Cowboy jazz? You may be asking yourself, "Isn't that a little like oil and water?" On the surface it would seem that the two musical genres have little in common. Where the emphasis in jazz often involves complex rhythms and harmonies and it's intricate improvisations, "Cowboy music" - some may think of it as Western music-is musically simpler, with it's tendency toward traditional harmonies and the importance of the message in the lyrics. If you like one style, you probably are not attracted to the other. But it wasn't always so. Back in the forties, Bob Wills pioneered what became known as Western swing, a style that incorporated the driving rhythms of the jazz of that time. What these two musical genres have always had in common is honesty, (often at the expense of high production values). I grew up in the Midwest of the '50s, and was exposed to many of the tunes on this recording during those years. It was the honesty that came through that music that I found compelling; and I still do. After living much of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, my wife and I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado several years ago, where once again I heard some of those same classic Cowboy tunes (and others that I had never heard before). As a player and lover of improvised music, I felt it was time to put my own spin on these timeless pieces, often with the help and inspiration of some of my new musical colleagues in the Yampa Valley. The result is Cowboy Jazz.
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