Best Way to Expand Your Jazz Horizons

A jazz lover myself, I've never understood people's sense of obligation to learn about jazz, like it's some kind of homework assignment they really should do. If you don't care for it, don't bother with it. Nobody's thinking they really should check out more indie rock. However, if you're one of those people who's really interested; for whom the music's a joy, not a self-improvement mechanism; and who wants to learn more—how lucky you are to be in Seattle, home of Ken Wiley's The Art of Jazz on KPLU. Wiley, a local trombonist, has a renowned record collection, deep historical knowledge, and (most important) wonderful taste. His show tends to hover in the early decades of jazz, but even within those limits you'll hear amazing, mind-expanding stuff, from the most obscure names to the legends. It's the rare show on KPLU where the playlist is varied and unpredictable. And Wiley, an avuncular, phlegmy old companion, gives you just enough background to make it fun without it ever sinking into the pedantry that kills off many a student's interest.—Mark D. Fefer 3–6 p.m. Sundays, KPLU-FM (88.5), www.kplu.org.

 
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