On Jazzmen and How the Light Gets Out Again

Being creative is like pursuing the Golden Fleece. It's a challenge to pin down the visions floating in your head, put them into a language that hopefully others can read and discuss. Getting to the end, actually completing the project, is the next trial. Once your ugly is baby outside your body, you have to be brave enough to share with people. If that goes well - if enough people can read your language - you will be asked to talk about yourself. Ouch.

But then there you are:   the light came in through your cracks and reflected outward, taking your soul into the world with it. 

Jerry Jazz Musician ran their first Short Fiction Contest in 2002, with my story Coloring Outside the Lines. In preparation for the 50th Contest, Joe Maita is running brief interviews with previous winners beginning Monday, March 7, 2019. I highly recommend you submit your best short fiction to this online magazine. But this is not why we're here.  We're here to talk about Wynton Marsalis.
The following is from Jerry Jazz Musician, August 3rd, 2018, in an article called We Can Learn From How Jazz Musicians Communicate. Highlights mine, because damned if he didn't just tell my own secret to me.


From Wynton Marsalis’ 2008 book Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life comes another example of how humanity (and even the world of politics) can learn from how jazz musicians communicate…
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At [age] 12, I began listening to John Coltrane, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, and Freddie Hubbard. Just by paying serious attention to these musicians every day, I came to realize that each musician opens a chamber in the very center of his being and expresses that center in the uniqueness of his sound. The sound of a master musician is as personalized and distinct as the sound of a person’s voice. After that basic realization, I focused on what they were communicating through music – pure truth, delivered with the intimacy of friends revealing some secret, sensitive detail about themselves. It takes courage and trust to share things. Many times the act of revelation brings someone closer to you. In learning about a person, you learn something about the world and about yourself, and if you can handle what you learn, you can get closer, much closer to them.

That’s why, I came to understand, the scuffling jazzmen around my father were so self-assured. They didn’t mind you knowing who they were.
Yes, thank you, Mr. Marsalis, for putting words around the phenomenon of me being be - the one my friend Heather marveled at when we were classmates in college - the way I can put things on paper fearlessly. How I always cause ripples by speaking my mind. I'm not fearless, Heather, but I can be no other way.

I don't mind you knowing who I am, if you can handle what you learn.  Maybe I should have been a horn player.

What is it about you that's immutable - what will people need to accept to know who you are?

Further Reading:

Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life
Buy Wynton Marsalis' book here.

Jerry Jazz Musician
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