I'm sitting in a beautiful library at the Cascade Vail Resort in...you guessed it...Vail, Colorado. Why am I here. A multitude of reasons. I'm here because I chose to be here, I'm here because of a series of choices I've made throughout my life and will continue to make for the good or the bad. And more importantly, I realize that whatever choice I make, unless its intentional in its nature to harm someone, will lead me to somewhere unexpected more times than not.
A few months ago I made the choice to listen to an editor at Harper Collins when he said, go for it. No one's done this before.
I went for it.
And he was right.
No one has done this before.
I'm writing a book no one has done before. No, its not a full length graphic novel on the Care Bears and their fight against terrorism nor is it a vampire novel with a twist.
I'm merely supporting the jazz community. How I'm doing this is not going to be revealed so much here on this blog or any blog at the moment, but all I can say is that it's going well. As for those that don't know me in the real sense of the word, I was a jazz major and musician in my previous life. I played trumpet, lead trumpet to be specific and even got to the point to where I was quite successful at gigs etc. Burn outs, children and other choices years later and I stopped playing.
So, I am channeling my abilities from my musical education at the post secondary level into writing. My new found love of whom even after almost four years, I still haven't moved past the honeymoon period.
This brings me to tonight. I'm sitting in a ballroom at this resort, and with some of the best musicians and most appreciative audiences this side of the Mississippi and I begin to think. Last night, history was played out in my town. Obama was a thunderous wave of energy to reckon with and I'll be damned if this wave of energy doesn't cause a shock that turns into a political Tsunami throughout the rest of this war between the "parties."
He spoke of changes in all aspects of this country and essentially what is so wonderfully brilliant about Obama is the fact that he wants to bring the essence of American culture back to America. And while being a part of this jazz party here, I see that its needed more than ever.
Musicians celebrated posthumously, hardly able to share their art with others for the lack of intelligent expression in this country...CD sales down, jazz literally dying. For the love of...ok, I'll end the drama.
But what Jazz really is, is a simple conversation. Benny Green played tonight. He's one of the greatest piano players of our time and if I ever win the literary lottery he may have to reside to the fact that he WILL be my nightly entertainment. But I think if every household replaced even an hour of their TV time with real, intelligent entertainment like this, we would all be in a better place for this simple choice. Maybe because of this one choice, we could all understand eachother better and get along in a way that is uncommon now and not just because of the romanticsm of a song but because this music is conversation.
It's the kind of conversation that provokes thought and evokes emotional outpouring of your inner self. The kind that after a nice glass of wine you want to unwind, reach out and connect with your spouse, friend, partner etc... Sharing the moment, relaxing and connecting, an art of itself that is seemingly lost in the technology of today. For jazz is but a conversation between the musicians. They play off of eachother, talking to one another through thoughts that need no words and let the beauty and sensuality of sound without words take over as an intelligent form of communication that moves you beyond the normal accepted modes of love and friendship. The technology of our lives is nothing compared to what could be if we just made the choice these guys make.
I call for a slow movement of our own. A cessation of the advancement and progress of technology in this sense and let the in-the-moment flavoring of jazz to take over our palettes. This is what our country was founded upon...the ability to think and to find a medium of intelligent discussion without the prejudicial thoughts of the world. What has happened? We have left it behind. And who knew it better than anyone? The slaves, the ones who brought this music to life. They were the ones considered absent of freedom and we all, knowing now what history has brought us in life lessons feel a certain intangible guilt and innate sadness knowing the past, at least I do, but we must realize that the retraction of intelligence and the opportunistic infection of stupidity has brought the slavery of stupidity back into our lives. We are slaves in our own right and in our own world. It's not about race, nationality or modality, its about the lives we think we must live and do live. But what makes jazz so beautiful and the music of America is that it transcends race, age and nationality. It is what we stand for, or at least what we should.
Jazz is a choice, intelligence is a choice, its what we do with these choices, as Rene Marie says, that define us.
Stay tuned, three more days of essays to follow based on and written and inspired by live jazz.