Why does music matter & Why does music move us?

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music” – George Carlin

It is the first of December! Which means the holidays are right around the corner as well as the end of 2015. During this time I like to reflect on what the year has given to me as well as ponder about what i can expect for the upcoming year; I am sure most people do this as well. This year i started my internship with PDX Jazz, which has shined a new light over jazz. Two questions constantly came up in my thoughts is – Why does music matter & Why does music move us?

In my free time i like going to concerts of emerging artists of various genres. I prefer the small venues with artists who put their heart and soul into the performance because they have not reached super stardom yet but exude great talent. Attending these shows is like experiencing the best kept secret in entertainment. I was beyond thrilled that part of my internship was to attend jazz shows and document artists and the fans. Most of the artists unknown to me, i experienced these artists for the first time. Initially I was a bit intimidated because jazz fans are loyal and know the technicality behind the artists far more than i do. I treaded lightly into the venues as i continued to the back corner. I felt that I needed to observe the culture to acquire jazz etiquette before i fully absorbed the shows. I watched the attendees before, during, and after the performance. Everyone immersed themselves in the sounds. Some danced in their seats while others closed their eyes swaying to the rhythm of the beat. When i left the venues I felt like i stepped out of a different world, there was a recognizable “Jazz Culture” within the walls if the venues. The audience’s’ enthusiasm was contagious. Those instances, watching the fans, made music a social experience; music brought people together. I think music matters because it can create a bond with multiple layers; artists creates bonds with the fans; fans create a bond with the music, creating a memory with a song; the fans create bonds with each other; a community, being a part of the show together. There is a certain transcendence beyond sound that brings everyone together into a moment of bliss.

And continuing on the thought of transcendence, I believe music moves us beyond just making our bodies swing and sway. We all have a private experience with a song and in some instances music can bring you to a emotional state with no explanation why. This may not happen every time you listen to a song or performance but it can happen! To be honest the performances i attended did not move my soul as it did to the person next to me. I thought i did not possess enough jazz knowledge to appreciate the music. But one evening, during the Antonio Sanchez & Migration performance, everything changed for me. It was an epiphany moment and i realized jazz is about experiencing the sound, really soaking it into your soul! All music should be listened this way and you are probably thinking.. “Duh, of course…”.  But Seamus Blake started to perform his sax solo and it felt like i was drowning in his sound… in a completely good way! Everything around me fell out of my attention and i thought to myself, “I wish the soundtrack to my life sounded as happy as his music make me feel”. I was almost brought to tears and i had no explanation on why it happened but once he finished i chuckled to myself and then I knew jazz finally moved me. I now go to every performance in awe of the artists and tell my friends they should listen to more jazz!

I LOVE music and consider myself a well-rounded listener, but it wasn’t until this opportunity I was taking jazz music for granted. On a daily basis I am bombarded with mainstream popular music through T.V. commercials, radio, and online music streaming services. Now I seek for more opportunities to educate myself on the vast history of jazz. I know I have only dipped my toe into this world but i am elated with what PDX Jazz has given me, a new look on jazz music. I am excited for being a part of the upcoming Biamp PDX Jazz Festival and looking forward to all the amazing performances that are bound the happen.

How does music matter to you and what instance/instances did music move you?