Each of us has followed a pathway to jazz.
For my parents, it was ubiquitous — the dance music of their day, the soundtrack of their lives. For me, it has been a series of detours.
My pathway to jazz came through rock and blues music. As a 13-year old guitarist, I devoured the raw, recycled blues of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones. At 15, my older brother turned me on to the fusion of Chick Corea, Return to Forever, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Jeff Beck. For the musicians, and for me, it was an age of discovery.
Throughout high school and college, I explored the more traditional branches of the genre, including Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. Parker. Davis. Coltrane. Sinatra. Armstrong. It didn’t matter that I was discovering the music, in some cases, fifty years after it happened. It’s still happening, and it’s still relevant. And, best of all, I’m still discovering.
We come to this music through different formats — through the big band era, New Orleans, bebop, movie and TV scores, blues, or rock — and through different sources — our parents, friends, teachers, or even our children. Our introduction to jazz doesn’t limit our exploration or our enjoyment. We can continue to follow new sounds — new pathways — that will take us to different places.
Please share your “pathway to jazz” with us, and enjoy the journey!
Dan Weiss, CPA, JD
Interim Executive Director
Jazz Arts Group