Monday, February 14, 2011

Having lived in the country for about eleven years, I can tell whether people are "city slickers" or "country bums" in about five seconds of dicussion or looking at one's car. This is a talent one acquires, as is the ability to hear the intricacies that modern jazz artists strive for. As talents go, it is greatly underappreciated, except by the musicians themselves, and many people just assume that jazz critics and fans were just born out of the box. It is not true. Many years of study can give you the grasp of general knowledge of jazz, but unorthodox study can give you the greatest appreciation for the artform.
Study of artists such as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, Eddie Condon and Pee Wee Russell, and Gene Krupa and George Wettling can give you the ubiquitously understood. However, pick up a record (or other form of music appropriation) of Herbie Fields or Frank Traynor. That can give you the little-known pleasure of discovery. Pick up a Matt Munisteri album at some point and listen to the eloquence and poise with which his guitar can sing. All I'm saying is that jazz fans and critics need to pick up something other than their favorites every once and a while and bring these unsung heroes out into the limelight.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Different Perspectives

As a high school student, I am able to see things in a different light than most people. While my sight is limited, the things I do see are often unappreciated, taken for granted, tossed aside as too ordinary, too ubiquitous. As a musician, however, I see the beautiful undercurrents of our society, the fast-paced pulse that keeps everyday life possible. This pulse inspires musicians almost as much as their love of music itself and keeps us just crazy enough to refine the perfect, but just sane enough to realize we're insane. Some musicians, if you're ever lucky enough to go backstage and chat with them, will tell you that music is more than love. It is what defines the stride and the heartbeat and it is a gift from supernatural forces. If anyone ever asks you to define music, here's a simple answer: "Music is what we make it, but we are what music makes us."