About Jazz and Love

Originally posted at The Listening’s blog

I didn’t always like jazz.

Yes, I was one of the many souls who detested the slow highs and lows of classical and contemporary jazz. I thought it was boring and elevator music. In my youth, I was more a fan of the attractive, manic nature of hip-hop or popular music.

My dad, on the other hand, loved jazz. He was a lover of music, something that he brought with him when he and my grandmother emigrated to the United States in the 1970s. He was never formally trained, played no instruments until later in his life, but saw a quality to it that I couldn’t grasp at the time. Even when he and my mother enlisted me in piano lessons for over a decade of my life, it felt like he knew something that I didn’t know.

He would repeat the desire for my siblings and I to have something that our peers didn’t have, with their hippity-hop and boom boxes. And if we weren’t listening to Ron Kenoly, old school Kitchener or Parang music, it was probably jazz.

George Benson.

Al Jarreau.

Grover Washington Jr.


Spyro Gyra.

On our many trips to Brooklyn to visit family, the radio of our Toyota pick-up truck would be tuned to Smooth Jazz CD 101.9, and this is where I got my first lessons in Jazz Appreciation.

Despite all efforts otherwise.

If you were a kid with old-school, West Indian parents who detested everything that 90s hip-hop stood for, you know the struggle of wanting to play something else on the radio. You either learned to like what was being played, or grumbled in the backseat while the grown-ups grooved to what they called “real music”. I guess I went the route of the former.

There was a reckless abandon that I suppose attracted me to jazz, how what occasionally sounded like a uniformed effort was actually a laborious search for a groove, one that took a lot of time. Robert Gelinas discusses this in his book, “Finding the Groove”, and connects the natures of both jazz and spirituality, which I personally endorse and encourage you to read.

Isn’t love like that at times?

Continue reading here…

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