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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

Monica G says …

Jazz takes you away. It is our go to music.

SarahM says …

My favorite jazz story has to be when my husband took me too one of the few real speak easy joints in San Francisco..The artist was singing Etta James songs and it just felt like we were back in time being treated to something very rare..

Bill D says …

Favorite live concert was Diana Krall in Nice. She had a head cold but performed a great set.

Jessica says …

Hearing the jazz band play at my high school was always a special treat. Nearly 10 years have gone by since we graduated and they are still one of my favorites.

Teresa Bermudez says …

My best jazz memory was a jazz festival held at Crane's Roost. My girlfriends and I all brought some food and had a night time picnic with a great spread and lots of laughs. The best part was the night was the soothing sounds of jazz as we attempted to digest all the food we could eat. These was years ago but I still remember the beautiful music every time I see the photos.

Gloria says …

In the 70's you could still hear jazz on East 52nd street in NYC and I went with an older friend who remembered hearing legends there. It was so lovely and the people who attended all had stories. I was in my early 20's and it was one of my first mixed drinks!

Adriana Anderson says …

I am huge fan of Jazz. It is my relaxation therapy to listen jazz/soft jazz. I just listen and let the music work its magic.

Aleks says …

Thanks for this! Nothing like a little Jazz to add to atmosphere while relaxing on the patio (which I don't get to do very much)! It is so nice to have a compilation of the greats...even if it just scratches the surface. Hope to find some Etta James on this CD.

diana says …

love the putumayo collection our daughter is 4 years old and grew up with much of the playground series. jazz is a great segway and is our background music at family dinner time.

Robin says …

My favorite live performace was watching Bobby McFerrin live after hosting him for workshops and classes at my University!

Marian Gordin says …

Live jazz performances in Atlanta, especially back in the 70s: at Dante's, the Sandpiper, a place whose name escapes me in the front of the old Lenox Square. Once saw Peggy Lee at the top of Colony Square.

J.H. says …

My 86 yr old father born and raised in Europe heard Jazz as a young man and it bolstered his already rabid interest in this country. He came here in the late forties and never left. Jazz is all he listens to - Mr. Goodman and Mr. Armstrong rock his world. For him I hope to "win" to continue to broaden his appreciation.

Kara Clark says …

Memphis! No better place to witness jazz at its finest. I had the pleasure of seeing a number of wonderful jazz performances so it is hard to just pick one. I totally recommend true jazz lovers make a trip down!

Gina Jonson says …

My husband and I love jazz. One of my favorite memories involves a summer series we just happened upon at a Borders bookstore. They had a live jazz band playing. Nobody big that we knew of, but we were drawn to their music. We sat and listened to their whole set. It was so relaxing, peaceful, fun, and entertaining. I never did get their names, but I know that jazz left its mark on me from that day on. Smooth Jazz is one of my "pre-sets" on my XM radio. :0)

John Devine says …

I remember seeing Sonny Rollins at the Longhorn in downtown Minneapolis in the early 80s. I got there early and got atable next to the stage. Periodically during the night Sonny would come over and play his horn with the bell right in my face!As an aspiring saxophonist at the time and a life-long Sonny Rollins fan, it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.

Linda says …

I love going to the Green Mill in Chicago to hear Patricia Barber play on Monday nights.

Lynne Kinsey says …

I've grown to enjoy jazz through my jazz-loving husbannd. Amonst my favorites were seeing and hearing Pearl Baily and, also Dizzy Gillespe. Stephen introduced me to Chuck Magione's music and we've seen him several times. Even though I am hard-of-hearing, the strong beat and enthusiasm of the music comes through to me.

Donna Mazza says …

Like many others, I grew up listening to jazz with my father, and I am eternally grateful to him for it. Back in the late 60's, I was living near San Francisco and saw Miles Davis perform in a small club there. Had no idea at the time he would become such a jazz icon, but it was a memorable experience to see him perform.

Heather says …

My favorite performance was back when I was 10 or 11 and was visiting my great great aunt for the summer in Menlo Park, CA. One warm evening, we walked from her little house down the street to a park to listen to live jazz music while we ate our picnic dinner.

JackieM says …

My favorite jazz listening is when I'm working at a wine shop and we have a jazz trio playing during our wine tasting. It's work - but yet it's not - it's such a fun way to spend the evening, and to get paid for it as well!

Jim M says …

"Liner notes"! I haven't heard that term in years. Growing up, listening to jazz on vinyl, I was initially educated by the "liner notes" on the album. There was content, serious attention paid to the art and the appreciation of it; a respect paid to the audience demonstrated by the belief that they cared and were interested in learning.

Loretta Armstrong says …

I lived in New Orleans for 23 years and truly miss the sound of Jazz everywhere. There were performances everywhere. And my favorite place was the JAZZ FEST!!!! Wander from tent to tent. I use to take my vacation just so I could go to Jazz fest during the week

Foster K says …

This is an easy choice for me! I took my girlfriend to see Cyrus Chestnut at the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA for our third date. Four years later we had our wedding reception in the same room.

Susan says …

My best live jazz memory was when I was down in New Orleans, a year before Hurricane Katrina, for the Louis Armstrong Satchmo festival. I was there with my boyfriend at the time, a jazz drummer and professor of music at a local high school. One night we stopped in somewhere for a drink - a hole in the wall that I think served pizza! - and as we were sitting at the counter, all of a sudden right next to us a couple of musicians got up to play. The trumpet player was not two feet away from me, and I heard jazz like I never heard before. They played and played, for the sheer pleasure of celebrating the moment. I don't know their names or if they were a formal band, but among all my music memories of New Orleans, that night embodies for me the living spirit of New Orleans jazz.

Robert Launay says …

I hate picking favorites. I still very fondly remember when Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase was still in the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, one of the first, if not the first hotel in Chicago to accept an integrated clientele. The space was so small and intimate. Perhaps my favorite concert there was hearing Betty Carter, who had an incredible voice coupled with such an intelligent and distinctive style. It was such a small space you had the impression she was just singing for you.

kristin says …

I will never forget my grandfather listening to jazz on his very VERY old radio....weekend mornings. Love thinking of him sitting in his chair, relaxing, and LOVING the time listening to sweet morning jazz.

mj clausen says …

My favorite jazz memory is hearing Count Basie play live for his 80th birthday celebration. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert.

Meredith Pendleton says …

My husband and I love to attend the Montreal Jazz Festival. Listening to music in the streets all over the city is a wonderful experience...if you've never been, I highly recommend it!

JimD says …

Saw Les McCann & Eddie Harris perform in an intimate venue on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, NC in the early 70s. "Cold Duck Time" & other tunes from their album "Swiss Movement" were absolutely mesmerizing & transforming. Have enjoyed exploring different types of jazz for the 40 years since & still enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ago8dP4fFA/ "Swiss Movement" is the only album or CD cover I've asked an artist to autograph ...

Dena E. says …

Bruce Hornsby, while not 100% Jazz, his roots are there and the jazz flavor is in almost every song, especially his piano.....ahhh could listen forever!! Saw him live at Paddy's on the beach in Rhode Island, wonderfully warm evening, waves crashing outside the door and he even took requests!!!!!! It was AWESOME! Best show I've ever been too!

ann stock says …

In the late 50's, many of my dates involved a boat trip across Lake Erie on the Canadiana to Crystal Beach in Canada, an amusement park with a huge dance hall, where I got to hear and dance to the top bands at that time. However my FAVORITE jazz experience was a performance by the Ramsey Lewis Trio under a huge tent and I was hooked on his smooth, cool style. I still enjoy his music many years later!

Patty says …

My favorite concert was Marian McPartland. What a talented musician and such a charming lady!

joan hersh says …

i saw ella fitzgerald at ravinia. i was in high school at the time, and i believe it was my first jazz concert

Pam says …

My Mother and Father were serious music enthusiasts...there was always music playing in our house. In the 60's we lived in Managua Nicaragua, and they frequented a jazz club owned by trombonist, Charlie Robb. Every time Mom and Dad would come through the door, Charlie would interrupt whatever he was playing and break into "Yesterday". I still smile whenever I hear that song!

Carole says …

I love Jazz music. Wonderful gift of music.

Steve Leberstien says …

I've seen many jazz greats over the years including Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Spyro Gyra, Ella Fitzgerald, but the most recent was one that brought tears to my eyes; Peter Nero playing Rhapsody In Blue. He's the last remaining member of Paul Whiteman's band to play the original arrangement of this Gershwin American Jazz Classic!

beachbum says …

I attended a jazz festival back in Australia on the beach one time. It was so beautiful to watch the sunset and listen to jazz music.

melissa galit says …

I love relaxing to Jazz music!

Lori says …

I saw Bobby Sanabria at the Chicago Jazz Fest on Sept 9, 2010. He gave a mesmerizing history of the "clave" in latin jazz, punctuated by his own music. Two days later, the world changed.

Jerri McInnis says …

I have been a HUGE fan of Jazz since I was a little girl... It was a partt of the music slelection that my parents would play all the time with or without company over. I grew to love the smoothest of the sound & how it relaxes my body & mind.

Sandi says …

My musical tastes have wandered through the years, but time and time again, I keep coming back to Jazz! It hits all the moods and emotions like no other!

Lorena Winkelman says …

My favorite live jazz performance so far is my friend, Nate's jazz band called Cerebellum! They were fun, peppy, and took on some challenging pieces!

Joe Kallinger says …

I was at a live slim man concert at the village and he announced a special request to sing the song, "Dream come true". Then a guy came on stage and proposed to the love of his life and she accepted. It was amazing.

Tito L. Rijo says …

LAST NOVEMBER MY WIFE AND I WENT TO A FREE lATIN JAZZ CONCERT AT MIAMI-DADE COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THE FEATURE ARTIST WERE SAXOPHONIST ED CALLE AND FLUTIST GREAT DAVE VALENTINE. THE EVENNING WAS COOL, MY WIFE HAD A CUP OF HOT COCO AND I A GLASS OF RED WINE. THE RHYTHM OF THE MUSIC WAS HOT, WITNESSED BY THE DANCING AND SWAYING OF THOSE IN ATTENDANCE. THE AMBIANCE WAS JOYOUS AND WE FELT AS IF WE HAD INVITED HUNDREDS OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO A GREAT PARTY. AS THE CONCERT CAME TO A CLOSE, YOUR BODY CONTINUED TO SWAY AND YOUR FEET WOULDN'T STOP MOVING. NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL GREAT MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER!!!!! TITO RIJO

Julie Patton says …

Irvin Mayfield on trumpet, Michael Watson on sax, Billy Morton on drums, some white kid on bass, and some old guy on piano -- New Orleans, LA. Where else?

Natalie says …

I grew up listening to jazz, thanks to my dad, who was a jazz lover. Over the years, we attended small, local jazz shows together and although I can't remember who we saw, I really treasure those memories.

Phil says …

This is how you become a jazz fan. The year was 1962, at the legendary Sutherland Lounge in Chicago - 47th and Drexel. The place was packed, smoky, a great crowd. When Dizzy Gillespie came out the crowd went nuts, the set was fabulous, and somehow or other, I wound up buying him a beer. It just doesn't get any better.

Mary says …

Just the word "JAZZ" makes me smile!

Derek says …

I saw Spyro Gyra in concert twice they were really great .There's nothing better than to listen to Nina or Louis or any of the jazz greats and just relax and appreciate their talents .

Patti R. says …

New Orleans Preservation Hall 1980 - incredible, passionate, celebratory.....all of New Orleans for that matter !

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