The Life In Jazz

Lance - Gilbert, Arizona
Entered on October 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in a life of jazz. In my opinion it is the music of life. Rock n’ Roll is cool, but it is like a bad habit and eventually comes to a stop. Rapping is unnatural, not real music but an expression of feeling, with no real depth. Classical music is beautiful, but completely beyond the nature of who we are as people. Techno is just plain wrong. But jazz is not like that.

Jazz is like taking musical breaths. The music is driven by a basic theme, almost the heart of the music, but then it changes. Band members take turns playing their own melodies and solos, most of them off the top of their head, and soon the music is much more than a song. It is living art.

I’ve always loved jazz. Since I was old enough to hold my wind, I was blasting the sax. I’d never considered playing any other instrument than the saxophone and I never wanted to play anything but jazz. I joined a jazz band when I was eleven. For our first performance we were playing an arrangement of music by Duke Ellington. I was the best saxophonist, and was consequently in charge of playing the first solo. I spent weeks laboring over what I was going to play, but got nowhere. Nothing sounded as good as I wanted it. Finally, the bandleader, my teacher, told me to give up trying to write anything because that contradicted the spirit of jazz; and to just do it as they did years ago, improvise. Therefore, I did, and it was beautiful. Since then I’ve never written anything I play. The music flows out of me like emotion, untouchable and ever changing.

Ever since then I’ve tried to live my life like jazz. Of course I haven’t abandoned any of my plans for myself. What kind of musician would go on stage without knowing the set list? No, I’ve got plans, but I don’t know how I am going to accomplish them. Instead I allow my ideas to come out of me and take form themselves. I let those ideas lead me, and it hasn’t failed me since.

When I am gone, I hope people will talk about my legacy like jazz. When I am gone I want my legacy to resonate in the hearts of people like a final chord. I hope they say I was hip but sultry, genius yet simple, calming yet fun. I hope they remember how I have lived my life not crashing and smashing like a Rock artist, not beating and boxing like a Rapper, and certainly not doing whatever it is that techno claims to do. I want people to remember me as a great elegant mess, as an un-written melody, and as stunning chaos. I want people to know that I believed in jazz.