Monday, October 27, 2014

// 26. to love jazz //


By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man 
you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.
-Duke Ellington

My dad introduced me jazz music.  He loves jazz, so we listened to a lot of jazz in our house. I have so many great memories of doing the dishes together in the kitchen with our local jazz station on. Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, they have all been familiar to me since I was a little girl.  These were the songs my parents danced to in the kitchen, the songs my little sister and I pretended we could tap dance to. My dad and I danced to Louis Armstrong at my wedding. Because of all that, I love jazz too.  

When I was around 12 years old we happened upon the Ken Burns documentary, Jazz, on PBS. There's about 10 episodes, each over an hour long, and it goes through the entire history and development of jazz. If you've never seen it, it's wonderful and I highly recommend it.  Anyway, every night my entire family would gather around the TV to watch Jazz and learn even more about all the musicians we already loved. 

The thing about jazz that is so amazing to me is that is sounds so effortless and easy, but in my experience, it's the hardest kind of music to play. And it's the only kind of music I can't play.  I tried once.  One semester in college the jazz band needed a piano player and I thought that sounded like fun, so I went to a rehearsal. I'd been playing music almost all my life but when I looked at that jazz music I had no idea what to make of it.  We'll just say that I didn't last long in jazz band, but after my very brief stint at it, my appreciation, respect, and awe of jazz musicians increased  exponentially.

So I remain a jazz lover. I love how jazz can make you feel so many things. It can make you feel classy and swanky.  It can make you feel care free and goofy and all you want to do it tap your feet and dance. Sometimes it makes you feel introspective and melancholy. Whatever you're feeling, jazz is always a suitable life-soundtrack. 

Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz. 
-Louis Armstrong

Happy Birthday to my dad today! I love you!


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