So it has been quite a few weeks that I wrote anything. Over this period of time, I have been busy balancing school and jazz as a senior in high school. Working hard to finish my last semester of high school, I have found it quite challenging yet it has been going by very quickly. Since I last shared my thoughts here, “Jazz in Perspective” has spread around the web. My article on Walter Smith III was featured on Nextbop.com, a blog dedicated to showcasing the next generation of jazz artists. Check out my post “Artist Spotlight: Walter Smith” on Nextbop.
In addition, the “Jazz in Perspective” has been listed on many jazz websites and blogs like All About Jazz, Elements of Jazz, the Jazzerati, and JazzTimes. You can also find “Jazz in Perspective” on Facebook and Twitter.
Lastly, just recently, I performed with the Valley Christian High School Jazz Ensemble and the Valley Christian Jazz Combo at the 2011 Folsom Jazz Festival. This festival gathers some of the top groups in Northern California to compete. Lately, the festival has been drawing in well-known artists and clinicians like the Sacramento Jazz Orchestra, Brian Lynch, University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, and Kevin Bryan (lead trumpet for Harry Connick Jr.). Check out these videos of my performances at the festival below.
Two Heads One Pillow by Gerald Clayton, Arranged by Ian Fong
D Train (aka D Tran)
Well, I think it is safe to say that we are officially in 2011. After watching the numerous New Year’s celebrations on TV, I began thinking about this upcoming year. How will it be different from last year? Will this year be better or will it cause me to dwell in the past? I am usually not the person who writes a long list of New Year’s resolutions but I decided that this year is going to be different. I concluded that this year, I want to become more dedicated to studying jazz with an open mind. I know this seems very general and ambiguous but I believe that by broadening my understanding in jazz, I can become a better musician. My goal for this year is to concentrate on changing my perspective on music and focus on defining my musical goals. I want to approach jazz with a more creative mindset instead of looking at everything with a technical mentality. I often find myself missing the true essence of a song because I focus too much on the flow of the changes, the level of difficulty, and the technical challenges that I have to overcome. This does not mean that the technical aspects of a song should be ignored, I am simply wanting to find balance.
Creativity is a unique skill, it can not be acquired nor quickly obtained. This ability requires a certain dedication and involvement. When trying to study how to get creativity, many find that it is not something that is easily found. Creativity is discovered by looking at things with a new approach, perspective, and understanding. Now, when searching for this quality, one must learn to be transparent with themselves and their emotions. I feel creativity stems from expressing your opinions, emotions, and thoughts. In musical terms, it is realizing that there are a million of ways to interpret a certain idea. Jazz is not built on a bunch of direction manuals. It is founded upon taking a set of ideas and adapting it in a way that fits around your own personality. Once you develop this dexterity, you are able to see music in a different light, your playing begins to sound different.
So, getting back to my New Year’s resolution, I want to grow creatively. I want to play with meaning and conviction. Recently, on youtube, I found a set of Nextbop interviews with Christian Scottdiscussing his new album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. Christian Scott Continue reading