Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

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Remember the time when you found out something so contrary to what you’d been taught in school, so mind- blowing yet simple, that it turned your world inside out and changed the course of your life for the better?

Well, you may not have had that experience yet. But I’m here to tell you how it happened to me, and why jazz is more than a powerful form of music. It’s a way of life, a perpetually fresh stream of ideas and tools which can be used to face off life’s problems, yet not sweat it too much..

Jazz is really the ultimate paradox. It can be compared to Bruce Lee’s martial art form Jeet Koon Do, or Einstein’s theory of relativity. What they all have in common is practitioners turned innovators who built on their past and the great minds in their fields who came before..

This is why we are all Standing on The Shoulders of Giants, whether we are aware of it or not. And so, a little bit about what jazz is.

At its inception jazz struck a brilliant balance between individuality and group cooperation: solitude and community: joy and sorrow. Its creation was an eloquent and powerfully stated response to the segregation and oppression which resulted from slavery.

Today jazz music’s meaning is most often overlooked. Yet the truths it offers are desperately needed in today’s world of plastic straws, fast food and superficial culture. The jazz musician and listener learn together that the intense processes of self revelation and practice eventually lead to the ability to play difficult music with ease, and even humor. The same principles apply to life.

The music of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker emanated these truths. Those giants left treasures which can give us powerful context to understand our position in the world today. But the only way to uncovering those meanings is through repeated listening. The stories they told then are told now in new ways, in a new light. As for how they unfold and where they go, well.. those remain to be seen.. by you, the listener.

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