Jazz Baby

” Baseball is a very simple children’s stick and ball game, but with infinite chess-like combinations. And jazz is this music, founded by African-Americans, those who have had the experience of being un-free in this supposedly free land, and what did they create? The only art form that Americans have ever invented, and that is this jazz music, out of which, nearly every other form of music that we enjoy today owes itself. Rap, hip hop, R&B, soul, rock all have their ancestry in jazz music.”

Ken Burns


I fell in love with Jazz in High School after having studied music at FSU and UF. I studied  classical and cultural music, marches, symphonies, popular and eclectic, and it is Jazz that I came to  adore and play the most. There is not a distant second. I played trombone and Bass Fiddle.

I am a bit of a purist and would opine  that the best Jazz ended by 1970 and now we mostly have imitators or survivors. (and Jazz is all about innovation) Very little new stuff emerges. The beginning of the end was rock and roll which I loved in the 50’s and 60’s. So great R&R singers like Little Richard, Elvis and Jerry Lee began the move away from real innovation and opened up the world of the electric guitar and the keyboard which allowed anyone to pick it up and record. And then the Beatles invaded and opened the flood gates for recording bands that began to dominate the market in the late 60’s and early 70’s. By the 80’s there was a lot of synthesized “music” and the card carrying union musician ability to earn a living vanishes except for pockets in major urban areas.

 I want to be a sideman
Just an ordinary sideman
A go along for the ride man
Responsibility free
I wanna fill behind the vocal
Double on flute
Jam on the blues
I wanna go and join the local
Buy a dark suit
Stock payin’ dues
I want to maintain my book
In neatly numbered order
I wanna listen to Lester Young
On my recorder
I want to play while the people dance
I wanna press my own coat and pants
I wanna ask for an advnace
I wanna be a sideman
I wanna be a sideman

Jazz ranges in complexities from basic boggie woogie and blues to improvisational innovations. It ranges in entertainment from simple tonal children’s verses to wildly   chaotic atonal original and unique 8 bar spur of the moment inventions. It is casual and it is formal but it is often original and in the moment.


When I think of New York, Chicago, Noleans and Paris in the 1950s I think of the greatest Jazz ever played and would love to take a trip back in time to listen to the masters as they reaped the harvest of the seeds sown in the early Twentieth Century. I will go to these cities and more in subsequent posts.


5 Responses

  1. Although I enjoy classical (Baroque) and “old” rock, and even boogie woogie, I’ve never been able to get into Jazz. I usually enjoy the impromptu jazz you can hear at Jackson Square, but I’m not sure I’d ever actually buy a jazz album.

    But maybe I’ll check out an Internet Radio jazz channel and see if my musical tastes have evolved. The last thing I need to do is find a new area to spend money on…lol

  2. Anarchist MP3 means not having to spend much money. I budget $15 a month for my unlimited downloads from Rhapsody


    They have an inexhaustable library of Jazz and all other music that you can listen to t your leisure. If you want to own it you can but I am happy just rentiing it. I play it on my home theater and on my IPOD as well.

    I suggest you try Coleman Hawkiins, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Oscar Peterson for a wide varity of smooth “pure” jazz. Avoid Miles Davis and John Coltrane until your “ear” is ready for them. I will post with some of my persoanl favorites links soon (but that takes planning) and lol I don’t have to plan a lot lately. You know that rock and roll was just an evolution of Jazz/Blues, most of the big hits were remakes from the artists of the 30’s. Elvis borrowed heavily from the existing body of work.

  3. “unlimited” downloads for $15a month? Wow! If you can burn the MP3s to CD, then I may have to check it out.

  4. ptfan1, you can go to pandora.com and set up your own radio stations for whatever genre of music you enjoy. I have a Coltrane, Parker, and an Etta James station. The great thing is that they will match similar artists and you get a very unique listening experience. The joy is the randomness of the music. I don’t know if you can downlaod but they call it the music genome project and have just about every bit of music ever recorded. I listen to it all of the time.

  5. I will check it out ee thanks!

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