Born to Eastern European migrants, the sound of jazz was certainly not one of the sources of music we heard as children. Mom was into classical, my dad country music and soft rock. My brother loved and sweat rock and roll. So enjoy the environment your bought up in right?
Fast forward to my first year at university. A small jazz club in Toronto attracted my attention. Actually, all the lovely ladies that went there was the bait that brought me to my first experience of jazz. The singer went into a crazy long scat, but the music, the wonderful chaotic music stayed in my mind. I was used to experiencing planned, sheet music, with little freedom of expression within the arrangement. Jazz had something that appealed to my sensibilities, something anarchistic but oh so enjoyable.
Jazz is something you cannot understand. It is. That’s it. I went to a small cafe in New York, and experienced a wonderful thing. A small stage in the corner with three chairs sat seemingly waiting for someone. A drink or two later, three fella’s came in, sat down and just started to play. One of them was Woody Allen. Like comedic glee they took their turns making our emotions rise and fall, and suddenly the other stood up to carry on this musical journey. Then it stopped as suddenly as it started.
Jazz has a worldwide following, and it is sacred in many places in North America. What makes this type of music so uniquely successful you may ask? Well, I think it has the most humanly appealing musical talent available today. Musicians revel in a natural musical flow just like life, with its ups and downs, its repeating blasts of sorrow and joy.
Jazz is a reflection of humanity. While classical music attempts to control us, rock and roll overextend our expressions of humanity, Jazz is us. Humanity on a string…it laughs, cry’s, dabbles and depress us with the true freedom of being. Jazz is humanity at its most basic level. Where else can you accept a five-minute scat, even if it was being done by Diana Krall. Jazz does not need to be understood but enjoyed and lived.