All This Jazz: Reflections on the Philosophy of Jazz Music in the 21st Century

One does not listen Jazz with the ears, but with the heart

A couple of weeks ago I came across the six CD album of a Philadelphia-born and raised, Hawaii-based jazz music vocalist and drummer Jimmy C.

I must have heard his interpretations of classic songs like “You Make Me Feel So Young”, “When Your Lover Has Gone” , “The Way You Look Tonight”, more than 20 times… a day.

I need to admit that he has created a nice mixture of tracks by favourite artists like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Bobby Darin, which has lead to some very impressive recordings (you can check them out at http://jimmycmaui.com )

His music and my immersion into the world of jazz led to many hours of research of this type of music of topics such as:

  • the influence of jazz on hip hop music;
  • the difference between jazz and blues;
  • the origin and importance of jazz;
  • best selling jazz albums;
  • shops selling jazz shoes, etc.

and two major conclusions about jazz music which I want to share with you in this article. I believe they will help you appreciate this form of art even more.

The Beauty of Jazz: Jazz Is Not Just Music

Next time you listen to jazz music take this perspective: everything starts with music.

Jazz is not just music, it is a way of life. Jazz is an experience that affects your way of thinking, your perceptions of the world, your relationship with people. It makes you somehow more spiritual.

Jazz can make you discover various manifestations of a single form of art.

Jazz music exacerbates the senses of a person: it helps him notice the otherwise invisible things in life. It creates moments of mindfulness.

I think that people who like this music belong to a group that is expanding more and more (fortunately!) and the mission of artists like Jimmy C is to open even further this circle. Care to join?

People who get together to listen to jazz are very close in spirit, brothers and sisters who interact through music.

The jazz artists don’t just sing on stage, they live, they burn.

Besides the beauty of the sound, the improvisations, the symbiosis that they create when they play and sing, I am captured by the artists themselves. And especially by those who have made this music so influential… artists like Billie Holiday (such an exceptional lady!).

Artists like Holiday are are like phoenixes when they perform on stage: they create and destroy imaginary words and new realities, every single time. They share stories. It has been like that before and things haven’t changed much in the 21st century.

Have you noticed in her vocal performances that there is an inborn sadness?

It is very unique & nobody can imitate it. It is one of the most influential images and sounds in jazz. Her music appeared in 1930 but has left deep traces. People easily fall in love with the controversy her music contains: it is a mixture of sadness (the image of the doomed man and woman as she was) and happiness (the cheerful Billie as we know her on stage).

Charlie Parker put it very well:

“Music is your own experience, your own thought, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.”

Having listened to artists like Billie Holiday, I tend to believe that jazz is changing the listeners’ mentality, tastes, values and needs.

When a person goes to a theatre, reads books, listens to good music and travels, it is easier for him to be good, to choose the goodness.

Jazz can help you recognise that goodness and set no boundaries to your art and your life: you can become more open with people and spiritually generous in your interactions with people and life.

Born to express not to impress.