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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

Lynn Pearce says …

Yoshi's in Oakland CA have recently been hosting local school jazz bands and on May 2nd I got to see my good friend Sebastian Andersson (aged 11) play on stage with the rest of his LongFellow Middle School compadres - and they rocked the house! Take a look at them playing Buffalo Wings over on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8x6GwLj004 courtesy of his Mom. One of my most memorable jazz concerts ever!

Kevin says …

I loved Al Jarreau at the Perugia jazz festival in Italy

Jan Scholl says …

I have never been to a live performance of jazz. I simply live in a small town and would have to drive quite a ways to experience live music. I don't drive much anymore either. My large cd and vinyl collection keep me happy, tho. Music is the best drug for whatever ails me.

LARRY HANSEN says …

There is a jazz style for all moods and occasions.

Mike Friedman says …

My favorite live jazz performance, hands down, is Cannonball In Japan-recorded live at Sankei Hall, August 26, 1966-over a year before I was born. Amazing sound and the things he says resonates every time you listen. Incredible band, too-Nat, Joe, Victor, and Roy.

Mary says …

When I was a teenager in Detroit I hung out at a jazz club named Bakers where the greats would stop in and play. One night some friends took me there to see Dizzy Gillespie. My cat had just died and they wanted to cheer me up. Dizzy saw this teary eyed girl and asked what was wrong. When I told him he got up on stage and told the band they were playing Bojangles for me. Yeah it's got a dead dog in it but close enough. Dizzy was a man with a big heart and he gave me a great memory.

Peg says …

New Orleans brings memories of great sea food and jazz!

Robin Jozaitis says …

My parents had me later in life & decided that during the summer we would take vacations that we would all enjoy. Thus we would vacation in Louisiana, Mississippi and all along the Golf of Mexico. We went to New Orleans several times and always stayed in the French Quarter. We'd eat outside in the open air cafes and listen to pure New Orleans jazz live. We also attended Jazz Fest as a family vacation & got tickets to the midnight show (I felt very grown up for a 12 year old). Now that I am an adult and a parent, I like to encourage my children to listen to many varieties of music. My oldest played in the school jazz ensemble....I absolutely LOVED attending their performances :) I feel like you can never have too much jazz in your life.

Yvonne says …

My favorite jazz artist is Billie Holiday - still the best. I especially love "God Bless the Child". Her voice curls around my ears like honey on hot toast!! Never had a chance to see her perform live but cherish her "Billie's Best" CD.

john fossatto says …

Love it and all that jazz....Saw Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitz.....in person in the early 60's. one of the highlights of that era....Still a fan of cool breezy music.

Linda Knipe says …

I have been an avid jazz listener/fan since I first heard that sound when I was around 8 or 9. I continue to attend live jazz performances as often as my time and funds permit. It lifts me up, inspires me, and soothes me. It is impossible to pick one live jazz performance, as there are many. However, there were some very memorable events that shouted "nirvana": Shirley Horn in the early '80s at Kimballs West, San Francisco; Gene Harris many times at Kuumbwa Jazz Center; Bill Henderson at San Jose Jazz Festival in 2009; Horace Silver and Bill Charlap (years apart) at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay; many events at Jazz at the A Frame in Hollywood; and of course the yearly Jazz Cruise (a week long "died and gone to heaven" cruise of only straight-ahead jazz while cruising around the Caribbean (thejazzcruise.com).

Anita D says …

The best live jazz concert I saw was Diana Krall, last summer , outside in Boston on the harbor at the Pavilion . Fabulous venue! I listen to jazz every day on the radio - WICN - its just great! I've learned so much about jazz from the hosts and going to their Jazz at Sunset concerts in Worcester in the summer. Jazz is alive and well!

Rachel says …

Jazz nights at the whip in in Austin, tx is what dreams will dream about!!

Megan says …

I love jazz! I listen to it with my 2 & 4 year olds trying to introduce them to the sounds early. I've seen Arturo O'farrill along with a few other musicians at Birdland in NYC a few years ago. Cuban jazz is so vibrant and powerful.

Meg says …

My favorite live jazz performance was a performance I saw on tv (likely public television) many years ago. The performers were the late great Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown. It looked more like a rehearsal than a concert performance, but I thought then as I think now: It just doesn't get better than that.

Rachael Barish says …

I love Stanly Jordan. The first time I saw him he was on Jonny Carson. I was sitting in my friend's dorm room and I could not take my eyes off of him. I have seen him a few times including Carnage Hall, the Beacon, The Blue Note and at NJPAC (at a free concert). I took some pictures at NJPAC and he was just a blur.

Mary says …

I love listening to tony Bennett or Michael buble singing jazz when I'm at a lounge or piano bar in a city like San Francisco. It's the coolest.

Sara Woodward says …

I am a big fan of the classic jazz music from the 50's and 60's- such soul and emotion in each song and one is always unique to the next.

MJackson says …

The recent Atlanta 31 Days of Jazz was an experience with the culmination of the weekend Jazz artists performances in Piedmont Park. Seeing families and friends gather together regardlless of race,age or gender was heartwarming.

Nicole says …

The best live jazz performance I've ever seen was San Francisco’s Jazz Mafia performing the suite “Brass, Bows and Beats” at the Monterey Jazz Festival. There were something like 30 musicians on the stage, and the piece pulled in elements from classical, hip-hop and funk and threw them into the jazz stew to create a fantastic event.

Ed Herbert says …

Seeing Elvin Jones and his band play live at the old Jazz Workshop in Boston at age 16 with 3 friends. We were supposed to be too young to be allowed in but we behaved like college student adults and it was an incredible night. Hearing Elvin's many grunts and "ya, ya" asides during long solos was definately not something they ever captured on LPs...even live recordings.

Mike says …

Hands down best live jazz performance is Cannonball live in Japan. It was recorded live at Sankei Hall -Tokyo, Jaan August 26, 1966, over a year before I was born!. Great sound and emotion. The things he says resonate each time you listen. Amazing band, too-Nat, Joe, Victor and Roy.I have listened to it a hundred times if once!

Kelly Murphy says …

My husband plays the trumpet and has been part of many jazz groups over the years. I'd have to say that my favorite performances are the ones that he is in, of course! We particularly love latin jazz.

Michele green says …

Relaxing to jazz music at Grazie restaurant.

Amy says …

Best jazz show I ever was at was the Dwight Ritcher Band at The House of Blues when it used to be in Harvard Square Cambridge, MA. Now the House of Blues is in Boston and the Dwight Ritcher Band became Dwight and Nicole.

Charlotte says …

I still remember going to a Rahsaan Roland Kirk tribute at the Cooler in NYC in the early 90's. It was the perfect music to listen to in a chilly, dark club on a hot summer night.

Linda says …

I was sitting on the floor of the big Jazz tent at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Dr. Charles Neville was playing a gut wrenching alto sax, and for some reason, he was looking at me. I could not look away. I had a private concert in front of several thousand.

tina says …

my favorite jazz memory is of having the opportunity as a kid to learn to play it myself with my friends. i wish all grade school students these days had the same music and arts offerings as we did 'back in the day.'

James Kent Moore says …

I grew up in Fort Worth and there were several restaurants and bars over the years that had some fabulous jazz bands. My favorite city for jazz is Portland Oregon . Lots of jazz musicians in all types of venues.... I guess I just love JAZZ!!!!!

Eddy says …

Ahmad Jamal, at the old Parisian Room on La Brea

Alicia says …

Memories of playing my mother's jazz LPs.

Julie says …

Summer concert series jazz - outdoor, warm weather, like minded patrons, excellent!

mimi le says …

One of the most memorable moments for me when it comes to jazz was the film "Triplets of Belleville." This movie changed my musical life and opened it up to a whole other world that I thought I knew something about. Watch it!!!

Catherine P. says …

Walked into Tower Records on Colombus Ave, SF in the mid 70's. Heard Chuck Mangione playing on the store sound system. Followed him for years after that. Saw Chuck Mangione at the first Concord Jazz Fesitvals when they were in the Concord High School grounds. Got to love that jazz.

brandon lynch says …

I'm Brandon's mom. I can't express how much my 18 year old son, Brandon, loves jazz. He has played in his high school jazz band and jazz orchestras and for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's "Civic Youth Jazz Ensemble" during his 4 years of high school. He even wrote one of his A/P English papers on "Benny Goodman's Life." During one of his 9th grade jazz concerts, a member of the audience remarked to Brandon, "..we have another Gene Krupa right here in Farmington Hills." He is planning to major in music technology in the fall with a possible minor in jazz studies.

Jennifer says …

Kim Nalley, Houston Person & Tammy Hall at The Razz Room in SF.

Susan H. says …

I saw Nina Simone at the Kennedy Center. She sang "To Be Young, Gifted and Black." Very inspiring.

Donald Mc Millan says …

The greatest Jazz concert was on a birthday to be remembered, at the Village gate, August 28, 1962, four Jazz greats and their fellow musicians performed throughout the night, while I sipped on Tom Collins, legally. They were Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Dave Brubeck and Thelonius Monk. What a night to remember, and sealed my love for Jazz forever. Donald Mc Millan

Lynn R says …

I'm not a jazz expert by any means, but my brother is (he's a high school band director and also plays drums in a big band/jazz group professionally). He loved jazz from practically birth. So, when our family went to Disneyland for the first time (back in the 60s), he hit the jackpot: Count Basie and his Orchestra were playing live in the park! My brother was only about six years old, but he stayed at the bandstand for hours, passing up rides to stay and listen to Basie. The rest of the family stayed for at least an hour, but he stayed the whole afternoon/evening (with my parents spelling each other staying with him, of course!) for all the sets they performed. What a concert! It was phenomenal!!

Lorien says …

Pete Escovedo, playing with his sons and his daughter Sheila E. at Yoshi's. We were seated right behind Sheila's mom! It was a great evening.

Jeff Dames says …

I saw Dexter Gordon (you may know him from the film "Round Midnight") at a small club in San Diego around 1981. He was exiled to Europe in the 60's. Back then, a musician could not work in the US without a cabaret card. Any drug offense prevented someone from getting a card. Upon returning home he made a great album called Homecoming. Give it a listen!

ginny murray says …

love, love and love jazz. The sound makes my body move and gives me a smile from ear to ear. Now my grandson, 14, plays trumpet and made it into three honor bands and has a private tutor at local Cal Arts to better his moves. can't be more proud and we take him to as many jazz concerts as possible. He's even going to a jazz camp over the summer. Jazz feeds my soul and makes my heart sing with JOY. Thanks so much.

wiz says …

So many wonderful Jazz performers gave us joy at the Disneyland stages, but the one intimate performance I remember best was by Dizzy Gillespie in a tiny hole-in-the-wall venue in the corner of a strip mall in Kearney Mesa on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. We sat so close I could see the rainbow droplets of perspiration slipping down his cheek as he played. The great man looked up at us so often during the performance! He locked eyes with us silly young girls, and we felt he was creating a new magic just for us. And though I was so young and ignorant and uncultured then, I still knew magic when I was in its presence. Even today, listening to a Gillespie riff on a CD I am transported back to a tiny bit of heaven in a strip mall. And, often, I tell my silly little teen daughter the story, and especially: Magic is where you find it!

Phoenix says …

My favourite experience with jazz has been encountered buskers playing sax & other horns - not all polished up for a formal performance, just authentic & joyous music.

cheryl says …

One of the first I attended and one of my faves was seeing George Benson at Chastain Part in Atlanta!

Bob Theroux says …

I have seen and heard several of the great artists of jazz including Basie, Ellington, Brubeck, Davis, Coltrane, Getz, Adderly, Rollins, Peterson and lots more. But what I really enjoy now is going to a concert that features college students who are studying jazz. They are the future that will keep jazz alive. My fav is the Univ of North Texas Jazz Lab band. If you get a chance to listen to young jazz players, don't pass it up.

Valerie Gardner says …

I have never had the fortune of listening to jazz live in person,only in CD form. :-( Just never had anyone to enjoy it with in person but love listening to all sorts of different artists live on my cd player.

Dan and Mimi Wurmser says …

Makes the hotness of the day sultry and fine, chaos into opportunity, songs and melody into dances of jazzy smiles.

Paula says …

I enjoy listening to NPR Jazz on the radio! I have enjoyed some jazz quartet shows here and there, too.

Joan says …

Some of my favorite performances are those I never did get to see live-- since many of the jazz performers I grew up listening to have passed away like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday! However I did see Norah Jones here in Philadelphia and loved her laid-back, easy style and smooth voice. Very new and exciting!

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