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

AAJ Staff By

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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!


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