Saturday, April 30, 2016

JAZZ IT UP.... International Jazz Day

"Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking." - Nina Simone

Today (April 30) is International Jazz Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to celebrate the beauty and power of jazz, not just as a beloved creative art form, but as an instrument for cultural diplomacy.

How was JAZZ born?... Check out this video for your answer... 'How Jazz Was Born'

Did you see Louis in the video... not the 'Banks' - Louis Armstrong? He was playing the signature trumpet. 

I possibly heard the word 'Jazz' for the first time mentioned with respect to the Jazz Yatra... but the coverage I saw on TV was lots and lots of musicians playing their own thing...

Many years later (in the mid-90s), I attended a few Jazz shows at Manoribel with Indian greats like Louis Banks, Sivamani and Karl Peters performing. And now 'I Love Jazz'

Wondering when I first heard a good Jazz song, my memory takes me back to a Zonal Singing competition I participated in at the parish when I was around 12... and my best competitor - a pretty girl - danced across the stage, dressed in a horizontal striped top (looking like a jailbird) and singing 'Mack The Knife'.

About five years later, I had my own Jazz performance that landed me in the top five at the most prestigious inter college competition in Mumbai (Malhar) - Frank Sinatra going to 'New York, New York'.

Got introduced to Instrumental Jazz at the Radio station with this track by Dave Brubeck... you got it... 'Take Five'.

One evening while I was sitting in the broadcasting studios of All India Radio, a friend walked in to play his selection of music on the YuvVani show... and his opening track was this instrumental from a group that had a name from our biology books in school - Spyrogyra. 

Smooth Jazz at its very best... I've got lots of it in my collection.... including Latin Jazz. And if you are on a hangover of International Dance Day yesterday... Heres 'Salsa Kenny'

While the beginnings of jazz were done in Southern parts of the US, two of my favorite jazz singers of today are from up in Canada. 

The lovely lady with 'Temptation', Diana Krall and the handsome guy who's 'Feeling Good', Michael Buble.

Diana Krall will be among the performers at the White House celebration of International Jazz Day. The line-up includes a famous Indian... our very own tabla maestro, Zakir Hussain. 

Among the many concerts lined up today, there is a special one that's on right now in India's very own Jazz Haven - Aamche Goa. A friend that I've met at recordings back in the '90s, Colin D'Cruz, is active in the Goa Jazz circuits and has been promoting a new category of Jazz - hold your breath.... Konkani Jazz. 

After all these songs, we've barely scratched the surface... Will be back with more Jazz music as part of my #MusicalBirthday and other posts.... Stay tuned...

I'll leave you with a quote from an early jazzman... the writer and singer of the American Songbook.... George Gershwin.

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