Hostage To Good Sounds
It might have a lot more to do with availability than dislike for the nature of jazz. I remember reading somewhere, possibly an interview with Buk or a bio, that he got into classical music because it was what he found on the radio sometime early in his life, and he just kept listening to it in his room while he wrote. To find really good jazz, though, one had to be out on the road looking for a nightclub (a la Kerouac), something that Buk didn't really enjoy.
Maybe if he could have sat at his typer and listened to jazz, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
I grew up in the Los Angeles area, so here's another take on Bukowski and music.
There was indeed a jazz radio station in LA during the '50s, '60s, and '70's"”KNOB, later KKGO. But it had a commercial format and commercials can become intrusive and aggravating to write to. Later on, KLON, a non-commercial jazz station located at California State University in Long Beach, became available to listeners in 1981. Bukowski certainly had his chance to hear jazz, and probably did so if only in passing.
Elsewhere, in the classical market, there was KFAC, a commercial station that Bukowski certainly listened to; and then KUSC, a non-profit station, came along in 1981, and there were informative announcers who usually gave interesting background information on each piece. One of the great features of this station is that it plays uninterrupted music from midnight to 6 AM, and I think that was perfect for Bukowski and his penchant for writing in the wee hours of the night. (He obviously could write at other times as well.)
Jazz is an entirely different vibe (no pun intended). There's the constant percussive effects of the drums... the vocals... the wail of the brasses... the trumpet solos... the big bands...and so on. In the classical genre, there are the violins... violas... cellos... string bases..., and the brasses and woodwinds are usually more blended in with the overall orchestral sound.
Plus, most classical music has been around for over 200 years, and one becomes familiar with the lives of the composers who wrote many of these compositions. If Bukowski had been a musician, I don't think he would have been a Charlie Parker. In fact, I don't think he'd have any kind of a jazz counterpart. But if he'd been in the world of classical music, he might have been one of the greats like a Beethoven or Brahms. Or a Hugo Wolf or a Sibelius.
Of course, these comparisons exist only in my imagination. Still, I'm a former jazz musician, familiar with its history, and I don't see Bukowski fitting into that world, and this is another reason why I view him as an outsider to the world of the Beats. Many of the Beats were crazy about jazz and even tried to write like improvising jazz soloists. Kerouac actually did a jazz/poetry album with two of the great tenor players of the '40s and '50s: Zoot Sims and Al Cohn.
I would find it hard to imagine Bukowski doing a jazz/poetry album with anyone, being too much of an outsider and more attune to the sonorities of the orchestra colors and the fact that it's mostly non-verbal and may tell a more complex story. Most of the pieces are longer than in jazz, and one can really get into them without being pulled out too soon or as easily distracted. This is not a put-down of jazz, most of which I happen to love.
The above is merely an educated guess on my part, but I do think he loved the long uninterrupted nights of music on KUSC"”perfect for writing undisturbed. And write and write and write he did, with his friendly bottles of wine for additional inspiration and companionship. Those who grew up in Los Angeles will be familiar with the FM stations I've mentioned and might imagine the same possibilities. "”Poptop.