If you are not a student of jazz, nor even very familiar with its vastness, that’s ok, I just hope you will hear me out on this, and then think about how what I say applies to the music idiom you prefer or love even. I assure you it will apply, you may just need to do some substitution.
I chose the photo above, two empty park benches, side by side. Now imagine, on one bench is seated a single musician, playing jazz, all alone. My vision is of a sax player, but maybe it’s a cat or a lady horn player blowing on the trumpet or coronet or …….you name it. Now it could even be a guy on a trap drum kit, but I prefer to think in terms of a horn’s vibration. An acoustic guitar will do well though, in this discussion.
Here you come, out for a leisurely walk before it gets too warm, and hearing the wafting notes of extemporaneous composition floating through the trees, you follow these, curious and perhaps bewitched. Finding the player, who only acknowledges you with a quick glance, after standing a moment listening, you say to yourself, “I think I will just sit and listen for a while.”
Being a jazz aficionado of many years, you just close your eyes, and listen, non-judgmentally, as the player experiments, stuttering on this note, then hesitating, then repeating and repeating again, until satisfied with that stroke of the painting. Each note you hear takes you somewhere in your soul, your memories, your very primordial essence, carrying you along the strands of your DNA to experiences and relationships of your countless ancestors, and even (in my way of thinking) your many reincarnations. You sit listening, hearing but not analyzing, for it cannot really be analyzed, as it is “jazz,” a fully-constituted quantum wave/particle having only the smaller parts that make up your very body and all that you perceive around you and all that you do not yet perceive, the very web of the Potentiality that is what many call God, others just know no name may be assigned, for It is neither this nor that. Of the infinite possibilities of each note you take in, your neurons fire collapsing at each moment the probability wave into that special note that you and only you can claim. You own each note, just as much as the lady playing. You become an Eulipion.
The thought may come to mind, does the player hear her notes and feel what you feel listening to his notes? A little perhaps, but what she is laying down is a river, she is pouring in the sacred water, shaping the twists and turns and rapids and falls, which she navigates, but you are in your own boat, free to also navigate as you feel, or are drawn to do by inexorable forces that you have little control over. It is her journey, her creation, but she gives openly for you to enjoy in your little “mind skiff.”
A large part of listening to jazz is just relaxing into what you hear, letting the mind and spirit, mind/spirit, synthesize the extension of the notes that are only yours alone to enjoy in the way that you do. Each person will enjoy the same music differently, because what we hear is what each of us process as our personalized perception of those lyrical dimensions. This is also true of what we touch and what we see, but that’s another story. All is Mind.
Of course, as I said above, please feel free to substitute your own idiom, your own instrument, and then just visualize mentally, let it be a brief meditation. Your surely will “see” that of which I write this morning.
Enjoy your day. Listen to some great music!