JAZZ: Gary Giddins, W.W. Norton & Company
"Giddins on jazz"


Would you share some general thoughts on how students can approach jazz—the course, the book, and their understanding of the music?

Well, I think the way most people become involved in jazz is through the personalities. You listen to recordings and something takes your attention, and that artist you want to pursue, you want to hear more of them. And then maybe some other musician is on that record and you want to know who that is. For example, somebody comes to Kind of Blue—it's a Miles Davis record but it leads you automatically to John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley. Uh, somebody else might have that same reaction to Louis Armstrong or to Sonny Rollins, but whatever grabs your attention, trust your own taste and trust your own judgment and go there. What the book does is it tries to put these major figures into some perspective so you can see where they came from, what they lead to. And we offer actually more than one kind of narrative. We can talk about that. We offer a few narratives. But in a sense we're trying to encourage the student to create his or her own narrative and to put the pieces together in a way that makes sense for that listener.