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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!