Growing up in the 1960s the popular music I heard most often was dominated by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones but I was certainly aware of the style of jazz personified by band leaders Kenny Ball, Chris Barber and Acker Bilk. As time went on my taste for music expanded to include almost all types but it was when I started to learn to play the saxophone that I became more aware of and grew to love jazz.
Jazz has been called America’s greatest indigenous art form and the history of jazz is both fascinating and enlightening. However, jazz has been adopted by composers and musicians world-wide and while American jazz musicians still top popularity polls it is enjoyed almost everywhere and has been widely adapted for local tastes.
Jazz music is best enjoyed at a live performance, where the audience can appreciate the interaction between musicians and experience the excitement of improvisation in real time that will never happen in exactly the same way again. However, listening to recorded music in one of the many ways that are available these days can also be very rewarding.
Personally, I love going to jazz gigs and sometimes jazz festivals. There is probably a lot more live jazz going on in a local area than people realise but discovering it and accessing it can be difficult.
Information about live jazz is available via magazines, websites, email, and social media. Recordings are widely reviewed in magazines such as Jazzwise and books such as John Fordham’s Jazz provide insight and recommendations about the greatest jazz albums.
I have also become involved in jazz by joining my local u3a Jazz Appreciation Group, volunteering at jazz festivals, supporting jazz charities, being part of a band and writing articles for an online magazine called What’s New on https://www.sandybrownjazz.com/.
I hope very much that I can help existing and new u3a members to appreciate jazz of all kinds and welcome contact and enquiries from you all.
Jazz Appreciation start up leaflet
- The history of Jazz
- Starting your local group
- Designing a programme
Join the Jazz Orchestra of the Third Age - u3a Festival 2024
Our first ever UK-wide u3a festival is taking place 17-19 July 2024 at the University of York. The event will be an opportunity to bring members together to share the joy of u3a membership.
As the new National Adviser for Jazz Appreciation, I would very much like Jazz to be a part of the festival and so I am suggesting why not form the Jazz Orchestra of the Third Age.
It may seem crazy, but it is possible to bring people together with different musical abilities and create something that is both artistic and amazing. I once took part in a production called Saxophone Massive which was part of the BT River of Music in 2012. This video shows what can be done and the experience has stayed with me ever since.
If you think this is an exciting idea then as a first step, please let me know who you are, add your email, which u3a you belong to, what musical instrument you play, what standard you are at (e.g. ABRSM or similar grade achieved) whether you play by ear or can read music and/or chord symbols, we are also looking for singers.
Once I know there is sufficient interest I can start to plan.