If you have listened to my show on KSSU or have taken the time to get to know me, there is one thing that you’ll probably discover, and that is that I love jazz music from the 1930s and 40s. I get several questions about my strange taste in music. Why do you like such old music? How did you get into this music? Well, that’s what I plan to tell you guys about, my portal into yesteryear.
It must have been 2007 or so and I was in visiting Disneyland down in Anaheim with my family. Our next destination was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. As we approached the giant, art deco themed building, ghostly sounding music started fading into my ears. For me, it was as if I was entering a different time. It started with this wonderful trumpet solo that wasn’t like anything I have heard before. As we moved deeper into the line, the louder the music got and the more I was mesmerized by the music. As the trumpet solo ended and the orchestra joined the trumpeter and created an even more mesmerizing melody. It was a new, pure sound that I never thought I would enjoy and it became more sentimental as a ghostly vocalists filled the halls of the Tower of Terror. I knew at that second that I enjoyed this music and had to find out the name of that song.
After weeks of searching (smartphones weren’t around yet so I couldn’t just open Shazam to identify the song), I found the song on iTunes and got to enjoy the performance once again. It was titled, “I Can’t Get Started,”by Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra. Bunny Berigan, the talented vocalist and trumpeter, masterfully used his talents to bring me to in a new world. From there, I found other songs like “Moonlight Serenade” and “Lets Dance”and artists like Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. As I listened to more music, I then realized that jazz was my kind of music.
When people ask me why I like jazz, I give them a variety of answers, but the answer I use the most is that it is different. Jazz is relatively simple, yet elegant. I liked the elements of jazz from the trumpets, to the saxophones, and the occasional crooner. Sure, a lot of the music is old and can be considered “elevator music” by many, but the material is fantastic. I enjoy the sentimental lyrics and the sound of each instrument. Sure many of my favorite songs are 70+ years old, but recorded music is made to last forever.
For anyone who wants to get into jazz or anyone interested in the 1930s, 40s, or 50s, I would suggest to just find a few songs and give them a careful listen. Listen to the sounds of each instrument, the lyrics, and ( if you’re listening to a 78rpm record or an old recording) the scratches and old radio sound. In fact, here are songs I recommend. Some of these songs have lyrics and some are instrumental:
- “Moonlight Serenade” by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
- “I Can’t Get Started” by Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra
- “Long Ago (And Far Away)” by Glenn Miller & The Army Air Force Band
- “Ciribiribin” By Harry James & His Orchestra
- “Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of The Week” by Frank Sinatra
- “Let’s Dance” By Benny Goodman
Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Griffin does music on KSSU