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

AAJ Staff By

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Date: 17-Apr-1998 12:57:44
From: Chris S ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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,, 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. ( )
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 ( )
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

Date: 20-Apr-1998 10:56:59
From: Deborah Yordy ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
Interesting that the topic of genre has been introduced here...

Date: 23-Apr-1998 15:35:56
From: Chris S ( )
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 ( )
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 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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 is your duty!!!

Date: 14-May-1998 05:49:21
From: Parker ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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 ( )
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.

Date: 25-Jun-1998 14:02:35
From: Michael Addiego ( )
I am one week now seriously listening to jazz. I happened upon a website of a fellow named "Judsun" and he suggests his thirty favorite CDs. Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" and Coltrane's "Giant Steps" Monks "Best of ...the Blue Note Years and C. Adderley's "Live in S.F. He says that Monk is quite easy for newcomers. I have to disagree. I do admit to loving intensely "Four In One." I wish that I could appreciate the complexity of the other tunes. But I am trying. The C. Adderley album is the most "user friendly" The music "comes to you" as opposed to really having to try to engage it first. It's like Mozart as opposed to Stravinsky. Coltrane is beuatiful for the sheer musicianship and tragedy of his short short life. I would appreciate anything others could contribute to help me to understand this wildly complex and difficult music.

Date: 04-Jul-1998 19:25:51
From: Christine ( )
It has been my experience that a live sampling of jazz almost always brings someone in to the experience...with a want for more. Whether it be an outdoor type festival on a beautiful summer evening (A taste of Colorado in the civic center square, Denver)or a little known jazz club buried deep within a bustling city. (The Elchapultapeck in Denver) (try saying that one fast even once) I have converted even the most hard of rockers with this approach...of course combined with what I play in my own home. I think that the beauty and the ambience of the outdoor or subtle club scene simply cannot be ignored...unless of course the party in question has absolutely no soul whatsoever.

Date: 05-Jul-1998 12:49:27
From: rich powers ( )
Fellow jazz enthusiasts, I am convinced that a willingness to listen to jazz music and like it is a genetic trait. I have been a jazz devotee (at age 15) since my cousin took me to see Stan Kenton at a local D.C. jazz club that has suffered the same fate as most jazz clubs, extinction. My wife of 35 years professed to be indifferent about the music before we were married. However, about ten years later when I had enough money to begin acquiring a large jazz vinyl record collection she told me she loathed it and that I had not really showed the insatiable interest before we were married than I was showing after ten years. I disagreed and reminded her of us both before marriage going to see Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt and her appearing to like both. That leads me to my gravamen: our six children either hate the music or are truly indifferent. I've taken all of them to jazz clubs at one time or another and they dutifully endured the music I was enjoying, but afterwards I could not pursuade them to go to another gig on a gratus basis. When you won't go to a music venue for free, you know you don't like the music. When I play my 200 or so CDs without ear phones, they all make a mass exit even if they don't have a car at their disposal. (BTW, my collection is mainstream; it does not include the likes of Ornette Coleman, Andrew White and groups like the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Rest assured I am not knocking those who like those artists, but that kind of music is an acquired taste for even the most avid jazz fans.)

In my opinion, when it comes to jazz, people can be placed in three groups: lovers, haters, and those who will listen to it if there is no other music available. Unfortunately, in my household, there is one jazz lover, and seven others who would mostly fall into the "haters" group. The upshot of this whole post is "There is nothing we can do to change a person's genitically given music makeup." Schucks, alas, etc.!

Date: 08-Jul-1998 07:38:29
From: Mats Äleklint ( )
Play Kind of Blue for them....

Date: 15-Jul-1998 01:06:52
From: Josh Multack ( )
The only way you can successfully introduce jazz to someone is to seperate the ong or lyrics and the neccesity for such things, and attempt to demonstrate the lyricism and passion of the composition. If you rush a non-jazz fan into something too sophisticated like Giant Steps, he or she may say, I can't dig this noise or sounds, theres no lyrics. So you must slowly introduce them into music that contains no lyrics. I suggest starting with some of the masterpieces done by Jimi Hendrix, such as Little Wing, or some of the works of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan, or even some of the Grateful Dead jams, such as Dark Star, the key is to let the novice appreciate the sound and beauty of the chord changes, and not be so damn dependant on lyrics.

Date: 20-Jul-1998 13:42:24
From: Dave Sletten ( )
I play jazz and have all styles of recordings; trad, swing, bop, fusion. Some I listen to for relaxation and some for education. I think the pretty and accessable recordings would be the best way to start someone off but little by little you could move them to the more sophisticated sounds until Lennie Tristano or even free jazz is acceptable. And why can't smooth jazz stations play more Bill Evans, Stan Getz bossas or even Coltrane ballads to move listeners toward mainstream without alienating them?

Date: 03-Aug-1998 00:34:47
From: Chandra ( )
Excuse me for being a women, but I definately side with live performances! I listen to jazz on the radio all the time, but I never really associated the tune with the artist. Then, some friends (2 guys and a gal) took me to see Keiko Matsui and Paul Taylor in concert. I was surprised that I knew most of the songs they played. I was totally mesmerized by their performance and talent. Keiko played the piano so beautifully. This is how Keiko plays—Think of breathing—you don't think about it just works for you naturally. Then Paul Taylor came out and played that saxaphone, added a few smooth moves and wow! I was hooked. I never really appreciated the saxaphone until I heard Paul play. Now dont' get me wrong, especially for you "experienced" jazz ladies and gents. I'm not saying that Keiko and Paul and the best out there, but I had to start somewhere and these two artists were the first that I was introduced to. But you know, it doesn't really matter because it worked for me. And now I'm on this "jazz high." Today, I am so excited about the whole realm of jazz. I appreciate it so much more. Now I'm into Grover Washington, Jr. What I really like the most about jazz is that you can interpret its music into whatever you what it to be. I love to close my eyes, imagine and be taken far away to a place I've never been. Thanks to Paul Taylor and Keiko Matsui for bringing me there. If anyone out there can relate to what I'm saying—let me know!

Date: 05-Oct-1998 09:04:56
From: Micke
I believe that if kids where tought harmony from kindergaten to high school, they probably wouldn't listen to today's pop music, where volume and effects have taken over. They'll find it to banal and they would become jazz addicts, so start teaching harmony in school.

Date: 05-Oct-1998 18:34:39
From: Paul Abella ( )
let me just quickly say that I have never been so terribly offended by a line of B.S. as that put forth by Micke. Some of the greatest Jazz moments I can think of started with pop tunes (Star Eyes, How High the Moon, I got Rhythm, This Masquerade, Norwegian Wood, Hi Heel Sneakers and about a million other jazz tunes started out life as pop tunes)and plenty of pop (yes, today's pop music, i.e. Maxwell, Daveena, Prince, and to a far smaller extent, radiohead, Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails) is still worthwhile. It is these types of remarks, though, that will forever have jazz labeled as a "niche" musical form. It is these types of remarks that will forever have people calling Jazz radio stations asking that they do a better job of educating their listeners. it is these types of remarks that produce Jazz anxiety. If you must think like that, please do not ever mention that you are a jazz fan in public. People may lump you in with the many of us jazz fans who are open minded individuals who don't see the non-jazz world as banal. Yes, I will admit that I have some odd ideas about the music (such as I feel that Miles Davis is the most overrated trumpet player this side of Wynton Marsalis), but I also realize that Jazz always was, always has been and always will need to be an open ended musical forum if it is to survive. It cannot do that as long as jazz is treated as an academic showpiece instead of first class entertainment. if these types of remarks about other musical forums are coming out of my generation of players, I am scared for this music.

Keep Your Ears Open, Paul

Date: 10-Oct-1998 13:10:30
From: Rob Klotz ( )
You have to be ready for jazz when it comes into your life. I recall seeing a Dixieland band in 7th grade in my school gymnasium (Paul Gray and His Gaslight Gang) in Lawrence, Kansas. I was a novice trumpeter in the school band, but I'd never heard anything like it. In reality, I was intrigued but didn't like the performance much. In college I listened to punk and other forms of progressive rock, and I signed up to do a college radio jazz show, and I took immediately to Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." Fusion and other glop that others were into didn't do much for my head, but Coltrane made a deep and lasting effect on my way of hearing music. At age 19, I was *ready* for jazz. Not long after that, I parlayed those experiences into a job as a public radio jazz host!

Date: 13-Oct-1998 06:39:45
From: David Becker ( )
2o years ago I didn't know Jazz existed, until I was introduced to Crusaders, Chick Corea Stanley Clarke, Weather Report. I still listen to (some of) those but have moved on to Metheny, Miles, Trane, Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek (in fact the list is endless). All the artists I've mentioned cover a wide spectrum of music and yet so little. How to introduce people to Jazz. I would give a number of CD's (Miles—Kind of Blue, Weather Report—Heavy Weather, Pat Metheny—Offramp, Keith Jarrett—Koln and some Swing and Big Band plus a few others)to them. When I started listening many albums switched me off but some connected. Let us increase the odds for a connection to occur, because then 10 or so CD's opens up your mind to hundreds of thousands. This approach has worked for me in educating both friends and peers.

Date: 16-Oct-1998 15:56:50
From: Bob Margolis ( )
Interesting, as the much villified Wynton talks nicely about this very vexing connundrum in the most recent issue of Jazz Times Education Supplement. There is no loud and fast rule as to how one gets exposed to the music. It depends on where the subject is at during any time. Once you get to know someone's personality as well as musical leanings, then you have a starting point. It was surprising to see that Wynton would suggest "Transition," yes? As for Wynton's trumpet playing being over-rated, I must wonder, how often has the person making that statement seen Wynton play recently? Clearly, he has loosened up quite a bit, and his playing, while still technicall solid, has warmed up. He is killin' right now. This comes from a person who on my disc player right now is Dave Douglass, lee Konitz, Dinah Washington, Dave Holland and Greg Osby. We must move from an either/or type of mentality when it comes to the Marsalis issue.

Date: 21-Oct-1998 16:22:39
From: Dan Bonhomme ( )
I want to thank the jazz fans who responded to this thread for opening my ears to jazz. I was 12 when the Beatles hit North America and I've been a fan of various forms of rock ever since.

I've tried to appreciate jazz in the past and had bought and borrowed a few jazz records. I liked some cuts very much (especially Africa and Naima by Coltrane) and even one whole album (The LA4's "Pavane Pour Une Infante Defeunte," recorded direct to disk). Some of my favourite Santana albums (Caravanserai, Welcome, Barboletta) seem to me to be more jazz oriented than rock.

But after reading the above postings, one record came through loud and clear as holding the potential for bringing a neophyte an understanding of jazz, and that was Kind of Blue. I'm here to tell you that it worked for me. For the past few weeks I've been trotting out everything I have in the realm of jazz and listening with a completely changed understanding of the music. I made a list of the other selections listed in this thread and I will definitely be trying more.

I am listening almost exclusively to jazz and have changed my record club preference to jazz. Rock has been in a real slump for years and it is very exciting to have such a huge (jazz) catalogue to explore.

Thanks again, Dan

P.S. I agree with the people who expressed their appreciation of live music, but I think you still need a good stereo system at home for maximum appreciation. It's unfortunate that most people are taken in by amusical offerings from Sony, Technics, Pioneer, Bose, JBL etc. etc. and not audiophile brands. I truly makes a great difference.

Date: 22-Oct-1998 18:23:21
From: Roger Crane ( )
Dear Dan There are "jazz police" out there. Ignore them. This string of messages may help. I hope so. But the BOTTOM LINE is active listening. The operative word is "active." Find out what you like and go from there. Music (all music) should have three attributes: musicianship, passion and ideas. A performer should have "chops" (i.e., should know music and know his instrument). But that is not enough. The performer should also love what he or she is doing. But chops and love also are not enough in jazz. He or she must also give of themselves, that is must "add" something original to the performance. Jazz performers must have something to "say." Thus: musicianship, passion and ideas. If a piece has that, then most likely, it is wonderful. Have fun listening. Roger Crane

Date: 24-Oct-1998 20:20:19
From: Shingle ( )
I was introduced to Jazz in a real sense by moving in with two Jazz musicians—a baritone saxophonist and a guitarist.

I'd always been interested in jazz, but mostly as a type of background music... something to have on when something else was going on.

But all that changed when I got to hear many of the CDs and vinyl records my roommate (the saxophonist) has in his prodigious collection.

Some of the things I've heard Jazz musicians do are at least as stirring as what I've come to appreciate in bands like Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead, and I've begun to more clearly see the relationship between the Rock music that I'd always enjoyed and its Jazz roots.

There's nothing like seeing live, though, too. CD players, as good as they are, can't bring the experience of a live performance to a listener quite the way actually seeing it first-hand does. And also, I've found that Jazz musicians are far more self-critical than Rock musicians, so it's unusual to come across a serious Jazz band that "sucks." There's plenty of Rock musicians out there that suck that don't know it (despite the fact that nobody comes to their shows or buys their CDs).

Thanks for reading,


Date: 26-Oct-1998 00:34:36
From: Mike Flinck ( )
If the person is a musician, find someone who plays their instrument and dazzle them. Especially drummers. A lot of drummers in "popular music" aren't that dazzling..... put in some Buddy Rich and play it for any given drummer and they'll drool over his awesome chops. Trumpet players go nuts when they hear Arturo Sandoval play those piercing high notes. Just a couple of examples. That's one way, at least, to get people started.

Date: 27-Oct-1998 18:32:08
From: Chris
For years, the only "jazz" I ever listened to was Harry Connick jr, because it was the only exposure I had in the classic rockland where I grew up. -And when I did hear something interesting, no one could tell me what it was.

-Jazz is a hard thing to pick up and run with. -It's like wine. You've got snobs that tell you what you should like, and then there are things that appeal to you immeditately. And you need to develop a "pallate" to determine what you do and don't like. I swear some people that claim to like jazz, just like feeling they're in a secret club, and don't feel the music.

I've been pretty much on my own discovering jazz in the last year or so, but had two events happen that acted as springboards: (1) I got to see Lionel Hampton on his 90th birthday tour with my fiancee's dad and I was finally in the right place to say "THERE -that's something I like! What's this style of jazz called? -Who are the other artists? etc." and her dad knew the answers. (2) I was sitting in a Starbuck's and heard Chet Baker's perfect version of "But Not for Me"

I picked up a 2 vol set from Decca called Hamp! which came with liner notes, a couple BlueNote Blend CDs and Chet Baker Sings, and I was on my way. I worked outwards from there. -Baker led to Mulligan & Art Pepper,Comparisons of Baker led to Miles & Diz, Comps of Hamp to Milt Jackson, Milt to Monk. Miles & Monk led to everyone else :) I tried to start with 40's swing/Big Band and move chronologically forward because jazz became more sophisticated somewhat chronologically, so it proved a suitable approach to pallate sophistication as well. Then I went back and got the Smithsonian collection to sample stuff I missed by this approach.

If someone had handed me "Kind of Blue" right away, I probably would have been turned off because I wasn't ready for it. I only truly appreciate Miles Davis' range and inovation after loving Chet Baker's style, consistency and lyricism.

I truly believe jazz has to move you to stay interested in it ( heck I almost drove off the road last week because I couldn't resist closing my eyes to listen to Mingus's Haitian Fight Song in my car)

-but I digress -Anyway I would give interested friends the Blue Note Blend CD's because it's a good 40-60's sampler, and because it doesn't seem as intimidating because you got it/heard it at a Starbucks. -Then ask them which tracks they liked, and lend/recommend comparable stuff. Variations on Gershwin standards is a good non-threatening way to go as well.

I just got into jazz last Feb. For many years, I heard things that interested me, but found that people who knew about jazz usually decided that

Date: 04-Nov-1998 16:03:40
From: Jason K
I played trumpet from grades 4-12 and I probably had a jump start on jazz because I was in the junior high jazz band (most of the music we did was my teacher's own numbers—a puddle of washed-up cool and bop styles). But when I actually started to listen, I got hooked up with a Miles Davis box set (The Columbia Years). As someone who was just starting to listen, I found his work from the 50s to be accessible and so wonderful and hypnotic. Even when I went to college and would play them for people who never would have given jazz a second thought, they too were captivated by him. I'll never forget the one time I came home from a party and found my jockhead-gangsta rap loving roommate sitting there on the couch looking out the window into a snowstorm listening to "Blues For Pablo." Great moment.

Nowadays, when I'm trying to get friends and family into jazz, I tell them to get: Miles Davis: Kind of Blue or Miles Ahead Bill Evans: Sunday at the Village Vanguard or Portrait In Jazz Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage John Coltrane: Blue Train Horace Silver: Song For My Father Oliver Nelson: Blues and the Abstract Truth Dave Brubeck: Time Out

Everyone I've tried these albums out on has always come back wanting to know more. Until the formula doesn't work anymore, I'm sticking with it.

Date: 06-Nov-1998 12:55:03
From: José Domingos Raffaelli ( )
According my experience with three friends I tried to expose jazz, I've been succeeded with two of them. I suggested them to begin with piano-bass-drums trios, as George Shearing, Erroll Garner and the first and second Ahmad Jamal. Well, two of them were converted to jazz. Of course, I avoided to suggest trios of Thelonios Monk, Hsrbie Nichols and Bud Powell, really advanced for a beginner. Today both are fanatic jazz fans and they have beautifulk record collections with hundreds CDs. The other friend I couldn't call to our jazz army considered jazz too complicated, preferring stay listening pop music.

Date: 13-Nov-1998 10:29:25
From: David G. Whiteis ( )
Very interesting topic here—& an important one. A lot of us (myself included) tend to let our enthusiasm slip over into prostelityzing (sp?), & it's easy to come off as judgmental or hipper-than-thou when doing that.

Back in the 70s, I ran in the same social circles as a set of brilliant & inspired, but definitely hard-core, aficionados. They were pretty harsh—you almost felt as if you had to hide your record collection when they came over. I remember being so put off by their "jazz nazi" attitude that I pretty much abandoned the entire musical genre until a few years later, when I decided to give it another chance & get into it on my own. I really felt uncomfortable about the idea that music (in my case, hippie stuff like the Dead, the Allmans, etc.) that had, for better or worse, been a good friend to me, that had inspired me & helped me through times both good & bad, that was an integral part of who & want I considered myself (& my "world") to be, was somehow being deemed as beneath contempt by people using standards I didn't understand, & which they really didn't bother to explain to me.

It also didn't help that there were strong political, ideological, & (I must address this) racial isssues involved—Great Black Music was the sound of the masses in revolt; most else was bourgeois pablum designed to keep people narcoticized, rip off their culture, & make money for the Estalblishment. Shit, I was half convinced that when the Revoltution came, I was gonna end up in a concentration camp or something for enjoying the music of the Oppressor!

In fact, however, it was that same "hippie music" that eventually inspired me to explore jazz—I literally remember thinking to myself, "Duh! If improvization sounds so cool on a guitar, I bet it sounds even cooler on a saxophone!" So I went out & investigated some names I'd heard of —Monk, Miles, Mingus, Pharoah Sanders, Coltrane— & —lo & behold!— it WAS "cool" (in all senses of the term)!

AND, in addition, it turned out that those interminable (insufferable?) acid-laced guitar solos I remembered from Garcia & Co. actually opened my ears to the idea of free-form improvization, w/ out specific chord changes or melody lines—after hearing enough second sets of enough Dead concerts, I found that Pharoah Sanders didn't sound all that "unmusical" to me at all—he sounded, in fact, like someone who was thinking along the same lines as the people I was familiar w/, but doing it better, with greater vision & spirit. So, in fact, I owe that "incorrect" music a lot—it got me to where I am today, aesthetically speaking.

All of which is to say—I think we need to be a little "zen" about this stuff—bring folks to where they can experience & hear the music, & let it grow inside them & reveal itself to them in its own way.

Does that STILL sound patronizing? Hope not...

Date: 16-Nov-1998 00:57:44
From: Miles ( )
I totally agree with Jason that there are most certainly specific jazz artists and albums that should appeal to listeners.

That is, if the listener doesn't find something they appreciate when listening to Kind of Blue, My Favorite Things, Time Out, etc, then it probably doesn't matter what the listeners background is.

In any realm, music, architecture, literature, there are paradigms that have wholly influenced that realm and cannot be ignored. For good reason too. Ask anyone who likes rock and roll (hard, acid, alternative, speed metal, whatever) if they appreciate Jimi Hendrix?

Date: 19-Nov-1998 12:18:51
From: Kurtzie ( )
Introduce people to live jazz...the live experience explains the idea of improvisation and let's you see the swing. It is a sure-fire way to create a jazz fan.

The one great advantage that a jazz fan has over the music of other genres is that we get to see our heroes in great clubs all over the world on a regular basis. You think the Spice Girls are going to be playing clubs in their 70s? Rock fans have to go to overcrowded sweaty clubs where they can barely see their band play or else to huge stadiums which are simply a waste of money. A cool night at Yoshi's in Oakland or the Vanguard in NYC will make a jazz fan of anybody.

Date: 23-Nov-1998 20:04:49
From: Joe ( )
I just started seriously collecting and listening to Jazz about a month ago. Because I don't know any Jazz "mentors," I've been finding my own way by using the internet and reading books. I found a good list of recordings at and have been collecting from this list. Stuff like Miles Davis' Porgy and Bess, Kind of Blue, Miles Smiles; Thelonius Monk, the two CD set from Blue Note; and Coltrane's Giant Steps. I love what I am hearing and find it more satisfying and challenging than the 'alternative rock' I've been listening to and playing for the last 20 years.

The only problem is that I feel like I am somehow setting my standards too high by only listening to the best of the best. Does anyone know what I mean? It's like if you eat lobster every day, you forget how good it really is because you haven't had a hamburger in a while. Anyway.

I'm going to continue to work off this list and then expand as my tastes and interests follow. I'd also recommend this to anyone starting to get into jazz: don't just listen to it. Learn about the history, the people, the culture, the music theory. This is what has made it really interesting to me.

If anyone has any recommendations or knows of other good resources— let me know. I'd especially be interested in recommended artists/albums that have organ music in them. Feel free to contact me directly at the e-mail address above.


Date: 24-Nov-1998 00:11:04
From: Mike ( )
My transition into listening to jazz was pretty seamless. Being in high school, though, it's pretty difficult to get many of my friends to listen to it. Anyway, I liked a lot of ska (I still do), and bands like Skavoovie & the Epitones (from Boston) and the Articles (from Detroit) play tunes by Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker... this helped ease my way. Also, a group like Medeski Martin & Wood combines a few "alternative" techniques (they have a DJ on their latest release) and still maintains a grasp on jazz roots. A lot of my friends like groups who are HEAVILY influenced by jazz (Phish, Buckshot le Fonque, Beastie Boys, Soul Coughing) and even though these groups are seriously mainstream geared at young listeners, the mature ones will acknowledge the jazz influence and listen to you (and your jazz). Getting back to MMW issue, what is the general opinion of them now being on Blue Note?

Date: 25-Nov-1998 03:57:29
From: George Payton ( )
I recently started enjoying listening to jazz & R&B. I particularly like artists like Anita Baker, Diane Reeves and Luther Vandross. I especially like the smoothe story telling styled songs of Anita Baker and Diane Reeves. The kind you can close your eyes and listen to, after having a long stressful day at work and truly feel relaxed. I'm not much of a music historian, but I would like to expand my horizons and find different artists with simular styles. Can anyone out there advise me on some good artists.

Date: 25-Nov-1998 03:59:23
From: George ( )
I recently heard an artist named Neena Freelon on BET. Anyone know which label she's on?

Date: 13-Dec-1998 14:03:37
From: Brenda Carol ( )
What can I say? I went to the Blues Festival in Chicago. The festival was rained out! When I returned to my hotel, I heard great music seeping from the lobby bar. I saw 2 glorious nights and 4 shows of Max Roach and his quartet. Even though I am a blues singer, I had to sing jazz, instead. My first recording seems to be very popular with non jazz folk and jazz lovers everywhere! Peace.

Date: 22-Dec-1998 11:24:01
From: Brian White ( )
I agree with many of the views expressed, have to want to be interested,jazz has to reach you at the right time in your life.For me it came gradually after years of Yes,Zeppelin,James Taylor,Paul Simon etc.I heard (inevitably!) "Kind Of Blue"—it was the hippest,most elegant album.Then Metheny's "The Pat Metheny Group" album with the beautiful "San Lorenzo,"wonderful Jack Teagarden's "This is Serious,"and on,and on.If you have a musical bone in your body,how can you resist Ellington ? or Basie ?.Try Monty Alexander's "Echoes of Jilly's" to see that the classic elegance of jazz is alive and swingin.' Be careful out there...Regards to all.

Date: 25-Dec-1998 04:12:33
From: Ian Gray ( )
I think you have to be ready to receive jazz in your life, no matter how old you are or what your musical interests are/have been.

Possibly ten years ago, I was exposed to Miles Davis/John Coltrane/Thelonious Monk and I bought some CD's of theirs, knowing that they were the right things to start with, but not yet being ready to listen/understand, other than as a long-term rock/new-wave music lover.

I listened with too narrow a mind, and lived with these CD's in my collection without really appreciating them until recently.

I still don't think I know how to listen yet, I don't really understand improvisation as a musician, when as a listener I have sought to understand and verbalise the feeling of the music.

Yet, right now in the development of music, I am seeking stimulation and not really finding it outside jazz from 40 years ago, ironically around about midnight on the date of my conception.

I have not given up on rock, but jazz is exciting me like no other music. It's not fair to compare the history of jazz to this year's model of rock, but we owe it to jazz to listen to it with an open mind now.

I guess my message is, even if you didn't relate to it when you first heard it, it might become relevant/important/stimulating later on. So hang in there and enjoy.

Date: 28-Dec-1998 04:04:07
From: marco ( )
Forget it!!! ive been trying for years and failed!!! Either you have jazz in your blood or you dont... Jazz is a self discovery process!

Date: 05-Feb-1999 00:43:13
From: nate dog
I love jazz, because everyone can do thier own solos and just JAM! The world would be a better place if everyone just smoked bud and play good music

Date: 24-Mar-1999 12:03:05
From: Mark Perrins
I agree with Marco (maybe its the name?) "Forget it!!! ive been trying for years and failed!!! Either you have jazz in your blood or you dont... Jazz is a self discovery process!"

Date: 24-Mar-1999 12:09:44
From: Mark Perrins
I agree with Marco (maybe its because of the name?) "Forget it!!! ive been trying for years and failed!!! Either you have jazz in your blood or you dont... Jazz is a self discovery process!" Jazz is a self discovery process, partly because Jazz is so varied, from Dixie to Freeform to Fusion to Muzak to Modern Acoustic Purists, you may love one form and hate another. I got into Jazz through Weather report and quite a few friends had the Heavy Weather album without considering themselves 'jazz fans.' From Weather Report I checked out the Miles Davis band that Zawinul and Shorter came from then got into other ex-Davis band members like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarret. Much of the mdern Electric jazz is easier for those not used to jazz to appreciate then Hard Bop or even Swing.

Date: 10-Apr-1999 11:16:20
From: teo
why does jazz is so spectacular and romantic? Someone is able to answer this question?

Date: 16-Apr-1999 02:52:09
From: Pat Garvey ( )
I was lucky (didn't know it at the time!). When I was a kid, my mum played piano in pub jazz bands, and my dad was a good quality amateur. So I spent great times as a kid in the beergardens of old pubs.

Our parties were always on Sunday nights (the only night everyone had free!) and they always turned into jam sessions.

So I just thought having music in your life was what life was!

The way my parents judged whether somebody was an idiot, was if they clapped on the on or off beat!

Then as a teenager I had muso boyfriends—again spent a lot of time listening to all kinds of stuff and loving it.

I guess if I was trying to introduce someone to jazz, I'd take them to festivals and let them just find out for themselves what appealed to them, and they can take it from there.

If they don't love it, no worries—what can you do—beat them over the head with a lump of 4x2?

Date: 25-Apr-1999 11:25:56
From: Alfonso
Someone spoke earlier about some audiophile brands making stereos that make listening to Jazz a whole new experience. Would you kindly share some of those brands (amps and speakers) with the non initiated please? I'd truly appreciate!! (my excuses for posting a question not directly related to jazz music, but if it really makes that much difference, then it could be worthy to many of us, couldn't it.)

Date: 30-Apr-1999 00:11:44
From: john preston lovett ( )
I was fortunate to go to a high school in the 50's where the cool thing was jazz...Shearing, Brubeck, Herbie Mann, Mulligan...they were all doing concerts in the high schools, the junior colleges, etc. Then a couple of the labels put out anthologies that brought you from the "muddy blues" to the streets of New A'lins, to West Coast Jazz. A local DJ by the name of Don Howard did a 4pm to 7 pm gig that introduced us Left Coast kids to what was happening back east. WOW!! My dad managed a theatre for a while that had live jazz shows on Sunday evenings, so guess who was back stage playing gopher for Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, etc. It's a shame that real life intefeared and I had to go to work; but at least I had the money to spend on my records (then tapes, and finally CD's). All in all, a good half century of the worlds best music...ever changing, but always top quality!

Date: 30-Apr-1999 02:44:35
From: C. Glatzel ( )
I say you brainwash this alleged accolyte with some Miles: Birth of the Cool Sessions. If that doesn't work, bring out the big guns with the full box set of Live at the Plugged Nickel. That oughtta teach 'em!

Date: 03-May-1999 14:09:02
From: Nathanial Hendler
The best way to introduce someone to jazz is to do it when they're young, or play for them the stuff that you dig, and have dug for a long time.

I agree that 'who the listener is' matters, but I don't think it's a matter of rock=this and folk=that and classical=another. I was a big pop/rock fan, but I never would have liked any fusion. I hate easy listening, but I took to cool jazz right away. My dad had a Jimmy Giuffre 3 LP that I spun relentlessly. Big Band was an early interest of mine. Nat King Cole, then Duke Ellington. Then Bop. etc... I kind of followed the jazz time line. Maybe that's a good method?

Date: 19-May-1999 19:36:25
From: neenbeen
It is spectacular and romantic because it is in the moment and we are amazing creations . Musicianship, passion, ideas AND spontaneity.

Date: 29-May-1999 14:26:41
From: Adão Paulo (wich means Adam Paul) ( )
My very first time with jazz was 10 years ago, when i was in a weird bar( at least at that time it looked like to me)and I stopped talking to my friends to whose was that voice. Guess who? Billie Holiday. I probably had heard jazz before, but i wasn't touched untill that time. I'm still in love with Billie, but i also discovered some popes of the Jazz like T. Monk, Milles, Parker, Tatum, Marsallis, Dizzie, etc, etc, etc. As you see, i'm kind of fan only of the standers of the jazz. But no one else from today's gets my attention. Knowing my style, would you introduce me to newer musicians ? I'd apreciate that. By the way, i'm journalist here in Brazil's capital.

Date: 31-May-1999 19:25:30
From: Elen
A number of people have mentioned taking someone to a live jazz event....I'd agree but I wonder what people think about which TYPE of events are useful introductions? I recently went to a local venue (a UK pub) great, band really loose & free, but I must have been one of only three people in the whole audience who moved my body (and I'm only talking about moving my foot or slightly swaying, never mind dancing!). I imagine the rest of them know more about jazz than I'll ever know (they acted like it anyway) but what gives with this cerebral-only approach?...I wanna move my body! Anyway, my new-to-jazz friend wanted to leave half-way through as he felt uncomfortable in the atmosphere..and I couldn't blame him. Not sure if this is gender related or not (I'm female). Or is it age? There were few of us under forty there....

Date: 31-May-1999 23:17:35
From: Susie Q
I used to listen to blues and blues-rock (Clapton, Allman Bros, BB King, Muddy Waters etc.). So, my new boyfriend and I split a bottle of wine over dinner. He put on a jazz saxophone record—Zoot Sims (I learned later)— he kissed me and undressed me, and gave me a slow, loving licking. What a solo!

All night it was Lester Young, and Count Basie, and all this bluesy, sexy stuff that I didn't even know existed! I was a convert from that night on!! Very deep associations—I guess. . .

Date: 09-Jun-1999 15:22:26
From: WGMC
Try this

Date: 22-Jun-1999 14:57:07
From: Angela P.
I suggest listening to the local jazz station as an excellent( not to mention free)way to introduce someone to the world of Jazz.

I was first introduced to jazz as a child...every morning on the way to school my parents listened to the local jazz station. I found the music so soothing and it touched me in a way I could not put into words,at that time I did not know I was listening to jazz. When I got older I was into rap,regae and R& B, however everytime I flipped by the jazz station I was always drawn to the music. Then one day I swithed to the jazz station permanently and soon after I purchased my first(of many!) Jazz cd it was Boney James -Sweet Thing

Date: 29-Jun-1999 17:00:05
From: Cynthia
SUSIE Q—Let me know if you break up with the guy!

Date: 30-Jun-1999 06:38:01
From: Mandy ( )
I have been reading all the above comments with great interest. I have just stepped through the door marked 'Jazz' (weel I kinda fell through it if the truth were told) at a ripe old age of thirty three. I sang choral music through my school years, but currently sing pop covers in a band and perform in amateur shows. It was by chance that I was invited to audition for a show called "The Hot Mikado." This is a Jazz/Swing/Soul version of the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera, and I would describe it as having a Jazz feel rather than being a Jazz show. Anyway, this lead me to ask the MD about Jazz and I was given two CD's to listen to, one by Dianne Reeves, and the other by Claire Martin. I had to listen to them a few times to really appreciate them, but that really started the ball rolling. As a newcomer to the Jazz scene, I can say that trying to get people into Jazz,perhaps, should not be seen as trying to 'educate' them, and instead just try to find a form of Jazz that they can enjoy. If they want to learn the in's and out's of the genre, then they will soon ask!!

Date: 14-Jul-1999 02:05:20
From: Leo ( )
I'm a jazz bassist, and as a musician I think the one thing I that hurts the perception of this wonderful music to the unitiated are musicians who try to impress everyone with their avante-garde wanne-be ideas, at the expense of making music that MOVES your soul and has something emotional to say. Admittedly, I come from a Nat Cole bias, so I guess that means I like 'pretty' music to some hardcore jazzers, but what is jazz but life and love? My college art professor once told a design class I was in that "intelligence always understands intelligence," so if you're wondering why people just don't get your 'cool' music, maybe the problem isn't with them. If music is truly relevant, it will be relevant to most, if not all people. So to me, I would say take someone to see an artist that YOU think has real feeling and expression, and not just monster chops. Same goes for recordings.

A very personal selection of favorite musicians/songs that I would recommend: Johhny Hartman w/John Coltrane "They say it's Wonderful" Duke Ellington "Prelude to a Kiss" Charlie Haden and Quartet West "Haunted Heart" Billie Holiday "Stars Fell on Alabama" Antonio Jobim w/Ellis Regina "Agua de Marco" Bene Moré "Como Fue"

Lastly, if you haven't seen the movie or heard the CD "Buena Vista Social Club," I highly recommend it. It's a wonderful reminder of what good music and good musicians are all about, regardless of style.

Date: 17-Jul-1999 00:40:22
From: Paul
My mom was a jazz singer and every night at supper we had a choice of a second helping of vegetables or listen to a cut from the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. It was a no brainer. Now all my brothers and sisters are big jazz fans.

Date: 23-Jul-1999 00:03:38
From: Kenan Hebert ( )
This newslist has become more about reminiscing than giving advice, and I think that's appropriate. What did Louis Armstrong say? "If you have to ask, you'll never know." I started out listening to Spyro Gyra and Kenny G, but my tastes evolved quietly, in my own way (in a silent way, pun intended). I never asked anyone. I just bought and bought and read a lot of liner notes. (I learned as much about writing from the liner notes as I did about jazz.) Nobody can tell you what is so great about Coltrane's tone, about Armstrong's phrasing, about Bill Evans' lyricism. That's why it's art. A guy once asked me at a party about jazz. "I'm just getting into jazz," he said, "what should I be listening for?" Louis' quote lept to mind, but as an answer to a direct question, it's too dismissive. So I thought for a long moment, and finally said, "Color." Yes, color. The way a shade of blue can belong totally to Matisse for the moment that you're looking at it, so can Miles' famed muted trumpet when it bends a certain note. You just hear it. You just know it. That's all. I first heard "Blue Train" late in high school, and I played the hell out of it. To me, it was the perfect soundtrack to taking off a girl's bra in the hour between when school let out and Mom got home from work. The perfect sound to hear in a post-orgasmic haze, staring out the window at a late-spring sky. I only understood why so many call it "haunting" very recently. Like, last week. I popped it in for the first time in months, and my mind was in the right place, and the stars were in allignment, and I hadn't eaten any heavy meals, and, for whatever reason, I heard it in a new way. It wasn't just cool, it was cool and dark. Nobody on the face of the planet could've ever explained that to me. I couldn't explain it to anybody else. I treasure the friends of mine who know what I'm talking about.

Date: 25-Jul-1999 11:43:44
From: Alice
Tie him/her to the bed posts and do deliciously dirty things to them with jazz in the background. Say nothing about the music, never even talk about the subject. But everytime they are tied to the bedposts play jazz in the background.

I repeat—never, never even bring up the subject of jazz. Gradually she/he will drift toward jazz, gradually she/he will begin examining strange CDs, and before long will have drifted into the underworld of jazz.

Date: 28-Jul-1999 22:54:49
From: Pat Robertson
ALICE: You give me the shivers, babe.

Date: 31-Jul-1999 09:34:20
From: Sal M.
I have to agree with the comments that say just casually play the music. If someone has good ears they'll pick up on it sooner or later. Also, I've treated some friends to concerts/club gigs (carefully chosen)and made sure they first had a couple of beers/drinks. The latter helps people leave behind their apprehensions and prejudices. Sitting fairly close to the musicians is also a good idea—so it's a new experience visually too.

Date: 02-Aug-1999 11:55:35
From: Colin Gillman ( )
Viewpoint from a 'newbie'

I made a conscious decision to 'get more seriously into jazz' about three years ago. There I stood, in the HMV jazz section, asking everybody who came in what did they recommend to a 'newbie.' Wow! What a dumb way to begin...I really thought a whole bunch of strangers would be able to advise me. After all, hadn't I been led to believe that 'jazzers' were a really nice, pleasant and friendly bunch of people that would always take time out to chat about their passion? Hmmm...they did that all right, but unfortunately I didn't have a clue about what the heck they were on about! I'd never heard of hardly any of the artists they mentioned. OK, so I tried another tack. How about starting with an instrument, that'll be a great intro. I liked the sound Oscar Peterson made, so I'd say: "I like Oscar Peterson but I really want to discover something new, something exciting. I've heard all this talk about jazz and I really want to learn about it—can you help?" But all I got was references to more people I'd never heard of, and neither did HMV! I stayed in that store for about three hours trying this and that to 'find inspiration.' I must say that the guy behind the counter was very patient with me, he played most of what was available from the recommendations I'd been given, but it still wasn't the sound I'd wanted—I never did buy anything either!

So there I was one day looking at my record collection and the logic just hit me like a bat around the head. I'd already discovered jazz, and that I actually knew quite a lot about it too. Why? Because I really dig Frank Sinatra (Capitol years) and others like Basie etc. So I already had my intro., I just hadn't worked it out. I still didn't know who was who or what was what in a big band etc. but I started from there and eventually worked my way around to Miles, Bird, Diz and the BeBopper's which is what I'd actually been craving all that time. As the UK jazz journalist and broadcaster Benny Green outlines in his book 'Jazz, the reluctant art,' everybody understands diatonic sounds, even non-musicians, but it's the chromatic sound which has everybody running for cover, but if you persist in listening to chromatic music, eventually you will begin to warm to it. It was only then did I realise what I was actually looking for. However, now I found what I wanted, I soon grew tired of it because all I had was a limited choice.

It wasn't until I was in New York and a chance meeting with a fellow Sinatra enthusiast at Birdland (Jazz Messengers All Stars—May 1998) that proved to be the real turning point for me. Once we exchanged email and started swapping tapes etc., I knew my education was really kicking off. I then read everything I could get hold off such as 'Miles—The Autobiography' (excellent information, rubbish writing style) and 'Straight Life' by Art Pepper did I actually know where I was going and what I actually wanted to hear.

My advise to any newbie is to buy a copy of the New Grove Jazz Dictionary. It has really helped me a whole lot. It's an expensive volume, but well worth it. Since then, I have 'spun off' into big bands, sidemen, soloists, West Coast, bebop, you name it. I can't honestly say I dig Orenette Coleman and such, but maybe that's for another time.

My advise to anyone wishing to 'turn-on' a newbie to jazz is to find out what they like first of all. Start with the obvious, in my case Sinatra, and then work from there. Let's be realistic about this, if you're own personal taste is Bird n' Diz, and some kid asks for somewhere to start in jazz, but Bird n' Diz ain't their thing, you're both wasting time and energy on something which could potentially put the newbie off. If they don't have the foggiest idea what they do like, stick on some Kenny G or Courtney Pine and hope they don't like it—then you've got 'em!!!

Date: 02-Aug-1999 14:24:58
From: Vendy Voo
If the newbie is someone close to you, give them a gift of the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. It's a 5 CD set which has everything from Jelly Roll Morton and Louie Armstrong to Eric Dolphy and the World Saxophone Quartet. Included in the set, Martin Williams put together a great little book with comments on all the cuts/players/styles. It really is a wonderful collection. If someone wants to know what Bessie Smith sounds like or Basie or MJQ or Miles or Ornette Coleman or Bill Evans or Ben Webster it's all there. This is simply a great anthology to wander around in with a first rate guide—Martin Williams (who has written several excellent books on jazz—also highly recommended).

Date: 08-Aug-1999 08:21:27
From: Zeke
I'd like to second the above recommendation of the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. It's a history of jazz that usually represents major players/composers by at least a cut or two. I think the best way to learn about jazz is to get a sense of its development and spend some time listening to the major figures. Then you have a framework/context to understand new players and styles. Seems to me all jazz is a dialog—with other players in a particular group, and with the great players/composers of the past, in short, the history of jazz. I've been listening to jazz for 20 years and still pull out my trusty Smithsonian vinyl because the selection is so good—the best of the best—enjoy!

Date: 11-Aug-1999 08:19:41
From: Joe
In our house the kids can either listen to jazz or other adult music or put on their headphones and listen to whatever they want. They all have headphones with 20 foot cords—Christmas gifts.

If the Spice Girls are heard—they hear "headphones" and that's it. If they want to put the Spice Girls on the public air waves, meaning the house stereo, arrangements can be made for them to pay their percentage of the mortgage and utilities. So they grow up with jazz—any complaints and "In a Goda Da Vida" and other carefully chosen rock classics replace jazz on the public airwaves—very few complaints.

Date: 11-Aug-1999 20:34:21
From: Cheevoomba
Joe you're a crypto-fascist, if your kids don't grow up hating jazz, they'll at least grow up disliking you. But you probably don't care—you're the type that enjoys pulling the legs off of insects.

Date: 14-Aug-1999 14:34:50
From: Simon L.
I think you do have to know what a person listens to so that you can make a bridge. If they listen to blues/R&B I'd take a different approach than if they listen to classical music. The bridge in the 1st case might be Hank Mobley, in the second maybe Bill Evans, the pianist. You have to be sensitive to a person's taste. This will open the door.

Date: 15-Aug-1999 11:44:02
From: Walter W.
If you want my advice I'd say keep them away from the technical noodling jazz (be-bop, fusion, avant-garde etc.)- stuff that has jettisoned the human heart and soul. Go back to Ellington, to Armstrong, to Basie, to Lester Young, to Roy Eldridge, to Coleman Hawkins, to Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster and Teddy Wilson, and Billie Holiday. Jazz has been running away from its heart for decades—don't be a part of that mistake.

Date: 15-Aug-1999 23:31:40
From: Zeek
Walter—you old tub thumper—good to hear from you again. Although your outrageously narrow outlook is always amusing it's simply not fair to write off all of jazz of the past half century or so. There's plenty you'd like if you'd really listen.

Date: 17-Aug-1999 21:43:34
From: Brent W.
Jazz is like really need to develope a taste for it...but once you do, its like having a soulmate thats with you forever!! Ever since I was a kid of about 10 or 11 I always like the big-band sound. It wasn't 'till I was around 21 and stationed in Germany that I became wild over the likes of Oscar Peterson, Wes Montgomery, Mile Davis, et al. We all evolve in one way or another. Today my main love is in the area of contemporary jazz...mainly because of one man....Dave Grusin. c];->

Date: 17-Aug-1999 22:42:29
From: Robert Walker-Smith ( )
I'm glad to see a variety of points of view here. As for me—classic newbie, have been for years. I keep trying to listen—"My Favorite Things" and "Love Supreme" by Coltrane, "Sketches of Spain" and "Kind Of Blue" by Davis—but it seems like there's something I should know that I don't. My subjective impression is that one has to know something about music to appreciate jazz, and it's necessary to appreciate it in order to enjoy it. And before you jump to conclusions—my musical illiteracy is to the point where I cannot tell when a given piece of music changes key, much less what key it's in. It's only recently that I've even learned what 'key' _is_. So—thoughts, anyone?

Date: 18-Aug-1999 19:05:53
From: Reynolds
If you appreciate the music you are probably hearing more than you are giving yourself credit for; you are probably intuiting the changes. I don't know if it's that important that you can write out the key changes. I suspect ear training is the issue here. I've been listening to jazz for decades and enjoy the music and I couldn't write out the key changes—I'm not a musician. And yet I listen to more and more complex music in a richer way; my musician friends don't think it's a big deal. There are many different ways to listen to a piece of music.

Maybe there's an analogy with literature—technically I couldn't tell you what William Faulkner or Robert Frost are doing but I do enjoy the read and plenty of great literature criticism talks about the writings in thematic ways—never mentioning structural details or iambic pentameter shifts into other meters. Nobody thinks all criticism or appreciation has to be of that nature—it certainly can, and that is useful, but there's lots of ways to read something.

Date: 21-Aug-1999 12:17:33
From: Julie Daniels
I'll go with the Smithsonian Collection—it is every bit as good as the two comments above suggest/describe. It's a joy to listen to and the book/liner notes are superb.

Date: 23-Aug-1999 14:59:39
From: Gordon Polatnick ( )
I find that people are either hungry for or appalled by the idea of jazz. It's akin to people who are dying to travel and see the whole world, and those who choose the known comforts of their own world. To expose either group to jazz, I'd start with the elements already familiar to them: Compositions that have been in their lives forever, that have also traveled all over the jazz map. Cole Porter; Gershwin; songs from the Ellington band are good launching off points. Compositions with recognizable melodies and lyrics that many know or could quickly learn, can lead the initiate through all the phases of jazz as these standards are constantly showing up as proving grounds for new talent. Frank Sinatra's "My Cole Porter," or any of the Ella "Songbooks" are excellent primers. From there it's going to be hit or miss. Different interpreters of these compositions will attract or repel the listener. Individual tastes will determine whether Clifford Brown is God or not. It's also more enjoyable to see live jazz when you can recognize the melody and try to follow its transmutations through the various solos.

Date: 29-Aug-1999 15:06:29
From: Mike
I am wondering if jazz programs in schools and colleges will ultimately kill jazz in this country? To make a wonderful art like jazz a part of the bureaucracy, which will take it further away from art and more and more toward another academic career, may be akin to nailing the lid on the coffin.

Further up on this thread someone said that maybe it should be made illegal if we want young people to become curious—maybe that's not so far off the mark.

Let's face it—bureaucratizing poetry in this country has done little to improve its quality but it has created this huge loosly knit institution that is deadly to its genuine development. Making advancement in the bureaucracy dependent on quantity of publishing/recording does not encourage art; it does encourage careerism which is a quick path to mediocrity.

Of course there will be vigorous disagreement. People do like to think that they haven't sold out. It is a terrible risk to be a true artist. I don't think Eric Dolphy or Lester Young were worrying about their pension.

Date: 30-Aug-1999 23:15:15
From: Nell
"My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water."

Mark Twain

Date: 02-Sep-1999 16:48:32
From: ladybop
The best way to introduce a young person to jazz? Just let them hear some.

Date: 06-Sep-1999 00:58:16
From: Robert ( )
I have to respond to Ladybop's optimistic suggestion. When I was young, my parents received a gift of several LPs—ten or fifteen of them. One day I looked through them, finding unfamiliar names like Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis. I pulled one out at random and played it. In most accounts of this type, my youthful mind would be blown by the wonderful music. I just sat there, listening for and not finding any identifiable melody. Finally, in frustration, I put it back, thinking, "This must be one of those things grownups understand," and never touched them again. Frankly, that's still how (almost all) jazz makes me feel. When my husband told me that Vince Guaraldi was considered a jazz musician, I blurted out, "But I enjoy his music!" with an incredulous expression. Jazz that you can enjoy listening to—that does not compute.

Postscript—I recently found a song by Art Ensemble of Chicago I do enjoy listening to. I have no idea how that happened.

Date: 16-Sep-1999 12:42:22
From: robert budd ( )
jazz is a very beautiful thing-a beginner should grab him or herself a glass of wild turkey-grab a good $10 cigar and listen to some fine music every night-between lung and alcoholism treatments i would suggest some: johnny hodges,joe pass and even a dose of clifford brown.i have always been a fan of 50's,60's and 70's jazz-especially the 60's was a great period in my eyes. sonny stitt,gigi gryce,oscar peterson,jimmy smith,paul gonsalves,etc etc.i have never been a fan of NEW jazz or be-bop.coltrane,ornette,miles have never been down my alley-just don't get the feet tapping

Date: 30-Sep-1999 14:23:59
From: andrew ( )
it is interesting how everyone on this list has different stories of how they got into jazz. i am 19 and i have been listening to it for about 3 years. i have always listened to punk rock, prog, art rock and ambient stuff (i have always hated hippie stuff and i dont really like blues). the stuff i listen to is very melodic. some of the bands i listen to are influenced by jazz, and my friend played me some miles and art blakey. i listen to it all the time now. just play jazz records for your friends and see what they think. also, you can get into jazz through any music.

Date: 24-Oct-1999 13:16:02
From: Mel
I highly recommend Mingus' Alice's Wonderland. It is beautiful. It grooves and has beautiful melodies. Lee Morgan's Best of is excellent, especially with tunes like "The Sidewinder" and "Rumproller" that party vibes to them. I'm a firm believer in the magic of Chet Baker, especially on vocals. A little Wes Montgomery never hurt anybody.

Date: 24-Oct-1999 13:16:06
From: Mel
I highly recommend Mingus' Alice's Wonderland. It is beautiful. It grooves and has beautiful melodies. Lee Morgan's Best of is excellent, especially with tunes like "The Sidewinder" and "Rumproller" that party vibes to them. I'm a firm believer in the magic of Chet Baker, especially on vocals. A little Wes Montgomery never hurt anybody.

Date: 05-Nov-1999 02:23:15
From: Graham
I am currently studying Jazz in Toronto. I am taking upright lessons from one of Duke Ellington's former bassists. The reason why I got into jazz has nothing to do with jazz at all. Simply put, the act of learning an instrument inspired me to look to different kinds of music. I learned to play bass because the guitar part on Led Zeppelin's "Gallow's Pole" was too difficult.

Some Great albums that I find inspiring and accesible are: 1. Cannonball Adderly "Live In Japan" (zawinul on keys) 2. Bela Fleck and The Flectones "Three Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" 3. John Scofield "A Go-Go" 4. George Benson "The Other Side of Abbey Road" 5. Oscar Peterson "West Side Story" 6. Manhattan Transfer "Birdland" —2cd 7. Dave Grusin "Two For the Road" 8. DiMeola, McLaughlin, DeLucia "A Friday Night In San Fransisco"—perhaps the most remarkable live music ever 9. Weather Report "Heavy Weather" 10.Joni Mitchell "Shadows and Light" (Metheny, Pastorius, Mays, Brecker, Alias playing backup) 11.Victor Wooten "A Show of Hands"

I believe each of these albums to be infinitely more accessible than Kind of Blue.

Date: 26-Nov-1999 19:21:30
From: Angela ( )
I really think that if you have a good sense of harmony, and appreciate good quality music, it is impossible to dont like it. Since I have a musician in my family (my mother uses to play "cello" in an experimental orchestra)I grew up listening to very "high level" music. So, there s no way to dont like it!!! I surely recommend for the begginers (as I am!) performers like:

Diana Krall; Charlie Parker; Chick Corea; And, most of all (the best to me, as I love big bands), is Count Basie Orchestra, particullary the newest arrangements.

If there s someone interested in talk about the great musicians from the Count Basie Band, please do so!!

Date: 01-Feb-2000 10:48:25
From: sherry
I am 53 and even though I grew up in the rock'n roll era, I don't have anything Elvis, etc. I know the tunes but give me artistes like Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Jonah Jones, Jimmy Smith, George Shearing, Louis Armstrong; singers like Ella, Billie, Al Hibbler, Nat Cole, the list goes on. I do like Boz Scaggs, Al Jarreau, to name a few, but nothing beats Miles Davis 'Summertime' or Brubeck's 'Shortenin' Bread.' Diane Krall would be a good way of introducing jazz. She is very talented. Only someone with a mindblock could resist her!

Date: 01-Feb-2000 10:52:30
From: sherry
I am 53 and even though I grew up in the rock'n roll era, I don't have anything Elvis, etc. I know the tunes but give me artistes like Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Jonah Jones, Jimmy Smith, George Shearing, Louis Armstrong; singers like Ella, Billie, Al Hibbler, Nat Cole, the list goes on. I do like Boz Scaggs, Al Jarreau, to name a few, but nothing beats Miles Davis 'Summertime' or Brubeck's 'Shortenin' Bread.' Diane Krall would be a good way of introducing jazz. She is very talented. Only someone with a mindblock could resist her!

Date: 15-Feb-2000 12:25:48
From: Mick
Although I first got into jazz through 'Kind of Blue' and 'A Love Supreme,' and would still recommend them to any newcomer, the album that most enthused my non jazz listening housemates over the past year was 'Ole Coltrane.' And thinking about it for a second this little discussed album, Cotranes last on Atlantic, is probably perfect as an introduction for listeners with a modern sensibility. The two basses on the title track and its trancey mesemeric feel make those who have grown up with the deep repetitive beats of house and techno feel instantly at home. Match that alongside two gorgeous ballads, 'Aisha' and 'To Her Ladyship' featuring beautiful playing from 'Trane, Freddie Hubbard and McCoy Tyner, add to the mix the unusual cover art and oblique liner notes and you have a record which could capture the imagination of any genuinely musical person. Of course there will always be those who simply cannot hear whats happening, but better not to waste time and energy on the congenital philistine.

Date: 23-Mar-2000 19:41:26

Date: 26-Mar-2000 19:50:27
From: Mark Stevens ( )
I got hooked on jazz listening to my older brothers albums he left behind when he got drafted in 1967. Although I was only a kid i got hooked. Mile Davis and Cannonball Adderly were his favorites and they became mine. After I joined the military in 1977, I added others to the collection: Tom Scott, Billy Cobham, and Hiroshima. Today I listen to Keiko Matsui and Joe Sample. I think jazz is such beatiful music that everyone given the chance would fall in love with it.

Date: 12-Apr-2000 01:49:42
From: Intonarumori ( )
Well if they are stuck up metalheads like I once em something off of Di Meolas "Elegant Gypsy" or something from the early Mahavishnu Years...and if they have an open mind and really want to know jazz...give em something by Sun Ra..that will keep their ears busy for a week...haha

Date: 18-Apr-2000 11:15:07
From: Scott Parker ( )
I learned my love of jazz from my sister. A true 60's/70's baby, Gil Scott Heron, Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock. I too believe that it is dependent to "whom" your introducing to this great art. Finding out what "their" idea of jazz is, can be a starting point more so than just recommending music. It can't be explained.

Date: 15-May-2000 08:43:28
From: Xabier encinas (France) ( )
Befor to became a jazz trumpeter (2 years ago), I was DJ, hip-hop DJ. One day, I went to take some old records from my father to find something to scratch with. I tried a lot of records and I have heard "My funny Valentine" recorded by The Miles Davis Quintet. The day after I let down my turn tables and I begin to learn trumpet. Jazz is a kind of music who everybody can learn something you just need to heard Miles or coltrane... Jazz can open your eyes... Peace

Date: 12-Jun-2000 14:09:38
From: Sharon ( )
I have been scanning this site some, because I am trying to find a nice way to "break in" new friend of mine. So, if I repeat anything on here, I'm sorry. I got into jazz by playing it and seeing/hearing it played live. In those experiences, I felt like a part of the action. For the non-musician, playing isn't really an option (at least realistically). So I take 'em to a live show (of the kind of jazz I think they'll like) and explain what's happening (soloing, etc) as it happens. They usually want to go back for more! (Of course having an enthusiastic friend along helps!)

Date: 15-Jun-2000 08:30:15
From: Ken Watters
Well, from my experience, Coltrane's "Ballads" or "The Gentle Side of John Coltrane" usually gets 'em RIGHT into it. Folks hear either of these for the first time and immediately think of SEX! Also, most recordings by Woody Shaw get folks pretty up & around. There's been many a classical trumpeter turned on to jazz by him because of his sheer fire, plus they have NO CLUE what he's doing harmonically (which makes him a "challenge"). The funny thing is that for most classical musicians, SWINGING is a big ENOUGH challenge!

Date: 20-Jul-2000 00:43:38
From: Nat Catchpole ( )
First I should say I'm 19, and I've been into Jazz since I was five or six, so I haven't experienced coming to it from another style. (I'm a British student, studying Saxophone at Berklee). However I have tried to get many of my friends to listen to Jazz, both successfully and unsuccessfully.

I think musicians from different backgrounds respond best to what is closest to their field. Classical musicians seem to prefer ECM, rockers like early fusion, people into funk will like Herbie etc, Death Metal cats, and Grateful Dead fans dig Pharoah.

With non-musicians (this isn't supposed to be disparaging, but I think non-jazz lovers, indifferent, haters, can be easily separated into those who are and are not musicians), it has to be a completely different approach.

Apparently Homicide Life on the Streets includes Mccoy Tyner in the soundtrack, any number of advertisements (especially in England), feature Nina Simone, or Cantaloupe Island (Us3 version), or vocal Louis tracks.

Also playing Sanborn, or Spyra Gryra to Kenny G fans, then Brecker Brothers to Sanborn Fans, or Weather Report, and gradually working backwards seems to work. (my listening went from Sanborn to Brecker, to Rahsaan, to Free jazz and Impulse, then Blue Note, and continues to go backwards chronologically). Most consumer type listeners should be introduced to the kind of jazz which they hear every day (I don't mean supermarket $%%$#). Someone even suggested to me that some of Ornettes Prime Time stuff, especially the ballads, would maybe pass unnoticed if the volume was at the same level.

I think hitting someone with a really beautiful/classic album also works.

This getting to long and boring so I'll shut up.

Date: 27-Jul-2000 01:33:49
From: Marc
I agree with what many people have already written. It depends on "who." Jazz is such a melting pot of music, you have to know who the intended listener is & what they want to hear. That's the thing about jazz... there is something that someone has done that someone will like. President Linclon has been quoted as saying "you can please some of the people all of the time... ect." Jazz can please all the people all the time. Maybe not one particular group or artist, but the genre as a whole. The "music industry" likes to pigeon-hole things... It makes it easier to keep the money-books straight, I guess. Any "heady" music that can't necessarily be marketed as mainstream or whatever gets dubbed "jazz." It's just people (musicians) expressing in the voices that they've been given. I'm not complaining, mind you. It makes it easier to find some of the stuff I want to hear... just go into the music store & head for the jazz section.

Date: 15-Aug-2000 01:45:00
From: Jazzbro ( )
My mom loved Nat King Cole and My dad introduced my ears to Louis Armstrong. That was all I needed to be hooked. Nuff said.

Date: 25-Aug-2000 20:22:24
From: Stu Simpson! ( )
Jazz is no Joke!

Date: 26-Aug-2000 19:43:46
From: Simpson Stu!
Azz is no hoke!

Date: 31-Aug-2000 14:44:15
From: jesarp ( )
Just recently have been paying more attention to jazz—always liked Etta James, Nina Simone and Teena Marie, now I just "found" Diana Krall, Freak Power, Benita Hill, and Tuck and Patti can anyone sugest more music like the latter. I am getting frustrated downloading things I'm not dead over. Thanks.

Date: 05-Sep-2000 11:51:34
From: JC ( )
I do not have a penis, but have been raised with jazz, and am a AAJ major at UMass Amherst in my 5th year. As far as women in jazz, I am the only female out of twenty men in my classes, this is of course intimidating. Being a vocalist doesn't help either when seeking respect. If your'e a grrrl, stick with it and eventually we won't be in the minority as players or listeners. PLus, anything that won't kill you, only makes you stronger. The albums that have worked for my non-jazz friends are (as some previously mentioned): Kind of Blue Chet Baker Sings Bridges of Madison County Soundtrack(with Irene Krall,mmm) Getz/Gilberto Next Stop Wonderland Soundtrack (for Bossa)

To ease into jazz, try some Joni Mitchell, good hiphop like The Roots, Common, Digable PLanets, or Jazzmatazz. Bach can be either a start or an end point for jazz fans. Also The Cowboy Junkies (Trinity Session or Whites off Earth NOw) have that intimacy that gets one ready for the intimacy of the trio or Quartet. Or the Man Himself , James Brown, to get used to a real jam session. If you're ready for jazz and you want it bad, listen to it over and over again, hundreds of times, and eventually it will just click.

I have to say that one of my favorite and challenging albums in the last five years has been Brad Melhdau, Back at/(to?) the Vanguard. Holy shit, there is some absolutely mind-blowing talent on that album, and every track gets you off.

P.S. All players, take it easy on the singers. We know our stuff. And we're people too. JC in Bosstown

Date: 08-Sep-2000 09:43:20
From: fabrizio ( )
I think "Kind of Blue"is not a staring point.Better start with some good be-bop like Sonny Stitt or Dexter Gordon just to mention two.In my opinion the firs basic element in jazz is SWING,which you don't find much in post-bop productions.Neophites will understand the "spirit of jazz" by listening to Getz, Stitt, Gordon, Parker.... Too often post-bop/modern jazz is a sort of cerebral thing, lacking the real spirit that has kept this music alive until today. How many media-darlings will be known 20 years from now? So.... DON'T FORGET SWING!!!

Date: 09-Sep-2000 00:06:35
From: Aldo
JC: why aren't women more involved in serious music? I have a friend who manages a good CD store (jazz & classical music mostly) and he says that if the store was dependent on sales to women the place would quickly fold. This isn't just addressed to JC but to anyone who would like to respond.

Date: 09-Sep-2000 00:09:45
From: Sam
Hey,JC, like did your penis fall off?

Date: 11-Oct-2000 21:07:46
From: justin ( )

Date: 18-Oct-2000 20:55:20
From: Kiersten ( )
Does anyone know any information on Orenette Coleman? It is for my Architecture studio project. Any help would be great. I am looking for information about why she/he is an idol for Thomas Grunfeld. He has a really great exhibit at MassMocha in new aadams mass that I visited recently. Any informtion would be helpfull though! Thanks Kiersten

Date: 06-Nov-2000 21:44:04
From: Henry Gilbert ( )
I am intreasted in the drum technec used in harcore Jazz

Date: 10-Nov-2000 20:41:26
From: Wendell Wilkie
What is the topic of this thread?

Date: 16-Nov-2000 17:41:12
From: Tamara ( )
I have a friend who directs a jazz band in Texas. He wants to bring his band to Washington State. What festivals are in Washington. I have found references to a few but not many and I wanted to know about some more.


Date: 27-Nov-2000 11:20:26
From: i am i be ( )
i think the best way to get people who are in to most pop/mainstream music but those who still have a respect for "good music" is either with brandford marsalis' mo' better blues from the sndtrk (or trio jeepy for that matter)... or to listen to some stuff like phish, the 'dead, martin medeski and wood or even the roots (iladelph half life in particular) to turn you into jazz. i myself came through with trio jeepy and blues (hendrix blues) but its is all relative and irrelavent.

Date: 05-Jan-2001 16:31:28
From: Cary T Kirschbaum ( )
I can only refer to my own experiences of 20 plus years ago at Tower Records in Manhattan. I asked a Sales clerk (who happen to be a local jazz pianist and avid Blue Note collector) to give me some "schooling." He said, listen to Parker, Blakey, Miles, and the "Pres." I haven't looked back since and my Jazz education continues to benefit from those classic players. I'd say that any potential player or fan should spend some time listening to either some Blue Note or Riverside recordings. From swing to hard bop, I don't think anyone can dismiss this required listening. Also I suggest one try to read the original Leonard Feather,"Encyclopedia of Jazz."There are so many other worthy books, too numerous to mention at this time. Then go see some live Jazz! That should keep you busy for awhile. CTK

Date: 06-Jan-2001 06:51:02
From: Thelonious
Im a jazzpianist from Norway. I mean that Ornette Coleman, `trane, and Cecil Taylor should be the first jazz you hear, and if you dont understand it, f*** off... Im sick and tired of people describing jazz as "dooobiidaaahbiischhooosninch," and later asks: "where is the vocalist? where is the melody?"

Date: 06-Jan-2001 18:07:42
From: dan murray ( )
The only way to experience jazz is live. It is one of the only mediums that has to be experienced live to fully appreciate the mood and what it brings to the senses. You can listen to Miles and Bird 100 times, but to see someone attempting to emulate these dudes or to play and thusly interpreting or perhaps lending a new direction, the movement of their head, the flos of their hands, lips, the audience's reaction are all a part of the moment. Jazz is about the moment more than anyone really knows or can express. this coming from a lover of the Delta Blues. Take what I say with this bias in mind. But being there is where it ia at. No doubt, get out of the house children and live.

Date: 26-Jan-2001 02:23:54
From: "Jazz Baby"
OK, after reading 6 months of posts about the best way to introduce someone to jazz, here's my own thoughts: the best way to introduce somebody to jazz is en utero. That's how my mom and dad introduced me to Miles Davis, Bird, the MJQ, Brubeck, and a host of other be-bop and "cool" artists. My earliest memories are of falling asleep to Kind of Cool and Miles Ahead, played on KBCA (the jazz station in Los Angeles in the early '60s). My dad also mixed in a liberal amount of classical music (Bach, Beethoven and others), to make sure I understood the parallels between classical and jazz music. An unconventional and long-term process to educate somebody about jazz, but, IMHO, well worth it (thanks, Dad!).

Failing that, start with something very accessible, and, if it turns out that it simply doesn't take (after 25 years, my husband still doesn't like jazz—he says he can't follow the melody), find a friend to go clubbing with. 8-)

Date: 26-Jan-2001 20:36:47
From: Andreas
Make Jon Hendricks's "Evolution of the Blues" part of the school curriculum.

Date: 26-Jan-2001 21:17:55
From: Andreas
There's a lot of potential candidates for an introductory CD, but here's one not mentioned so far:

Next time you have a party throw on "Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings"—Big Band swing/jump blues at its best and very accessible. As Albert King used to say, "If you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul"! Billie Holiday is another good choice. Many people who otherwise don't listen to jazz have one or more of her records, and it's not for nothing! How can you not be moved by her singing. If they don't respond, call 911 because they may be dead!

As the night progresses, I might turn down the volume a bit an sneak some Cecil Taylor or Sun Ra on 'em just to see what happens!

Of course if your friends grew up listening to Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, as I did, they will relate best to Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra to begin with.

Date: 01-Feb-2001 11:35:22
From: Donna
I take them on a shopping trip to Amoeba Records in the Haight. I've done it 2 times already.

Date: 01-Feb-2001 12:46:14
From: william r. smith ( )
i would sit them down, pour them a snifter of remy and play for this the following albums(cds):

miles davis "kinda blue" johhny hartman and john coltrane sarah vaughan "crazy and mixed up" donald bryd "cristo rendemptor" "louis armstrong meets oscar peterson" modern jazz quartet "final album"

Date: 01-Feb-2001 17:19:01
From: Richard Harper ( )
Is listening to the 'best' albums the best way introduce someone to jazz? Jazz has so many muscial styles, forms and settings, is cherry picking best from each (form) the ideal way to go about this?

I followed two approaches, and I found it very successful in appreciating all jazz forms. I found I don't like male vocalist messing up my jazz, but hey (it's my failing).

1. Find popular tunes. Jazz version of pop R&B or beats I could related to. I cut my teeth on Mile's Tutu album. I now own over 70 of Mile's albums. I don't like Aura (but hey that me). And yes Tutu doesn't really rate (anymore).

2. I bought three jazz sampler cd's from three different but labels. I develop my "I liked this but I didn't like this" list. Then went I looked for the albums they were cut from. This was the ideal way (for me) to get away from only buying the "great masters."

So while I love the albums being suggested, and I have most of them in my library now, AND, I can appreciate them all (Now!). I don't think when I started out listening to Kind of Blue or A Love Supreme would have won me over to the jazz side. It would have re-enforced that I didn't get jazz.

There's a learning curve.

Date: 01-Feb-2001 20:17:17
From: Eric ( )
Disgusted with post-1980s pop but with interest in Mary Chapin Carpenter and classical, I got into jazz a couple of summers ago on a whim. Our local newspaper ran a story in the religion section about Duke Ellington's sacred concerts and their rerelease for the Ellington centennial. About the same time I wasted some time at Borders while my wife was hosting a reading group at our apartment. I picked up a couple of Priceless Jazz samplers cheap and was interested, so I started checking the internet to see what to try next. I picked up the sampler of the RCA Ellington set, then found that my CD club had several of the CD's most often recommended on the internet, including Miles' "Kind of Blue" and Coltrane's "Giant Steps," "My Favorite Things," and "Blue Trane." Soon I added "A Love Supreme" and Ellington's "Live at Newport." I've found that I most enjoy things recorded between 1955 and 1965. Recent favorites include Ella's "Mack the Knife" live album, Brubeck's "Take Five," and Ellington/Roach/Mingus's "Money Jungle." Of these, I'd offer any to a newcomer to jazz (but would be careful that they not get intimidated by "Giant Steps" or "Money Jungle").

Date: 19-Feb-2001 18:16:32
From: David ( )
Hi, im just getting jazz(im only 12) and i completey relate to the man's 12 year old son. I was obsessed with Green Day before Jazz came to me. What got me into jazz was ken burns, specifically best of ken burns. I know it isnt very original or cool, but it got me started. (The Mooche by the Duke still gives me chills.) Then i listened to kindo of blue and went on from there. Charlie Parker, Dzzy, etc. Then, i was "unhooked" for reasons i couldnt explain. I got into pearl jam. Then, i listened to Bobby McFerrin's "Thinkin about your body" and was back in. Hey, im still getting started with this wide world of jazz but that was the very beginning of it.

PS- In case anyone was wondering, these are my top 5 fave jazz compositions SO FAR!

1. The Mooche- Duke (Baby Cox is incredible here!) 2. Soy Califa- Dexter Gordon (Man, that song is catchy!) 3. Oh lady be good- Tie between the versions by Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman 4. Dead Man's Blues—Jelly Roll Morton (The best ny one of the first, if not THE first.) 5. Take the A train- Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra (Swing is still alive and well!)

Date: 23-Feb-2001 16:31:14
From: Praveen Nair ( )
I guess I am part of the "getting into jazz" club. I got started with Sade, Steely Dan, Simply Red, Sting. I really dig Stan Getz and whatever little Brazilian jazz I have heard (Jobim et al). I'd appreciate any suggestions on artists and bands. It's easy to figure out that I love melodic, smooth sax or piano-based jazz(not much of a big-band guy) as well as funky, groovy rock jazz fusion.


Date: 27-Feb-2001 09:04:37
From: KLW ( )
This is not on subject, but will try anyway. Am looking for VHS copy of PBS program "Swingin' With Duke...."Wynton Marsallis with Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Not available thru, if ANYONE has taped this show, i desperately need copy. Will pay all expenses. Please reply ASAP to above address.

Date: 30-Mar-2001 10:05:46
From: Dana ( )
I know that you all probably do this, but I just wanted to reinforce the necessity of supporting high school jazz programs, and exploring jazz even at a middle school level. I was introduced to jazz first through big band type music, mostly Benny Goodman. Actually that's why I started playing clarinet in sixth grade. Luckily I had a great middle school teacher who let me experiment with different instruments and then starting in high school I began my career as a trombonist. :) I joined our jazz band immediately and loved it from the beginning. I tend to agree that for introducing people to jazz that haven't had such a nice buildup as I had, that fusion type music is good because it's not too much of a departure from what they may be accustomed to. I also think it would be a good idea to go with something catchy and melodic, so that it's not very hard to listen to. (I guess that's kind of obvious.) I also like the idea of approaching it from a Latin vein, because I don't think I know anyone who isn't affected by a Latin beat. This energy infused music can be a doorway to improvisational music, so that they can open up straight away to it. I don't really think gender is much of an issue. But I do agree that it may be a good idea to introduce musicians to jazz virtuosity on their instrument. ? :) such as my favorite ever. PAT METHENY. I would have never found Pat Metheny if it hadn't been for my band director, senior year of high school. He also gave me a fabulous sampler from the Verve label, which I love. The influence of my teachers has opened me up to a wide variety of music. :)

Date: 09-Apr-2001 13:05:46
From: jim ( )
I got introduced to Jazz through a workshop of sorts, run by a prominent NPR-based jazz dj in my community. He was very knowledgable about the history, forthcoming about his favorites, and most importantly, willing to part with a self-generated list of must listen to records/cds within certain demarcated categories-like best vocal jazz, or best small group settings. I discovered I had an interest in modal jazz, piano-led groups, or just about anything with a mournful, spiritual or elgeic tone. I have come to love John Hicks, Stanley Cowell, Larry Willis, Bobby Watson, Billy Harper, Trane, of course, and am open to any feedback as to what else I "might" like. I think what helped me get started was an open attitude to be led at first. Now I caqn walk into a Jazz record store without being intimidated or flooded, now I have a guide. Any other recommendations in the aforementioned vein? Thanks.

Date: 15-Apr-2001 23:19:05
From: o.bivins
For modal jazz I would definitely check out McCoy Tyner. A "spiritual" album of his is the 1970 release "Asante." Available on CD. Also check out the 1978 album "Together." And there's the disc "Bon Voyage." All are relatively easy to find. "Bon Voyage" is a Dutch import but I've seen it at major outlets like Tower and Borders

Date: 27-Apr-2001 19:44:53
From: Jack ( )
Can anyone please tell me the origin of the phrase 'One more time once"? I suspect it was Count Basie—can this be confirmed? Place, recording, date etc? Thank you JL

Date: 30-Apr-2001 14:19:55
From: Don ( )
Do any of you know any good websites on saxaphone improv?

Date: 05-May-2001 12:10:17
From: sandra ( )
Thank you for all the comments. I am trying to introduce myself to jazz and this site has been most helpful.

thank you again.

Date: 13-Jun-2001 22:11:32
From: DeRayMi ( )
I am not trying to be a troll (maybe I am being one, but I'm not trying to be one!); however, I'd like to confuse the issues a little here. I do not consider myself a jazz fan, though there are three figures in jazz who made a lot of music I really like, and there are other things I have heard here and there that I have liked. Here is my case history. I grew up listening primarily to pop, rock and R&B, plus the music I heard at church. My mom had a few records of big band music, but not many. When I was in 5th or 6th grade I started to listen to (probably fairly mainstream jazz) on the radio, on my own (from what I can remember). Around the same time I had my first exposure to a punk rock (cover) band and liked it. Around this time my family moved to a new area and at some point I went looking for the station I had been listening to and ended up stumbling onto an entirely different station, which introduced me to an incredibly eclectic mix of music: modern classical/avant-garde/experimental, free jazz, electronic music, various obscure progressive rock from Europe, reggae, punk/new wave/industrial, traditional forms of music from around the world, and other things I didn't take to as much, including a lot of folk music from closer to home (home being the U.S., in my case). Anyway, in junior high and high school I tended to gravitate to whatever was avant-garde. It's hard for me to sort out how much of the avant-garde (in all the arts) I really liked, and how much I was simply intrigued by, but I definitely liked some of it. In fact, I can think of some free jazz and fusion (e.g., "Bitches Brew") records I liked then which I don't especially like now. For a long time I considered myself someone who liked free jazz, but who didn't especially have a taste for anything from earlier phases of jazz. I think the thing that finally killed that illusion was going to see Charles Gayle play live. It made me realize that I didn't really love free jazz, as such, after all. Charles Gayle made me cry "uncle!" I have also seen the following widely recognized performers, live (and possibly others I am not remembering): the Sun Ra Arkestra (with and without Sun Ra); Don Cherry; Oliver Lake; Steve Lacey; Pharoah Sanders; Max Roach Archie Shepp and Odean Pope; John Zorn (if you consider him jazz); George Russell; McCoy Tyner; Cecil Taylor; and Byard Lancaster. This past winter I bought a "starter" set of jazz CDs from 1201 Records, focused mostly on big band and bop. While I certainly respect the skill and artistry involved, very little of the music actually grabbed me. In fact, I was relieved to finish an initial listening to the whole collection, so that I could go often and listen to things I wanted to be listening to. I have taken a couple group swing classes, but that did not seem to make me enjoy the music more (where learning to salsa had quickly turned me into a salsa music fan).

Despite years of exposure to jazz of various sorts, much of it self-initiated, I still don't like most of it. Incidentally, the three people who have been at the center of a lot of work that I especially like are: Billie Holiday, John Coltrane (whose sound always stood out for me even back in high school), and Sun Ra. On the one hand, I think I am able to enjoy their music without really digging jazz a whole lot. On the other hand, I have to admit that appreciating how their work relates to jazz more broadly would add depth to my appreciation and perhaps enjoyment. I don't find that I get anywhere by pushing myself, and I'm not even sure why I should want to, except that, well, for one thing, it would be nice to like this form of music which grew up in the U.S., instead of being more at home, overall, with Arabic music, for example. (Let me tell you, if you have not learned to enjoy Oum Kalthoum's singing—YOU are missing something!) I will keep trying, but not very hard. Tomorrow night I go see Andrew Hill for the first time, Saturday Jimmy Bosch (also for the first time—but he really is more Latin than jazz), and Sunday the Arkestra (always a treat). And then maybe I'll get around to buying those Carpenters CDs I want (no joking).

Date: 22-Jun-2001 11:40:10
From: John
Although many others have said it repeatedly, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis really is one of the best jazz albums ever. I would rec. it to anyone just starting to get into jazz. Its mellow, but exciting.

A few other albums I would rec. for the jazz beginer: Saxophone Collossus, by Sonny Rollins and Ballads by John Coltrane.

One other thing I would impress upon anyone just starting to get into jazz is that there is a LOT of great jazz out there, w/ all different kinds of styles and variations. You probably won't like all of it, but you just might find something wonderful and fall in love w/ it!

Date: 25-Jun-2001 15:14:04
From: Deek
Sometimes what doesn't kill you makes you dumber.

Date: 23-Aug-2001 14:20:17
From: JJR
Buy the newbie the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. It's a 5 CD set and great written/printed information.

Date: 24-Aug-2001 14:00:22
From: Piece o Pie
drug them

Date: 25-Aug-2001 18:02:35
From: Angie
I agree with the Smithsonian Collection comment. My folks had the record version around the house when I was a teenager and I'd browse or they'd casually play it. After awhile I'd actually sit down and listen to it cut by cut and then I'd turn my friends onto it. I recently went out and bought the CD version which has remastered sound—amazingly cleaned up early jazz cuts—the ticks and popples are gone! Anyway, from King Oliver and Louis Armstrong to John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman—the best cuts of the best jazz musicians. This was my introduction and my early jazz education—it's held up well over the years, very well.

Date: 04-Sep-2001 03:23:47
From: Adam ( )
I've been interested in Jazz a long time now, but only very recently began to persue my interest. I listen to Jazz FM before sixth from quite a lot, but never ventured into the world of jazz, and never thought of buying a jazz cd. Having gotten interested in the Beats (Ginsberg, Kerouc et al) I decided to get myself into jazz. Thanks to this site I decided to start with Kind of Blue, which I am now completely in love with (2 weeks later). My very loose plan is to go for some Parker, Coltrane, Monk and Mingus, but I am quite lost as to where to start. I have a good feeling about Charlie Parker, and Coltrane, so I am going to go for Blue Train next, but I am utterly confused as to where to go with Charlie Parker. Just pick up a greatest hits? Also, any other recommendations from that era? I'm also desparately trying to find somewhere to go for live jazz in Sydney, I posted in the live topic, but I literally can't wait to see jazz performed live.

Thanks to everyone who posted above, I've trawled through most of it recently and it has given me the little push I needed to start persuing jazz seriously.

Date: 22-Sep-2001 12:25:13
From: Aldo
Parker generally put together very good bands. So, you can't go too wrong no matter what. But the recordings with the young Miles Davis are uneven because Davis is uneven. The Parker with strings stuff is OK if you like that sort of thing. In any case, Parker nearly always plays great no matter the circumstances. Anything with Dizzy Gillespie will be excellent—also anything with Hank Jones on piano will be excellent. Parker does well in compilations and best of anthologies, especially on recent ones in which the sound has been improved. No big risks here, it's all interesting, even the when Davis can't keep up and the strings are awful.


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Jazz Primer
You Too Can Be A Jazz Fan!
By AAJ Staff
April 23, 2016
Jazz Primer
Thinking Outside The Musical Box
By Donal Fox
April 22, 2016
Jazz Primer
John Coltrane and the Meaning of Life
By Douglas Groothuis
January 22, 2015
Jazz Primer
How to Listen to Jazz
By Douglas Groothuis
January 22, 2015
Jazz Primer
What is Jazz? Good Question...
By Jason West
January 12, 2012
Jazz Primer
Miles Davis: Unlimited Miles
By Bill King
September 29, 2009
Jazz Primer
Essential Buying Tips for Building a Jazz Collection
By AAJ Staff
April 23, 2005