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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

Mindy says …

I found a favorite afro-peruvian jazz spot recently in Midtown, New York City that I absolutely love! The venue's name is Tutuma. They are amazing and so talented.

Jen says …

My favorite Jazz performance was Dave Brubeck in Santa Rosa, CA.

brenda foley says …

I saw a live jazz performance in san francisco last year. It was wonderful. Outside in a park.

Nancy says …

Iheard louis Armstrong play once! It was fantastic! What a treat and what a performer! Nancy

Erika says …

Any Saturday evening at my local coffee shop. The place is always buzzing, the music is lively, and the vibe is community through and through.

marva telemaque says …

I am a jazz enthusist and so was my brother who died last year and left the best of all the jazz greats on vinyl....Oscar Peterson, Miles davis, Ahmad Jamal. I was fortunate enough to see and hear Miles Davis in concert in New York city. I recently attended a jazz concert in Trinidad W.I and I remembered my brother who left me with good memories and good music.

Angelica says …

My favorite live jazz performances were the various outdoor summer performers on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. The streets would be closed down and there were plenty of fresh musicians playing for hours.

Cheryl says …

I saw and listened to Chick Correa play his wonderful music on the patio of the Biltmore House one summer. Sat there and listened while the sun went down....sublime moment that I have always remembered.

Clara says …

I love Jazz. It is so cool and relaxing, and just makes you want to move or tap your toes or your fingers to the sounds of the beat! I love listening to Jazz on our local NPR station, which plays Jazz during the day and at night after the NPR programming.

Jackie Thompson says …

Warm summer evening,setting sun casts a warm golden glow mixed with vibrant pinks,reds and oranges,cool breeze caressing my skin as I close my eyes and feel the breeze kiss my upturned face...a sultry contralto voice rich with deep undertones,wafts through the air, carrying a song of the heart,upright bass accompanying with resonance as full and warm as the setting sun ...Martha Bassett Music in The Court Yard...

Gail Suber says …

I love jazz and especially enjoyed going to jazz concerts at the Hollywood Bowl when I used to be able to afford to go. One of my favorite jazz concerts was seeing Ray Charles play in New York in the summer of 2003. Another favorite jazz moment was seeing Ornette Coleman at UCLA a few years ago.

kim beckwith says …

on a trip to new orleans,la, i was able to attend a few jazz concerts. they were are very memorable. many of the great jazz songs from duke ellington, ella fitzgerald, count basie, were played. it was very enjoyable to dance to these great jazz songs and share the great time in the home of the jazz!

Erin says …

The city I used to live in had awesome Thursday night live jazz concerts. All of the performances were great!

Anita Utami says …

While jazz in not widely popular in Asia, I enjoy live jazz whenever I can find one. I love listening to live jazz with my father. I enjoy sitting in a nice cafe and having a meaningful conversation over coffee while the jazz music enhances the quality time we have.

Pam McGregor says …

My favorite live performances are the unique sounds of Mindi Abair's sax and vocals. Her music takes me to another place. It soothes all the everyday stress and I always want to get up and dance. she puts a smile on everyone's face.

Claudine Altunbilek says …

Back in 1999 (I believe) I was able to attend a live jazz concert of local and national artists at the Kansas City Jazz Festival. It was a wonderful experience to see these performers. Their music varied from "classical" jazz to specific variations of cultures, i.e. latin, african, ect...as well as blues. I hope to one day return to this annual event because Kansas City is one of the great "Jazz cities" in the country.

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 really gave me more of an appreciation for jazz.

A Ondhia says …

On a beautiful New York night, my wonderful wife and I enjoyed a performance by Bill Charlap at the Time Warner Center overlooking an illuminated Columbus Circle. It was a perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Deon says …

The irony of my story is that up until that point, my life was pretty much "jazz-less." I grew up in Utah, for heaven sakes. My sister had the good sense to move to the Bay Area after graduating from the U of U. For the first time, I had a real city to visit during Spring Break. I did not know that when I saw the legendary Miles Davis at the Concord Jazz fest in the late 80's, it would be one of his last concerts. His cool, effortless, stunning performance under the stars mesmerized the crowd. I am still overcome with chills over 20 years later. I have so much to learn about jazz greats. My little girl is the biggest Putamayo fan ever, and would be thrilled to have this collection.

Sandy Autry says …

I got to see the Pat Metheny Group at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. Excellent venue and excellent performance!

bth says …

Impossible to pick just one as a favorite: Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, Chet Baker, Ray Brown, and many more...

Erica says …

The Victor Lin jazz trio at Cobi's place. Not only was the music and chemistry great, but Cobi, who is a champion of early career jazz musicians, provided a magical, intimate, and inspiring place for the performance. It was standing room only in a converted apartment space in midtown. It was pure wonderment.

Rosanne says …

As a teen, I saw Ella Fitzgerald every summer at the Hollywood Bowl with friends. It shaped my life!

Rosie says …

Attending an outdoor summer concert featuring the Dave Brubeck Quartet was the best jazz performance I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Hearing the beginning riffs to "Take Five" brought chills.

John Riordan says …

It is tough to pick a favorite, I've seen so many. I'll go with Oscar Peterson in a very small club in Wash. DC. Maybe 50 people there. Dinner and drinks at a nice table about 15 feet from his piano. He was awesome!

John says …

Seeing Elvin Jones in his prime at the Jazz Fest and Jazz Showcase

Corey says …

I grew up in a small town in Louisiana. My grandfather played in a local jazz band introduced me to some of his music! He used to play his trumpet for me and I distinctly remember feeling the spirit of the music! He passed away when i was in high school and my grandmother told me shevwanted me to have his trumpet!! It changed my life!!My favorite live performance was Rebirth Brass Band at the Jazz Festival in New Orleans!! Let's just say the spirit of the music moved me once again!

Katie H. says …

Teaching my young piano student the blues scale, and then creating jazz with her... a basic 12 bar blues accompaniment for me, and an improvised melody from her.

Viona999 says …

Spyro Gyra in Destin, FL

Laura says …

Stan Getz, best tenor sax ever!! I remember back 58 years ago watching and listening to my Dad playing the clarinet and listening to all the jazz greats on the old 78rpm records. Ahh, to go back to those days when life was so much easier!!

vivian guzman says …

I went to my first jazz club when I was 15. My older cousin snuck me into the club. It was a local Miami jazz band, Joe Donato, and I was blown away. That was the start of long and faithful love affair with jazz. Although still rather young, I was on the lookout for every jazz band that came to town. I went on to see Chuck Mangione with Esther Satterfield and that is where I met "Papa" Mangione. An amazing evening!

KathieW says …

I had the pleasure of listening to a jazz trio at an outdoor winery dinner. Very nice dinner music!

Sheila Nawrocki says …

I grew up with a dad who was a huge jazz fan.I am so glad he shared his love of jazz with me!! Even though I complained at the time :). One of my fav memories was going to a Stan Getz with him in San Francisco. Great music!

Andrew C says …

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know" - Louis Armstrong. My favorite performance was McCoy Tyner at the One World Theatre in Austin, TX. Truly an incredible display of the art of the piano.

Diane Feliciano says …

Several years ago friends got us ticket to a performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at the helm. There was some serious swinging that night, definitely an evening to remember.

Michelle says …

I would have to say my favorite live jazz performance would be The Rat Pack Live at the Sands!!!!!!!

Bill Nelson says …

I'm 75 y/o, so you can imagine what I was listening to during the 50's and 60's: "Brubeck Time", "Chet Baker Sings", "The Great JJ and K", and all those wonderful 10" LPs from Pacific Jazz and others. Of course, I bought some 10" disks from Folkways, too. That stuff is pretty hard to find on the air these days, but you can get a taste sometimes on some college radio stations likw WOUB and WNKU, and on independent volunteer radio WEVL out of Memphis. Happy Listening!

Andrew C says …

“If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.” - Louis Armstrong. Favorite performance was McCoy Tyner at the One World Theatre in Austin, TX. Beautiful display of the art of the piano.

Stuart Diamond says …

One of my first Jazz albums which help turn me into a Jazz lover is Swiss Movement from the Les McCann Trio. It was recorded at the Montreaux Jazz festival in 1969 and features fantastic live versions of Compared to What and Cold Duck Time.

MHer says …

I recently saw Les Nubians at a jazz club. The music was refreshing and fun!

Stephanie says …

I love Jazz and would often attend Jazz events at Blue's Alley. My daughter's father is a Jazz man and I'm going to give him this CD as a gift. I see Nina Simone listed on this site...love her as well...named by daughter Nina after Nina Simone and the name fits her. Stephanie

ReneeH says …

I used to live on the North Side of Chicago and we loved going to Green Mill late on Friday nights to listen jam sessions. Amazing musicians!

GL says …

Preservation Hall. 1983. Sweet, sassy, soulful.

Laura Bishop says …

I had the great pleasure and honor of seeing Ray Charles live back in 2002 at a small performance in Sacramento, CA. I knew nothing about him at the time, (I was on a date) and by the end of the concert I was a huge fan! He had so much humor and energy on stage for such an old man! What a legend!

lara says …

smooth jazz concerts in the parks used to be held in sparks, nevada. very fun!

Tanisha Champion-Benjamin says …

To tell you the truth I have never expereienced a live jazz performance because I work 7 days a week. I love jazz music and listen to it on my commute into Oakland and also when drive into Napa on the weekends for work. I was raised by my grandparents and exposed to rock n roll, jazz, country , r abd B, classical, soft rock and just have fallen in love with JAZZ. I one day hope to be able to enjoy an outdoor jazz concert by some water.

Anna says …

I have seen some fantastic Jazz but seeing Jay Clayton perform live at Wentz Hall was life changing.

Chanwey says …

Have been to some summer jazz concert with various local artists and I love them!

Sue says …

Hector Martignon's Banda Grande at the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC about a month ago. Awesome!

nik says …

My favorite live jazz performance was going to see my Dad perform onstage for the first time, singing his favorite Ella tunes...superfantastic night!

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