be like jazz


be like jazz::improvise

Although I no longer read the newspaper each day, I do luxuriate in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle. Especially the “pink” section, the ubiquitous weekly insert that covers arts and entertainment.

I can’t even remember a time when there wasn’t a pink section; for all I know it’s been around since I was a kid. (And yes, it’s really called Datebook, but I don’t ever remember a time when I actually called it that.)

be like jazz::bebop

Anyway, there’s almost always a story in the pink section that inspires me and jumpstarts my brain. At least, something gets my juices flowing and connections are made.

be like jazz::riff

So one day I was catching up with some really old back issues and came across a wonderful article about the Jazzschool in Berkeley. Actually, it was a series of articles. And there was a quote from Laurie Antonioli, the vocal director, that rose up and did indeed get my juices flowing. She was talking about the challenges of teaching something so creative:

Here’s this thing that’s very expressive, emotive, and now we’re going to put it into a school, but you have to make sure you not wring the life out of it.

be like jazz::dig

I smiled when I read that, because I knew it wasn’t just about the school of jazz, but about the school of life. And that sometimes you forget you are your own beautiful instrument–as expressive and emotive as a tenor sax or a scat singer–and that you simply can’t go around wringing the life out of yourself all the time. Even in your quest for the brass ring or enlightenment or whatever it is you’re seeking.

be like jazz::cool

But in this world there are an awful lot of messages that can wring the life out of you, with their intensity and false urgency.

be like jazz::modulate

So is it any wonder that, alone in your room, playing your instrument, you can be such a nag to yourself? Needling and nudging. Hectoring yourself into submission. Until, without meaning to, you have wrung the life out of things.

be like jazz::transpose

What helps me is to remember that I can be more like jazz.

That we are all, simply, jazz.

You too, in fact, are jazz.

so be like jazz::original

be like jazz::vamp

be like jazz::bridge

be like jazz::boogie

be like jazz::free

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