Picture Book Review: Welcome to Jazz

Welcome to Jazz by Carolyn Sloan
Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Celebration of America’s Music, Featuring “When the Saints Go Marching In”
by Carolyn Sloan

5 out of 5 stars

Three cats visit a Jazz club in New Orleans, and learn all about how jazz music is made. They learn about beats and rhythm, melody and harmony, various instruments and their sounds, and how improvisation works. They learn a little about the history of jazz and how it all began in Congo Square in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I am so impressed with this book! The whole design is wonderful, and I loved the recordings you can play by pushing the buttons. Each button plays a different section of “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and teaches the reader about which instruments play harmony, melody, and bass lines. Then the entire band comes together with the vocalists to play the song.
The illustrations are colorful and the little kitten characters are so cute! I really like the cartoony art style, and the dialogue bubbles for each character. There are also information boxes on each page that explain more about each component of the music.

The story really reflects the rich African-American culture, and the ground-breaking new sounds that Louis Armstrong pioneered when jazz was born. I loved reading about the history behind the birth of jazz music, and how it developed over the years to include different instruments, rhythms, and types of sound. And yet, the writing does not feel like a history book. The story is fun and light-hearted with snippets of information woven into the fun.

I love this book! But as a pianist, I was disappointed that there isn’t a button for a piano recording, and the piano is barely mentioned in the story. Poor pianists are stuck in the back while the trumpet players take all the glory. haha!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts and are not influenced by anyone.

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