All posts by Lou Berkman

A History of Jazz for Rock Fans

MilesOr how moldy is that fig anyway?

So it was like this: I was sitting around the Ten Cat in Chicago with the Glorious Noise posse when someone asked for a little background on a few jazz figures he had heard about. After several pints, they requested a top ten list of essential jazz albums (rock fans love lists), and I agreed to make one. But in the haze of a hangover I realized it just isn’t that simple.

Jazz is America’s classical music, with more genres and sub-groupings than anyone can ever possibly absorb. At about 100 years old, jazz has transitioned through every aspect of modern American music, with each genre being cast off by the fans of the next, while the musicians themselves never lose sight of the originators and the seminal figures that made it what it is.

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