Why do I love Jazz …you ask??? Ok maybe you didn’t ask but I love jazz and the main reason I love it is it engages me in a way that other music does not. The harmony keeps me guessing and smiling all the way through the standard.
I love the conversational exchanges between musicians on stage. The interactions are spontaneous; they happen in the moment and never happen again. I love listening to a bass player and a piano bumping around each other without stepping on each others’ toes. I love the way each musician takes a turn with a solo and just as quickly fades into a background accompanist.
My daughter thinks that Jazz is simply chaos. I really don’t know how to respond to that idea, because I see simple beauty and order to the way the music flows from standard to improvisation and back to the standard. I once shared with a friend that I loved Jazz and that I was learning Jazz piano. Her comment has always stuck with me. She said, “That doesn’t surprise me, you never have liked following rules.” I remember wondering if she had any idea just how many things go into “not following the rules.”
At the time, I was in the middle of learning all the different chords and scales. I was just starting to voice those chords in open positions with the small wonderful internal harmonies. It was at that time that I started to realize that I was doing what I loved and most people simply will not understand.
In a lot of ways Jazz is like tea. There are a lot of different flavors but trying to get a coffee drinker to taste tea often enough to find a flavor they like is difficult. On the other hand, for people who really love tea, there is nothing lovelier or more comforting then a nice, perfectly steeped, whole leaf, cup of tea.
People, who get it, simply get it and for all the rest there are no words. I would like to say that you have to let the music speak for itself, but most people will never listen to jazz long enough to understand. It is like when you spill water down the front of your white t-shirt and you quickly brush off the droplets without getting your t-shirt wet. On the other hand if you allow the water to sit on your t-shirt it will permeate the fiber and your shirt will be soppy wet.
Jazz requires time to permeate your being but once it does you will understand why I love Jazz. You will understand why I spend hours and hours learning Jazz. This kind of music springs out of oppression, and bondage, it celebrates freedom and the present moment. Bringing joy, Jazz nurtures creativity and feeds the soul.