All that jazz

A few years ago, I self-imposed November as Jazz month, where I put away the rock and roll and pop music and try, unsuccessfully, to culture myself. This goes on for a week, sometimes longer and then I pretend that “Jazz Month” doesn’t matter.

Part of my problem is that, because of my lo-bro upbringing and my default music taste, jazz music is really hard for me to comprehend. There are a million records by a million jazz musicians and it is hard to know where to start. When this journey began (November, 2003), I read a lot of Amazon listicles and All Music Guides for people just like me, and dove in. But, for every record I really got into (Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”, Charles Mingus “Ah Um”), there were a dozen that I really hated. That I found annoying or, worse, boring.

With pop music, when I hate something, I turn it off. During jazz month, I endure the stuff I hate in hopes that somehow it will make me a better person, and then put on “Kind of Blue” again. It’s the one jazz record that I own that doesn’t have to wait until November.

Thing is, I have this weird thing about liking “Kind of Blue” as much as I do. It always feels so obvious. It’s the one jazz record everyone can get into, it’s the one jazz record everyone owns, and if they don’t own it, it’s the one jazz record everyone should own. I’m listening to it right now. If Jazz Month slowly gets whittled down to five records that I enjoy and appreciate, I suppose that is better than nothing.

Where am I going wrong? Which records am I missing out on?

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One thought on “All that jazz

  1. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. Jazz is jazz, and it’s really not for everyone. I think some records transcend this, my first Jazz record was Sketches of Spain, a Davis/Evans epic.

    There are some good Jazz comps from the CBC called “Ready Or Not”, takes the best of Canadian Jazz from a bygone era and puts it together very nicely.

    I’d steer clear of full jazz albums until you get your footing a little better, Kind of Blue is a no brainer, but when relying on the suggestions of Amazon, you’ll probably get a lot of junk and junk that’s touted by fans of the genre for one of those dumb reasons we hate about music.

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