School is almost out for the summer for a lot of kids in the U.S., but they can still learn! And what better topic to learn about than jazz? That’s what Julian “Cannonball” Adderley must’ve thought, as he narrated a 1961 album called A Child’s Introduction to Jazz. It was released on Riverside Records (RLP 1435) as part of their “Wonderland” series, designed to teach kids about a variety of topics in an entertaining way.
Throughout, Adderley narrates the history of jazz and talks about the genre’s roots in work songs, blues, and ragtime, and brings the listener through Dixieland, Swing, and Bebop. He also explains the instrumental makeup and musical structure of jazz.
Numerous songs and clips back up his lessons, which makes the whole experience rather rich and informative. Some of the legendary jazz artists featured on this record are Scott Joplin, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Fats Waller, Ma Rainey, Duke Ellington, Wes Montgomery, Art Blakey, Bix Beiderbecke, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Woody Herman, Coleman Hawkins, and John Coltrane.
This is a fascinating record and I highly recommend listening to the whole thing at least once.