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Jazz Dancing in Berlin, 1926 (German Federal Archives via Wikimedia Commons)

For someone who thinks of himself as both musical and deeply interested in listening to all kinds of music, I had, previously, studiously avoided listening to jazz. While I had been taught about jazz in high school (Improvisation! Dissonances! Drugs! Trumpets!), I think I had mostly seen New Orleans jazz as interesting but limited, swing (and its various revivals) as quaint and melodious but not very fulfilling and been put off by bebop’s endless “noodling.” Really put off.

My aversion wasn’t a blanket refusal, of course: I had explored certain things because I had found a connection to them, and – as a voracious music listener – it wasn’t particularly hard to find exposure even when I wasn’t looking. So I did have, in my collection:

Lately, I’ve been exploring jazz almost exclusively (for a month or two, anyway). I’ve discovered countless hours of fantastic music. I’m starting to piece together the history of it as I read Ted Gioia’s The History of Jazzand I feel like a kid in a candy store, discovering this great genre to which I had been closed all these years.

I’ll be reporting my thoughts about my discoveries right here.