How To Have A Jazzy Life

Jazz is all about musical improvisation. Only one mistake is possible, and that mistake is made when the players fail to take a next step, play the next bar, find that next beat that blends the step taken just before, into the one chosen next.

Great jazz and perfect improvisation are created by taking whatever is played by another, or by ourselves, and making the very best of it, even when it’s tricky to do. It is not created by stopping the show, or by standing back and pointing it out as something negative. Nor is it created by running away from it, or roasting it in the harsh light of judgment.

Whatever has happened, whatever has been done, it is all made perfectly correct by how it is treated, by how it is incorporated into the experience.

If we want a beautifully unique piece of music, or a richly textured life-path full of wisdom, the ideal choice is to take what we’ve judged doesn’t fit; what we weren’t expecting or didn’t want, what wasn’t in our plan, and find a way to shine a favored light on it.

If we give every surprise a chance to perform as the perfect pivot point, an exquisitely wonderful turn of events, in a way it wouldn’t have been able to do if we’d pushed it off to the side and dismissed it, or spent our time hating its existence, there won’t be any mistakes for us to regret, and we’ll see there’s nothing to forgive.

Creativity is beautifully employed when we open the space in front of ourselves and others around us, to focus on the fun of designing what’s next, in light of what’s already been played.

And the sooner we perfect the skill of improvising, the more time we’ll have to dance to the mistake-free jazzy music we’re making out of the surprising way life inevitably plays out.

~ cj 2014.05.27

It isn’t lost on me that improv is often comedic in nature – isn’t that what humor is all about?…doing something fun with what wasn’t fully expected. And who wants to listen to a boring, predictable piece of music, jazz or otherwise. Obviously not me.

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2 Responses to How To Have A Jazzy Life

  1. Steven says:

    Really like this poem. It doesn’t have to be about jazz at all. Your special CJ. Very creative you are.

  2. Morine says:

    The really beautiful thing about jazz and why the best jazz musicians meld so well — even playing together for the first time — is the unexpected and unscored nature of it, knowing only the key in which they are playing, and taking the musicians and the listener to surprising, new places.

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