Broaden Your Horizons, Learn History of Jazz

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Byline: Stacey Cara Cohen Daily Herald Staff Writer

If you're one of the many people who were raised on Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones or one of the other classic rock-god bands, maybe you're reluctant to take on a jazz festival. Fear no more, because the Jazz Primer for Rock People can bring you up to be-bop speed in a hurry.

Get an overview of American jazz up until 1975 on While it assumes you are familiar with music, some knowledge of music terms (walking bass lines, tone colors) can help ease the transition from three-chord rock to the improvisational style of jazz.

Craig Matthews, author of the page for Oculus Magazine, states in his introduction, "What I can do in this primer is supply basic rudimentary facts and trends in the history of jazz." His goal is to point people in the right direction to experience jazz for perhaps the first time.

The primer uses nine categories to guide visitors, starting with "Early Jazz, pre-1918" and continuing through "Fusion, 1967-1975." Along the way the primer looks at the big eras and styles, including Dixieland, swing, bop and the cool school.

Matthews touches on the influence of blues upon jazz, and admits he glosses over "the history of African Americans, which is inseparable from the history of jazz." It is an area you should research for a full scope of jazz history. …