I’m convinced that jazz is an aphrodisiac. I have officially overdosed on it. Under its influence, I have fallen in love with life, music, and fallen in love, period. I owe Columbia Station in Adams Morgan, U Street, and Jazz in the Garden in D.C. for playing host to me, my ears, and company. We’ve taken to spending our evenings listening to the stylings of live jazz performers in Washington, D.C. lately. I can’t help but feel inspired every time I hear live bands play, especially when it comes to jazz bands. More than anywhere else I’ve lived (keep in mind that I have yet to live in New York City or anywhere down south), D.C. has never failed to provide a wide selection of jazz bars and clubs to peruse.
The more I think about it, the more I realize how much jazz has underscored my life leading up until now. An old friend reminded me that when we were younger, I compared falling in love to “Rhapsody in Blue.” I suppose my association with love and jazz dates farther back than I thought! I was drawn to swing and Sinatra early on, then to Gershwin, then to Django. Then I thrust myself ever deeper into the insatiable world of jazz music and haven’t stopped since. My biggest concern for the genre is its seemingly sparse albeit enthusiastic fan base (which is also limited to a certain age range most of the time). While the music I write is more jazz influenced than pure jazz, I hope to one day pass on the message that the musicians I’ve been listening to carry, in my own way. I’d like to be part of a movement that helps make jazz palatable, relevant, and – goshdarnit – popular again to some degree!
Jazz is a whole world in itself, one that I hope more people opt to enter. It’s intelligent. It’s gritty. It’s nostalgic. It’s honest. It speaks to your soul at the end of the evening and sends your spirit flying if it’s in need of lifting. It’s the soundtrack to candlelit conversation. It’s the brass band on a summer afternoon. It’s what cuts through the smoky bar after midnight. It beckons you to dance even when your feet feel as if filled with lead. It’s the old crooner ditty on the radio during Christmas time that reminds you everything will be okay. It’s jazz. Always moving – and always moving you if you let it.