Balance. Context. Perspective.
I am entering another season of getting opportunities to perform before live audiences, which includes interacting with some professional jazz artist colleagues on the scene.
What is cool about this new phase is that I am also rehearsing, performing and recording with my own quartet. I still get to teach this music to some talented young artists among the subsequent generations; and also, work significantly within the administrative side in support of our arts economy.
I am writing new music and arrangements from a developed perspective as the result of cumulative growth as both, an artist and a human being who has lived a pretty cool life so far that has included a great many artistically substantive life experiences over the past 40 years.
Jazz music is ready for our generation to come forward with our own voices too. I’ve concluded that those of my generation can’t help but include influences from the tradition because we came up learning by hearing and learning from all of the greats who came before us. For me, those voices have included: Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Andrew Hill and so many others …
It is not wrong to be a jazz artist in our times and not want to play like Charlie Parker or Horace Silver. All of the great musicians we study (and all greats, regardless of field) found their own voice eventually. That’s the goal.
The key is to know the difference between both, non-objective and valid opinions, as well as what is constructive criticism when it comes to your own artistry; and, not to be bullied by those who are biased toward one school or style, and would want you to think that the music is about something that it is not.