Returning to Jazz

I’ve been coming back to jazz again lately, mostly as I consider new projects and pathways, but also as a project I’ve spent much of the past ten months working on begins to wrap up.

I’m not listening to anything specific, mostly whatever Spotify selects, but returning to the principals– and beauty– of jazz is both centering and inspiring. Both of which I need as I take on new challenges.

It’s hard, to take on new challenges. I’ve learned that lesson over and over again. With luck, I’ll keep on learning it.

And so I turn back to Marsalis, who, in To a Young Jazz Musician, writes:

I spent time thinking about what we should talk about in this first letter, and I came to the notion of humility. You consider yourself humble? Ever really think about it? Let me tell you, humility is the doorway to truth and clarity of objectives as a jazz musician; it’s the doorway to learning. Check it out.

When you start playing, you’ve got to have objectives: What are you playing? Why are you playing it? How do you want it to sound, and how will you achieve that sound? When you have those things clear in your mind, it’s much easier to teach yourself, and ultimately, that’s what you have to do. No one will ever teach you how to play.

I’ve neglected this blog this year, and so I’ll spend some time catching up. I have lessons to share from my work the past year, new mentors and friends who have shared their own ideas and time so generously with me. And because I’ll be starting a new routine soon, I’ll be posting Songs of the Day regularly. Because some days, we all need a little swing.