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The notion of jazz as surf music seems absurd at first blush, but it can work surprisingly well. Some time ago I learned this by happenstance while listening to an album by fusion guitarist Alex Machacek as I watched surf videos on YouTube. It was a true "ah ha" moment. Compared to the original soundtrack, Alex's music was much better suited to the surfers' incredible aesthetics, athletics, and the resulting excitement.
It struck me that it might be an interesting experiment to edit together some video clips from GoPro commercials and add some jazz music as a soundtrack. Because the GoPro clips included skiing, snow boarding, canoeing, mountain biking, and surfing, it turned out to be considerably more challenging than just working with conventional wave riding clips. Such steady long distance shots, filmed from the beach using a tripod, can even work well with something like "So What" by Miles Davis.
Number "1" is the original video with the most effective music I could find. For me an interesting by-product of this exercise was the realization of how powerfully music influences what we are watching, and conversely how visual stimulation affects our perception of music. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to offer a list, to allow you to experience how music affects the video. I imagine some of you will have some other and likely better ideas. By all means paste your top YouTube clip in the comments section.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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