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If you were introducing someone to jazz...

Discussion in 'music' started by MUTTY1, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I'd just like to remind the committee that jazz is historically recognised from around the turn of the 20th C, almost certainly existed before this in black communities and was first audio recorded by whites like the 'Original Dixieland Jass(zz) Band' around 1917, probably because the black musicians had no access to recording technology.

    Yet, by some miracle, only 8 or so years later, Ellington was recording gems such as 'Black and Tan Fantasy', 'Red Hot Band' and a couple of years later 'proto swing' tunes such as 'Maori' and 'Admiration'. Of course many others were around by this time, including the likes of Louis Armstrong, the awesome Bechet, and many more.

    Few of the replies above pay any heed to this.

    I think, given the opportunity, and the patience of my subject, I might start by getting them to watch Ken Burns' 'Jazz' documentary, so that they would have some hope of placing jazz into its correct historical context and some chance of not being put off by the fiirst thing they heard.

    Possibly the only thing I'd 'impose' on them would be this:

    Where they went thereafter would of course be up to them to explore.
  2. Tantris

    Tantris pfm Member

    The Mingus suggestion above is a good one, imho, although I'd go for The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady personally, as it is so forward-looking.

    Two others, that pay due homage to what has gone before, and break new ground, would be;

    David Murray - Fred Hopkins - Stanley Crouch; Live at the Peace Church -

    Julius Hemphill; Dogon AD
  3. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    A crazy question really...…………………… but...…………………..
    I have no strong affection for anything mentioned so far, although a lot of Brubeck is near, but give me Melody Gardot, Alfa Mist or Chet Baker (Live in Tokyo is a great place to start), and I am REALLY happy...…………….

    Alfa playing at this moment...………………………………………………… very sweet...…………………………...mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    How about something really off the wall? Fabulous Baker Boys soundtrack, including a fantastic version by the delicious Ms Pfeiffer, of my favourite song of all time - My Funny Valentine. (Brubeck is the actual pianist).
    Something else off the wall, very accessible and must surely be jazz (????) - Antonio Forcione - Meet Me in London, with Sabina Sciubba.
  4. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    One of the things I love about pfm is the way a thread that is 15 years old can be resurrected and carry on as if only a day has passed. Theres something rather comforting about the eternal musical questions which seem to exist outside of time and that ghost threads can hover in the background making unexpected returns now and again.
    jamesd and darrenyeats like this.
  5. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...


    This time travel sub -forum on pfm is very handy.. as I was saying to a fellow poster only next week.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  6. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Let's take another step back..

    Where would you start explaining Heavy Metal.. or Reggae.. or Soul?

    I would suggest that Metallica, Bob Marley and Al Green.. really wouldn't do it. You'd need to be going further back..
  7. Engels

    Engels pfm Member

    You need to know what their current interests are first and chose wisely. The "wrong" choice will turn them off completely.

    Miles's "In A Silent Way" surprises a lot of people who like contemplative prog-rock and thought they didn't like jazz, for example.
  8. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    Certainly IASW, KOB, Dave Brubeck are easier for first timers like me also. I had an advantage in liking Roland Kirk and some of the Necks stuff.
    Discovering new jazz is a constant search for me. Beginning to like the Mingus, Blues and Roots lp, but the original is rather too much to pay so will have to
    research the RE's.

  9. Dozey

    Dozey Air guitar member

    Candy Dulfer - Saxuality.

    A lot of her other stuff is dross, I admit.
  10. Norman Green

    Norman Green pfm Member

    The brilliant fusion of New Orleans jazz styles and rock and roll known as the ‘King Creole’ soundtrack.
  11. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    It seems to me that many of the replies above start from the assumption that jazz began in the late 1950s. That's a half century too late and strikes me as a bit arrogant. It's as if many here just see jazz as an alternative to, but contemporary with, the rise of rock and roll/rock etc. There's nothing wrong with 'modern' jazz as such, but surely we owe it to folk to make them aware of the early stuff too?
  12. i.j.russell

    i.j.russell pfm Member

    John Coltrane - Ascension
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  13. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    I think the earlier stuff is, well it does to me, seems to have less depth and variety. Was it not it aimed at a mass audience and predominately was dance music of the time?

  14. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    10 of the swingingest tunes I can pick by the hot club with Django to the fore.

    I like putting either this or the pick of the hot 5's and 7's in the car - everyone ends up enjoying themselves.

    My wife, who has no interest in jazz whatsoever, really liked one of the more recent Jarrett/Haden recordings, although, to be fair, she's usually delighted if I put anything on that isn't jarringly cacophonous and atonal.
  15. Vinniemac

    Vinniemac pfm Member

    I find it’s very difficult to guess what people are going to like. I got into jazz after watching a South Bank Show on Keith Jarrett. An uncle of mine was a Charlie Parker fan, he lent me some of his records, and on it went from there. I rate Armstrong and Parker above all, and have time for pretty much all types of jazz, but not everyone does. I lent a friend of mine some Parker and Armstrong records and, almost as an afterthought, Sonny Rollins’ Way Out West. He latched on to the Rollins immediately, but was indifferent to Parker and Armstrong. He became a professional saxophonist, but to this day has no interest in any jazz prior to bebop. I also wonder if the recording quality of early jazz might be a barrier to some people.
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    IIRC I started current and worked backwards. I bought Miles Davis’ Tutu after seeing him play on The Tube. I’m pretty certain that was my first jazz album. After that I bought a Blue Note compilation and then started collecting the albums it contained tracks from. From there collecting artists, band members, and even labels once I figured out I loved just about everything on Blue Note, Riverside, Implulse, Prestige etc from the early days of stereo through to the late ‘60s, and more recently far beyond that point into the harder-edged ‘70s fusion. This is my ‘jazz period’, though I do like the old Louis Armstrong ‘78s etc too.

    As such I suspect there is a strong argument to start from right now, e.g. Kamasi Washington, Gogo Penguin, Sons Of Kemet etc etc, and work backward from that point. FWIW Its the same way I approached classical, I went backwards from Reich, Riley, Glass, Stockhausen, Cage etc.
  17. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Bloss, I think your view of early jazz has elements of truth but is also a bit of an oversimplification.

    Vinnie, it is because it's impossible to 'guess', that I initially suggested the Burns documentary. I find that way of exploring jazz from its roots to be a fascinating thing in its own right, but it also allows for our imaginary 'newbie', to take whatever they want from a hundred years of jazz.

    I'm not a fan of the atonal, the experimental or the 'free' jazz stuff. I apply the same test that I do to any music. Does it move me? Most such stuff doesn't.

    I first heard jazz from TV and radio from the late 50s onward, but what I was hearing was mostly part of the 'trad' boom. I'm aware that much of that stuff is now pretty reviled by many, and in the case of the likes of Kenny Ball I can understand why. However, this also introduced me to the earlier true greats such as Ellington, Armstrong, Bechet, Reinhardt and blues singers such as Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and so on. What knowledge I had was built on in school, where jazz was very much in favour, both with staff and many pupils. A friend and I campaigned to be allowed to join the school Jazz Records club..which was initially only open to 4th-6th form. we spotty 3rd years were let in. That's where I heard many Blue Note and Riverside albums and people ranging from Shelly Mann, to Brubeck, Adderley, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Jimmy Smith etc., etc. Around that time I also became a huge fan of Ray Charles, whose music spans jazz instrumental, blues R&B, gospel, country and soul. In the early 60s I was also given loads of 1930s/40s 78s, mostly covering the big 'swing' bands of Miller, the Dorsey's, Harry James, Artie Shaw, Goodman, Herman etc., which added another dimension.

    Maybe my gradual and rather eclectic introduction to jazz is why I favour a similar approach to introducing 'newbies'.

    Edit: Picking up on Tony's point above.. while I was getting my jazz from the beginning.. as it were, I hardly heard any but the most popular rock and roll stuff in the 50s, as the BBC barely played it. So.. after the musical explosion of the 60s and what followed, I've spent much time since digging backwards into the roots of R&R in blues, R&B, country,Doo-Wop etc.
  18. Vinniemac

    Vinniemac pfm Member

    OP says we can only choose one album, Mull ;-) I’d say that was impossible, but asking someone to watch such a long documentary, good as it is, might be taking it too far the other way. I’d probably give someone cds by Parker, Armstrong, Ellington, Davis, Jarrett and Coleman and if they couldn’t find anything in there, conclude that maybe jazz isn’t for them.
    Mullardman likes this.
  19. herb

    herb music live

  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The problem is the Burns documentary doesn’t get the modern more dissonant and experimental forms of jazz at all either. I’ve watched it in its entirety and found the coverage of the early decades informative and of interest, but the coverage of anything beyond the late ‘50s is utterly useless, missing or just plain wrong. A hopelessly biased account of jazz IMO.

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