Jazz Lessons for a Nation

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I have a great deal of respect for blues and jazz, especially of the old variety.

I used to have terrible migraines. One day, someone gave me a cassette with the music of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. As I listened to the music, it was like a shot of Novocain went straight to my brain. My headaches disappeared. And, I felt the same relief, anytime I listened to the music in future. So began my lifelong affair with old jazz. Today, I listen to new school interpretations by musicians like Michael Bublé. I have all his albums, and his collection is the only thing that has survived successive playlists over a decade.

There’s just something about jazz. There’s an exactitude to it. Every instrument plays a specific role, even in improvisations. No matter how loud the music is, including big band, it’s still perfectly balanced. There’s a rigour that attends it, and a high level of craftsmanship. The Oscar winning movie, Whiplash, provides an inkling of the discipline that’s required to play music well.

As I compare pop music to jazz, I realise the world of jazz is one where talent is enthroned. Jazz music has its own stars and celebrities. It has its own millionaires. But to excel, you must be very good at your craft. You can’t fake it with sheet music. You either hit the notes or not.

In our nation, we desperately need spaces that enthrone hard work and talent. We need platforms where it is possible to become rich and famous because you are the best at what you do. People leave countries where they are unappreciated. If they don’t, their talents will shrivel and die. They will become empty shells; unpotentiated and unknown.

We desperately need spaces that enthrone hard work & talent, in our nation. Click To Tweet


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