Bridget A. Arnwine
Bridget A. Arnwine is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association.
I was born to teen-aged parents in Cleveland, OH in the early 70s. From the time I was young, I always loved expressing myself, but I was also terribly shy. I used to dream of being a model and dancer, but I thought myself too small and uncoordinated to be successful at either. So, with my mother's encouragement, I focused on academics.
At fourteen, I was awarded a scholarship, through the A Better Chance program, to attend high school in Williamstown, MA. Reluctantly, I left my mother and younger sister behind in pursuit of what the scholarship claimed to offer- a better chance. There, I was exposed to rap, racism, and rock-n-roll.
While some of my friends from the local college listened to jazz music, jazz was not interesting to me then. I was far more intrigued by groups like Metallica, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, and Run DMC. Pretty soon it was more rap/hip hop than anything else. I don't know how I graduated high school or college, because I had become so enamored with hip hop culture that little else besides athletics and dance mattered.
In 1995, I met Wynton Marsalis and my life was forever changed. He single-handedly got me to care about the importance/relevance of jazz music and I'll always be grateful to him for that. Now some of my favorites include: Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Branford, and, of course, Wynton Marsalis.
I did not grow up in a musical family; I did not grow up hearing my mother play Coltrane records around the house; and I definitely did not grow up singing or playing an instrument before I could walk. I write to express my love for jazz and hip hop music. Period. I hope that comes through to anyone who reads my words.