Color it blue

Wednesday, March 28, 2001 at 1:00am

Despite the rhetoric that occasionally emanates from either camp, there are far more similarities than differences between jazz and blues.

While blues artists depend on lyrics and jazz musicians utilize instruments, both styles emphasize improvisation and individuality. Any number of great blues guitarists can stretch out and offer dazzling solos, for example. Likewise, there are several first-rate jazz types who are quite proficient either backing or playing alongside blues musicians.

Several new releases explore the middle ground between jazz and blues. Some, like organist Jimmy Smith

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