Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some more regarding learning about jazz.

Mrs. S is always picking up something interesting at the library for me. Yesterday, she brought home a CD called "Bernstein on Jazz", which is just what it sounds like: the great Leonard Bernstein talking about what jazz music is, what makes up jazz music, and how to tell jazz music from other music. It's another one of those CD's that, had I not listened to, I would not have felt a great sense of loss, but is one that while I'm listening to it, I keep picking up these little nuggets of information and perspective that I wouldn't have gained otherwise, or at least, would not have gained as soon and I'm not sure how I might have gained them anyway. Some of it made me smile all day long just to think about it. (He points out that classic blues are actually written in iambic pentameter and he proceeds to put Macbeth on a blues riff, which is almost as clever as having an opera singer sing a blues riff without syncopation and straight up without blues notes, which he also does.) When I walk around the company after learning something like that, I end up smiling to myself a lot because I think, nobody else knows what I know and I sense that everything else that surrounds me is so trivial when I am learning about and becoming more and more engaged in making music. It's a strangely euphoric, almost smug, feeling.

Bernstein also talks about "playing with" notes. That's what jazz musicians do. Jazz is the only musical art form where the performer and the creator are the same person. I realize that's one thing I need to work on: my creativity. I can play notes and makes songs sound respectable, but my music definitely lacks creativity at this point. This may not be a particularly dreadful thing. Creativity comes not just from talent, but also from knowledge, so, at least as long as I am increasing and improving my knowledge, my hope for achieving some level of meaningful creativity is also kept alive.

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