honorable, I might through in a thing or two by Mr. Hartman. Has anyone considered introducing them to the music through Mr. Eastwood's "Bridges of Madison County" video? If that doesn't work, then I guess they're just plain tone deaf!

Date: 23-Apr-1998 20:45:24
From: rob craven ( [email protected] )
i came to love jazz thru the music of miles & trane. i used to listen to the beatles, blues, dylan and the dead.i find that people need, as an intro, a song they are familiar with. for me, standards were the start.miles' "round about midnight," tranes prestige stuff.as far as women, from my limited exp. "gentle side of john coltrane"was a great intro for my wife (who listens to nothing but new age).kenny g. is a bad place to start. thinking that someone will progress to monk or trane isn't going to work. do you know any ex bay city rollers fans that are into chuck berry?

Date: 25-Apr-1998 10:46:43
From: robin d steel ( [email protected] )
This is a bassackwards comment,i'm a receiver not a giver of info.So thanks to all for the helpful tips,the most relevant for me being preferred music of other types and "listen."I have spent far too long tweaking my hi-fi for a sound and not enough time listening to music,the obvious enthusiasm of those who dig jazz has got me going again.When I was 12 i had acccess to about 6 records firehouse 5 on 45's and of all things "odds against tomorrow" by MJQ now I find there is another vibes plaer besides Milt someone called L.Hampton .Anyway I digress point is i'm back in the fold and enjoying it,but I think I have to stay with the smooth for now ,avoid the avant-garde,and not try too hard to understand,just listen.Thanks again,keep the comments coming.Write me Rob.P.S.You damn colonials don't know how lucky you are,a travelling Smithsonian indeed!

Date: 27-Apr-1998 04:56:29
From: Jay C
Great comments by all. I'd like to add that sometimes its good to throw it all at a listener, gradually over a period of time. Miles, King Crimson, Artie Shaw, Django etc. It's hard to say what will stick and why. Being from a rock background one might think I'd like Pat Metheny or King Crimson. While I have come to appreciate them, I started off liking Django and Benny Goodman. Who'd a thunk it?

Date: 27-Apr-1998 17:29:13
From: Patrick Conway ( [email protected] )
I'm introducing my 12 year old son to jazz in a roundabout way. He plays alto sax in the school band program, but doesn't like it much. Rather listen to Green Day, his favorite rock band. I have him play along with a jazz recording as a break from doing his usual school band practicing. He's listening to Lee Morgan's Sidewinder recording. He knows very little about sax, only the G major scale, but he has fun. Maybe because he doesn't know the chords, so he just blows. But he does get into the rhythmic feel and that's the point, after all.

Date: 29-Apr-1998 13:44:04
From: Chris S ( [email protected] )
Which kinda brings us in a roundabout way back to a very important point we would probably do well to plainly keep in view: Jazz fans (including and especially those with pretentious literary aspirations, such as yours truly) tend to think that "people don't like jazz because they don't UNDERSTAND it." Which tends to imply that those of us who do like jazz are smart enough to understand it, and those who don't like it are not. Which completely goes against this grain: the majority of the "great" be-bop compositions by Parker, Monk, Davis, are really extended workouts based on chord changes from POPULAR (i.e., easily understood) songs of their particular day. We jazz fans too tend, more than most, to be a rather snooty bunch (he attempted to say nicely).

Date: 29-Apr-1998 23:41:20
From: Fernando Franco ( [email protected] )
When I was introduce to jazz like 5 years ago the thing that really grap my atention was the power of being able to comunicate to the public by an instrument the real mood of the song. I think the magic around jazz its the hole enviroment and to be able to explore, jam or improvise that make every song "unique" and personal. That is how i would introduce this feeling about jazz!

Date: 01-May-1998 17:10:10
From: Robert Dubose ( [email protected] )
I tried to get into jazz for over 15 years, but couldn't. I bought Mingus Ah Um, Miles Davis' Greatest Hits, and a Blue Note compilation. I even went to see Freddy Hubbard live. I understood the music, but didn't feel it. Finally, I heard Kind of Blue and in one night fell in love with the music. Three years later, I listen to everything from Ben Webster to John Zorn. What happened? Was it the cumulative effect of so many tries? Did my life circumstances change? Or is there just something about Kind of Blue that causes people to learn how to love jazz?

Date: 04-May-1998 00:06:58
From: Keith Ganz ( mushmouth@mindspring )
The kind of jazz to introduce newcomers to is LIVE JAZZ! I've taken so many non-jazzer friends to top-notch jazz concerts and they've always gotten in to it, unlike with most cds. The key is to see the 'real thing' not just some local yokels, (unless they're really good!)

Date: 04-May-1998 18:06:37
From: Michael Ricci ( [email protected] )
I'm onboard with live jazz. I've turned countless others on to the music by dragging them to a club.

The desert island picks section at AAJ might also help. With well over 50 submissions, a new person will discover the albums other people enjoy listening to (or can't live without), like "Kind of Blue" and Keith Jarrett's "Koln Concert."

Date: 10-May-1998 08:46:41
From: Manique Mahawatte ( [email protected] )
Spend some time listening to the sax of Najee....I needn't say any more. Enjoy.

Date: 10-May-1998 14:21:23
From: S.Goudelock ( [email protected] )
What has gender got to do with it? I've listened to jazz all my life,but that was because my father played alto & that was the only type of music he listened to. After I got older I listened to either rock,some soul anything really just to be different. But you know life comes full circle now I listen to jazz a little jazz lite.I wish you guys could hear what you sound like when u discuss women & jazz, you just sound so lame! Oh yeah and don't be female and be more than a jazz dilettante that really freaks a guy out.


Date: 11-May-1998 14:13:23
From: Paul Abella ( [email protected] )
How to advance Jazz? The reason people don't dig jazz is because it's fan are too busy being snobs and saying (sneering) "Oh, Here, here's Kind of Blue. Go become a Jazz fan..." Leave Kind of Blue, Milestones and A Love Supreme till later. Give them something that the average person can sink their teeth into. How about these that seemingly everybody forgot?

1) Eddie Harris: Chicago's tenor legend could kick some ass, get funky and satisfy the Jazz Fascist in all of us in under 32 bars. THE ELECTRIFYING EDDIE HARRIS or THE IN SOUND are both great places to start to get your average rock fan into jazz. 2) John Scofield: I recently took a trip to San Francisco with some fellow students at the college I attend. They all either knew nothing about jazz or claimed they hated it until I played HAND JIVE, GRACE UNDER PRESSURE, TIME ON MY HANDS and A GO GO. Now all of them are asking me what else they should pick up. 3) Betty Carter: People usually deal with music with lyrics a little better, so throw the modern queen of vocal Jazz improvisation at them. almost anything by Betty can be considered amazing. 4) That nobody mentioned MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD shows how horribly tunnel-visioned the jazz world has become. The improvisation is there, the history is there, and My God, the funk is there... 5) Art Blakey: THE BIG BEAT and MOANIN' could do more for jazz advancement than almost anything else listed in this batch of opinions. Yet nobody even mentioned Blakey. Miles is not the only way to a listeners ears... 6) Cannonball Adderley: COUNTRY PREACHER, LUGANO, 1963, MERCY MERCY MERCY, there are so many more and Cannonball is so accesible. That's the key to getting the non-initiated into jazz is accesibility. A Classical fan wouldn't start someone off with the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach. Yet Jazz fans expect the non-initiated to start off with Kind of Blue, an album that Bill Evans stated in the liner notes takes a listener that knows whats going on. No wonder we come off as snobs... I'll stop there.

Keep Your Ears Open, Paul

Date: 13-May-1998 09:00:07
From: Vince Morelli ( Morelli_Vincent%[email protected] )
Regardless of the music with which one might choose to acquaint a new listener, time is of the essence! I.E, five minutes is not enough!! Persist for at LEAST one hour...give Jazz a chance...it is your duty!!!

Date: 14-May-1998 05:49:21
From: Parker ( [email protected] )
I (22 yr old British student) have recently been introduced to "Gilberto" (Jazz Samba—girl form Ipanema etc.)and really enjoy it. Untill now i have been a pure classical music lover but would like to get into jazz. Can anyone reccommend other jazz music of the same genre (with emphasis on good musicianship and no electronic sounds)which i may also enjoy. I feel like i am on the threshold of a great new avenue of exploration so any assistance would really be appreciated.

Date: 14-May-1998 08:41:34
From: V Hepinstall ( [email protected] )
The best way to introduce someone to jazz is in the womb like my parents did! Nine out of ten vacations when I lived at home were to jazz festivals all over B.C., Washington State, and Oregon. There is nothing like it. A note to all parents: jazz performers are usually very willing to take the time out to talk to young people about their craft and for photo opportunities. I personally met some greats that way as a kid!

Date: 15-May-1998 11:45:06
From: Nick Butter ( [email protected] )
The absolute best way? Support live music performances, and club dates in your area. Support the various live music-in the-schools programs—jazz, classical, hip-hop, what ever. Kids need to be exposed to a variety styles.

Date: 17-May-1998 19:20:21
From: Paul St. Pierre ( [email protected] )
I think the best way to ease someone into jazz is to follow the history of the genre. Jazz origins were in ragtime, and it's hard for anyone not to warm to ragtime, then stride piano and the bands of the 20s (put on a Fats recording). Swing (white and black, both are relevant) in the 30s, New Orleans and Chicago dixieland styles, then move into the 40s be-bop. Then forge ahead into more modern idioms, Miles, etc. I tend to avoid fusion, it's a mixed-up kind of thing to me, although easier for non-jazz fans to relate to.

I find myself gravitating now to the traditional, earlier forms. I don't know why, but that style also appeals to my non-jazz-loving friends. It's just more accesible.

By the way, if you live in the Boston area, WGBH 89.7 has a fine program on Sunday nites at 7pm, "The Jazz Decades," hosted by the local musician and record collector Ray Smith. It's a great continuing review of the more popular jazz styles, primarly of the 30s and 40s.

Date: 18-May-1998 01:15:42
From: Emily ( [email protected] )
I am glad someone mentioned Medeski, Martin, and Wood.

With introducing people to jazz I took my last boyfriend to see Bela Fleck. He upset at the fact we had to pay $35 for each ticket. Before we went his opinion of jazz was, "Well, I like it, but I would never buy any CD's." After the show he went and bought Bela's Live Art. To this day he now feels he is some sort of jazz freak, since he has bought Kind of Blue, A Go-Go, and some different Trane. I told him he has still, yet to hear it all.

With the conversation of females liking jazz, I am a girl and I love the stuff. Neither of my parents listened to it, I was raised listening to Jerry Jeff Walker, ZZ Top, Jimmy Buffet, and Willy Nelson. I heard jazz on the radio and thought it was going to put me to sleep(this was G stuff). I stereotypicalized it as jazz was boring and for listeners prodominately over 40. Then I heard Bitches Brew. Wow , my I it was love.

Date: 18-May-1998 01:20:01
From: Emily
I meant to say, "WOW, I was in love."

Date: 18-May-1998 11:36:22
From: AJ
There are 2 very inexpensive ways to introduce someone to jazz. 1.) Find a radio station, either commerical or non-commercial, in your area who plays jazz and listen to it. Listen to all the different jazz programs on that station. Each DJ probably plays his own preferences, ie: swing, bebop, hard bop etc. Chances are, you will get an excellent blend of all the different types of jazz. 2.) Go to your public library and "sign" out jazz recordings in the same fashion you sign out a book. It doesn't get any cheaper than that!

Date: 19-May-1998 17:01:48
From: cdh ( [email protected] )
In the begining my parents would talk about jazz mainly Basie,Ellington,etc big band stuff,but on the one jazz radio station (at that time)All I heard was Bird,Dizzy,Coltrane etc DID NOT LIKE IT,TOO DIFFERENT.When I entered college I was turned on to Chick Corea ,Stanley Clark,Jeff Lober , and all of the other fusion artists.Once I understood them I was able to appreciate The real bop guys and my interest began to snowball.So I said all of that to say this.Just expose people to the music give them something that they can handle and let them explore aon their own .Let them make the discoveries.

Date: 19-May-1998 20:05:20
From: Alex Brown ( [email protected] )
I was first really introduced to jazz by my aunt and my guitar teacher, Doug Allen. He has greatly influenced both as a musician and a lover of music. You see, I am a really big fan of Phish and they play with the Giant Country Horns every now and then. Well, one day I was listening to Phish play Take the A-Train with the Giant Country Horns and I was instantly blown away. I told my teacher how great it was and he put on John Coltrane's Live at Birdland. I was shocked and ever since then, I have been into all types of jazz ever since. My favorites would have to be Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Stanley Jordan, John Scofield, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker though. They all have really changed the definition of jazz as well as so many other greats.

I am very lucky to have jazz so close to me as well. Laurel Masse is my aunt, a former member of the Manhatten Transfer. Lucky me!

Jazz WILL never die and for all those people out there who don't even realize jazz is still around, you guys don't know the gift you are missing!

Date: 19-May-1998 20:14:08
From: Alex Brown ( [email protected] )
Oh, just to let you guys know, I am only fifteen and I am a bigger jazz fan then most people I come across. The way to spread jazz is to let the kids know about it. It is obviously not that they "just don't like it." The problem is that thay are not being exposed to it. Expose it!

Date: 21-May-1998 11:24:31
From: Tony Lenz ( [email protected] )
In my opinion the best way to introduce someone to jazz is to provide them with a musical setting that includes melodies that are familiar to them providing the basis for improvisation, and nothing too busy or up tempo to start with-sax ballads are great.

Date: 21-May-1998 18:23:19
From: Theresa ( [email protected] )
Living in New Orleans has its advantages. Live jazz 24/7 and our options are endless from traditional to dixie land to contemporary to fusion to funk.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to listen to live performances by the late great jazz giants Danny Barker and Doc Cheatham and those who are still with us; Terence Blanchard, Ellsi Marsalis, Neena Freelon, Mark Whitfield, Tuba Fats, Germaine Bazzle, because it is through their performances that I am able to feel a part of their dynamics. It is kindda a call-n-reponse from the artist to the audience which is appeals to the senses, moreso than a recording.

A great way to introduce someone to jazz is to take a trip to New Orleans. Here you can experience jazz in its most explosive forms—from a jazz session at Snug Harbor to jazz funeral on the streets of New Orleans where people break into a second-line. This is something worth exploring.

Date: 21-May-1998 22:36:08
From: Theresa ( [email protected] )
Other less inexpensive ways, are:

(1) Documentaries. Often video stores have on hand movies or live recordings featuring some of the jazz greats; Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gilliespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, etc.

(2)Radio. Givne time, hear (literal) a variety of artists and tunes can be heard for a little of nothing. Most major cities have jazz stations or affiliates. Write down the songs you like and check out the c.d.

(3) Jazz Festivals. They are all over, foreign and domestic. And, if you are in my town check out the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It's one of my favorites!!!

(4) Public schools & college campuses. Often musicians do workshops and/or concerts.

(5)In-store concerts. Competition brings out the best. Some Seek and find your local music stores that invite musicians of all genres to come in and promote their latest recordings. This way one can sample tunes, style and attitudes.

(6) Hotels/Restaurants. Lobby lounge entertainment. Your cost is a drink. Upscale restaurants hire upscale musicians.

Date: 25-May-1998 20:49:06
From: Karen Angela Moore ( [email protected] )
Getting the kids involved and listening has to be a priority for all of us! We've got to reach our next audience...we don't have that big of one now! I have several teenages in my life—family and friends—and I make sure that I take the time to watch "Jazz on a Summer's Day" Newport Jazz Festival with them. WOW! Even I'm blown away everytime. It's a wonderful gift and it zooms from Anita O-Day to Mahalia to Jimmy Giuffre and Monk. It covers a whole lot of styles and really is a great piece! Live jazz is the best—but it's sure not always available. First blush something melodic is usually the best—since it can give the listener something to humm later and hang on to. However—a friend's son—12 years old—is into metal and rap—and he just loves hard bop and fusion!

Date: 29-May-1998 00:14:26
From: Clive Wing ( [email protected] )
Ask them what they like about their favourite music or artist —rhythm, melody, lyrics etc—and match it with a jazz musician whose work has parallels. That's pretty much how I came to jazz in the late 60s. I liked Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd and Indian music and through a friend quickly found Carla Bley (because Jack Bruce was on Escalator over the Hill), Mahavishnu Orchestra and Yusef Lateef (his fine Impulse! recordings have lots of Asian instruments and rhythms). Then, through John Mclaughlin, Miles Davis. Then along came Weather Report and Gary Burton. Once you find an artist you like and start reading about them, by association you'll find others (Although it's taken me 30 years to find Bobby Hutcherson!) And if one is lost for ideas, Kind of Blue is as good a baptism as any, as several other contributors have mentioned. I've played it to several Chinese friends who know nothing about jazz and they've instantly connected. A very perceptive comment from one of them who was hearing jazz for the first time, was that no matter how many times you listen to it, it never sounds the same even though you can hum along with the tunes. Perhaps his love of Chinese opera has taught him to listen in a different way to somebody who lives for rock music? Clive Wing

Date: 29-May-1998 14:20:18
From: Anupam Basu ( [email protected] )
Hi, I'm from India; that is to say outside the 'culture.' But yet it seems I might be getting hooked to Jazz for good. Here radio stations don't play Jazz—we only get the hateful MTV crap! So getting into Jazz is proving a difficult road for me. I usually listened to some standard Rock Music from the Beatles to U2 and Nirvana and also a lot of Western Classical music. But unlike the Jazz-rock fusion path that most rock fans seem to take I first got interested when I heard the Indian Classical- Jazz fusion of Shakti. I suppose the appeal of the Shakti sound was natural. As I was trying to get deeper into the new music from the new world someone told me Kenny G played Jazz! and I almost got off the train. But Miles Davis and Kind of Blue came to the rescue. I think that was the turning point for me—divine. One major problem has been the availability of albums. I'm often recommended albums over the net but simply can't find them here. The only ray of hope is the Sony legacy series which has recently become available. Well, I'll sign off for now. Wish me luck as I try to grapple with Mozart and Monk with a sprinkling of Ali Akbar thrown in:-)! Bye, Anupam.

Date: 31-May-1998 19:45:03
From: Semenya McCord ( [email protected] )
Haven't read every comment word for word, but seems like we have a continually growing audience for this artform. This is a good thing! I didn't get "into" jazz, as such, until I was in college, but I feel like the fact that I was hearing and performing a variety of music: classical, folk, pop all my life (since 5th grade), and that somewhat predisposed me to be an ardent jazz fan/performer because I feel like I can appreciate the "multicultural" contributions to the genre, especially since the 1940s or so. I teach a jazz history course at UMASS/Dartmouth, and this website is great! Thanks!

Date: 01-Jun-1998 14:25:51
From: Amy ( [email protected] )
I can't think of a better way to introduce jazz than to pretend you're not doing it at all—have friend in question over, slap on My Funny Valentine—Miles Davis in Concert, or any form of Dave Bruebeck you have, and all of a sudden you'll have a drooling "give me more of this" person staring you in the face, realizing they've loved it all their lives. I just think that's how it works.

Date: 09-Jun-1998 08:08:55
From: Peter Schmidlin ( [email protected] )
Whenever I play some Jazz CDs for guests at home who DON'T know about Jazz I get this: "Oh, that is nice music, what's that." When I tell them that this is Jazz they say: "This is Jazz? Well, I always thought Jazz is just loud and with no melody, but this is really nice." Then of course I try to explain what Jazz is all about and (hopefully) there goes a new future Jazzfan. This obviously shows that all starts with education. How can you expect someone to like/love Jazz, if all he/she hears in his/her youth is just 'noise'? To all the music-teachers out there: There's a big job to be done. If done correctly, the Jazz community might well increase to 20 or 30% in 2 or 3 generations as against 2-3% today......

Date: 24-Jun-1998 17:22:03
From: Stephen B.
I agree with the comment that there are not many Bay City Roller fans who like Chuck Berry. I think that the best way to introduce jazz is to give them Kind of Blue. I got started on Kind of Blue and although now I listen to a lot of jazz, I still think that Kind of Blue is the best of all. If they don't like jazz after listening to that album, they're not gonna like it.

Post a comment

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Jazz article: 10 Fun Facts about Jazz
Jazz article: You Too Can Be A Jazz Fan!
Jazz article: Thinking Outside The Musical Box
Jazz article: John Coltrane and the Meaning of Life


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.