Rebecca Martin: Paradox Of Continuity


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A lot of times when I
Rebecca MartinTo assume that singer/writer Rebecca Martin's comparatively small recorded output is a reflection of her level of development as an artist would be a mistake. Her latest recording is with Paul Motian on his recently released Trio 2000 + 1 Winter & Winter recording, On Broadway Vol. 4: Or The Paradox Of Continuity. She is the first vocalist to record for the legendary drummer's On Broadway series. Upon first consideration, Motian's often elliptical style and Martin's more straightforward approach to melody could seem to make strange bedfellows. But like minds and different approaches do not have to be mutually exclusive and that's evidenced on this new record.

Martin's main focus in the past, however, has been the writing of her own material. Most of her previous records consist of material written (or co-written) by herself, and could be thought of as being in the singer/songwriter style. But labeling the music with a "style/genre is almost always limiting for an artist like Martin. She has released one record as a co-leader with the great songwriter Jesse Harris in their group Once Blue, and others on her own, including Thoroughfare (Independent, 1999), and People Behave Like Ballads (MaxJazz, 2004).

Then there's Middlehope which was released on Fresh Sound New Talent in 2002. It's the record she's probably most known for inside jazz circles and certainly her most jazz-oriented record before the Motian date. It's almost entirely standards, some well-known and some more obscure, and the band consists of some of the very best players.

Speaking with Martin at a restaurant/café in her hometown one gets an interesting mix of intensity and calm. Her energy is strong but in no way intimidating. And her ideas, while often thoroughly thought-out and well lived-in, are still open. We spoke about all of her projects to date, her writing process, and much more.

Rebecca Martin: So I want to thank you for doing [this interview] on me. I really appreciate it. And it's good to talk about Paul's thing [Motian's Paradox Of Continuity] because it didn't really get much promotion. I kind of understand. It's difficult to do a real concentrated thing in America. It's so big. Also, the market for jazz is so small. But it would've been nice to have it available on iTunes. So I'm really appreciative of people talking about it.

Plus it's an unusual record, I think, for people. It was a blast to make. One day, all first or second takes. I was eight months pregnant while I was singing. It's just an incredible opportunity to work in that context because always leading groups is limiting to a certain degree. You can learn so much by being led. Especially by someone like Paul.

All About Jazz: How did this record get off the ground?

RM: What happened was he was playing with [bassist] Larry [Grenadier] at The Village Vanguard early last year, 2005.

AAJ: With The Electric Be-Bop Band?

RM: No, it was the 2000 + 1 project—[saxophonist] Chris Potter, Larry, [pianist] Masabumi Kikuchi, and Paul. So he said to Larry, "Do you think Rebecca would do a record with me without a chordal player?

AAJ: That's the big difference, to my ear, between the other records I have by you and this one.

RM: Yeah, yeah. So I called Larry while I was on my way to a session in Brooklyn or something, and he said, "Paul wants to do a record with you. Paul is truly one of the first musicians I ever heard live in New York City with his trio with [saxophonist] Joe Lovano and [guitarist] Bill Frisell. It really touched me so much and so deeply. I have so many memories about that time period anyway, in New York. Coming to New York...

AAJ: When was that? Mid-'80s?

RM: No. Early '90s. 1990 or 1991. And then I worked with [guitarist] Kurt [Rosenwinkel] in Once Blue and Kurt was working with Paul then in The Electric Be-Bop Band. Then [guitarist] Steve Cardenas ended up in The Electric Be-Bop Band and Larry, of course, worked with Paul at different times. Actually Larry worked with Paul for the first time with [keyboardist] Larry Goldings on this great trio record he did with Paul called Awareness (Warner Bros., 1996).

AAJ: Wow. I haven't heard of that. So just the two Larrys and Paul?

RM: Yeah. It's incredible. It's Larry Goldings' compositions on piano. That was the first time I think that Larry Grenadier worked with Paul. And then in 2000 he did Trio 2000 + 1 (Winter&Winter). So, anyway, I was thrilled just to be asked as a singer for a project like this. Again, it was another great education in learning new songs; such was Middlehope. You know—the process of discovering singers and songs. I just really love interpreting songs so much.

AAJ: The Middlehope record was your date so I assume you chose the material for it?

RM: Yeah

AAJ: Who chose the tunes you sang on Paradox of Continuity? Did you pick them?

RM: Yeah. One of the great things about Paul leading is that he leads but he's very open. He lets you choose takes, he lets you choose songs. It's really incredible. In fact when I showed up to the session he said, "Okay—what arrangement do you want to do Rebecca? I said, "What do you mean? [laughs]. What arrangement?

AAJ: So, you had chosen the tunes ahead of time and told him what they were and then you just got together and he asked you how you wanted to arrange them?

RM: Yeah. Well, he threw out some ideas, which we did. He chose "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me. He chose a couple others; I forget which. But he let me bring stuff in like "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?

AAJ: That's my favorite.

RM: I love that one too. And I brought "In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town and "How Long Has This Been Going On I think, and "Tea For Two as a ballad, which I discovered through Blossom Dearie. She does an unbelievable version of that song as a ballad with Ray Brown, I think, on bass.

AAJ: Just Ray on bass and Blossom singing?

RM: No. I think it's Blossom playing piano as well and maybe Jo Jones playing drums. I can't remember. I think my favorite one on Paradox Of Continuity is "How Long Has This Been Going On. One of the issues for me working on this record was to go back and find all the verses to the songs. You know, to treat it like it was a song. Well, I shouldn't say like a song that I'd written, that's not what I mean. But to honor the actual song and maybe the songwriter's intentions.

AAJ: Yeah. Verses are left out kind of regularly, right? Which is not so great...

RM: Oh, I think it's absolutely terrible because the verses change the whole meaning of the song. It's almost as if the verses have been eliminated for the instrumentalists to just blow through or lift off or something. But without them you miss the melodic part of the tune that's so important in the lyric that changes the entire meaning of the song from that little first part of the tune. It's less understandable for me with singers because a lot of singers don't sing the tunes with all the verses either. To me, just lyrically, that's so important. But I don't know why it's been done like that for so long, for the most part.

AAJ: Maybe it's got something to do with most of these singers not being writers themselves—and you're a writer as well as a singer—so they're not coming at it from a writer's perspective.

RM: But I'm worried that it has to do with listening; not listening to enough versions of the tune to get back to the source. Because so many of the great singers sang the verses. In a way, it almost seems like a lot of singers are imitating the instrumentalists and just singing what they're hearing without doing the research. And again, that's not a fact. But it seems odd that if you listen to even just half a dozen versions that you can just get on iTunes, you don't even have to go looking that far; the verses are there: Doris Day, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald...just real common, well-known singers, not to mention the more obscure ones. So, like I said, I suspect the verses have been left out over the years because they're not really a section—they're odd measures or bars. So you can't really solo over it. If you're coming back to the top of the tune to blow...

AAJ: Maybe it's too much work to try to incorporate the verse.

RM: Yeah, I'm not sure. But that's what I suspect. It was eliminated so that it was easier to call out and play. But man, it'd be nice to get the verses in there as much as you can. That was really important to me. For Middlehope as well.

AAJ: So the tune you said was your favorite from Motian's record, "How Long Has This Been Going On, that has a verse, right?

RM: There is. It's a great verse.

AAJ: I played it for my dad and he had kind of a funny reaction to the words in the verse. He actually thought there was something relatively sinister going on, in the beginning of it. You can listen to that and make that leap.

RM: They've been changed a little bit. Actually the original lyric is creepy. I'm not quite sure what it means yet. I got together with a friend the other day and we were going through it. Louis Armstrong I think says, "...as a tot when I trotted in little velvet panties, which is closer to the actual lyric.

There are two verses. I'm not sure if it's done in a duet or if there are two separate verses with one written for a female and one written for a male. I haven't gone that far back to research it yet. But another thing I've noticed with verses is that the singers who have done them often change the lyric slightly to make the meaning, maybe, more clear to them, because some of the language is really old. This is what I suspect. They're trying to update the meaning somewhat, which I appreciate. For instance, there's this tune "Kentucky Babe, that I think Hoagy Carmichael wrote. It's a pretty racist tune in just the way the singer is interpreting the tune. But back in the day when it was written —I think it was in the '30s—and performed in a show or whatever, it was just pretty much accepted, you know. It's more dialect or slang. It's just the way she's singing it. It's definitely not something you can sing today.

AAJ: Who's singing this one?

RM: I think it's Maxine Sullivan. That wouldn't make sense though because I don't think she was around then. I'd have to look. I'll look and let you know, because it's a beautiful song.

AAJ: So you think she might've changed some of the language?

RM: She wouldn't have. But if you were going to sing that today you might think about updating it somewhat. But then—t's such a tricky thing.

AAJ: You mean just so that people understand it. Maybe changing the language but not necessarily the meaning so that people could understand it now?

RM: That's a really good question. Are you changing it so people can understand it more clearly or are you changing it because it's racist?

AAJ: Right. You can change the language but not necessarily change the meaning so much, so that people get the point because we're in a different time.

RM: I don't know what you would do. But it wouldn't surprise me if somebody chose to sing that song and updated the lyrics. Some of the lyrics that I'm finding that were interpreted in the '50s, say in Blossom Dearie's case, or in the '80s and early '90s, were changed to suit [the singers] and it was done beautifully. It's a delicate balance because you don't want to change the meaning of the song or go too far from the intention of the writer. It's delicate for sure. But the changes that I found I thought were really well done. It's like a person who interprets a lyric and then writes a song that's loosely based on the lyric that was originally written. Sometimes that works great and sometimes it really doesn't. If you were to translate it literally it probably would be very hard to sing in English, for example. Those words in English would be difficult to sing to the existing melody. Some translations don't have the same poetic meaning in another language as they do in their original language. So if you translate something and it's not singing well, the melody, or it just sounds off...

AAJ: There are some languages where there isn't even have one word in English to describe something that might have, say, four words to describe.

RM: Right, right. One time I worked with this Japanese singer in this big pop band in Japan. My job was to help her take the translations of her Japanese lyrics and make them work better in English. Man...we kept running up against that. All these meanings that were beautiful and rich, and when they translated into English just didn't make any sense. So to try to get that feeling of the tunes in English without changing the song was really a great challenge. Interpretation is incredible. It's endless.

AAJ: So you and Paul both brought tunes to this session; he knew that he didn't want to have a chordal player, piano or guitar, on the tunes you were singing, right?

RM: Yeah.

AAJ: For me that's the biggest difference between this and Middlehope. The vibe is real different. Even with the same bassist, same singer, mostly standards and similar style arrangements, it has a very different feeling. For me I think it's mainly because, besides Paul, there are no chords being laid down. It's much sparer.

RM: Well, also Chris and Paul. Paul creates a whole lot of space and yet finds the groove in everything. He's so spacious and open and in the moment. He's playing all the time like a kid. It's beautiful to sing to. And then you've got Chris Potter. He's so strong and has so much to say, so many ideas.

AAJ: Very different from [saxophonist] Bill McHenry's playing on your other records. Great, for sure, just very different.

RM: Bill McHenry acts more as a foil to my singing. Chris is just kind of in his own world. It's very different just in that way. I like it a lot without a chordal player. I've really enjoyed it. It gives me plenty of room to just sing the melody straight. The challenge is to do it with the band and to listen. I mean, you can do that with anything. It doesn't matter how many players you have. There was something about it that was so open, even though Chris was saying plenty and beautifully. I also thought his sound was great on the record. The engineer was phenomenal on this record. You can mention him (Adrian von Ripka). He blew my mind that guy.

AAJ: Where'd you record? Somewhere in the city [New York]?

RM: It was at Avatar. This engineer was brought in from Germany. Boy, he was amazing.

AAJ: Yeah, everything is extremely clear. It's kind of warm but there's an edge on it—more of an edge than your records as a leader, which are very warm and kind of cushy, almost soft-like, texture-wise. Maybe it's just the lack of instruments and chordal accompaniment.

RM: I think my records tend to have warmth anyway.

AAJ: Yeah, definitely. Middlehope and People Behave Like Ballads are very warm. Almost round-like, the sound. This Motian record is really different texturally.

RM: That's a really nice compliment because that's what I try to accomplish with my records. Paradox of Continuity was not my record. This was a record I was invited in to do. You have to accommodate other people's styles and ways of working and be flexible. There's a lot to learn in that context especially with these kinds of players. So all I was really trying to do was be completely in the moment with Paul and just sing the best that I could that day. I'm really proud of that. I really enjoyed it.

AAJ: Rhythmically it's very different from your other records as well. Because Paul, like you were saying earlier, he's playing all the time, but...

RM: There's still lots of space.

AAJ: Oh yeah, he leaves tons of space. He, of course, has great time and is a wonderful drummer, but for me he's not essentially a time-keeper. That doesn't always feel like his main role to me, on more than half the record or so. So it's like the time-keeping was equally distributed amongst the four of you, with you oftentimes being the main time-keeper of the pulse singing the melody relatively straight. Kind of unusual for you. And Larry isn't playing four-to-the-bar kind of stuff most of the time, you know, the "swing tune thing.

RM: That was implied. It comes in and out of the song. There's always an anchor, even with Masabumi, who's just completely out there. I hear Paul going in and out but then I knew what was happening that day. Larry and Chris were really trying to keep the melody intact with Masabumi. [But] with me, and this is what I was hearing, Larry was able play more with Paul, and Chris and I were able to have more interplay. Because the way would I sing the melody, it was clear what the song was. Masabumi takes more liberties and it's not always clear what the song or melody is with Masabumi. That's a nice contrast too. Besides the fact that not all of these songs are "Broadway songs, which is also a contrast for me.

AAJ: Yeah, I like the contrast as well. It took me a minute to get used to the difference of Chris with you as opposed to Bill playing off of you like he does on Middlehope and Ballads.

RM: So different.

AAJ: Yeah, so different. They're both fantastic players, but Chris' playing on this record was relatively "out compared to Bill. He's not holding back; not necessarily just trying to compliment what you're singing or just lead the group into the bridge with a phrase or whatever. A lot of the time he's really going for it.

RM: He's playing the harmony. It was really fun for me and that's what's remarkable about Chris.

AAJ: For me, it's also really impressive for you to do what you're doing with Chris playing what he's playing at times. There's one tune in particular where Chris ends his solo with some pretty out stuff and you come in singing straight melody right through this stuff and it's a really interesting dichotomy; or clash, almost.

RM: I think it's "The Folks Who Live On The Hill. I think that's it. What ends up happening in that tune is I don't sing the bridge the first time around, which I really liked. Chris is just blowing...playing. Blowing is the wrong word. He's playing over the bridge and that's where his solo section starts and then I come back in at the bridge. He's not playing the melody at all in that. He's just going all around, in and out of the harmonic quality of the tune.

AAJ: He does that quite a bit on this record—playing inside and then more outside.

RM: Just playing every note. One of the things that was challenging about it was trying to listen to all that he was doing and keep it straight, but also to be listening. When there's that much music going on, it's very challenging to be listening. But as we performed live, that happened more. It was a good test.

AAJ: What happened more? You guys just playing off of each other?

RM: Well I don't know if he was playing off of me or not. I'd say he was in the sense that I was singing the melody so clearly which gave him a really strong home base to work around in this context. But I know I was listening really hard to what he was doing just to, if nothing else, work phrasing-wise within what he was playing. Not so much changing the melody. Even when I'd come back in where it's traditional for singers to improvise. I don't really do that. It's not something I do. It's not my forte so I don't generally try.

I think that if there's anything similar to that in the way that I sing it's more of an emotional or communication thing. I communicate the lyric in a way that might resonate with someone. Sometimes people work so technically that you don't really have the chance to have an intimacy with whatever the person is playing. I believe that that's what I offer in these kinds of situations. Besides the fact that I'm singing things clearly, and the lyric [is clear]. So often people come up after some standard at these gigs and say, "Thank you for just singing the song. It's really nice to discover the song and to hear the melody and the lyric without any embellishment. And I think, "Well, it's my pleasure to try to do that as best as I can, to honor the writing of the song. But also, it's all I can do (laughs). It's not like they're going to get a big-ass solo out of me.

AAJ: So scatting or soloing isn't really your forte and you don't really do that but...

RM: Or just taking liberties with the melody...

AAJ: But you said you've got maybe some other kind of emotional connection to certain phrases, or parts of a melody/lyric...

RM: ...that I can communicate.

AAJ: I notice that in certain lines, parts of a tune, or a certain phrase you'll change—and this is my personal perception—you'll change the texture of your voice to impart a certain sentiment in a particular part of a phrase. It seems relatively consistent to me that it happens, so I'm assuming it can't be a coincidence that the quality or texture of your voice switches in certain phrases and that it's intentional.

RM: You know what? It happens a lot. It actually surprises me when it happens because I don't think it's the way I speak. I'm not trying to do that. But I know what you mean because it happens and it feels like the right thing. Somehow the phrase has a little extra length that's not really sound it's more texture. Maybe it has to do with really trying to connect with the lyric—in that moment that's how I'm feeling somehow. Maybe the way that I communicate through voice, through sound/song is consistent just like the way I speak is consistent. But they're very different things. I'm not really sure what that is actually and it's not like vibrato or something intentional where you just start doing it and suddenly you've got a vibrato. I'm pretty sure vibrato is intentional.

AAJ: For me, what I'm noticing isn't the same every time either. There's a couple different things that are hard to put into words, the change in your delivery. But it feels really natural and fits with the lyric.

RM: Well that's nice to hear, John. I really think that when I'm singing or speaking they're very similar. Except that when I'm singing there's something that automatically connects to some other thing in me or in something that communicates a certain specific way. Maybe this is a good way to describe it: When I'm speaking I'm more in my head thinking about what I'm going to say, how I'm going to say it. But when I'm singing there's some of that going on, but they're just two different ways of communication. It could also just have been picking up sounds and influences from musicians I've played with over the years. That's very possible. I just don't know. But it's not something that I've got the time to think about when I'm singing. I'm sure of that.

AAJ: So how was {New York club] Banjo Jim's?

RM: It was really great. I was there for a week. After playing at The Vanguard every night I realized how good that is for the music, playing two sets a night continually for the week. By the time you're halfway through your week the music is getting somewhere. In the singer-songwriter world these days, unless you're on tour, you get to play once a week at best. But not even that every month. You might choose a month and play every week and then that's it. So you have to wait six days in between each gig to make music. It's a bit constipated actually.

Part of the reason I wanted to play every night is that we're so far from the city and it's a big schlep for us to organize the baby, the animals, and the whole thing. It's easier on me to go in and do a week for a lot of reasons. So it was really fun. Every night I played [at Banjo Jim's] with a different chordal player or horn player: Peter Rende on Fender Rhodes, Ben Waltzer on Rhodes again, then Chris Speed on clarinet, who I've known for a long time. He plays in that group called Human Feel with [drummer] Jim Black. He plays with a lot of folks. Great musician, oh my god. They're all great musicians.

AAJ: So was it the two of you plus a bassist?

RM: Larry playing bass and a drummer named R.J. Miller I've been playing with lately. He's really talented. He's also from Maine just like me. We met in the city. He's a lot younger. Super talented guy. He's come to New York and he's going to be a busy cat one of these days.

AAJ: Well he was busy last week.

RM: Yup, yup. I'm going to keep him busy too for a while. He's a very supportive and understated drummer. A special musician. All of them are. And playing with Larry is heavenly. He makes everything sound so good.

AAJ: Yeah. He's a special bassist. No doubt about that. It must be great because of the relationship you two have.

RM: It's wonderful because we both want to play together. We really enjoy it and we can also be together and we can have our son with us. It's an opportunity for him to play so differently than how he normally plays, with real structured short songs, which is a challenge unto itself. And the parts he creates are amazing. So it was nice [Banjo Jim's].

AAJ: Were you playing some of your new songs there?

RM: Yeah. All of them.

AAJ: So the music for them is obviously written already as well. Are they like those on People Behave Like Ballads, where you pretty much wrote both all the music and lyrics?

RM: Yup.

AAJ: I don't remember where I read this, but I thought I read where you mentioned something, and this was surprising to me, about the melodies dictating your lyrics. Is that how you usually go about that?

RM: Every time.

AAJ: So you'll come up with the melody first for, say, an entire tune or a line or two of melody will give you an idea for something to write lyrically and then the rest will come? Or do you have the entire melody and then you fit in the words?

RM: No. I try to write the song in its entirety; both the harmony and the melody. So when I start writing the lyric, I have the context in its entirety. A lot of times when I'm working on the melody, there are things that come out just from me naturally singing and writing the melodies. Sounds will come out and sometimes they'll suggest words that I think are maybe unusual, like "bookends. Something will come out in a phrase at the end of a melody and I'll write it down. But generally I write all the music and the melody first. Then I go fishin' essentially—searching for words. Then gradually the meaning is revealed. Because I don't ever really know what the song is about a lot of times. It's very rare that a song I write is linear in its meaning for me.

AAJ: It seems to me that that's different from a lot of the tunes you've interpreted. Middlehope and this latest record with Paul are mostly older style lyrics, or old school standards. Lyrically, a lot of that stuff is more about clever turns of phrase and are more straightforward in terms of subject matter.

RM: Right. The Tin Pan Alley kind of writing or earlier—crafty. But there's that element in those songs too. Because something like, say, "The Midnight Sun, that lyric has what I feel is a perfect balance of everything. That tune, even though it has some of what you're describing—which is that very crafty, crafted songwriting—who's to know? Because I don't know what those songwriters' process really was. [Pianist] Bill Charlap probably does (laughs) because he's a knowledgeable dude with the American songbook. But that song feels so mysterious to me in its meaning.

AAJ: The music itself is sort of mysterious—that chromatic line...

RM: Yeah, I know. That's the stuff I'm really drawn too. I'd say the similarity is that there's a mysterious quality in certain tunes that I love to interpret. Even "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered. When the verse is added into that tune it changes it all to me and gives me a different context. When you listen to something so many times and you get so many references with people sort of singing the lyric in the same way, over and over and over again—without it all being intact. When it finally is all intact it can totally change the meaning enough to shift how you're feeling when you're singing it. Which maybe brings you back closer to the original intent of the song.

I say all of this and I qualify it by saying I'm not sure because I don't know what other writer's intentions are or even other interpreters' intentions are. I just know when something sounds really balanced to me and has all the mystery and soulfulness that creates a feeling—and then has all of the structure in terms of the words to help move the feeling out into the world for others to interpret.

AAJ: Middlehope is mainly standards and some covers?

RM: They were all standards and two songs that were written by Jesse Harris who was my old writing partner in Once Blue—"Then A Wall Came Up Inside Me and "One Flight Down. "One Flight Down is such a classic song. A lot of singers have done it. Norah Jones did it and somebody else did it.

AAJ: The melody is just killing. Great melody.

RM: And the lyric. Geez, when he hits it he hits it out of the park. That guy is such a modern day classic song writer. He writes timeless stuff sometimes and that's one of them for sure. But there are so many songs that were intended to be recorded by Once Blue that didn't get recorded. So I gradually sneak one in here and there so they get their due because they're such good songs. But everything else on that record was either an old song from a show or maybe a little more obscure, like "How Do You Say Auf Weidersen. I'm trying to remember where I'd [found] that. I love that song. It's so poignant, and so sad. I am always really drawn to that emotion. It's a good thing too.

AAJ: I was going to talk about the difference between the lyrics on Middlehope and your new original lyrics. There's some pretty dark stuff going on in the new songs which you say you get drawn to. To be totally specific, there are a lot of references to death. Which is not everyone's favorite subject to deal with but is, of course, always out there.

RM: You know what somebody said to me the other day? (laughing) An old friend of mine, who's a documentary maker and a wonderful songwriter too, came to my gig and said, "You know what's so great Rebecca? Your voice and your vibe are so inviting. People come to hear what you're doing and they sit down and they get themselves a cocktail and they're ready take you in and then you talk about death. And that's the great thing because it catches people off guard. I don't even go in there as deep as I want to go.

AAJ: Sometimes it's kind of shrouded. There's one tune where it's way out front.

RM: Right. But it's funny. I think it's not easy to go in and speak about really truthful things. It's really not. It's also difficult because how do you do that artfully too? I don't want to be preaching about anything to anybody about anything. I would just like to try to accomplish saying something that feels meaningful to me on whatever level I can do at that time that may make someone else stop and think about that feeling, or [how] that subject makes them truly feel. To have a private intimate moment with something where nobody judges you, nobody needs to know what you're thinking. So that you have the freedom to do that if you want to, to think about things that are more important.

I think about dying all the time. To me dying is not dark. It's no darker than birthing to me. It's all part of the human experience and I'm curious about it and am curious to keep it close in my daily life so that when it comes time it's not such a foreign thing [because] I've been thinking about it. I've seen people die. I've had people close to me die. It's not a new thing. I haven't experienced it a ton. Except that in my life too I've had all sorts of mini-deaths already. Big, big shifts and changes where things ended and started again. I've had a lot of practice at trying to avoid that. To hold onto this so that it doesn't change, it doesn't change, it doesn't change. But I actually create more chaos than is already present for change. Creating more chaos for the chaos.

I think chaos is necessary for change. But you can escalate it or kind of observe it and not react to it. Reacting is the key thing really. Just to watch things before you respond or react. To me this is all part of life that is not dark. It's scary only because we have to have faith, and I don't mean religious faith. I mean we have to have faith that everything is going to be okay and to trust that everything is okay; that things aren't really good or bad. Those ideas create real friction between people and in our own experiences of things.

It's like saying, "Oh that's jazz. Well, what if it's not only jazz? What if it's also got a little pop in there? Maybe a little reggae in there? And all these things that I'm saying just diminish, maybe, the real experience of hearing something without trying to figure out what it is. Which is a control for it. We're always looking to control everything/anything. Because we think if we control it then we can understand it. It's like the simplicity of religion to me. And I'm all about religion. It's not a judgment at all. But you can't understand living and dying by believing in heaven or hell. I don't quite understand how that makes people feel more comforted.

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All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

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