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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

Donna says …

My all time favorite live jazz performance would have to be seeing Hiromi at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia for the very first time. I was sitting at a table about 2-3 feet away from her so I had an amazing view of her hands which were going crazy on the piano and keyboard. She can play very hard. As such, she actually hurt a finger while playing...and managed to wrap it without stopping! I had never seen anything like it before. The passion of her performance was astonishing. If I didn't believe in god then, I sure do now. There's a big god in that small body. HIROMI!

Debbie E. says …

As a high school graduation gift in 1972, my boyfriend's father treated us and 3 other couples to hear Duke Ellington and his jazz orchestra play at the Shamrock Hotel (whidn has since been demolished) in Houston, Texas. Back then, I couldn't fully appreciate it but looking back, as I've learned to appreciate jazz so much more over the years, I realize what a unique gift that was....the gift of jazz!

Sandra Levitt says …

I was in Chicago on a Business trip and the waiter from Smith & Wolensky's recommended the Blue's Cafe, I could of stayed there for days and nights listening to the Various Jazz performers. The place became magical as soon as the first acts went on and I have never in my life seen an establishment fill up so quickly, one moment there were only five people in the place and a frequent patron said wait and see what happens at 8:00pm I was astounded by the crowd that became so enthusiastic that it was like we were one huge family, I will never forget this experience. Jazz is music to my ears, my heart and my soul.

Jay Levy says …

My favorite live jazz performance was seeing Miles Davis play at a small nightclub in Chicago. The room was quite narrow and and our table was within ten feet of Miles, but he faced the wall when he played, as if he had no interest in seeing his audience.

robin says …

live jazz? LOVE Fourplay and Acoustic Alchemy. very "true" performances. and for my wild side, TOWER OF POWER! done FOUND the stroke!

Ida says …

I saw Miles Davis in Boston, had great seats and he was AMAZING... so smooth, intense and dynamic... Unforgetable! Seeing Lionel Hampton in Boston was a real treat as well... There is nothing more enjoyable than attending a live Jazz concert with an outstanding jazz musician. We need more of this kind of music in our lives today. Thank you Whole Foods for acknowledging one of America's greatest contributions to the world!! :)

Betty Dickinson says …

Years ago, I heard Billy Taylor in New York, before he was well known...a memorable evening!

Jim Dewey says …

I love it that my 3 year-old knows that Miles Davis plays the trumpet!

Regina M says …

My favorite live jazz performance was by Manuel Valera. Manuel Valera is a jazz pianist and composer from Cuba. He performed at William Paterson University during their annual Jazz week festival. He is very talented. One of my favorite albums of his is Forma Nueva. He performed a couple of songs from this album and I was hooked!

kelley blaine says …

Live jazz at El Chapultepec in the 80s - SRO -vital and edgy - what a time!

Effie says …

I love jazz and would greatly appreciate this gift package.

Frances Miller says …

I enjoy attending the jazz concert every summer at Penn's Landing. I always have such a good time. The music is good and the performers are excellent.

Jennifer Holder says …

I would love to have these jazz cd's to take to our condo in FL. Right now, we don't have any cd's and this would be wonderful for relaxing along side the canal!

Kemborly says …

Pat Methany at the Russian Rivr show about three summers ago blazin guitar playing! so hot not to mention... Pat and Lyle Mays at Red Rocks

Gloria says …

Saw Les McCann and Eddie Harris at Maurice's Snak and Chat in Los Angeles. It was the first time they had played together in a long time. Small dark club. Everyone grooving to the music. It was history in the making.

Warren Hare says …

I love jazz because my mother was a broadway dancer in the 50s & 60s and loved music. A few yeaers ago, the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis was performing a free concert at the Arts Center in NJ. I got tickets for our family & a good friend who is a drummer & music lover, although not jazz. He never heard of Marsalis but was blown away during the concert & told me to get us tickets to Lincoln Center whenever Marsalis is playing.

Susan says …

I miss the annual"Jazz in July" outdoor concert series that were held at UMass,Amherst. They were free for years before a fee was charged and then they ceased to exist. Billy Taylor was always one of the series'performers.

Kat says …

While in Hampton VA, years ago, at a park we listened to The Connie Parker Trio.

jennifer anderson says …

love their music

meau says …

Sao Jorge at Millennium Park. He did an awesome show and then came out the side and met fans and kissed babies. What an awesome show! Almost every Thursday at Millennium Park in Chicago there are World Jazz concerts and they are fantastic!!!

Donna says …

Charles Mingus Greenwich Village 1965 First live jazz for me WOW

tricia eugenio says …

My favorite jazz performance was CHris Botti at the Greek Theater with Billy Childs last year.

vickie says …

Was in New Orleans before Katrina and saw that a small club, outside of the main area had Wynton Marisles' Dad playing. It was an old club, few tables. I felt was I was returned to the 60's in the Village (NYC). It was the experience that you rarely forget. Jazz, was king.

jimmy says …

Jazz has the capability to transport you to different times and places. A hot trumpet lick followed up by a trombone can take you to New Orleans in 1950. A conga beat and blazing horns move you to Cuba int he 1970's. Funky upright base with acoustic guitar and shaker and you are in Brasil. Tinkling piano and a sultry voice has you sipping a cocktail at a piano bar in your hometown. A toast to jazz, the great time machine.

Cynthia Infante says …

My favorite live jazz performance was when as a child, I would watch my Dad play his saxophone at home on warm summer nights. He would play songs such as; The girl from Ipanema, Summertime and jazz standards from the 40's, 50's & 60's. He would play these songs with such passion you could tell he was truly playing from his soul. There was a lot of musical talent in his family and they had formed a jazz band and played at weddings and some local venues back in the day. Actually, that's how my Mom and Dad met...he was playing the sax at a wedding and my Mom was there and he told the other guys in the band that he would dance with her before the night was over....and he did and the rest is history! So I guess you could say I wouldn't be writing to you if it wasn't for jazz! ha ha...but seriously jazz has been of great influence not only in my life but in my siblings as well. When we get the opportunity to get together we always end up talking about the latest Jazz CD's that we have purchased and sometimes we enlighten one another with a new artist or more often than not, we end up buying the same CD's!! I guess you can say our taste for jazz is definitely in our genes!! :) Our father has since passed away but I have to say, by far, my best memories of him are those of watching him play his beloved saxophone so peacefully back in the 60's on those warm summer nights....

Mark Schoenbaum says …

I am always blown away by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. I have seen them a number of times, both in New Orleans as well as here in the SF Bay Area, and they never disappoint.

b.dunn says …

the doheny jazz festival in doheny beach california. out doors, on the beach and the whole family is together:) fun day!

Jael says …

My best live jazz performance was seeing Chris Botti perform with the Houston Symphony. Loved it !!!

Barb France says …

I went to the Blue Note in New York when I lived there and heard great music: George Benson, Mongo Santamaria, Michele Camillo, Tania Maria, Bob James, Tito Puente, etc., etc. There are 2 other concerts though that I remember as being outstanding, one was Al Jarreau in Central Park and the other was a celebration at the Beacon, with Miles Davis, Spyra Gyra, BB King and others. The Al Jarreau concert was in the summer and was really upbeat & fun dancing. The Beacon Theater concert was great because of all the fabulous music, and I got to meet BB King backstage; he was so down to earth and just really nice to chat with.

Sharon says …

No contest: a recent Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra concert with the incomparable Wynton Marsalis in Washington, DC. The music and the musicmakers took my breath away!

Adrienne Thorpe says …

Nothing can beat the nightly music at Preservation Hall.

Cheryl says …

Our Albuquerque public radio station has the most fantastic jazz and freeform programming ever...as well as in-house, live artists and interviews. During my few years in this area, I've had the very best jazz exposure/education by our local master jazz DJs and their exceptional playlists spanning many decades of jazz. Among my favs is Miles Davis' Kind of Blue... Heard it for the 1st time and was blown away.

Michael says …

I was lucky to see the late, great Max Roach presenting the 60th anniversary documentary for Blue Note Records in chicago at which time he performed a short, master class in drumming. It was sublime.

Ron Vales says …

Although I truly love jazz i haven't been to a live concert since 1994 durning that summer I went to two concerts in Montreal jazz feast and to charle Ives center at the University of Conn.

Lindy T says …

Favorite jazz performance: SambaFe - brazilain jazz here in Santa Fe!

Linda Reuter says …

My favorite live jazz performance was several years ago in Boston Symphony Hall. The featured musician was Joe Sample, my all-time favorite male jazz artist.

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