1. Listening to music being made…

Jazz is a vast body of music, a lot is available online and can be listened to free. Listen to Miles Davis’ recording:Kind of Blue’ from 1959, the biggest selling jazz recording ever. Let it wash over you, get the feel and spirit of the playing and then listen to other stuff by those great players: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley, Paul Chambers, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and James Cobb, or just follow your ears and listen to as much jazz as you can. You have to hear and feel jazz before you can play it authentically, it’s ‘caught’ before it’s taught, you don’t  ‘get it' from a book. Listening to jazz will cause you to respond musically and come up with your own riffs, vamps and melodies and music is one way in which people respond to the experience of being alive. Listen to Billie Holiday's rendering of the song 'Strange Fruit'  for example, about the lynchings of African American people by white racists barely 50 years ago. In fact, listening is the starting point for musical learning and what we play or sing  reflects what we listen to. There is value in listening to performances and recordings from every age of jazz, from the early 1900s to the present day, in order to gain a sense both of its heritage and some of the fascinating directions which it has followed in different parts of the world like South Africa, Brazil and Scandinavia.

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