To reflect on Jazz is to Jazz. If ever the word once meant debauchery, the music’s evolution into all sorts of goodness and politics allows us to define the word, when a verb, as to move forward. Even smooth jazz is forward thinking. Jazz has to do with everything in the end: the environment, the social contract, nothingness, and even what each individual Jazz album claims to be, for the very best way to turn a wheel is to question it as one does because the tool must be adapted to suit one’s living.
When do I Long To See You? In this essay’s case, it is first and foremost when I listen to the album by Charles Lloyd and The Marvels. It is when I decide to listen to it in its entirety or parts of it. When else? “You:” a person, a painting, finished artisanal pottery, a dream come true, a dark undoing, a victory, etc. …
The man stood in front of his computer, instead of sitting down. He had left the country to follow a dream of his: diplomacy. The woman that he loved in graduate school now worked for a hospital, as a resident. He could see that she was also on her computer. Video chatting would be nice. They hadn’t seen each other in a year.
The woman remembered a painting that she had loved as a child, a small Flemish painting. Now that she was in her 30’s, her blackness had led her to fight and focus instead of going to visit the painting while in New York. Who would go with her? How would she explain it, that old european figurative painting had claimed her heart first?
The little boy sat with a broken toy. His sister had run away to another room, her toy also broken. Their dog had followed his sister. He wanted to feel mad but he also wanted to apologize. He remembered when he would carry her. He felt like he wanted to cry.
Let’s say that nostalgia is when I long to see you. Others might argue fashion. Nostalgia seems to go better with the world “long.” Why do I long to see you? For some chemical reason, perhaps, understood by academics and those who read science books either as Sunday scholars or on their own free time.
When do I long to see music as it is marketed to me, as opposed to just hearing music? Nostalgia? Fashion? In theory, it’s all supposed to flow: the halls, the walls, the roads, etc., and music with it. We are supposed to walk into a major venue and sit with maybe an opinion about its architecture and interior design, but certainly not feel repulsed by a lack of art to a celebrated building. “You’re everything I hoped for, everything I need … you are so beautiful, to me” as the song “You are so beautiful,” as the song goes on I Long To See You is what should be felt about one’s built environment. Make friends and plans, it’s all been taken care of: I’m supposed to want to see music live to flow with society (socios: partnership.)
Well, since the overthrowing of Kings, Queens, their courts, and the dominance of the word “civilization,” since the decaying of the worlds they produced and the birth of the modern world, we haven’t been obliged to venerate any specific art’s place in life’s flow because of superior taste, though we are often expected to. Nor do we have to play traditional roles in organized festivity. So, when it comes to listening to I Long To See You, to me that phenomenal album by Charles Lloyd and The Marvels, no one can be forced to participate (buy an album, attend an event, etc. …)
Do I long to see this music, this band, after listening to a recording of them? Looking at them, seeing them play, is experiencing music in a whole other, more expensive, way. Sometimes, a song sounds like some sort of echo of someone’s living but if looked at, it’s quite simply the work of crafty musicians. Looking is looking at the band or the musician and consuming music that way, as opposed to not looking, or turning away, as one listens to music in a car for example.
Sometimes what one is looking at is what most thrills or enchants. Orchestras are the phenomenal at that; the women and men who wear suits to sit guided by conductor often lead into maestro performances with a visual “once upon a time,” “a bouquet full of flowers,” “a night of air and wine.” Looking at Jazz is has not necessarily enchanted as much as it has historically thrilled. Listening to it certainly enchants, but more than looking at it.
Looking at Jazz does not do much about pain. The idea that music can do something about one’s pain has led thousands to visit coffee shops, hotels, large venues, and other places for convening. Pain is often chanted down by a small group of musicians, and even one may do the trick. Pain is chanted down with message and poetry but also with chords, licks, rhythm, and one seeks to wade in its river of all of that in person, whether it be a metaphor or that rain is coming on down to greet us.
Looking at Jazz pleasures the few, certainly not the many in the age of pop choreography and shiny dressing. It pleasures those in pursuit of well-built small venues for the most part, along with a jazz supper or just a dinner. Jazz is often played in restaurants for that reason: looking at Jazz is often a way of considering the perfect mirror.
Looking at Jazz might have offered a direction once but it does not longer for the many. A direction would mean a philosophy, a narrative to found a metamorphosis in personality upon, or even clothing to wear.
When does music best convey or illustrate my longing to see a person, a place, a thing (like a jazz band,) or even an idea come to fruition? Is it when you are played softly, slowly? Is it because you’ve played me a traditional melody: one from the ages and for the ages?
I Long To See You when I listen, in the end, to my thoughts, true to myself.