Analogies to Jazz in the News
I always find it interesting when people compare things to jazz music. I thought I would post a few of the more interesting ones of late that I've found in the news.
From Boston.com, and an article about online poetry contests:
For the past year, QuickMuse has been asking pairs of well-known writers to create poems on a shared topic and posting the results online.
"It's not a competition like a fight to the death," with clear winners and losers, QuickMuse founder Ken Gordon says. "It's a competition like a bunch of jazz musicians improvising together and playing different solos." Gordon calls these contests "agons," an ode to the ancient Greek poetry competitions of the same name.
Ok - I guess I like his saying that there are no winners and losers in jazz... What about this comment by actor Roger Bart regarding Broadway musicals on Pop Matters:
RB: A musical can be so exhilarating ... like playing very sophisticated, complex jazz. When we had a really good audience for “The Producers,” it was me, Nathan (Lane), Matthew (Broderick) and Gary (Beach) up there like a jazz band. You get into melody, phrasing, beats...
Hmm - not so sure about this one. Certainly similar to a well-oiled big band like Basie, Kenton, or Herman. Finally, an article relating jazz music to faith, from Christianity Today:
Like jazz music, which, as Miller observes at the beginning of his book, sometimes doesn't resolve, faith in God is full of unresolved questions. It's this offbeat metaphor of the Christian life that drives the personal essays in Blue Like Jazz.
Well, I like that one! It acknowledges a key piece of information about jazz music -- it "sometimes doesn't resolve"! I tire of being told, both as a musician and educator, what jazz music is and isn't, and for me and my money, jazz music doesn't HAVE to resolve -- it's just nice for the listeners every once in a while to throw a bone out there! All kidding aside, I think it is that specific choice of how and when to resolve that truly helps to make jazz music unique, in that it puts that power in the hands of the individual at all times, regardless of the style or genre you are playing.
I'm always keeping an eye out for these kinds of things, so I'll keep you updated when I find some more. If YOU find something you like, please let me know in the comments!
Mencia said he spent a long time perfecting the mechanics of his comedy, not surprising since he once studied electrical engineering at Cal State University. Mencia is more like a jazz musician in concert, rarely performing the same show twice. He prefers to say what's on his mind extemporaneously, referring to his performances as a "dialogue with the audience."
Yes! Great improvised stand-up comendy IS like jazz music! Maybe comedians operate much more on the "theme and variation" concept, but I love the idea of "dialogue with audience" as this seems much more about what jazz is: musical dialogue with a present and hopefully interactive and involved audience.