Jazz takes some getting used to. The average music fan wants a beat, a catchy melody, racy lyrics to go with that chaser. Stacking notes, scatting outside harmonies, and 15-minute bass solos on a 5/4 time signature just go over most people’s heads — and then they move on to Katy Perry’s bubblegum pop or Beyoncé’s fierce soul strut.
The future, and the interest, lie in jazz fusions. Draw on and bring in influences from hip hop, post-modern bebop avant-garde, prog rock, lots of Latin, light country, and even opera (in the right hands), and maybe, just maybe, you’ll draw and bring in the cross-over audience.
As Christmas nears in two weeks, maybe it’s time to start the jazz indoctrination now, with a few timely gift ideas for the non-jazz fans in your life. The list of credible, approachable, and sheer delightful jazz fusion albums is way too long to go into here. But here’s a sample.