Is Jazz Still Alive?

I hear people ask questions like, “Is jazz still alive?” Is the music still relevant?” Do young people love it?”

My response is, “It’s alive and well!” You know why? Because too many of us are in love with it, because we live and breathe it. 

I first fell in Love with Jazz when I was about 16, but I first met “her’ when I was about 13 years old. My cousin played an Oscar Peterson recording of “Honeysuckle Rose,” and it was as if I was walking down the street and saw the most beautiful woman, ever, I admired her from afar, but was too afraid to speak to her. 

At 16, I was introduced to Miles Davis’s “Milestones” and from the sound of “Dr.Jekyll”, I was instantly hooked. The sound of Philly Joe’s ride cymbal, Red Garland’s piano coming and the beautiful bass lines by Paul Chambers left me speechless. I was so in love, that everyday had to start with that album. 

The second album that captivated me was Diana Krall’s “Love Scenes.” I listened to the album so much that my CD became scratched so deeply that it would skip after playing the first 30 seconds. I could sing all of the bass solos so genuinely sculpted by Christian McBride, and the intros created by McBride and Russell Malone are still etched in my memory. 

Jazz became greater than a sound, and began etching itself into the daily fabric of my life. It changed the way I walked, talked, dressed, and informed how I approached the world. 

I look at life now and I am a jazz musician undoubtedly, and it’s the most amazing thing to me. 

One of the things I am understanding about love is that even when you lose faith, it’s still there. Even if you take a break from it, you can’t stop loving. Love is essentially more powerful than our feeling about what we love. 

I simply love this music because it says everything I wish I could say. It speaks a language I will spend my life trying to decipher and speak more authentically. 

Jazz, I love you and always will eternally.