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The Many Faces of Jazz Today: The Big Picture

The Many Faces of Jazz Today: The Big Picture

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Five All About Jazz interviews provided source information for this article. To access them, click on the following links:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

[In a series of five interviews entitled "The Many Faces of Jazz: Critical Dialogues," All About Jazz asked three musicians, a public relations manager, and a jazz educator about the state of jazz in the world today. The one thing they agreed on is that jazz is changing rapidly. Globalization, digitalization, and cultural changes have led to a rapid expansion of the scope of jazz with little agreement on what direction it is taking. In this article, based on their views and the author's own perspective, we consider the state of jazz today with a look back on the past to see what changes have taken place.]

If you're a jazz fan, you just love to listen to music you enjoy. If you're a working musician, your main interests are to play gigs and challenge yourself musically. Either way, you may not pay much attention to what's happening to jazz in its historical, cultural, and contemporary contexts: the Big Picture. A few casual observations would suffice to satisfy your appetite for the back story.

But there are important reasons why you should care about the larger perspective. The music you hear and play is profoundly affected by powerful forces in music, the arts, culture, education, and business. Just as in politics, taxes, the environment, and the food you eat, if you don't make your voice heard, the quality of the jazz you hear may be diminished or distorted by forces outside your control. Jazz is often plagued by lack of funding, ignorant or greedy entrepreneurs, lack of ideals and commitment, lack of Internet royalties for the laborious work of composing and performing, low level popular taste, discrimination against minorities, and the human tendency to seek quick gratification rather than the effort needed to achieve the highest expectations. Like everything else today, jazz is undergoing rapid changes at all levels. To keep the music flowing, developing, and thriving, all of us in the jazz community need to be informed and raise our consciousness about the Big Picture, the events and trends that are affecting jazz at all levels. And then we need to act to help.

Jazz today is a global phenomenon which touches people everywhere and is in turn influenced by their music. What we hear in New York, London, Tokyo, or Detroit may be the result of an encounter the band had in a small village in Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa. Countless events and experiences involving peoples around the world contribute to the jazz idiom. To grasp the Big Picture of contemporary jazz in its manifold global pulse, we need two vantage points: the history and the current developments: the Then and the Now of jazz.

As Burt Lancaster, playing the main character Lou Pascal in Louis Malle's film, Atlantic City, ironically observes about the changes in his vanishing world, "It isn't the same ocean anymore." Up until the 1970s, if you wanted to play jazz, you got a horn, learned to play it by yourself or with a teacher, and got involved with a band you liked. The music was familiar and popular, so you chose a style and stayed with it. However, in the last several decades, and especially today, to achieve any significance as a jazz artist, you have to become a virtuoso on your instrument and learn to play in many different contexts. You might need to switch styles totally between one gig and the next. You have to become well-schooled about the business aspects. During the course of the twentieth century, jazz flowed from a stream to a river to an ocean of individual and collective experience. Today, it's easy for a musician or a listener to feel at sea in a multitude of genres, players, locales, and business demands, often in turbulent waters that change rapidly. How did all of this happen?

Three Periods of Jazz History

To account for the state of jazz today, the Dutch musicologist and jazz educator Wouter Turkenburg has identified three broad phases in the evolution of jazz: the historical, the institutional, and the digital.

The historical period went from the birth of jazz around 1900 all the way up to the late 1970s. According to Turkenbug, citing James Lincoln Collier, the author of The Making of Jazz (Dell, 1979), "there were several distinct periods of jazz that developed in layers ... During that time, there were specific styles that changed every few years. I would call them New Orleans Style, Swing, Bebop, Hard Bop, Cool Jazz, Free Jazz, and Rock Jazz. Each one made the previous one seem 'old school,' although they all continued to have an influence." Today, most jazz fans can easily identify these iconic styles and often have a preference for a couple of them. Before the advent of "free" or avant-garde jazz, the "vocabulary" (melodies, harmonies, rhythms, lyrics) were familiar to listeners, overlapped, and, over time, and increased in complexity. During the swing era, jazz became the popular music of America, and with bebop it developed into an art form. During this extensive historical period, jazz defined itself and evolved a limited number of genres. The musicians were in charge of their playing, and the audiences knew what they wanted. The business interests such as record companies and road managers put the two together, guided by the interests of the musicians and fans.

In the 1970's "something happened." The jazz of the historical period became, as Turkenburg says, institutionalized, that is, it was packaged for use. Schools of jazz came into existence to formally train musicians in everything from technique to composing. The recorded legacy became readily available in re-issues on LPs and then CDs. The young musicians borrowed from all the styles and used them in various ways for their own purposes. (Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Freddie Hubbard, for example, plunged into new territory, but nearly always within the standard trajectories.) Even the avant-garde developed its own traditions and sub-genres. The musicians chose their own "menus" from the rich variety of approaches available to them, and put together "meals" that appealed to them.

During the institutional period, the business interests such as record companies, nightclub owners, and festival producers largely determined who was hired and what they played. (I remember revered trombonist J.J. Johnson becoming infuriated when a record producer decided which songs were going to be on an album after he had carefully arranged the recording himself. The business people became bosses rather than servants.) In other words, during the institutional period, jazz became an organized industry and a profession with definable goals, structures, educational settings, and concepts. As pianist Dave Burrell pointed out, you were either "inside" or "outside" the mainstream, and the mainstream was basically the music of the historical period: old wine in new bottles.

Today, while much of the historical legacy remains active, we are in the midst of a new phase which could be dated roughly to the start of the New Millenium. Turkenburg calls it the digital period because it is so dependent on cybertechnology. It is the result of the information explosion and globalization brought about by the Internet. And it is the reflection of the postmodern trend in Western philosophy, literature, and the arts in which all traditions and sacred truths are challenged, and art and music are free to construct themselves and expand in many new directions. The latter is both an asset and a liability. The artist has greater freedom and creative possibilities, but lacks criteria and boundaries that provide a standard of comparison and a secure structure. Today, you can go to a jazz concert, and you might spend half the show just trying to get used to the music. You have little or nothing to compare it with. On the other hand, it could turn out to be an awe-inspiring and transformative experience.

Turkenburg depicts the digital revolution as "a big tsunami," a massive wave of information and energy that is causing changes we can't begin to fathom. Young musicians have huge resources and possibilities immediately available to them on their hand-held devices and computers, but they lack navigation tools to orient themselves and give them a direction. They may learn one style or approach and then find that, a couple of years later, it has become outdated, just like software becomes outdated. They acquire great skills and knowledge, but they don't know what to do with it. They also find that their royalties for recordings and compositions, which used to support the musicians through difficult times, are diminished by being posted on the web for free or low-cost download and streaming. All told, the predictable if sometimes difficult pathways to a successful career are no longer sufficient and need to be supplemented or replaced by Facebook posts, on line donations, self-produced recordings, and other digitalized formats for promoting ones wares. A musician today needs to be digitally savvy and business-oriented, which allows for more opportunities but distracts from the focus on the music itself.

The upshot is that we are in a stage of massive change in the development of jazz, and we don't know what will emerge from it. There have been similar periods before in the history of music. As Turkenburg points out, Bach did not know he was in the baroque era. His form of music was given a definition a hundred years later! Schoenberg's and others' serial composition challenged centuries of music based on traditional harmonies. Bebop players like Charlie Parker had many musicians standing on their heads trying to learn his licks. Change and uncertainty has always been a part of music. But today's jazz truly exemplifies the words of Heraclitus: "There is nothing permanent except change."

The Roles of Tradition and Innovation/Experimentation

Experiencing and making music in the New Millennium compels us to take a look at the significance of "the tradition" versus the innovation and experimentation necessary to keep the music vital and creative. In the past, innovation took place within the tradition, not apart from it. Parker and Dizzy Gillespie always maintained that their music was an extension of swing, not a rebellion against it. Even Ornette Coleman held that free jazz (what he called "harmolodics," an open style of improvising harmony and melody more spontaneously with fewer fixed rules), was rooted in the blues, bebop, and all the playing that came before him.

Today, however, there seem to be no boundaries in jazz. Classical string quartets now play "jazz" without any prior experience. The result: it often doesn't swing. An Eastern European folk melody (think of George Mraz' albums of Moravian folk songs) or the use of an African wood flute (by Dave Liebman) can inspire whole albums and performances. (Such borrowing from other cultures and musical traditions happened in the past. Jazz has always incorporated many musical forms and cultures, but today they constantly and sometimes capriciously intermingle.) Sometimes, a group of jazz musicians may come on stage without any notion of what they are going to play. They want everything to emerge from their spontaneous interaction. Literally anything can come out of their horns. Some have re-defined jazz as improvised music, period. That does not define jazz at all, since any form of music can be written down or improvised.

Just as each of us must tell it like it is and be truthful who we really are, jazz needs to do the same. In this, I concur with musicians like Eric Ineke who are deeply rooted in the tradition. But my definition is more all-encompassing and resilient than the traditionalists like Ineke and Wynton Marsalis. I would say that to call it jazz, it doesn't have to follow a prescribed course. It simply must display in one way or other its roots in the African-American music on which jazz is based. It must incorporate several features of such music. The first is jazz syncopation: it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. The second is the "X-factor" of the blues, not so much the standard blues progression, but the bending of the notes and sonorities with vocal flexibility to convey emotions. The third is that it must convey a spiritual message or, as scholar and historian Ingrid Monson phrases it, it should "say something" meaningful and true about our lives. The fourth is that it must be an expression in the moment of the individual who is singing or playing. If it doesn't have these four features, it might be great music, but it's not great jazz.

I think this is a very open definition that reflects the time in which we live. It is receptive to all possibilities, but it allows us to raise eyebrows when the music does not contain the essence of jazz. Then we can say, "That's interesting, but it doesn't affect me in the way that great jazz does." It sets flexible but clear boundaries and objectives for the musician. It's a way of giving some coherence during a time of incredible openness and even chaos in music. The musician can step outside the boundary if he wants to, but has to acknowledge what he is doing. And critics must do the same. It's not confining the music in any way. It's simply a way of encouraging honesty. The best musicians know this is important. For example, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer have focused on improvisations that are based in their musical heritage from India. But their immersion in the jazz idiom as defined above is always manifest. That is because both of them fully mastered the Afro-American jazz tradition before bringing in the Carnatic and other musical expressions of India.

On this basis, I think we can say that jazz is alive and well in its various traditional and innovative formats, i.e. that jazz is not, as some argue, dead, passé, or a museum piece. The Big Picture is truly a remarkable phenomenon, and it is exciting to look at the great expansion of ideas and countries that make jazz "what it is" today, and what dynamics foster or hinder its continued emphasis on originality, individuality, and the power to move and transform audiences. I will discuss three of these developments: the globalization and digitalization of jazz; the business aspect of producing the music; and jazz education. Then I will have a few brief suggestions about how we who love jazz can exercise a positive influence and take constructive action.

The Globalization and Digitalization of Jazz in the Postmodern Era

By the 1930s, jazz migrated geographically from New Orleans to the midwest and Chicago to coast-to-coast. Soon, it quickly caught on in Western Europe. After WWII, it became popular in the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Japan. Since the 1960s, it has expanded around the world. Today, jazz appeals to people on all continents, even in remote villages and outposts. An Eskimo or a Trobriand Islander might have some jazz records, and might even form a band. It's easy to assume that the music America exports will remain in its original form, like Wisconsin cheese or a Dell computer. But because it is improvised, jazz quickly morphs to reflect the culture of a particular region. By definition, you can't "copy" jazz. You're going to play it the way you experience it. And someone is going to come to your town, love what you play, and bring it back to Paris or Kalamazoo. Not too long ago, I heard the wonderful Danish singer Sinne Eeg at a club in Philadelphia. She had the American vocalist tradition in the bag, but it still felt like being at a club in Denmark, which has its own jazz legacy. Her American sidemen were picking up on her every nuance, and you can bet it had an influence on them. Jazz is an infectious art form. It has become a truly amazing tapestry of everything imaginable from everywhere. If we can believe Sun Ra, it even came from outer space! (LOL!) If Mars gets colonized, we will undoubtedly hear "red planet" jazz.

The point that needs to be made to the traditionalists is that the jazz legacy has changed forever to reflect this global influence. It has a new legacy embodying all the peoples of the world. That is why Steve Coleman received a McArthur grant to study the music of African countries. That is partly why Pat Martino plays with the concentration of a Japanese Zen master. That is why an Italian composer Bruno Martino could write the Brazilian jazz standard, "Estaté." International diversity has made jazz more beautiful and inspiring than it has ever been. The true home of jazz today is not New Orleans but Earth! When the dust settles on all this, jazz will sound very different than it does now. Yet, in my opinion, it will still possess the features of Afro-American jazz that I delineated above.

Globalization is changing the face of jazz every day, mostly in a good way. The one danger I sense is that some players superimpose their national idiom on jazz rather than forming a chemical bond. But such "colonization" is not so much a worry for me as what digitalization, the Internet, and postmodernism might do to the music. Here is why I am concerned.

What is developing in all endeavors, not just jazz, is a situation where anything and everything is available almost instantly, and all possibilities are valid. At the same time, the information and ideas become part of cyberspace and increasingly distant from our bodies, daily lives, and face to face encounters. (Just touch the person next to you on the shoulder, and you will see how different it is from a text message,) And we increasingly live in a virtual (non-real) robotic (automated) world created for us by computer geeks. Virtuality and robotization are wonderful for the new experiences and convenience they can provide, but they can also swallow up our humanity, functional capacities (including music), and sense of reality. (Cosmologist and ALS sufferer Stephen Hawkings depends for his existence on his computer, but he still warns us that Artificial Intelligence may prove to be a very destructive force.) While jazz was profoundly enabled by the technological advance of audio recording, its true wonder and inspiration has always come from live person-to-person embodied individual and collective experiences. Music is intimate, and the best jazz is the most intimate kind of music we have.

Where the digitalization/cybertech danger lies right now is in two areas. One is the homogenization and lack of high standards for the music. Musicians and fans line up for Facebook and YouTube posts, Spotify, self-produced CDs, ad infinitum, with no selection process. In the past, the musician had to have a good fan base and the approval of fellow musicians to gain recognition. Today, anyone can make their music widely available to the public. That creates a danger of what could be called "fake jazz," akin in some ways to "fake news," where notes are played by someone who plays "like" a jazz musician, but has not gone through the vetting process and the trials by fire that make for music that has depth and affects us at both intellectual and visceral levels. As a reviewer, I have too many records and downloads coming my way that "sound like" jazz but leave me feeling "totally cold." That puts me at risk for losing out on the one or two that are superb but easily overlooked in the crowd. Soon we will have jazz created by Artificial Intelligence machines, and who knows what that will lead to. (I'm sure that it's already possible to create a computer program that could generate improvised music! Brave new world!)

Along with digitalization, postmodernism and the lack of definition in all the arts is contributing to the randomness in which identifying genuine artistic expression becomes like finding a needle in a haystack. A work of art (especially music) is now considered an event rather than a process resulting from hard work with a coherent focus and design. (Marcel Duchamp thought that putting a toilet in a museum made it a work of art!) If the event is titillating to an audience or museum-goer, it is considered art. A couple of years ago, I attended a museum event in which musicians combined visual art, a spontaneous assortment of sounds on traditional instruments, a radio, and some kitchen appliances to create an hour-long "scene." It's hard to know when it's art and when it's a gimmick. Trombonist Steve Swell offers a way to decide which one it is via an apt comparison with other works of art that proved initially difficult to comprehend: "If you're an audience member who is confronted with this sort of playing, and say the music was entirely new to you, I'd suggest doing what I do when I'm exposed to a new kind of music. I close my eyes, and I just listen and let it take me from there. It's a bit like looking at a Jackson Pollack painting for the first time. He's dripped some paint in one part of the canvas, and then does something else in another place. It seems random, but then when you look at it for a while, it becomes meaningful and alive for you, as it has for so many art lovers."

Now that I think of it, the bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius created events like this during Weather Report concerts. He moved around the stage and shifted his musical focus, disrupting the flow as a kind of personal statement. Some of pianist Uri Caine's startling unique performances have had the force of a disruptive event. Indeed, all the arts must allow for novelty and disturbance in order to flourish. Let's allow for these happenings. But somehow, we must find our way back to the center.

The Jazz Biz

Despite the egalitarianism of the musicians, jazz is a capitalist enterprise. Like any commodity, music must be bought and sold, packaged, marketed, and valued by consumers. That's the last thing I want to think about when I attend a performance, but it affects what I hear, and as an advocate for excellence, I need to be aware of the impact of business on the music. For example, in Philadelphia, where I reside, the number of jazz nightclubs has declined over time. That means I have fewer choices of what I can hear, and the musicians have fewer opportunities to play. It is a tight squeeze situation which limits the variety and scope of music available in a small, intimate setting which used to provide a space for a musician to get on the bandstand for creative woodshedding and stretching into new musical territory.

It is a testimony to its power and resilience that jazz remains vital and stimulating despite the decline in nightclubs, record labels, radio stations that feature jazz, and exposure to jazz in family settings like the home record player and radio. I think jazz thrives today because the musicians have begun to take matters into their own hands. They create their own record labels, and, with the help of business-wise fans, establish small clubs and in-home concert venues. They teach jazz in public schools, conservatories, and universities, stimulating interest in young people and mentoring aspiring players. With organizations such as Philadelphia's Jazz Bridge, they bring jazz to local neighborhoods. They find agents and public relations representatives who are dedicated to promoting them. A spirit of entrepreneurship has developed among jazz musicians and their fans that is compensating for the decline in opportunities that big businesses and large audiences provided in the past. Sonny Rollins' long-time public relations manager, Terri Hinte, sums up these developments as follows:

"Obviously the landscape is radically different today. Record distribution, retail, and radio are not the robust, competitive fields they used to be. Print media is much diminished. Labels themselves are fewer in number, leaving an opening for artists to function as their own labels, which can be a liberating opportunity but also a heavy, costly burden. Artists are now entrepreneurs, producing their own music, responsible for every aspect of package design, sales and promotion, distribution, and career as well as the music. Some artists welcome this challenge; some would probably be happier with an actual label performing these tasks—if only there were enough labels currently in operation to serve the music community."

These changes in the business aspect of jazz go back to the 1950s, when rock 'n roll and the so-called British Invasion (The Beatles, etc.) replaced swing bands and vocalists as the predominant form of popular music. Even top jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald had periods of trouble getting work. Work in Europe and royalties from record sales kept them off the bread lines. After that, the economics evened out until the New Millennium and digitalization set in.

As Hinte says, digitalization has created something of a crisis in the jazz world: "The main change in the jazz industry has been the rise of the Internet, and of digital music, and of so-called free music and free everything. How is this economic model sustainable?" If I want to buy a new car or lawn mower, I still have to pay good money for it. But, today, if I want to hear a CD that used to earn big bucks, I can stream it for free on the Internet. In the language of the economists, the "surplus value" (profit) of jazz music as a recorded product has declined sharply. This presents a crisis for creativity in jazz. Long hours dedicated to composing, arranging, and getting a group ready for a recording date net next to nothing financially for the musicians. The greatest jazz was formerly created by composers (George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk), arrangers (Tadd Dameron, Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer), and innovators (Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman) who earned much of their income from record royalties. Today, the financial incentive is towards tours and festivals delivering familiarity and excitement rather than the transformative effect on the audience that requires long hours innovating new musical expression. With important exceptions, the lack of financial incentive for time-consuming off-stage creative processes is homogenizing and compromising the music we hear.

Jazz Education and the Aspiring Musician

Even for the most naturally gifted musician, jazz is an acquired skill that requires many hours of practice and takes up a huge amount of time. I would estimate that the number of hours and years invested in becoming an excellent jazz musician is greater than the amount of training time for a medical doctor or an airline pilot. Jazz education occurs mostly "off-line," i.e. in ones home, on gigs, with informal mentoring, and just listening. Since the 1970s, the educational process has been formalized and institutionalized in schools and departments of jazz. Very few young musicians today sidestep the process of conservatory or university jazz programs. (By contrast, very few of the early jazz masters had a college education.) Today, formal jazz education is a natural result of the evolution of any profession: there is now so much to learn that it needs to be carefully organized for you in a planned program with a knowledgeable faculty.

Formal education puts the young musician in a difficult place jump-starting his career. Having invested in education and acquired great skill and knowledge, he has virtually nowhere to go! A doctor or a pilot can get a decent paying job at a hospital or an airline. A jazz musician has to find a group with some gigs, with an income that is totally unpredictable. Any job as an entertainer is like that, but jazz is one of the hardest fields to break into. It may take years before you find steady work. Sadly, many of the finest students in jazz programs spend several of the formative years of their lives preparing for a career that they later have to abandon.

Another difficulty with formal jazz education is that learning jazz in a classroom environment is quite different from developing a unique voice and approach. Too often, jazz departments encourage homogenization—becoming skilled in doing what others have already done. Saxophonist Bobby Zankel, who has devoted his career to innovation and creativity, advises recent graduates, almost in exasperation: "Take a chance, walk on the edge of the mountain, walk out on the ice." In the past, the mountain and the ice were on the bandstand where you showed your stuff or you were dissed by the other players. Four years of jazz classes isn't going to do that for you. To their credit, a fair number of the students in the jazz schools know that well, and they play gigs and interact informally with their peers and mentors while in school.

Immersion in formal jazz education is essential in giving the current and future generations of jazz musicians a strong grounding in the skills and knowledge base they need to succeed as jazz becomes a global and increasingly complex enterprise and art form. What is getting lost, however, is the development of the unique voices who make profound music that makes a difference. There is a point where, to become a potent force, a jazz musician must scuttle his ties to the shore and devote himself to a passionate search for his own musical truth. I know of no exception to that imperative in the history of jazz.

Taking action: Fostering the Future of Jazz

Thus concludes my sharing of impressions about the "Big Picture" of the jazz scene today from historical and contemporary perspectives. It is based on my fifteen years of experience as a jazz writer, listening a lot, talking at length to many of the musicians and entrepreneurs, and gleaning insights and information from the five interviews in "The Many Faces of Jazz: Critical Dialogs" series. Is my portrayal accurate? That is for you to decide. I'm sure there is research being done that is relevant to each of my points. And the musicians and fans certainly know what is happening in their own bailiwicks. Assuming I have said something valid and useful, others will voice agreement. Then, when we get our bearings, we have to ask, what can we do to help jazz thrive and flourish in today's fast-changing and complex world? I do believe there is a worldwide jazz community—that we are all connected in one way or another, especially with All About Jazz bringing us together. So what can we do? I can only provide a few suggestions that might stimulate your own thinking and sense of purpose.

In my opinion the most important thing we can do is really listen! That means going to the shows, not for just a quick fix of music and excitement, but with the intent of internalizing with our minds and hearts something that might affect and transform us. This not only supports the musicians on stage, but it creates an audience with good judgment and sensibility about the kind of music we want to hear. That in turn affects both the quality of the music and the economic bottom line, because we're going to choose shows and recordings that are of the highest quality, so that they will become more frequent and financially viable.

Second, we need to periodically go hear jazz that is unfamiliar to us: it might be a young player we never heard of, an older one who slipped by the cracks of fame, an avant-garde player, a big band performing the music of, say, Tadd Dameron, a singer who pushes the limits of improvising like JD Walter, a jazz opera like Daniel Schnyder's Yardbird Suite. Going for the unusual or neglected jazz experience stretches your own appreciation and encourages innovation while compensating for the "star system" which feeds the already well-fed high visibility musicians.

Third, we should encourage interest in jazz among young people. We could go back to the wonderful family experiences of listening to music together in the home! (Who does that anymore?) School teachers can play jazz to illustrate creativity, history, emotional intelligence, modern culture. Jazz musicians should donate time playing in the public schools. Those with sufficient space in their homes can host jazz events. In other words, we must bring jazz back into our daily lives where new generations will hear it and come to love it.

Fourth, we ought to become politically active in advocating for policies, funding, and community activities that support jazz and the performing arts in general. We should support Internet protections for the royalty rights of the musicians. We can elect politicians who love jazz (Mayors Ed Rendell and Michael Nutter are fans who made a positive difference in jazz in Philadelphia. Several presidents, most recently Barack Obama, hosted jazz events at the White House).

Fifth, we can use All About Jazz and the Internet to network and communicate about the music. Don't just read and browse. Tell your Facebook friends about jazz you love. Use the comments section of articles to respond with your own thoughts. Jazz thrives when audiences are active, involved, committed.

Finally, we should just live to the fullest and lovingly in the here-and-now. By enriching our lives with experiences which involve our whole selves, we play a role in creating the kind of world in which jazz is at home: a world where we are all connected in the depths of our humanity. Seize every opportunity to get in touch with your spiritual center, connect soulfully with another human being, and open up emotionally. You will then radiate these aspects of yourself in all your interactions and conversations, and in this way the people around you will awaken. And jazz appeals most to people who are awake and alive. Jazz has a great future if we all work together to make it so.

Photo: Nice Jazz Festival, 2014



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