JAZZ- The Metaphysical Sacrament

Am I crazy for taking a jazz gig?

Ledfoot Larry, a country quintet I play electric bass for, is what we in the industry call a “bread and butter” gig, i.e. the one where most of your work comes from. So what was I thinking when I took a door-deal jazz gig at 318 Cafe in Excelsior MN on Thanksgiving Eve only to miss a $200 payday on the same night with Ledfoot??

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have taken the jazz thing if I’d known about the festival gig Ledfoot booked, but oddly enough I’m not feeling quite the horse’s ass that I probably should be. Everyone needs to earn a living, but if it were all about the money I’d still be a IT technical recruiter dealing with idiot clients, overbearing sales managers, and ingrate computer programmers that don’t realize how good they’ve got it. No.. I’m in this music thing to feed my soul and reconcile myself to a higher truth.

Higher Truth- Personal Definition: the complete and utter antithesis of living a lie, or more appropriately, living in sync with what is right and noble.

Being a musician and moreover being committed to the attainment of virtuosity is a quasi-religious pursuit. It’s given meaning to life and comforted me over the years. Music was there when I was lonely; it was there when I needed inspiration. As I explained to my first wife, “I’m a nobody in the world, but when I strap on my bass I’m a king”. The years I’ve spend honing my skills, and sacrificing would be all for naught if I made decisions solely through a temporal lense as most people do in the “normal” world.

I’ll miss a big payday on November 22nd, but in spite of all of that, I’ll walk away happy and true. Don’t get me wrong, I love the country gig and the guys in it, but I take this jazz gig in adherence to an idea pure and will receive it’s most metaphysical sacrament in the form of Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, and Miles Davis.

Mike Raymond Reitz www.michaelreitz.net / American Pop Music Experiment www.theapme.com.