This is another installment in my ongoing series on jazz humor of the late 1950s. Past posts have included columns on Shorty Petterstein, Stan Freeberg, George Crater and the Nutty Squirrels. Back in the '50s, Ken Nordine (pronounced NorDEEN) was a leading voiceover specialist whose rich baritone could be heard on hundreds of radio and TV ads. He also was a jazz fan (and later rock) who recorded humorous and improvised recitation albums, starting with Word Jazz in 1957.
On his first, Word Jazz (Dot), Nordine sonorous pipes were backed by Paul Horn (fl,as,cl) Fred Katz (p,cello,arr,cond) John Pisano (g) Jimmy Bond (b) and Chico Hamilton (d,perc). For more on Nordine, who is still thriving, go here. Thanks to All About Jazz's big band editor Jack Bowers for sending Nordine along.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.