The One in Ten ?
All music taste is subjective. It is never correct to dismiss something as 'rubbish' because it has no appeal to you personally.
That makes as much sense as describing Tomatoes as 'rubbish' when you get them in a salad.
We all have the same ears but we hear with the brain.
The way we interpret musical input is exactly the same as the way we process other sensory information and we will all have our likes & dislikes.
This is no different to having favourite colours, smells or tastes.
The ear has a ten times greater depth of perception than the eye [This is explored at great length in the book 'The Third Ear' by Joachim-Ernst Berendt], so the potential for 'pleasurable input' is greater than that of wandering around the world's greatest art galleries. You just need to know which area will give your particular taste the greatest satisfaction.
You can start by ignoring the word Jazz.
A pidgeonhole creates preconceptions.
Similar to the previously mentioned 'Salad', there are going to be some things you like & some things you don't.
A good place to begin is to decide what you actually look for in the music you listen to now. Certain instruments ? Rhythm ? Improvisation ?
Do you like complicated musical structures or easier 'song style' performances ?
Often you will find that artists reference other peoples work over their career. This can often be a good route in.
When an artist that you currently listen to performs a track by somebody that you don't currently listen to, hunt down & listen to the original performance.
Check out the performers on the original track - did they do solo work ? Check that out too, as it is likely to be in a similar vein.
Musicians have their own tastes too.
For the brave, there is another way to start.
Some artists 'played the field' & refused to be pidgeonholed in any one genre. Exploring their work & finding which parts of their work appeal to you can send you in several directions.
Exploring the 'Rock Guitar' of The Mahavishnu Orchestra could lead you to the wonders of Shakti.
You like Steve Vai ? He was discovered by & played for Frank Zappa which could lead you through Stravinsky, Webern, Varese, Coltrane, Coleman etc etc.
OK. Stravinsky, Webern & Varese ? Jazz ?
Not strictly speaking, no. But the approach to composition is the same. The courage to experiment rather than re-jig the same old musical clich?s & play safe.
The fast track to all stations Jazz. This man did it all.
He never stood still, never repeated himself & went through every style of what we now call 'Jazz' while still retaining his own individual stamp on the process.
You could do a lot worse than start here & work through.
Miles was a catalyst. He took people and made them reach greater heights than they otherwise would have reached. Each of his bands had their own strengths and most of his band members became legendary performers in their own right.
Like Frank Zappa in the 'rock' world, he took people [often unknown at the time] and squeezed impossible performances out of them that only he saw they could achieve.
People like Miles & Frank are few & far between. Like The Beatles, it is possible that we shall never see their like again, but luckily both have left us a rich musical legacy that we can dip into at our leisure.
I shall explore the musical journey of Miles in greater detail next time....