Even as a younger generation of hot jazz lovers begins to spread the gospel of Rust, it never hurts to seed the ground for the future. Here’s a kid-friendly educational resource to start their children on the right path:
A is for Louis Armstrong, who taught jazz to sing,
B is for Bix Beiderbecke, who brought a softer side to swing.
C is for Bill Challis, who wrote great charts though history books often leave him out,
D is for Don Redman, an arranger even Ken Burns talks about!
E is for Ellington, a serious composer who made people dance,
F is for Fletcher Henderson: name a great soloist and he probably gave them their first chance!
G is for Goldkette, he had great sidemen but never gets his due,
H is for Coleman Hawkins, the father of jazz saxophone and a tough cookie (though his early sides he clearly did rue).
I is for “I Never Miss The Sunshine,” Frank’s Trumbauer’s amazing premier,
J is for Jack Pettis, who wasn’t a “father” but whose originality was clear.
K is for King Oliver, who taught young Satch but also had his own great style,
L is for Eddie Lang, who also shaped the music, even if he only stayed a little while.
M is for Miff Mole, trombone original with a name that’s silly,
N is for Red Nichols, his partner, another original whose playing was far from just frilly.
O is for Kid Ory and his bluesy, big slip horn,
P is for poor Ben Pollack, who gave Teagarden, Miller, and Goodman a break and even led the Bob Crosby band before it was born!
Q is for QRS, a label featuring Jelly, Fats, James P. Johnson, Clarence and Fatha’ Hines,
R is for respect to all of them plus Willie Smith and other piano lions.
S is for Mamie, Bessie, Clara and other Smiths of the blues,
T is territory bands, whose music is still making news.
U is for underdog, because that’s how this music got its start,
V is for “Variety Stomp” for no other reason than the tune is close to this writer’s heart.
W is for the first record you like, which will change everything.
X is for that favorite record, to be discovered by you and admired because it will make you sing!
“Y” is a good question, but not every day…
because Z is for “zing”: if the music makes you say that, what else is left to say?