We are all projects. We spend a lifetime working to get through each day. Sometimes we end the day a little bit smarter or stronger or happier. Sometimes we have setbacks. We seldom think about these things and usually don’t keep a record. We just get older.
I can speak as someone who has gotten older. I have accomplished that much. I am kind of creaky and lack the energy I once had, but I often end my day feeling a bit smarter, a little stronger and definitely more youthful . When I was younger I am not sure I efficiently used all my energy. So much of my time was spent trying to figure things out. When we are young in age we spend an inordinate time and energy worrying about our future. We get younger in our minds as the concerns for who we are going to be dissipate, freeing us to do whatever. Liberation.
Only the young in heart can play jazz, and jazz keeps one young at heart. All you have to do is spend time with people who are creating the music to know this. Age has little to do with chops. Bringing a youthful attitude makes all art great.
Here is Joey Alexander, who is a Grammy Awards nominee in two categories. Joey is 12 years old.
Sonny was 81 when we saw him at the festival.
Here is Sonny Rollins playing at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival. Sonny was in his 80’s and needed help getting on the stage. I had a chance to be close to the musicians and watched the strain on the faces of the young musicians in his band as he cranked it up.
Here is Sonny talking about his life and jazz.
Joey and Sonny would have no trouble teaming up and letting go. Joey is a mature 12 and Sonny is a young 81. They are both young in spirit. Jazz does that.
Anyone coming to hear jazz is expecting to hear a bunch of guys and gals sharing an adventure through their music. Older artists may have more stories to tell, while younger artists are more open to discovery. Together they can produce a potent brew. What a treat it is to spend time with children of all ages. Just being present while it’s happening can inspire you and, who knows, take years off your life.
STEVE WOOD CARL CAFAGNA
This week at the Dirty Dog the Detroit Brass will carry on a tradition of the music by having two premier sax players, Steve Woods and Carl Cafagna, square off. Take a break from your responsibilities and bring your youthful attitude and appetite to the Dog.