Some Thoughts from the worlds greatest out of work Bebop clarinet player

Mort Weiss By

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For when a man stops to dream, well then, the man starts to die.
—Mort Weiss
As many of you know, I've discontinued my column here at All About Jazz called "the Mort Report." See my final one (number 22), aptly named "My Final Mort Report." Clever, what? My reports were mostly autobiographical, as I kind of put myself on automatic pilot and opened the storage lockers of my brain to let the good times and the bad times roll. In retrospect, they sure as hell did. I read some awhile back, as I was kicking testosterone shots cold turkey and would burst into tears at a cricket fart. Reliving some of the shit I used for my life foundations back in my day-well, I can't believe that the entire building just didn't collapse completely. Oh yeah! There were some very close calls, as all my fans are aware of, both'a you cats!

As I've indicated before, most of my colleagues here at AAJ write about their impressions of the musical soldiers in the field with "boots on the ground" in that never ending challenge to make a living, raise a family, plus pay the rent (and all that it encumbers). In the stepping out of the 9 to 5 realm and general paradigm that is expected, that being to fall lock step into this (as I often say) "veil of tears, and so little true laughter" and the one act drama we find our selves starring in here and now, in the spot light; delivering a next bit of dialog for an audience we're not even sure is there.

When one first enters the arena/theater, they're filled to the brim, overflowing with energy of mind that comes from the hopes and dreams of youth, untarnished, unblemished and, most importantly, untried. They are not impeded by the fear and disillusionment of failure we all become familiar with on this sashay through a life, either well lived or lived well. So, within the parlance of strutting our stuff, which in essence is what any and all artists in any and all disciplines are doing, even those cats who would have you believe they are true and pure and then turn their backs on you as they do their creative dance to satisfy the two basic concepts in this dance that all of us find our selves doing until the music stops; that being to eat and to get or be laid! Fine! Simplicity of a detailed thought is not necessarily a pejorative word. As a matter of fact it's five words.

Each and every aspect of a deterministic life involves a never ending search for the inalienable truth that 2+2 = 4. Often, when one is confronted by the irrefutable evidence that they have found same, at that moment,that very moment when it is within the person's grasp, a moment (conscious or unconscious) they are dazzled by the possible enormity of an answer to all and to partake of the beauties and comforts within, they choose not to give up the search and they continue on down their road of exploration. This momentary disconnect is possibly programmed and hard wired into our very beings, so that within the enigmatic search, the beat of life and ever evolving uplifting of the species is not impeded by any satisfactory answer.

Having read this far you the reader may be thinking "nice set of prose, But what the fuck is Mort really saying?" Glad you asked! So lets just refer to the above as a prologue or an introduction to the art of the fugue. It's been said that there exists only one or two jokes, a very limited amount of truth and fiction, situations fraught with bone chilling terror or side-splitting laughter. Add to that mix great tales of love, heroism and the tragic-comedic foibles that brought forth from Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream the words "what fools these mortals be."

Having said this, I would hope you agree with me that all else is just variations on a theme, O.K.?

As many of you may know, I've just emerged (seemingly victorious) from an extremely horrific, life threatening illness earlier this year, at which time I came very near to leaving the building for the last time. At one point during my deliriums, I found myself standing at the exit door, beckoning me to open same and step on through. As I reached to open it and do just that, I could hear, nay, feel a band in the midst of playing, oh so good and tight, pulsating with flames of energy and the life force that prevails from within us. What mattered to me at that moment was that I still want a piece of the tune, and I walked on by the inviting (at the time) portal, to what? And as I did, the music became louder and oh so very inviting to this somewhat tarnished, very tired old man who once, long ago, had a dream of greatness and a dream of love that knew NO bounds of containment. At that moment, looking destiny in the eye, I choose to suck it up and follow the music. For just a little while longer. Just a little while. Thus, I shall continue to dance until the music stops. Until the music stops. For when a man stops to dream, well then, the man starts to die. Yes!

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