Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jazz Addendum

As a companion piece to the previous entry about jazz, I should mention that I had the privilege of attending a great jazz confluence at the beginning of the month. Gathered at one of the local jazz clubs was a host of the city's finest, wishing farewell to a saxophonist heading out of town for a job.

I took a series of photos, which I've put into a gallery at:

I'm really excited by how these photos turned out. It almost gives me the feeling like I might know what I'm doing when I have a camera in my hand.

The Jazz Acquaintance

A rare sighting of the behatted b. watson saxophonii
I've played a fair amount of jazz this summer. While nothing particularly groundbreaking, I've had seven jazz gigs that actually paid money (in addition to one or two free ones). The amount of money is not great for the time involved -- none of them have paid over $60, and all of them are over three hours of play time -- but it's a personal milestone. Take that, minimum wage!

At its core, jazz is improvisation. A particular jazz song provides a loose framework of chords that are called the progression, and there's a melody associated with that progression. Some people write new melodies for already-used progressions, and half the fun of listening to soloists is when they bring melodies from other songs to a place they don't belong. My relationship to jazz, even as a performer who sits inside of bands and actually plays jazz, is mostly as a spectator.

The reason why I feel a disconnect from jazz as an art form is that same reason that makes jazz unique: the improvisation.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

PR Skills. He has them

I'm glad somebody's got some kind of humanity, the kind that is able to be enacted at a moment's notice. For context, the Missouri Highway Patrol has been placed in charge of the scene in Ferguson, relieving the over-militarized presence of the St. Louis County task forces. Too many photographs of men in combat armor sighting down sniper rifles at unarmed protesters in the previous days. And tear-gassing people on their own property. And arresting journalists for being journalists.