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Old Sep 14, 2007, 08:41 PM
Gavin Walker Gavin Walker is offline
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Jazz Feature for Sept. 17: LEONARD BERNSTEIN:"WHAT IS JAZZ".

Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on August 25, 1918 and died on October 14, 1990 and is one of the most important figures in American classical music. Bernstein was a composer, conductor, pianist and a general 'man for all seasons' throughout his long and influential career. Bernstein was a tireless crusader in presenting music to young listeners and getting them to feel and appreciate classical music. Bernstein's lucidity and his charismatic personality was evident on the famous CBS television broadcasts of "Omnibus" in the 1950's and generations of North Americans developed a taste and a curiosity about all aspects of music, both Jazz and Classical through this program.

Bernstein loved and respected Jazz music and unlike so many "classical" artists he understood the intricacies and the subtleties of Jazz and how the music was put together. After all, Bernstein was based in New York (he conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for years) and he loved to go to Jazz clubs and got to know all the movers and shakers of this music on a personal basis. Hence, The Jazz Show's educational feature: "What is Jazz", narrated and performed by Bernstein and a host of famous Jazz players.

Having this and next week's feature, Cannonball Adderley's, "A History of Jazz," narrated by Mr. Adderley is an annual part of this show's nod to the "back to school, back to work, back to the grind" syndrome. Although Bernstein's 'What is Jazz' was done in the 50's it is still relevant in that it presents a picture with examples as to how this music is put together in a very entertaining and sometimes funny way. Bernstein shows us why Jazz is unique and is different from other musical forms. Some of you will find some humorous anachronisms (not Bernstein's fault) such as the phrase "crazy bop" to describe Modern Jazz and lines like "today's Jazz musician may even be an intellectual and have a college degree", but that is just part of the fun of listening to this recording. Bernstein and company, which includes musical examples by people like, Coleman Hawkins, Phil Woods, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington etc. make 'What Is Jazz' an educational and enjoyable experience. Join us tonight, you might just learn something!
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