Top critical review
23 people found this helpful
Cute, but it's more "jazz" than jazz.
on November 17, 2004
This is a fun book. It's a cute story about a drummer-fly who's
trying to find his way to a gig, but gets lost. He gets help from
several animals along the way, and then later incorporates the
animal's sounds into his drum solo at the club.
However, as an introduction to jazz, it's more like an introduction
to "jazz". The musicians on the accompanying cd are very heavy
handed -- as if they are classical musicians who were handed
sheet music titled, "JAZZ!" The rhythm is all off. And the description
of the rhythms in the back of the book tell the whole story: the
author says the emphasized words fall on the 1 and the 3.
Why is it so hard for folks to hear the 2 and the 4? If there are
emphasized beats in jazz, it's those, not the 1 and the 3 -- which
are emphasized in western classical music.
I have a feeling this was not the fault of the musicians, but of some
producer who decided that jazz just isn't "jazzy" enough, and
directed the band to "jazz it up". It's an unfortunate slight to a
rich musical form and heritage.
So buy the book, but ignore the suggested emphasis in the
phrases. Sing, "za-BA-za BOO-za-BA zee-ZA ro-NEE!" That's
slightly better. Alternatively, make up your own scat words for
the fly's dialog -- afterall, jazz is all about improvization.