When I think of global music, I think back to my days at the
university, studying indigenous instruments and rhythmic patterns.
Listening to Jazz Playground, I get a new and unique twist
on multicultural music by seeing how diverse jazz can be when influenced
by different countries throughout the world. Although jazz is often
described as the only art form that originated in the United States,
its roots came from places like Africa and Europe, and Jazz
us how jazz has gone around the world into many diverse cultures
to season global music with its rhythm, instrumentation, and tradition
of improvisation. What a fantastic and fun introduction to jazz
to families from any culture!
From the familiar texts of Mary Had a Little Lamb and Sing
a Song of Sixpence to the Japanese lyrics of Oyatsu
no Jikan and a song called Gazooba, this CD encompasses
a wide variety of international music. All of the songs fit under
the wide umbrella of jazz to get toes tapping, heads bobbing,
and smiles erupting on the faces of your entire family or classroom.
This CD goes out of its way to make the music easily accessible
for any child, regardless of development or experience. The enclosed
booklet is fun, bright, and colorful, and it includes an introductory
paragraph in four languages. Each two-page layout of the booklet
is dedicated to one of the tracks, with a playful illustration
and narrative of the music, sometimes instructional, other times
simply amusing. There is a word on almost every page in multiple
languages, and it is fun to try to pronounce these words and figure
out what languages they are. The Jazz Playground booklet
is truly an ideal way to get a child involved in this music, as
it reads like a storybook. Additionally, a glossary is on the inside
cover of the CD case, with simple yet accurate words and descriptions.
It is a very handy reference tool for a child or parent who wants
to stay informed about the music they are listening to.
Like the music that each track represents, the many artists who
created the music of Jazz Playground are unique and diverse.
From many countries around the world and with various styles and
talents, these artists come together to compile a truly beautiful
and complex CD. The artists are all highlighted, described, and
introduced in the enclosed booklet--and since there are pictures
of each artist, we are able to see how unique and diverse this
group of artists really is.
The Putumayo website is a great resource, full of CDs to buy,
music samples to listen to, music videos to watch, and even downloadable
teaching guides to accompany the CDs. The teaching guides are simple
yet complete enough that homeschooling parents can incorporate
this music into their music class, regardless of how much they
know about jazz themselves. The guides help children explore the
lyrics and the music, getting involved in the music while they
listen. The lyrics and translations of each track are also available
to download, which is another great resource for teacher/parent
and child alike. The Putumayo website really demonstrates some
of the fun that is packed into Jazz Playground, from
instruments to education to dancing to playing to diversity to
My only complaint about this disc is that it only has thirteen
tracks! We put it on repeat so my son and I can enjoy the music
twice as long. Truly suitable for all ages, this is an excellent
way to visit the music of Cuba, Japan, Brazil, Australia, France,
and beyond without ever leaving the living room. Reasonably priced
and a truly enjoyable addition to any musical library, this is
a wonderful invitation to look into more of the Putumayo music