Have you gotten the ads from the "get in shape" crowd? I have, and it always feels strange to me. It isn't that I don't think I need it, I clearly do. It isn't that I think that this is a bad time to think about health, it is. It is just that I think that health is always relevant, not just when we are writing resolutions for the new year. I think about Jazz in the same way. This music is always relevant. It teaches us about ourselves, but also demands that we engage in a collective process so that we can have musical community.
As the year 2021 ushers in, we greet it with a fair amount of disfunction. And it is precisely at this moment of our disfunction and of our tension that I see the importance of this music. Jazz teaches us how to engage in disparate ideas. It teaches us that we must act on both our individual impulses and our collective obligations. Jazz teaches us how to organize ideas, how to develop them with other musicians, how to evolve, and how to come together. It is clear to me that there are many people who need to deal with the blues as a way of curing themselves of their own personal blues. And it is also clear that there are a lot of people who have a need to express themselves in a soulful and honest way. This is what our music is about. This is how it was built, and how it continues to thrive. The purpose of jazz has never been more important and more relevant.
So those are some words to let settle. I think they give urgency and purpose to our artistic craft, and I hope that this blog and the members only section of this site provide you with resources to develop and grow. I have taken some time over the past several weeks to map out what our direction will be for topics over the next several months. The rest of January will feature several blog posts on learning tunes. This includes a good practice routine for learning tunes as well as tunes that do not follow the 12-bar blues that important for jazz musicians to learn.
February is going to return to the topic of transcription. Rather than a larger overview however, I will present some specific strategies that can be effective in whatever it is you are transcribing. During the month of March I want to take time to focus on some of the great literature that exists within the world of jazz. Whether it be Albert Murray's philosophy of the blues, or several of great biographies or even some fictional works there are tons of great books that can draw you deeper into this music and provide even more fulfillment. Lastly, April will be a return to tunes, but this time with some "out of the box" strategies for internalizing melody and harmony so that we can construct engaging solos. We will go through this process together with the jazz standard How High the Moon.
Lots of cool things on the way. Feel free to reach out and comment. I value all of you who take the time to read my ramblings! If you are benefiting from this and want to dive deeper consider becoming a member and receiving access to the members only part of this site.