The story of Nicky and his adventures with his special jazz friends is based
on the real life encounters between photographer Carol Friedman's cat Nicky
and the jazz artists whom she photographed through the years.
Nicky and these great artists were fast friends she says, This book celebrates
their encounters and the spirit of art, music and improvisation.
Friedman initially wrote Nicky the Jazz Cat to pay homage to Nicky and the
musicians, but came to realize that Nicky could be the perfect jazz messenger
for kids."His story opened a wonderful new window for children, so why not have
him introduce them to the music as well?" Knowing that young ears would not
respond to the extended instrumentals and sophistication that are often hallmarks of
jazz, she began a search for jazz tunes that would have a particular appeal to kids.
Many of the songs that made the cut for Nicky's Jazz For Kids were written
during the twenties, thirties, and forties and were widely recorded and performed
as dance and novelty tunes. As the novelty genre grew in popularity, some of
the great jazz musicians of the day adapted this light-hearted repertoire for their
own big band and small group recordings.
In this context, the songs took on a new identity and escaped the novelty
category by virtue of the superb musicianship and the very spirit of the
musicians themselves. Gillespie, Waller and Calloway are perfect examples.
They swing! "Swing was," Friedman says, "the first criterion for inclusion,and
the lyrics, of course, had to be child appropriate."
"Above all," says Friedman, "I looked for music that would capture a child's curiosity
through rhyme, rhythm or story, and would through the spirit of the performance
give children their first sense of jazz magic."
Nicky the Jazz Cat hopes that his new fansreaders, listeners and visitors to his
Website enjoy the jazz journey.
Dont forget to swing!