Life According to Jazz

Life According to Jazz

November 16, 2010 Off By The Jazz Messenger

Contributed by guest blogger Michael Epstein

I vividly remember the first time music really changed me. At the age of 12 or 13, I was taking a break from practicing my drums when I walked into my parent’s living room. My father was playing “Autumn Leaves” from the Keith Jarrett Trio’s Live at the Blue Note box set. I remember thinking that I had no idea what Jack DeJohnette was doing but that it was so different and intoxicating from anything I had heard before. Even though the technicality of his playing was beyond me, I knew I was listening to something mysterious and highly unique. Ultimately it was his ability to convey so much musicality on the drums that really influenced me.

We have all experienced this euphoria from listening or playing. What is remarkable is that it tends to create a profoundly different meaning and mood for each of us. In college for instance, while listening and playing with my peers, I was amazed at how differently we all interpreted things. Certainly we could all agree that John Coltrane’s solo on “Afro Blue” from One Up One Down gave us goose bumps and inspired us to put in more hours practicing, but at some fundamental level we all ended up taking away something different. I think this was true for every piece of music we listened to. For me, this is the essence of great music. It resonates differently within each of us which ultimately allows us to find new meaning in life itself.

Michael Epstein is a graduate of Indiana University and a drummer . He currently works in the artist management and tour industry and reviews live jazz performances in the Boston area on his blog The Intrepid Listener.

Keith Jarrett Trio photo credit: Sven Theilmann