1: Anyone who is fluent in any spoken language can learn to improvise and play jazz.
2: People who say, “I can”, and people who say, “I can’t”, are both right!!
I have a great group of students who frequently bring music to class in which they’re interested and who’ll periodically introduce me to musicians of whom I was not aware. Recently, on such an instance, I was introduced to a superbly wonderful Ukrainian musician and I am now his newest fan!
While researching this person, I came across a specific statement he made, and that same statement was echoed verbatim by two of his followers, both of whom are amazingly gifted and extremely accomplished young musicians in their own right! The ages of the two young musicians are 12 and 20-something!
The statement, with which I could not disagree more, originates from an assumption they’ve all made that they “can’t improvise”. All three of these fantastic musicians say they love jazz and they all believe and say they “can’t improvise”. They say have to “read everything”!
To all three of these beautiful people I say, if you love jazz and you really want to play jazz, please discard the “I can’t” phrase from your vocabulary forever! Then find your way to a person like me who can help you because teachers and players of this music may be found in just about every country throughout the world! Art Hodes (1904-1993) was a great jazz pianist from Mykolaiv, Ukraine.
I never played in Ukraine but I did play in several communist countries before the “Iron Curtain” was brought down and I’ll tell you that in every country I played, I met some pretty awesome jazz musicians who could improvise very well. Jazz music is really appreciated and loved around the world.
Remember. Art Tatum said, “You have to practice improvisation, let no one kid you about it!”
So it’s going to take some serious work and it won’t happen overnight but if playing jazz is something that you really want, then don’t let some hard work stand between you and your goal and get out of your own way by ridding yourself of the “I can’t” affliction if you have it! Get a coach and get busy! The positive effects it’ll have on your life is well worth the time and investment.
See you next post.