America’s Music: Rediscovering the Allure of Jazz

It rained all day last Thursday. As I watched the rain pour, I was reminded of how much I love jazz music. There’s nothing like listening to jazz on rainy days. I’ve been a student of the music for close to 13 years. I bought a record player two years ago and have a bunch of old jazz albums. I love it when Tracy and I turn it on, sit on the couch, and just talk. Always so romantic! We went to New York City for our honeymoon and went to a jazz club almost every night in Manhattan. It was so much fun introducing her to the different styles of jazz and seeing her appreciate the music.

Growing up, my dad always listened to smooth jazz. There was an old station in Tampa that we used to get in Sarasota called WSJT 94.1. The radio station played a lot of Dave Coz, Kenny G, Pat Metheny, and other smooth jazz artists. I have the most vivid memories of driving with my dad listening to smooth jazz.

When I started at UNF in the fall of 2003, my dad suggested that I take a music class. I ended up taking “The Evolution of Jazz ” with Professor JB Scott. I discovered the beauty of jazz through that class. I fell in love with the older stuff from the 1930s with artist like Fats domino, Art Tatum, etc. As the class progressed, I fell in love with the big band era of the 1940s and 50s with artist like the Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington, and Glenn Miller. The first jazz album I ever listened to was Ella and Louis, a collaboration between the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and the great Satchmo, Louis Armstrong. I remember those late nights studying during my freshman year listening to this album and discovering the allure of America’s music.

I just love the creativity of the music and the skill it takes to play it. I love how jazz makes you thoughtful and reflective. Below are some of my favorite jazz artists; I have them categorized by instrument. I would encourage you to get an account with Pandora and create a station based off of one of these artists. As you listen to songs, you can add your favorite artists or songs to that station.

Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Theolonius Monk

John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Lester Young

Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie

Big Band
Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller

Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Billie Holliday

I hope you discover the allure of jazz like I did and learn to love and appreciate this beautiful art form.

I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.


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