Something for jazz newbies or fans

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PaulHeroy, Jan 13, 2003.

  1. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm going to make a recommendation -- for a book! While browsing the music rack at Barnes & Noble last weekend I saw a book with the title Jazz 101, by John Szwed. Knowing that Szwed had also written a bio of Sun Ra, this intrigued me because I figured he might be a little less conservative in his approach to a jazz intro. While that did turn out to be true, I also found that this book looks like a very nicely done introduction to jazz, with:
    • History of jazz's development and different styles
    • Sidebars on interesting musicians and tidbits
    • Appendices with useful info, such as reviews of other jazz guides, pointers to info on the net (does a pretty good job of pointing out resources that are likely to be around for a while)
    Szwed, IMO, does a very good job of acknowledging the irony of jazz starting as a "pop" music that is now not so popular yet not fully accepted in the cultural/institutional way that European classical music is. He also includes enough to to show jazz as a music with such a breadth of styles that virtually anyone would find something to like, but never becomes an evangelist for one side.
    Jazz 101 at Amazon
     
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Good post!
    As someone who has enjoyed music all my life, and found pleasure in instrument sounds, and everything from solace to joy in melody and lyrics, I am remarkably musically illiterate. My musical friends would ask what the hell I was tapping to, when something was playing (turned out in most cases it was the meter of the words of the song). A friend would say to me that Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" had 16 chord changes (I still don't have much of a clue what that means), or disparage something like "London Calling" by The Clash, and be amazed that I liked them both.
    Anyway, I have read a few books on jazz, classical music, as well as many on rock and pop.
    What I've often thought would be very helpful to better my understanding was a record that DEMONSTRATED these concepts - chord changes; beat; back-beat; "4 bar", 8 bar, etc.; right notes, wrong notes; a bridge; voices in harmony versus voices in unison; flat voices; the flat bass in Link Wray's "Rumble"; bop, hard bop, cool; allegro; largo, etc.
    It would have a spoken explanation, then the musical concept would be performed; briefly.
    Unfortunately, I've never come across such a cd tho. [​IMG]
     
  3. Ian Lascell

    Ian Lascell Agent

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    John, I don't know of a package exactly as you described it, but I do own a book/CD called "What to Listen for in Jazz" by Barry Kernfeld. The book covers rhythm, forms, arrangement, composition, improvisation, and sound. The accompanying CD has 21 tracks that are used as examples of what is explained in the book. I often play the CD by itself since it is so good. It features Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra, Kid Thomas Valentine and his Creole Jazz Band, and Weather Report. Quite a mix of artists.
     
  4. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    John, I believe that what you want exists in the form of Jazz Styles: History and Analysis by Mark Gridley, with an optional accompanying CD. I'm not sure it's in print though Amazon indicates it is.
    Jazz Styles at Amazon
    It's also not exactly cheap at $54, but it's probably meant more as a textbook. I have an earlier edition which I only briefly looked at and always meant to go back to.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    if you all aren't aware, there's a really good thread about jazz started by mike broadman (jazz man extraordinare)...
    check it out by clicking here
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    c'mon mike...admit it now. "who da jazz man???" [​IMG]
     

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