A slide through the foundational instruments and elements of jazz, with push-button sound clips.
Three cats (of the feline sort) get hep (“This music makes me wanna dance in my seat!” “That’s because it’s got a great groove.” “It sure does. Wait! What’s a groove?”) as they take in a jazz combo on a club stage and then follow the music out onto the street. Sloan (Welcome to the Symphony, 2015) fills in the bass line with historical notes, covering the development of jazz as “an African American art form” from early days in New Orleans’ Congo Square to the arrival of Louis Armstrong, and explaining important terms such as “improvisation” and “scat singing.” Prompts in the narrative lead readers to a dozen short clips taken from an original recording of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Buttons that trigger the clips are lined up to the side and produce isolated flurries from select instruments, a snatch of clarinet solo, a bit of voiced scat, and a few seconds of the main theme as an effervescent instrumental and also with call-and-response lyrics. A portrait gallery in one cartoon illustration that gives nods to five early jazz greats (all, like the fictive modern band on stage, African American) is backed up at the end with a limited but at least somewhat more expansive playlist of classic tracks for further listening, though caregivers who want to introduce kids to bebop and other later styles are on their own.
A swinging invitation to get into the groove. (glossary) (Informational novelty. 6-9)