Even though there are more and more fast food outlets and less and less old-style delicatessens than when I first arrived in 1977, New York is still the best place for me to live when it comes to the music I play and listen to. Living elsewhere is like cigarettes, drinking, drugs, promiscuity, and “super-size” fast-food: I gave it the old college try, and it’s just not for me.
New York City is Mecca to thousands of aspiring artists, especially jazz musicians. But, to twist a phrase into a Gordian knot, not everyone who makes it there, makes it there. When trumpeter Al Kiger decided life on the road wasn’t for him and resigned from the innovative George Russell Sextet, the jazz scene in Indiana welcomed him and he prospered.
Just as reading novels or short stories will make you fall in love with written language and ultimately enable you to more effectively communicate as well as comprehend the world around you, a similarly immersive experience with music will make you fall in love with listening and ultimately enable you to more effectively pay attention to others.
A musical reflexivity exists between genre and locale, a fact that is supported by concepts like: “Chicago” versus [Mississippi] “Delta” blues or “West Coast” versus “East Coast” jazz. In this paradigm, musicians, especially those who improvise, can act as a nexus of many stylistic affectations that might be realized in a unique artistic voice.