Jazz School News, Thoughts and Events.
Escaping Yourself to Be You (Part 4)
For civilians and musicians alike, I suggest a one week test: turn off the TV and computer games, use the phone only when it's necessary, and spend the rest of the time doing things that make you think, feel, emote, create or anything that shows an active involvement and appreciation of you life. In one year the average person watches about 1200 hours of TV. Think of what could be learned in 1200 hours in one year. One could become competent in an instrument, learn a language, learn a sport, and take courses or whatever. It's staggering. No one has ever felt or developed pride by watching TV.
I had the good fortune to see Wes several times, but the one that I will never forget was in 1967 at the Light House in Hermosa Beach California. For ten choruses on the tune “Sunny” each chorus he played was more intense than the previous one, climaxing in the last chorus with an outpouring of pure passion and soul. Everyone was stunned in awe looking like they were kids in nursery school who had just seen fire for the first time. His emotional honesty neutered any negativity in a 200-foot radius, elevating the audience to a place of religious exhilaration. The world was truly a wonderful place for those attending that set and I will never forget it or him.
Wes’s playing was a tribute to the wide range of human emotions. He could make you cry with “For Heaven’s Sake”; excite you to death with “Impressions”; groove you out with “Bumpin’ on Sunset.” In his music he showed us a world of deep feeling and imagination.
Although Wes made numerous recordings I highly recommend that everyone listen to Boss Guitar, The Incredible Jazz Guitar, Portrait of Wes and Live at The Half Note. These are some of the greatest recordings in any category and clearly distinguish Wes from all other jazz players, old and new.
What I realized years later is that all of us need that 16 square feet. It's a place where we are somebody, where what we think is important, not to just us, but to anyone on our turf - a place where we can feel like we can have power to refuse or to allow, where we can call the shots. Anyone, regardless of his or her station in life, must pass through our gate. It’s a world we can call our own.
Many of us have a space somewhere. It might be at home, at work, a health club, the bandstand, the stage, box seats or wherever. All of these locations may help you feel there is somewhere that makes you feel special, noticed, powerful and important.
There is only one location where you can guarantee to find that 16 square feet, and that is in your mind. That territory no one can take away - it's yours alone. It can be as expansive as 1000 miles or as small as a square inch. It's only limited by the depth of our imagination.
Whether it’s a physical 16 square feet or in your mind, it’s how you feel about it that’s important. It’s all up to you.
To me, the single most irritating thing in the world is laziness to get started with practicing, working out... whatever. The easiest thing to do is just sit there watching television, staring at the ceiling, or playing some mind sucking game on your phone. So how do you fix this? How do you not loathe getting started doing something you know you love, with all these other distractions around?