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Jazz: To Tell Your Story

THE CONTEST HAS CLOSED AND WE'LL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER SOON. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS! Special thanks to Joel Dinerstein, Tulane University American studies professor and jazz author, for assisting Dan Storper, Founder and CEO of Putumayo, on this post. Putumayo’s new CD release, Jazz, which is now available in most Whole Foods Market stores, features legends such as Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson, Cannonball Adderley and many others performing beloved American standards. (Read on for a chance to win a 4-CD jazz collection from Putumayo.) The late 1950s was a golden age for jazz and three-quarters of this collection was recorded in that period. Through recent sound engineering breakthroughs, most tracks have been significantly re-mastered, providing a sound quality only available in the last few years. The CD also features rare, full-page archival photos of each artist performing and extensive liner notes by Joel Dinerstein. As Professor Dinerstein explains, “Jazz is an art form of ensemble individuality. First, a jazz artist has to develop a unique, identifiable voice — a combination of tone, style and phrasing that creates an instantly recognizable sound. Just as no one would mistake Billie Holiday’s vocal phrasing for Anita O’Day’s, Oscar Peterson’s piano style is easily distinguishable from Hampton Hawes’, as is Chet Baker’s trumpet playing from Louis Armstrong’s. A great jazz vocalist inhabits a song as if it were a one-act play told by a first-person narrator as the musical scenery constantly, subtly shifts to mirror the twists and turns of the singer’s emotional dynamics. Jazz is a synthesis of the musical cultures of Africa, Latin America and Europe, and its keynotes are grooves and interplay, self-expression and improvisation, flow and flexibility. Many of the songs in this collection are gems from the ‘great American songbook.’ These songs became ‘standards’ through a process by which jazz musicians standardized the grooves, textures and melodies into an instrumental balladry to which our ears are now attuned. When many of these songs were first performed in Broadway musicals or off-Broadway reviews, they owed a debt more to the operetta tradition of Gilbert & Sullivan than the African-American traditions of blues, jazz and gospel. Jazz musicians needed these accessible melodies for jam sessions, and the songs became standards as particular pieces acquired the grooves and phrasing infused by a generation of jazz musicians.” Jazz also follows Putumayo’s other jazz-themed releases: Women of Jazz, Jazz Around the World, Latin Jazz and Jazz Playground, most of which are also available at Whole Foods Market stores. Are you a jazz lover? Tell us about your favorite live jazz performance in the comments below by June 7th for a chance to win a 4-CD collection of jazz titles from Putumayo. We’ll select one winner at random. THE CONTEST HAS CLOSED AND WE'LL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER SOON. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS!

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236 comments

Comments

Elisabeth M. Yang says …

One of the most memorable jazz experiences was during my travels to the Czech Republic. Whilst crossing the iconic, grandiose Charles Bridge en route to the castle, there was a small gypsy jazz group on the bridge playing classic American jazz from the 1930s. It was exciting and for some strange reason, fused two worlds together in a way that made a world of sense!

Forester Jenkins says …

I went to a George Benson concert back in the late 70's and it solidified my love for jazz. I grew up on Nancy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, and Grover Washington Jr., But George Benson and his smooth guitar playing relly gave me more of an appreciation for jazz.

Ana says …

I love jazz. Brings good memories and it just lifts me up! Although I haven't been to it in person, I love the live sessions in the Netherlands, they are so great, they have the best of the best.

Samantha says …

It is difficult to pick a favorite, but when I was in college I had the great pleasure of seeing Max Roach perform at my school's small auditorium. It was amazing how one man and his drums could captivate an audience for over an hour. The complexity of rhythm and sound he produced was incredible.

jude oliveri burde says …

Time spent in Rochester, New York going to the International Jazz Festival held the first week of June.My favorite jazz memory was Sonny Rollins at Eastman Theater.

Christa B says …

On a quick weekend trip to visit my husband's parents in NYC, we were lucky to be able to purchase tickets to jazz legend's Marian McPartland performance at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Unfortunately, Marian's performance was cancelled but master drummer Herlin Riley and his group took the stage. It was amazing! The venue was beautiful, the staff was great and the food was terrific. We were joined by our friend's daughter, who was traveling from Australia, and who got to experience a jazzy New York night. We bought Herlin's CD for her and he was kind enough to sign it. My in-laws - true New Yorkers - had not been to the venue before so it was a true delight to share this evening with them in their own hometown!

Chaya says …

I cannot remember going to a live jazz show. That is a shame, because it is great music that I love. I have seen some elements of jazz at hip hop shows.

linda cheslow says …

I heard Jazz with the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Wonderful music!

Pamela Krueger says …

My favorite jazz artist lives right here in the metro area. Her name is Jennifer Grimm and her performances are so enjoyable. She performs at numerous private parties, local jazz bars, has her songs featured on television and the radio. Her voice is beautiful and she sings the best of all the jazz musicians.

Donna says …

Lionel Hampton.

Susan says …

Chuchu Valdez at the Village Vanguard was pretty awesome.

Saint says …

I cannot say that I have ever really been to a "TRUE" jazz concert!! BUT...my mother LOVED jazz and so do I!! I really like George Benson, Grover Washington Jr., and InCognito!!

Jim says …

I am late in appreciating jazz, having had a country fling for a few years and listening to rock and roll. But jazz captured my attention a few years ago and now I really enjoy listening and reading about jazz and musicians. I have not had the pleasure of hearing jazz live yet but hopefully will one day soon.

chris says …

wish I was around to hear some of these classics live.what an experience that must have been!

Lily Kwan says …

I'm not very familiar with jazz but this CD sounds quite interesting!

Irene Dufel says …

In the 50's I frequented THE LIGHTHOUSE in HERMOSA BEACH, CA and the one night I will never forget was the night saxophonist Coltrane performed!

Rachel says …

The Blue Note in New York, 1999. Intimate, soulful, and inspiring

Deb Byrnes says …

I attended a jazz program at the local Carnegie library here in Pittsburgh which was presented by a jazz fellow who had played with artists locally as well as in Harlem and when she explained that when she performs, they think she is an african american male, she is white asian female. Her live performance which showcased examples of each age and type of jazz definitely validates that there is nothing like live music, especially jazz.

Cassidy says …

I've been living abroad in Buenos Aires since February. My first night in town, I was invited to a "speakeasy"-like bar called Thelonious Club. From the outside, it didn't look like anything but an empty apartment. When we ascended the stairs, I could hear the throbbing bassline and shrill trumpet. My friends and I sat at the low-lit bar with a few classes of Argentine Malbec and took in the vibes. We obviously stood out with light hair and American accents. The band took note and started to play "Georgia On My Mind." We couldn't help but sing along - it was the best welcome to Buenos Aires.

Sheree Ashapa says …

I had the opportunity to see BB King live many years ago when I was a teenager. I didn't know who he was at the time. Over the years I have become a huge fan. He is a remarkable musician; every piece speaks directly to me. If he is ever playing at a time when I can see him, I won't pass up the opportunity.

Lonnie Glazer says …

My first visit a few years ago to Cecil's Jazz Club in West Orange, New Jersey. Small, informal and VERY cool. Musician's showing up with their instruments, step up on stage and joinin' in with musician's already on stage. Hadn't seen that before. Impromptu and improvisational. Seemed like the real deal. What it's all about. The essence of jazz.

Leroy says …

Education is the key through the music we hear.

Leroy says …

I had a great time listen to two great icon in the musice world- Dave Valentin and Mark Whitfield at Jazz Wednesdays at the World Center 1993. April 2003 Smithsonians- Jazz Appreciation Month.

Ramon Bonardi says …

I saw the Four Freshman in a bowling alley in Calumet City, IL in the early 1950's. They were just starting out (before being discovered by Stan Kenton). I feel like I discovered them!

Judy Bonardi says …

My husband and I were in Orlando, FL while on a Disney World vacation and stopped in a little club one night where Zoot Simms was performing. It was such a cozy setting, (livingroom like) and we were seated next to him. The music was great and we had a chance to converse with Zoot during a break.

Liz says …

Billie Holiday is my absolute favorite Jazz Singer. I am slowly but surely getting to know other Jazz greats via visiting website i.e. youtube and as I get older learn to appreciate what "real" music is all about.

Lin says …

Had the pleasure of seeing Dave Brubeck here in Jersey. He truely is a great artist and a pretty funny guy too!

Tricia B says …

I love to listen to middle and high school jazz combos! Young musicians mean that we are keeping the jazz playing for years to come!

Deb keilen says …

Seeing a free show years ago on a hot summer nite at penns landing on the delaware river with funky jazz guitarist John Scofield. magical!!

Jackie Mimless says …

My favorite live jazz performance was in New Orleans at Preservation Hall.

ajw says …

A few moons ago I couldn't find anyone to go to Chastain to see Nina Simone with me. It was a show I did not want to miss but couldn't really afford a ticket and certainly didn't want to attend solo. Figuring I technically wanted to hear, rather than "see" Miss Simone, I decided to picnic in the nearby park where I could listen in. In hindsight, I wish I'd saved my pennies since I'll never have the chance to "see" the songstress now.

Danielle says …

A few years ago I spent some time in London. One night, I went to the 606 Jazz club and saw a group of student musicians play. The location was great, just in this little basement ( Exactly how Jazz should be watched!) and the students were really good. They were being graded for their class and there were tons of family members packed into the little place supporting the students. It was fun to be from another country and get to experience Jazz in London!

Melissa Hixon says …

I have the best jazz times hanging out in New Orleans. But the best was when I saw Kermit Ruffins at Vaughn's. Kermit arrives in his pick up with a bbq in the back. The music is as good a bbq and enjoyed at a dive like Vaughn's with a dirt floor.

dma says …

I heard Vijay Iyer when he was just starting out. Brunch jazz - nice food and good music!

Joan says …

BB King live at Boulder Theater. He is the "king" of Jazz and always gets his audience involved at the highest level of enjoyment.

Roger Hendrix says …

Winter 1964. East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. Dave Brubeck Quartet. Dave, piano. Paul Desmond, alto saxophone. Gene Wright, bass. Joe Morello, drums. Awesome version of "Take Five;" Paul, cool and casual, leans against the piano as Dave plays. Great solo by Joe, who breaks stick, calmly picks up another and (literally) doesn't miss a beat. Forty-seven years ago. Seems like yesterday.

vanessa says …

My favorite live jazz performance HAS GOT TO BE the live sessions at Cleopatra's Needle on the Upper West Side at Cleopatra's Needle in NYC!! Oh man the talent there- especially the kids from Juilliard come and line up and step in for a few bars and blow you away. Great energy, great memories. Now I'm in Miami looking for jazz..... :)

penni says …

I saw Stan Getz live in an outdoor evening concert in Caesarea, Israel. Nothing can top good music accompanied by ocean breezes!

Christine says …

I was able to see Sony Rollins, live, several years ago, in Houston. Simply fabulous!

Cindy Hils says …

I grew up with classical music playing violin. My husband took me on a cruise where Pearl Django played their known for 'gypsy' style of jazz and I was hooked. It was a wonderful break from our fussy newborn years ago - to cruise the sound and enjoy some jazz.

Barbara Jepson says …

Have loved jazz since I was a young teen. The first LP I ever bought was "Kind of Blue" with, of course, Miles Davis. I can't choose one live performance, I loved almost all of them.

Carolyn Healey says …

In our pre-kid years, when we still could go out a lot without having to worry about finding a babysitter (and considering the extra cost of one), my husband and I tried to soak in as much culture as possible. He is a pianist and we have a musician friend who was performing at the Kennedy Center. We got tickets to hear her, but the father of one of my husband's students gave us tickets to hear Chucho Valdes at Blue's Alley for the same evening. Luckily classical and jazz music are on a different schedule (and different lifestyle and surroundings), so we were able to enjoy both concerts on this same evening. The classical concert was great, but the jazz was AMAZING. I had been listening to jazz music for a long time, but seeing Chucho Valdes life was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I long to hear him live again one day.

sh says …

there have been many, and favorites are kind of artificial, but it if i have to choose it would be Pat Metheny at Red Rocks in 83, or a little later in the 80s Weather Report and Miles Davis (two different concerts) at the Rainbow Music Hall; or maybe Don Cherry at Naropa, or Eberhard Weber and Rainer Bruninghaus at the Blue Note in Boulder, or (jumping ahead 20 years) Kurt Elling at Soiled Dove but then Art Lande always brings a smile to my face, and Bill Frisell often has surprises (both with Front Range connections); seeing John McLaughlin solo in Hartford around 1980 was mindblowing and helped start it all; Steve Swallow was very special in Amsterdam one night in 99 ... you're makin' me feel silly

Tina says …

I love going to the local jazz club and checking out obscure jazz performers in a small, diveish environment. It's also cool to be able to listen to amazing musicians before they're found by the rest of the world.

Michael Coates says …

Jazz always takes you to another place--sometimes restful, sometimes frentic, sometimes scary--but it is guaranteed to take you there. One of the best was that combined several of these places was Keith Jarrett at the Chandler Pavilion in LA many years ago. You never knew where he was going to go, but it was always wonderful.

Stacy says …

I love all of New Brunswick Jazz Project's live performances at the city's restaurants. Performers include professional artists and Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts students.

Aunt Toni says …

This would be great to listen to while entertaining (or not) outdoors with anything on the grill. So here we are, cool food on the table, a cool drink in hand listening to cool jazz. A perfect recipe for a perfect summer evening.

Lisa McLeroy says …

The Playboy Jazz Festival in 1980 at the Hollywood Bowl. A friend worked as a ticket taker with the turnstile and he would act like he was tearing our "tickets" and let us through the turnstile! It was great!

Kim Tombrella says …

My first date with my late husband was attending a concert performance by Ramsey Lewis in Detroit on an Easter Sunday. It was a beautiful concert, in a lovely venue. I think it helped kindle the love we ended up sharing with each other.

Leah says …

Keith Jarrett in the late 70s in Princeton, NJ; heavenly jazz piano

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