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Episode 308 - Kit Kat Club
Jazz It Up!
Ask the man who knows
Tired of singing that same old tune? Are you yearning for the romance of the days when you could put that special someone on your arm, go downtown to enjoy a fine meal and listen to music in an old jazz club? Well, why not bring all that atmosphere to your very own living room by starting your own collection of jazz music.

In doing our Kit Kat Club episode, I decided to talk about 'all that jazz' with an expert. Savoir Faire has a reputation for finding very knowledgeable people to offer advice on various things. Vladimir Vlasak, manager of The Classical Record Store, is no exception. I came to see Vladimir at the store and he had some excellent suggestions for the best picks when starting a collection of jazz music.

Firstly, Vladimir pointed out the three basic layers of the world of jazz: 1) the regular pulsation of the rhythm section - bass, drums, piano, guitar; 2) the progression of chords; and, 3) the melody or tune.

Although Vladimir was happy to suggest various artists to listen to, he stressed that it is not necessary to follow a recommendation as you can trust your own tastes and standards. While every musician has his/her own style or approach, every listener will have his/her own preference. However, if you're new to the scene, here are some of Vladimir's favourite suggestions:

Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington together because of their wonderful combined creativity; Billie Holiday, a great singer; Albert Nicholas, an unknown name, but a fantastic artist who was a jazz pioneer of sorts; Oscar Peterson, whom Vladimir describes as the world's greatest pianist; Ben Webster, the most famous ballad player in the history of jazz music; and Ray Brown, a famous bass player.

Well, I came to Vladimir looking for about 5 hours of music for my Kit Kat Club. He gave me a whole weekend's worth. I hope you'll sample some swishy swing music real soon!

Courtesy: Vladimir Vlasak, The Classical Record Shop, 55 Avenue Road; Toronto, ON (416) 961-8999.