My Midlife Jazz Crisis – Stage 1: The Acknowledgement
Well, it has happened. I was recently ranting to a good friend about how today’s jazz scene is just not the same as it was when I was young and first launched Jazz Online. After my long and emotional diatribe on the sorry state of the music and industry, my friend bluntly retorted, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I think you have just entered the first stage of geezerhood.” Hearing that was like a blow to the gut. Am I actually starting to sound like those old jaded bastards I used to avoid at all those jazz conferences in the 90‘s? You know what I’m talking about – the jazz diehards who just wanted to talk about ding ding a ding and Bird and Diz and freely crap on anything that doesn’t fall into 4/4 swing time including latter day Coltrane, Miles, Ornette et al. Brother, say it ain’t so!
It’s a harsh dose of reality when you realize that you’re getting older and you find that your viewpoint toward what you love is not what it used to be. When did my opinions change so much? Why did my opinions change? It sent me on this path of thinking and though I may never uncover a definitive answer, I do know the factors that have lead up to this point. But while I do acknowledge I am getting older and as a result, see the world and myself in a new light, I’m not the only one who has changed here. My old friend jazz has done some changing too and at times is unrecognizable even to me.
In the coming weeks, I will be exploring my personal journey in an attempt to uncover why jazz and I are on the outs. I will share the factors and harsh realities that have led me to my midlife jazz crisis. I’m aware that sharing these unfiltered opinions isn’t without risk but I guess I don’t care anymore (something else that comes from age). I’m tired of being politically correct and gingerly walking around what I believe many of us have seen and felt for years. All I know is that I need to right my relationship with jazz in order to move forward. It’s like my own personal jazz In Treatment.
And like any serious issue we face in our lives, the first step toward enlightenment is to sometimes go back to the beginning and trace the steps that have led us to where and for what we stand. So with that, I return to one of the first jazz records I recall ever hearing as a child. Hopefully, The Dave Brubeck Quartet classic Time Out won’t fail me now. Let the healing begin.
Back soon …. JV