In The Pocket — A Reflection on Jazz

Collaboration, compromise, creation, discovery, honesty, pain, beauty, truth.

We hear these when we listen to jazz. We get to hear the whole process take place in real time. It’s not suspended in time like a painting or sculpture. It’s not a story told in words on a page. And it’s almost never completely scripted or rehearsed from start to finish, like a movie or even other types of music. The aspect of improvisation, within a shared framework and guidelines, creates an awareness and exploration of the unknown, like life itself.

This is why, to me, jazz is the artform that most perfectly reflects the human narrative:

We venture out into the world with a few tools at our disposal, but we quickly realize that we can’t navigate this world without other people helping us along the way. When we fall, they help us up. When we succeed, they cheer us on and encourage us to keep going. We bounce ideas off one another, build off each others’ strengths, compensate for their weaknesses and they compensate for ours. We try to connect with people on a deep level, and when we do we know it’s a rare and beautiful thing. And sometimes we have enough courage to open our hearts to those people, leaving ourselves exposed and completely vulnerable. In these moments, we create something that is original and uniquely ours, and we discover truths about life that we never knew before.

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