Jazz: April 2017 Listening List

This listening list on jazz was curated by Kahmeela Adams, our PBC-Pittsburgh chapter leader & PBC DJ and fantastic host of three podcasts (Down to WatchRevisiting Sunnydale, & The RuggedAngel Cast).

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. So, let’s do some appreciating. Whether you are a seasoned jazz cat or a newbie kitten who doesn’t know much about the genre, you will enjoy these selected podcasts. We’ll go from its beginnings, to a profile on one of the genre’s most influential women, and then a guided tour of where to start as a novice listener. Get ready to swing!

Listening List about Jazz:

A History of Jazz: 1619-1917 A PreHistory
(45 min, February 2017) An exploration of Jazz roots from the beginning of African slavery on this continent, to the first recording.


Sound Opinions: The Rock Fan’s Guide to Jazz
(53 min, April 2015) If you’ve had trouble getting into jazz, you are not alone. It has existed for quite some time, which makes for an intimidating ocean of music to navigate. Jazz is an iconic product of the African-American experience. Music writer and curator John Corbett helped create the Rock Fan’s Guide to Jazz. John refutes the notion that the genre is “fuddy-duddy” music from a bygone era. Instead, it’s an exhilarating, joyful genre that continues to develop today.


NPR’s Jazz Profiles: Betty Carter: Fiercely Individual
(54 min, August 2008) For nearly 50 years, Betty Carter was an irrepressible and incomparable practitioner of the jazz vocal tradition, with an intense, adventurous style and a booming voice. The fiercely dedicated and demanding vocalist was a pioneer in the music business, paving the route for scores of younger musicians.

Conversation Starters about Jazz Listening List:

  • Why do you think improvisation is such an important element of jazz?
  • Where have you noticed jazz influences in other genres?
  • What state of mind does Jazz put you in?
  • Where you a fan of Jazz prior to listening to these?
  • Discuss how jazz and civil rights are intertwined
  • Discuss the challenges of women in jazz
  • It’s been said that jazz in different cities have different sounds. How do you think that comes to be?

DJ RuggedAngel’s Music Playlist

In case you feel like interspersing your podcast listening with music listening, check out a playlist curated specially to go along with our listening list.

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