Did you find Jazz or did Jazz find you?!


Did you find Jazz or did Jazz find you?!

So, how does your introduction to Jazz story go? For myself, Jazz seemed to find me. I didn't grow up around it or study it in college...we simply fell in love w/eachother in a single afternoon. And you? Share!

Website: http://www.myspace.com/jennifertracykessler
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Members: 34
Latest Activity: Jun 10, 2011

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Comment by Jazzy Jones on May 20, 2011 at 2:25pm
Hi I'm Debbie and new to this site. Glad to join your group. My website is www.youtube.com/jazzyentertainer . Many blessings to you...
Comment by Mary Talbot Fee on June 19, 2010 at 12:24am
Love this group and the question it raises. I suppose it is one or the other, isn't it. For me, Jazz found me under its piano, delighted me with its vibrant chords and festive horns, and grabbed me for life.
Comment by Bruce C on February 6, 2010 at 7:19am
I think jazz and art found me as i was pretty hard wired as a child to all that was visual and audible...my mother loved and played lots of "show tunes" when i was a child in the 40's and 50's and at age 11 started collecting my first jazz albums and memorizing them and playing along with them on my trumpet...Jonah Jones, Miles Davis, Brubeck, Mulligan, Bobby Hackett, Ella, Louis, Cal Tjader, The Hi-Los, and so many more...I eventually droped the playing part for 20 something years and when I moved to maine 20 years ago picked up the horn again and started playing where I left off...it's been a wonderful journey....
The shot above I took in '74 in Preservation Hall N.O...."Sweet Emma" Barrett and her band...I've got all the names listed somewheres...in my studio...

Comment by joel cole on February 5, 2010 at 7:06pm
i grew up listening too a lot of my mothers jazz albums,but one day i put in grover washington's winelight,and it hit me like a ton of bricks!!! i was hooked!!
Comment by Yogi McCaw on May 10, 2009 at 1:51am
It found me, before I knew it. My parents used jazz music to calm me and put me to sleep as a baby. I was hearing Les Paul and Mary Ford, Glenn Miller, and other big bands before I could walk. My Parents were not musicians. They fell in love dancing to big bands in the post WWII era - my father was career military and began his career in the European war theatre.

Later I took piano lessons as a kid from whoever the teahers were at the military base we happened to be living on at the time. I really had a great teacher, Herr Wolfe, in Berlin Germany. He had avoided becoming a Nazi soldier because the Nazi Brass liked his ability to play piano. He had started out playing piano for silent movies in the 1920s. I was kind of a half-assed student, but already I was improvising on my own time on the piano as well as taking lessons.
Then of course, I heard all the 60s rock music of the day, so I actually started out playing what is now called "classic rock" but it was all new music at that time.
Then one day I was looking through my older brother's records and found Hot Rats by Frank Zappa. Hot Rats is almost completely instrumental, and featured not only stunning horn arrangements and Franks incredible guitar work, but also lots of awesome sax work by Ian Underwood. I don't know if Hot Rats was the "first" jazz rock record, but the 1969 recording date makes it a very early example of what would become Jazz-Rock.
Then back in the States at the ripe old age of 14, I used to listen to the Boston jazz station. They broadcasted a live Return To Forever concert where they were premiering the "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" material. That did it. Fusion had struck my soul. Game over.
I started listening to all the fusion guys and reading interviews in Downbeat. They were all talking about how you can't label the music by genre, and you can't pigeonhole a creative artist with labels. Boy did I ever take that to heart.
To this day, my mission as a musician is to bring forth music that is totally new. Learning the old material of the masters is great, and necessary, don't get me wrong. I play a LOT of standards - we all do. But to me, birthing new stuff that has never been played before is what its all about. A lot of my musical heroes were experimenting with meditation and alternative spirituality, and that influenced me as well.

And so I am quite really a product of my generation - a generation of military kids who grew up traveling the planet, hearing all kinds of things and meeting people from all cultures and backgrounds. My music reflects that. It is a fusion because I am a fusion. And music is life itself.
Comment by Joseph Urich on March 3, 2009 at 12:14pm
I found Jazz looking for me. Many many years ago I was listening to the radio and heard Dave Brubeck with Take 5.
I was breathless. I ran out got the record and played that thing for ever.
It is still one of my favorites.
So it found me but I found it and it has been part of my life ever since.
Jazz is good.
As a note: I define Jazz as: "Classical music without adult supervision."

Jazz is the other side of everything.

Comment by billy jones on December 17, 2008 at 7:49pm
"...the re-emergence of blues music as serious social commentary."

Taking Blues to New Places with R&B, Soul, and Urban Style :
"Exquisite Modern and Traditional Blues and Neo-Soul by one of the most talented artists on the contemporary scene.
Billy Jones is a young, genius-level, totally charismatic veteran who shows all the signs of becoming as big or bigger than Buddy Guy. This young man has enormous talents.
I recently witnessed a 2-song DVD by Billy and his band that just added to my excitement regarding this on-stage dynamo who boasts movie-star good looks, a Huge voice, great guitar-playing and a Hot repertoire of tunes. All tracks were written by Billy ...and what a voice!
With Billy Jones showing so many talents and covering every single genre close to Blues, the Man is a ‘can’t miss’ star-in-the-making…No wait, he’s not in-the-making…He’s made!
If a major U.S. label doesn’t scoop up this high-level Blues genius within the next 3-4 months then we’re all in trouble! But, whatever happens, No One is going to keep a lid on Billy Jones. He’s off on-a-rocket folks and we certainly need a Big Blues talent like his."
"One of the very Best Authentic Modern Blues and Soul albums in recent memory."

...bluez from the ghetto ...bluez for the ghetto :
"Billy Jones is one of the ‘good guys’. He is a young man from Arkansas who is truly interested in advancing and extending ‘Great Black Music' from the Ancient to the Future’ and making sure that it is available for future generations.
As such he is one of my personal musical heroes.
We don’t have enough artists like him and hopefully he is going to inspire others.
Updating the blues for the 21st century is not an easy matter... Billy Jones has managed it.
Think Bobby Womack with Curtis Mayfield's social conscience and you are getting close.
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that his sound is more acceptable to modern ears and maybe that will get more people to listen to his message.
Jones has a voice that will enchant you. This is a fine, soulful album.
It's a first person rumination about "growing up in the ghetto" that packs a poignant wallop. The message is deep and heartfelt... lyrically-inspired Contemporary R&B."

The Incredible Resurrection, Metamorphosis and Re-invention of Blues and Soul Music :
No one who I can think of, except perhaps James “Blood” Ulmer, has taken a truly contemporary look at traditional blues with the musical and lyrical intensity of Billy Jones. While Ulmer’s music is often dark and angry, Jones takes a more restrained and soulful approach while still expressing deep love, despair, and other intense feelings with his music.
But what really got to me were the lyrics. There are several songs where Billy gets into the urban problems of his "hometown."
The modern, urban blues lyrics start right from the beginning of the CD. He starts out with a ballad called “Here With You”. He sings: “your love is much warmer than my prison cell, so if the homies ride tonight I think I’m gonna stay right here”. The music has a Mississippi Delta component to it, yet it is modern and urban. Later, we hear “Crystal”; a semi-psychedelic rocking song about his addiction and the dangers of Crystal. It’s not a girlfriend named Crystal, but crystal methamphetamine. In the title track, “My Hometown’, Jones talks frankly about the problems in the ghetto. Schools not teaching you what to do, gangs, violence, meth labs, broken families, and a repressive system all become part of these modern blues.
Top to bottom, this is a nice little CD.
Jones sings about the problems of his life and hometown with heart and feeling; it is “blues” transformed, updated and urbanized. Billy Jones is the real deal and “my Hometown” is a great CD!

Comment by Jennifer Tracy Kessler~HALF PINT on November 3, 2008 at 12:21pm
If you play with the same flow your words take on, I'm in for a big treat. Your response is a great one! I never tire of learning what other musicians' personal roots look like...just fascinating.

thanks for contributing!
~Jennifer Tracy
Comment by Jennifer Tracy Kessler~HALF PINT on November 3, 2008 at 12:15pm
My journey has many reflections of yours...and I truly enjoyed reading about your introduction to Jazz. I'm gonna say that Jazz was always in you and once given permission to come out, it did. And doesn't it feel grand?

Catch you here or at myspace soon,
xx~Jennifer Tracy!
Comment by Lea Ball on October 5, 2008 at 2:39am
Did I find jazz, or did it find me? Hmmmmm...... I knew that it existed from an early age, but didn't really start to turn on to it until I was about 10, when my 5th grade teacher exposed us to some of the early material (up to about Bix Beiderbecke). Sure, I'd had some exposure to it earlier, but I didn't really know what I was listening to until then. My horizons expanded in pretty much the pattern with which jazz evolved... except it was a lot quicker and a couple of decades later. As I started playing instruments, I also started playing jazz on them - as I developed the chops to do it. One thing in my development that I've observed to be lacking with a lot of younger players is that I learned a lot of standards at an early age. Since I didn't have a high school stage band to work with (except for a very brief period), I didn't get stuck in the Sammy Nestico or nothing grove that trapped a lot of people in their early development. As for developing my playing and writing chops, I had summer clinics with instructors like Herb Pomeroy and Ron Carter, and gigs with people who later developed a considerable bit of notoriety for themselves (e.g.: Ernie Watts).

Going back to the original issue: I'd say we found each other.

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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams


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