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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

J is for Jazz

The problem with jazz is that it means everything from Kenny G to Madeleine Peyroux to New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band. No definition of the American music seems adequate. One I saw recently described it as "cerebral music with rhythm". This one is about as OK as I can find. Even the word itself, the American Dialect Society's Word of the Twentieth Century, has been hard to nail down.

Jazz is about discovery. This article expresses the wonder of discover that jazz can bring.

Ultimately, though, jazz can't be adequately described. It must be experienced. These are all songs I own.
Tutu (live)- Miles Davis
Tutu was one of the last albums I got as an LP; i.e., on vinyl.

Cassandra Wilson - Harvest Moon
A Neil Young cover.

Benny Goodman & His Orchestra - Sing Sing Sing
As the title suggests, this song DOES have lyrics, but I think it's better as an instrumental.

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - STOMPING AT THE SAVOY
Also recommended: any of the Ella Song Books. Or all of them.

Oh, there's so much, I can't do the topic justice.

Here's a peculiar thing about Jazz that perhaps folks not in the United States or Americans who don't follow basketball might not know. There is a basketball team called the Utah Jazz. Utah is not generally known for jazz, and in disposition seems to be the antithesis of that music. The Jazz was formed in New Orleans in 1974, a most likely place for a team with such a nickname, but the team moved to the Rocky Mountains in 1979. (New Orleans got the Hornets, a team formerly in Charlotte, NC in 2002.)



Rebecca Hickman said...

One of the many things I love about Ella Fitzgerald is that she seems to enjoy singing. She makes music fun, and she has the world's most beautiful voice.

Sylvia K said...

Love your post! And thanks for the info about the Utah Jazz, I always wondered how they came up with such an unlikely name for a Utah team!

anthonynorth said...

Great post. I love jazz myself.

Jay said...

I like some light jazz, but on the whole it does not speak to me at all. It's a great choice for 'J' though! And your post is interesting, with all the links.

Tumblewords: said...

Wonderful J. Jazz is such a living thing - it can't be confined to a word or two...Enjoyed your post!

Tosy And Cosh said...

Tutu was my first Miles Davis album. Haven't listened to it in years though. Cassanda Wilson is my favorite jazz singer working today - we should team up and try to convince Brian Ibbitt to do a Coverville ep dedicated to her.And those Ella/Louis albums are some of my favorites - great duets.