Jazz is like...

Some judge once said that he couldn't really define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it.  That's how I feel about jazz.  I know it when I hear it.  Jazz is very hard to describe to people who don't listen to it.  I know when I'm listening to it and I know when I'm not.  I went to a "jazz" concert last night, but I didn't hear much jazz.  I heard talented people playing improvised music on traditional instruments, but what I call jazz only showed up in spurts in certain sections of these improvisations.  When it did show up it was like a fresh breeze blowing through the room, but unfortunately it blew right out the back window almost as soon as it came in.  There's a feeling in jazz that comes up and goes right through the line of Louis Armstrong, Bix, Bessie Smith, Roy, Charlie Christian, Prez, Billie, Basie, Ellington, Bird, Bud Powell, Max, Klook, Sassy, early Miles, early Trane, Tristano, Konitz and Marsh, early Freddie Hubbard, Wes, and some others.  Is it swing?  Is it warmth?  Maybe even just heat?  Musical story line? Deep broad sounds?  The feeling of time slowed down no matter what the tempo of the piece?  Definitely time.  I guess it's all of these and also a personal stamp the musician puts on the music like a royal seal; no apology!  I believe jazz is taken in through the whole body; not just your ears and your mind.  It enters your pores and gets under your skin.  If your susceptible you don't have much choice in the matter.  It's like love: If it's not happening, you can't force it.  But try to describe it!?

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