A Jazz Love Story

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A Jazz Love Story

I used to feel extremely inspired by real jazz. It swept across my ears as the truest form of emotion. No words, who only serve to muddle the purity of feeling. No rules we could not break, if we chose to. The dates we had in our early years, finding the right mixes of theory, heart, and the fire of live performance were exhilarating. It was free, momentary, pure, and divine. And it was me. My ascension into purpose and understanding.

In the course of studying this art whose beauty perplexed me, creativity was sacrificed to focus on precision and imitation. The unpredictable, vibrant liberty was thrown away, cast off, so that order could train the muscles to repeat and repeat what was required. We told ourselves that it would allow us to create more, that it was temporary; that it was a switch we could toggle on and off. But my lover Jazz was permanently transformed by these lessons. She had no ambition other than efficiency. And this crushed me.

We were taught to imitate mechanically so we could sound like others. Never did we want to sound like us. We were imperfect, we were inferior, we were human. We idealized the masters and put them onto a God-like platform, and their word was gospel.

Freedom dashed, destroyed, the last refuge surely must be improvisation, I thought. I didn’t know if we could salvage our relationship, but the counseling of improv would be our last chance.

But they never tried to mend our hearts, only told us what to say and what to do. We tried to improvise like somebody else who had found their own way. Nothing could feel more wrong. The fire was doused because it might burn somebody, and safe imitation replaced it. The flicker in my love’s eye was gone, and we sat staring at each other over breakfast wondering who we were and where we came from.

Our improvisation yielded little happiness. Imitation, listening, training, all tools to quicker destroy our fragile bond. The product of playing is expression – and if the music of your soul sounded like the music of another, what did that say about you? I felt as though I was cheating on her, hiding myself in technique. Was I a liar? Yes. But I couldn’t give up hope just yet.

Write “Standards” our marriage counselor told us. It was then I finally woke up and saw what they had done to my jazz. There was nothing standard in what I loved. Standard was what jazz broke down and played for comedy. Standard was the enemy, whose face we laughed in and whose grip around all other facets of life we shrugged off. But they had decided the reason we could not get along was because we were too vibrant, too inexperienced. They thought they could repair us by increasing our vocabulary and stifling our restless souls. They could not have been more wrong.

So we broke up, and we do not speak anymore. I see her friends, and their company is not unwelcome, but when I do by chance see her, it sickens me. She hides behind the words of vocalists, and glorifies the past, she is no longer the bold, energetic, revolutionary girl I met. And I am not the naïve optimist that she met. I hope she does not hate me, because I do not hate her. I am only sorry, that in trying to fix our problems we made them so much worse.

And I am sorry I trusted the marriage counselors, although I do not doubt their good intentions. Hopefully, their other patients fare better.


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A Jazz Love Story :: Comments


Post on Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:30 am by The Prez

At least you could let go and realize the truth, sad as it is. Sad

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