Moving to Higher Ground…

I was listening to Oprah Winfrey’s channel on XM on the way home from the school run this morning (Hey! Stop judging me! We can’t all be NPR all the time.) and I heard an interview with Wynton Marsalis about his new book, “Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life” . I am so going to Barnes and Noble this afternoon to buy it with my gift certificate from Maggie, Dammit. Thanks, honey!

Whoever Oprah’s friend was (Dr. Robin? Gayle King? not sure) asked Wynton what’s the one thing he would want people to understand about music. His answer made me tear up at a stop light.

“That we are not separate from music. That music is us.” The conviction and power in his voice made it sound like a benediction, and reminded me of the impact of music. I see it every day in my speech-delayed 2 year old, when I play songs in the car and he comes to life in his carseat, bobbing his head in perfect time. Tuning in to the medium that makes the most sense to him. “Look! W’s rocking out!” the other kids shout.

I see it when a song come on and my 12 year old yells, “Oh! Stop here.” and begins singing along with no self-conciousness.It makes me happy to think of their love for the beat and cadence carrying them through the days of their lives, that so young, they’ve tapped into the joy of connecting to someone’s creation.

I remember my own nights of New Orleans jazz, walking alone from club to club, just soaking up the creativity washing through the streets, the sound pouring forth in waves. (And the Gin. Did I mention the Gin?) I used to have to go there for business about once a year, usually for Pathology conventions. (I was a health writer for lab managers. More fun than it sounds.) Mostly because Pathologists? Can party. Get them out of the lab, and they are wild folk.

But I liked to slip away from their beaded revelry and frozen drink in the street consumption, and disappear into dark, smoky clubs. The ancient magic of jazz  ensnared me, and I watched the people on stage tuning into each other telepathically. They’d all go off in different directions, creating a dissonance that could surely never be resolved. Then suddenly, inexplicably, they’d all come back to the same point, on beat, and hold it down like nothing ever happened.

I loved the reminder from Wynton that music is more than the packaging and selling of a product, that it’s more than Itunes and Camp Rock. It’s primal and necessary and vibrant, it lives in our bones.

I’ll let you know how the book is.

xoxo, L

 
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Comments (2)

  1. Sarah P. Friday - 26 / 09 / 2008 Reply
    You're making me want to put on some jazz right now...
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