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Jazz is Better

Jazz is freedom—freedom of expression

In my last post I discussed how jazz is worse when you’re a perfectionist. The other side of that coin is how jazz is better.

I’m a control freak (why is it called that? Reading it, I don’t like the word “freak” there) and I don’t like being told what to do. This is why certain musical situations do not work for me. “That’s not how the song goes.” A lot of times, bands hire keyboard players to cover all the parts the rest of them cannot. I know very talented keyboard players who put a lot of work into recreating the sounds of the original records. It’s quite an achievement and I give them credit for that.

However, that’s not my thing. I like to be able to play what I’m feeling or hearing at the moment. If today I feel like the song calls for an organ, I’d rather play that. Or for a jazz piano gig, maybe I want to take a tune at a different tempo, with a different left hand or bass part, or comp it a different way. Maybe I want to play (“sing”) the melody a bit differently today.

Today, I heard Dick Hyman say that jazz is a gift black Americans gave the rest of us. I think that’s true. Jazz is about freedom, freedom of expression. In so being, it’s truly an American art form.

Thinking about this in the context of my last post, I’m looking to focus on this aspect of playing music. I’m trying to let go of the perfectionism and getting it done with a bow on it, and relish in the freedom of expression the music provides.

Posted 2017 05 16 at 10:00 AM

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