Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 17, 1998)
Story by Barb Churchill
Jazz has been called “the (me true American art
Americans should appreciate jazz.
“Unlike other forms of music, die whole idea
behind jazz is improvisation, which is both indi
vidual and personal,” Sharp said “A good jazz solo
is all about emotion, which you can’t really say
about other forms of music.”
Dan Bauer, manager of local jazz bar Rogues
Gallery, 11* and O streets, agreed.
“Jazz is a universal language, much like other
forms ofmusie,” Bauer said. “But whatls going to
draw people to it is die energy and the musician
One of the myths about jazz is that it is incom
prehensible to the average listener- something
Bauer would dispute.
“Jazz communicates a fairly broad range of
emotions, which helps die novice listener under
stand or latch on to the music,” he said.
Another popular myth states that
jazz isn’t economically viable
because most people seem to gravitate tofward rock
But Bauer, whose bar is partially maintained
through die business of jazz aficionados, would
emphatically disagree with this assessment
As Bauer said, “Jazz isn’t trendy. It’s been
around, and it will continue to evolve.”
The best introduction to jazz, according to
Sharp, is to listen to one of the many fusion styles.
Fusion incorporates elements of music such as
rock, funk and pop into jazz styles, making it more
accessible to vhginal ears.
Sharp also said it is easier to understand big
band jazz than small-group jazz.
“Listening to a large ensemble is easier for
someone who doesn’t know very much about jazz
because there is a larger variety of timbres and
sounds to hear,” Sharp said. “Also, with a large
ensemble, there is less improvisation, which tends;
to baffle the novice listener. It’s much easier to
Illustrations by Matt Haney
Sharp said he is passionate about jazz because
ifpeople give it a chance, they will understand it
“With jazz, die crowd gets mote involved with
die music,” he said, “because you can move around
in your chair, yell out stuff fiom the audience and
clap at the end of improvised solos.
“And this really helps the jazz performer,
because it helpshim/her improvise more interest
ing solos if the audience is engaged in listening,
rather thanjust sitting diere acting Hfce they’drather
be anywhere else.”
Sharp had one word of advice for people who
are interested in learning more about jazz: Listen.
“Ybu need to open your ears in order to appre
ciate jazz, and granted, it can be difficult to listen to
jrt first,” he said. “But like anything else, the more
- you are around something, die more you accept it,
and the more you appreciate it”
Rogues Gallery, 11th arid O streets
Rogues showcases a variety of jazz artists, from tradi
tional jazz “torch” singers to acid jazz. Call (402) 475-2929
to get on their mailing list.
- 4- I
University Of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music,
Westbrook Music Building r r.
The UNL School of Music currently hosts three jazz
groups - Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Small
Group. All three groups give at least one concert during die
semester, and admission is free to all UNL events. In addi
tion, jazz performers are occasionally brought to UNL to
give master classes and concerts for students and faculty.
Contact the UNL School of Music at (402) 472-2503 for
Ramada Plaza Hotel, 141N. Ninth St
The Ramada hosts the Monday Night Big Band, which
performs every Monday night. Admission is $4. The
Ramada periodically hosts the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra.
Con at (402) 476-2222, or the NJO at (402)
olorniiag Arts, 301N. 12** St
tie Lied occasionally hosts jazz or jazz-related
such as the recent show by Latin jazz stist Tito P
die Lied at (402) 472-4747 for fort*
any future jazz bookings.
• •*»-' .
I PRINTED NATTER
Although jazz is essentially an aural experience, several
books and publications can be used to aid the quest to appre
| date it.
Down Beat is the granddaddy of all jazz publications.
Published monthly, it contains album reviews and several
interviews with artists. The magazine’s extensive archives
1 also allow for the publication of classic interviews and fea
Jazz Times is a newer publication that takes a more irrev
erent approach to die music and its artists. Published month
ly, it contains album reviews and profiles of new artists.
In the realm of books, one also has many options.
“Jazz Styles: History and Analysis” by Mark C.
Gridley is a good place to start. This one is sort of a textbook
that contains breakdowns of the many movements in jazz his
tory and the artists who participated in them.
“Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya” by Nat Hentoff and Nat
Shapiro, first published in 1955, is an excellent collection of
interviews with jazz artists.
Autobiographies by jazz artists are the best way to the
heart and soul of the jazz movement. The best among these
are “Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper” by Art and
Laurie Pepper, and “Good Morning Blues,” the autobiogra
phy of Count Basie as told to Albert Murray.
Other excellent biographies include “Ascension: John
Coltrane and His Quest” by Eric Nisenson and “Charlie
Parker: His Music and Life” by Carl Woideck.
Dave Sharp, jazz instructor at UNL, was asked “if
stranded on a desert island, and you had only 10 jazz
albums to listen to, which 10 would you pick?” Sharp said a
he’d like a lot of variety, and would like one rock album jm
(Frank Zappa) and one classical album (a Gustav Mahler jfl
symphony) to round out his collection.
So, in no particular order, here are Dave Sharp’s “top 10 m
1) Louis Armstrong, any Hot 5 or Hot 7 recording 1
2) Duke Ellington, “Far East Suite”
3) Charlie Parker, “Verve Recordings”
4) John Coitrane, “Impressions”
5) John Coitrane, “A Love Supreme”
6) Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue”
7) Miles Davis, “Miles Smiles” or “Nefertiti”
8) Webster - Blanton big band, “Cottontail”
9) Charles IfcOagns, “Mingus Ah-Um”
10) Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band, anyrecording 'M
The Churchill top 10 is a little different. In no particular 4
order, here are my favorite jazz albums:
1) Art Pepper, “Saturday Night at the Village
repper is one ot tne best unsung west coast alto saxo
phonists. His fiery, emotional style is prized by both seri
ous jazz aficionados and novices alike.
2) Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue”
This album trailblazed
die concept of modal impro
visation, yet is easy to
understand and appreciate
by relative newcomers to
Cohrane is a jazz legend
both for his technical com
mand of the tenor and
soprano saxophones an
unique harmonic inventive
ness. “My Favorite Things”
is my personal favorite
among Coltrane’s work
because it uses the Julie
Andrews song above as a
vehicle for improvisation,
is an excellent Coltrane album
4) DaveBrubeck/Paul Desmond Quartet, “Take
This vis the pioneer album of the “cool style,” which
is lighter and less emotionally passionate than Pepper or
Coltrane. Novice listeners really seem to appreciate this
album because it’s easier to follow than some of Coltrane
or Parker’s work.
5) Charlie Parker, “Charlie Parker with Strings” —
Parker is in fine form on this album, as the
classical/jazz crossover format really helps his tone quali
ty without abridging or inhibiting his melodic inventive
ness one bit.
6) Lester Young, “Verve Recordings”
Young, a tenor saxophonist, is one of the jazz pioneers
of the 1930s and 1940s. He has a lighter sound than
Coltrane, with a more melodic style of improvisation.
7) Benny Goodman, “(Original) Carnegie Hall
Concert,” 1938 recording
Goodman’s band energetically swings its way through
this concert, proving that a form of jazz could indeed be
popular music. For the novice, the best thing about this
album is that most of the selections are short (three min
utes or less), winch helps digest and simplify the music.
8) Weather Report, “Heavy Weather”
Weather Report was one of the first bands to use a great
dealnfjazz-rock fusion, and thismay be their finest album.
9) Miles Davis, “Sketches of Spain’*
This is a third-stream crossover between jazz and clas
sical music, which somehow perfectly illustrates the beau
ty of Spain through Davis’jazz improvisations.
10) Art Pepper, “Art Pepper Plus Eleven”
Here, Pepper was playing
lead alto saxophone with
a big band foil of big
time players. Both the
** section work and the
solo work are
are worth many,
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