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

AAJ Staff By

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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.


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