Dr. Jim Szana (pronounced “ZAH na”) or simply known as Jim is a retired dentist of 50 years. He worked in Pierre and Murdo, South Dakota for 45 years, and 5 years in the United States Air Force.
Jim says, “The bossa nova sound of Jobim has always fascinated me. I like the happy samba sound and the unusual chord structure that is Jobim. In my late teens and early twenties Ramsey Lewis made a real impression on me. I liked the way he played Beatles and other popular groups in his own style. Recently, I have come to appreciate Dave Brubeck who is clearly in a league of his own, his chromatic patterns can be very complex. Because I never played in any band until 1998, I already had my “style” and that leaks out in virtually every song I play.”
Jim is also a Viet Nam veteran and that experience has colored his world. The idea Good Evening Viet Nam did not just occur to him, rather it consumed and over took him.
Jim’s wife Sandy created the “Good Evening Viet Nam” cover painting and also painted the cover of his newly published book, Origins and Suffering.
Why does Jim play jazz? “Jazz is improvisation. I make a lot of mistakes and when you try and correct your mistakes on the fly you can come up with some interesting scenarios. Some of my best riffs have occurred under the duress of being totally lost. Besides, who wants to play anything the same way every time?”
Jim’s musical style of combining songs in unexpected delicate ways, really does allow the listener to make familiar things new.