My thing is jazz. I love just about everything about it. I love beautiful melodies and soaring harmonies. I love a rhythm section really swinging. I love the sound of acoustic instruments. I love just about everything. I often find myself, as I did last Friday night, center stage between two things I love – a swinging drummer (in this case Roy McCurdy) and a colorful pianist (in this case Bruce Barth). Without amplification I almost always have the perfect balance of piano in one ear and drums in the other. Love it! Clean, clear, distinct jazz instruments which I’m blessed to hear acoustically. Because the professional sound crew at Soka doesn't allow the amplification to interfere with the acoustically tuned room I could hear everything. Met with the sound of the acoustic bass, the sounds from the instruments blend naturally in the air. To closed eyes and open ears this is perfection! As I return to consciousness I look out toward the audience, but my view is blocked by the vocalist. In this case not just any vocalist, but one of the greatest jazz vocalists in the world, Mary Stallings. Her sweet pure voice is delivered with the confidence and grace of a veteran performer. Again, I have the best seat in the house for two wonderful sets of music. A seat of pure sound. A seat I’d happily pay for. A seat that every jazz lover should have sometime in their life. Now I know why Billy Higgins smiled so much. Now I’m infected too.
But that’s me. I believe that everyone has their own “jazz” – the thing that they’d love so much that they’d pay for the experience – that makes them happy, perhaps even rejuvenated. The thing that could be framed as their “drug of choice” which allows them a pleasurable trip with no negative side effects. One great privilege of humanity is our ability to feel and love in high fidelity. What misfortune to be without your jazz. Whether its spoiling the grandchildren, twirling a paint brush, baking or blowing a high note, my prayer is that everyone finds their jazz and those who know their jazz experience it more in 2015.