My love supreme for the very best of jazz | Letters

Readers respond to Adrian Chiles’s article on the mysterious power of the genre

I am similar to Adrian Chiles (I may not understand jazz – but I know enough to know it’s wonderful, 26 June). I only have a rudimentary understanding of the theory and structures of jazz; like Adrian, I am blown away by the musicality of a jazz band, the balance between individual expression and group cohesion, and the often familiar tune warped and moulded into something unique. There is nothing musically to compare with a jazz musician soaring off into some cosmic place (Jack Kerouac describes this brilliantly in On the Road). At its best, jazz is a transcendental, almost spiritual experience.

When you have heard John Coltrane, or when you walked through a Rome park at midnight with a jazz band conjuring musical alchemy, some guys robotically knocking out the same few chords just doesn’t cut it. I like jazz because it moves me in the same way that Beethoven and Puccini do. I am no muso – I just appreciate the emotional effect.
Mark Paine

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