A challenge every musician faces, certainly jazz musicians, is balancing the need to master our craft (the art of jazz defined by its originators) and our need to create; to add to the jazz experience. Personally, I spend so much time enjoying Sam Jones and Ray Brown & Eddie Gomez and Neils Pederson and Wilbur Ware and so many others that I don't make enough time condition my mind for newness. I've developed the 'Art of the Sideman' and work quite a bit as a result, but what new have I to offer? Its a growing dilemma for me. Perhaps you too.
However, there is hope. The hope starts with keeping our minds open. This has been recommended a number of ways throughout the ages. I draw inspirations and direction from the following examples:
- Don Cherry said, "When people believe in boundaries they become part of them."
- Miles Davis said, "The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas."
- Herbie Hancock said, "Jazz has borrowed from other genres of music and also has lent itself to other genres of music."
- Christian McBride said, "Make no mistake, this music is for everyone. Jazz is not an exclusive, elite club. Go ahead, listen to your Snoop Doggy Dog, Pearl Jam, Garth Brooks, but add a little Ellington, Basie and Coltrane to your life as well."
- Perhaps Horace Silver summed it up best when he said, "We all have to open our minds, stretch forth, take chances and venture out musically to try and arrive at something new and different."
So I'm committed to finding new inspiration from inspiring people, like Jörgen van Rijen. Enjoy his new way of making music and use it and other motivations to expand your mind.