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Connie Crothers: Ideas for a Jazz Renaissance

By Published: November 15, 2006
Spontaneous improvisation could be placed in the center of our music. Instant composing can produce excellent music, complex and gratifying, but it has an entirely different feel. Spontaneous improvising—when we create music in the split second we are in, from what we deeply feel—makes our art form what it is. There is the old saying, without roots, no flower. We can enhance our awareness of the phenomenon of spontaneous improvisation by personally reconnecting with the early crucible decades of our music, when the musicians lived this. I recommend singing with the solos of the originating masters: Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Christian, to name a few. It is a better contact with them than getting their solos from written music and stronger than listening to the records. When you sing with them, you can feel like you're actually there.

A jazz renaissance needs musicians. We can hardly afford to stay in this city anymore. I've written Mayor Bloomberg, requesting the construction of a building for musicians, with soundproof living units, rehearsal spaces and a performance space.

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