A suitable for beginners chord melody arrangement is added to Renaissance Man Music. Download it here >>>
Painting by Bruni Sablan an amazing and highly productive painter.
While surfing the net I came across these words written by the late Martin Luther King Jr on the subject of Jazz. They were for the foreword of the program of the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival:
On the Importance of Jazz
God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.
This is triumphant music.
Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.
In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.
An interesting article concerning the origins of this “speech” can be found here >>>. As it turns out, even though these words were written by Martin Luther King Jr, they were never an opening speech for the Berlin Jazz Festival 1964 as is claimed all over the internet. Martin Luther King Jr was never there. This is the foreword for the program.
(picture by John Dierckx: several prints available here >>> and here >>>)
Beautiful words that capture the essence, spirit and history of jazz. Blues and jazz as “triumphant music” that turns our harsh realities into something beautiful. Jazz is about life and hearing the greats play, one can only conclude that no matter how harsh our existence may be at a certain point in our lives, no matter how big the challenges the Lord is putting on our path, they all form part of this beautiful thing called life.
Randy Weston has seen a lot people and places in his life. Born in Brooklyn in 1926 and served in the US Army during World War II. But it was jazz that exposed him to the most diverse travels. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ken Druker unearths a live interview with Randy Weston about the people and places that he’s seen in his life — from Langston Hughes and Candido — to Brooklyn and the woods of the Berkshires and back again.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Podcasts.
What a beautiful story. Randy Weston being told “he will never play the piano.”
This summer two intensive courses are planned for guitar players who want to take their playing further and set themselves up for breakthrough technical and musical development.
More at Renaissance Man Music >>>>
I look forward to hearing from you.
Blue Bolero by Chris Standring.
It has been my ambition for many years to record an album with an orchestra. With the recent demise of all jazz record labels I figured that if I was going to make this happen I would have to grab the bull by the horns. So I did. I also wanted to take a major left turn musically on this album and as soon as I started messing around with orchestral samples, the drive to realize this project became much bigger than me.
The entire album is extremely cinematic and represents, in a somewhat vague fashion, the journey I took as a musically driven youngster to the person I am today, still musically driven but just that little bit older. From my upbringing on a farm outside Aylesbury in England, making the move to London and finally the big move to Los Angeles, California, Blue Bolero is kind of the movie of my life so far.
Not wishing to make myself sound too dark, windswept and let’s face it, infernally annoying, the concept of this somewhat autobiographical project certainly was meant to be fun, but with musical elements that reflect my musical training, influences and cultural surroundings. This is something I have certainly not entertained on previous albums. The music here is based around several themes and represents a very reflective mood throughout. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have.
All the best!