Monday, 5 December 2011

Good, honest jazz.

I'm all jazzed up.  And so inspired.  I went last night to support my friend and fellow blogger Rose Wintergreen as she made her maiden voyage as a jazz vocalist at the Paris Cat.

Rose was performing at the graduation concert for students of jazz legend Bob Sedergreen.

My other motivation for attending was research on my own behalf.  I'd been hearing people talk about the course which is about being a jazz singer and singing music which was written by actual jazz musicians.  Bob was very clear about this in his introduction.  He explained that a lot of the standards sung by jazz singers are Broadway show tunes that have been given a jazz treatment.

Supporting the singers on the night was a professional trio - Bob on piano, Ivan on double-bass and Sonia on drums.  To satisfy our craving for show tunes, they played Cole Porter's "Night and Day", Victor Young's "Stella by Starlight" and Harold Arlen's "I could write a book".  Whenever I hear music performed in an intimate setting I just love it.  There's something magical about witnessing human beings work together (or should I say play together?) to create music!  And the trio of piano, bass and drums is perfect.

The singers represented a range of ages from the twenties up with varying levels of singing ability and stagecraft on display.  It's always interesting for me to see how much easier it is to forgive a technically mediocre performance if the person performing gives it everything they've got and makes an effort to connect with the audience.

I introduced myself to Bob at the end of the night and commended him for his commitment to bring live jazz music to us.  I also told him that I was on the list for the first course next year.  He told me that the course isn't about turning anyone into a superstar.  He said it's about people making honest music and being free.

Sounds good to me!

So much of my exploration as an artist these days is about honesty and freedom, whether as a musician, actor, writer.  Even as a corporate facilitator it boils down to honesty and freedom.  All right, I'll go a step further - honesty and freedom are fundamental to my life.  Being able to marry that and explore that in my artistic and creative life is just wonderful.

Gaining clarity about what's fundamental to life or particular practices is hard work, but so important.  How clear are you?

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