A common gripe from my non-jazz-listening friends is that they often want to listen to jazz, but they don't have the time to figure out the good from the bad or start learning about the historically important recordings. This is essentially a lame cop-out ("I've got tons of CDs, I can lend you five good ones to start off with," is my usual reply), but now jazz fans have an essential resource that could break down even the most passive jazz resistor. Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler from NPR and Jazz24 presents a simple introduction to jazz for the novice by selecting five songs every week, and streaming them via podcast.
Take Five's podcasts offer a good variety of music to sample. On any given week, the program could take a look at a particular subgenre (like hard bop, soul jazz, or fusion), important recordings from individual instruments (like vibes or flute), or best-of compilations (like the best of Blue Note, 2008, or modern piano trios). The lists can get creative and unearth some recordings that even advanced listeners have yet to check out, like this list of jazz tunes from the Civil Rights Movement - I didn't know Grant Green had written a tune commemorating the completion of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march.
So keep it in mind next time you run across a friend bemoaning the insurmountable barriers to loving jazz. They'll thank you later.
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