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Jazz guitarist Lenny Breau was born in Maine in 1941 to parents who were country music performers. According to Wikipedia, he began playing guitar at age 8 and soon became a member of his parents' band after they moved to Canada. In 1959, his father slapped him in the face for playing jazz improvisation on stage, and Breau left to start his career, living in various Canadian cities.
In 1976, he moved to the U.S., living in Nashville, Maine and California, and eventually settling in Los Angeles in 1983. A year later, he was found dead in the swimming pool on the roof of his L.A. building—the apparent victim of strangulation. The crime has never been solved.
In 1999, Breau's daughter Emily Hughes produced a documentary on her father—The Genius of Lenny Breau. A special thanks to Tony Mottola Jr. for turning me onto the documentary. For information on Emily Hughes, go here.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.