Jazz and Light: Two Things I Love

Jazz Musician: Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington was a Swinging Cat

I do love Jazz. My taste sails into many waters but always seems to come home to this music. I love the sense of balance it somehow seems to make from chaos. I love the spaces between the notes where there is anticipation and elasticity, an endless cycle of unresolving cadences going somewhere but giving the impression of going nowhere. Jazz is a dynamic system of sound that is a bit like creation itself. You analyse it but you never distil that elusive “quality” of its soul. You can’t really write it down and you can’t make it in a test tube. Like most of creation, it looks both chaotic and ordered depending on where you are standing. Up close there is apparent confusion, step back and the satisfying sense of order reasserts itself, step back one more time and there you have the chaos again.

Jazz is redemptive. It takes what are technically and mathematically dischords and turns them into beauty and harmony.

black and white picture of some cool lampshades
Lamps in Leonard's Coffee House

Photography blows my mind because it has forced me to become aware of the sublime properties of light. Taking photographs has attuned my senses to those of a light-chaser. I see light in simple things, anticipate its next move and change position to enhance the way it falls to me. I am in love with light, it fascinates me. I get up early for it and sit up late for it. I go out looking for light and sometimes I sit very still and wait for it.

One of my Jazz Heroes is Jelly Roll Morton who, like many musical geniuses, ended his life in unmerited obscurity.

More of my philosophy of photography can be found on my Flickr profile.

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