A beginner’s location-guide to jazz

Like most people, I spent the first twenty years of my life in complete and utter blissful ignorance about what jazz is. I was under the assumption that jazz was Michael Buble. I was wrong. So very offensively wrong. It’s hard to completely encapsulate what Jazz IS but at the core, it’s improvised music with lots of different influences from around the world. To help you begin your journey I give you ‘where you’ll encounter and how you’ll probably feel about a few different types of jazz’. Let’s begin.

You’re in Dome and they’re playing something very chill, you may consider it boring, I’d use the term ‘laid back’. I’ve been there, I understand your dislike of ‘cafe jazz’, I get it, it’s cool. For the record though, Bossa Nova is brilliant and I’ll take that to my grave.

Listen to the album: Getz/Gilberto by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto

You’re listening to music with your friends who like jazz, all you hear is a lot of instruments happening at once. It kind of sounds like a clusterfuck of really angry saxophones, there’s a lot happening. It reminds you of that day you had an appointment in Fremantle at 8am and you’ve woken up at 7:40, chucked on the only clean pants you own and raced down Stirling Highway. ‘FUUUUUUUCK’ you yell at the top of your lungs, stuck at yet another red light. I feel you, there’s a lot happening and you’re a bit stressed.

Check out: Moanin’ by Charles Mingus

You’re at the unspecified shoe-shop I work at, I’m there alone and definitely breaking copyright law by playing the selection of CD’s I have on hand instead of the intolerable store CD’s. The tune is almost palatable, it’s pretty funky, there’s a lot happening but you think you can get down to it. You kind of start nodding your head, it’s funky, there’s a lot of rhythm section. You’re a little stressed with everything that’s going on but it makes sense…kinda. The bass is cradling your soul through the busy parts, stroking your hair and whispering that it will be okay. A few things are happening but you’ve got an anchor.

Listen to the album: Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock

You’ve come home and your Mum is sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine, she’s trashed. You try to bee-line to your room but she has another idea. ‘Come and dance with me,’ she says, and you do because you don’t want to make her cry like last time. It’s a love song, there’s a singer, it’s definitely a ballad. The singer is talking about some kind of long lost love. As if you weren’t miserable enough.

Check Out: Stormy Weather by Billie Holiday

You’re in a bong palace, you just came to hang out but everyone is sitting around looking at their hands. It stinks of depravity and very old bong water. There’s some weird ass music playing. It makes no sense. Everyone is nodding their head as if they understand what the song is trying to tell them. All you hear is that noise that an orchestra warming up makes. You don’t understand. You stay for maybe half an hour before you fake a phone call and go home. It’s too much for today.

Listen to the album: Ascension by John Coltrane

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