Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays--- The Healing Energy of Music

[Portrait of Leonard Bernstein, Benny Goodman, and Max Hollander, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC)

It has been a few or more years since my mom said... "He always listened to music."

Today I played some solo Monk for my students and as I write this six jazz CD's randomly float into my life. Sounds like it could be some David Leonhardt Trio at the moment.

It hasn't always been jazz, but if I had my choice, and I often do, music would always be flowing around me.

I used a variety of strategies to survive some medical trauma that lasted from age 5 to 21. And if music didn't heal me, it sure helped keep me sane. As for my parents who had to live through the ELO and Supertramp phase, The AC/DC and Rush phase, the Talking Heads and U2 Phase/ and the Bob Dylan Phase... God bless them. Now when they come over to my house they hear standards from the days of their youth.

And I loved to play a tune over and over. When I was thinking about this blog post this song from my early 20's came to mind...

Students ask me, "Why can't you play some rock?" I tell them that I am no longer an angry young man. I was living through a rather terrible first year of being a special education teacher listening to some God awful stories of the lives of my students. I would go home and listen to that 10,000 Maniacs song over and over.

These days that song still makes my heart ache, but I also wonder how that year, those stories, this song planted the seed to realize how a calm house and decent parents helped me survive those early days.

Benny Goodman's sextet is playing as I write this sentence. Benny's clarinet soothes, then Lionel Hampton's vibe solo flows into me and now Charlie Christian has his moment playing Stardust... and I found it!

This is my answer to a wonderful woman's question posed here and if you have made it this far, please check out her site and the video she posted. It will amaze you.

so Donna, that is my answer.


  1. I too will often play the same song over and over again. Music Heals. Music Inspires. Music lives in art.

  2. This is a wonderful blog post Wayne. I still vividly remember a teen angst ridden night that James Taylor got me through, and I believe that I still owe him a debt of gratitude for that. These days, suffice it to say my music tastes are pretty eclectic, but I think that music. and indeed all art has the potential to heal. It's really a very high calling that artists have, if they choose to take it that is.

  3. Hi Wayne ~

    As I shared with you on FB earlier, the answer was worth waiting for!

    Thank you for writing this and for your graciousness to me over the months that we've chatted on Twitter together. ☺

    I look forward to sharing more music as time goes on.

  4. My grandfather used to play his own jazz, and Benny Goodman was a favorite. I loved growing up surrounded by a totally different kind of music than my friends listened to.

    I went through an ELO and Supertramp phase, too, followed by AC/DC, Rush and a ton more of that caliber. Then morphed into Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, metal ballads...

    Now I save that kind of stuff almost strictly for workouts. When I'm not trying to burn carbs, I prefer to listen to books on tape and CD. My, how we've grown up!

  5. Robin... much music flows into my art

    Velerie--- thanks for sharing

    Donna--- thanks for waiting and for sharing time and music with me on twitter

    Snowcatcher--- I got plenty of Johnny Cash from my grandparents... one artist who I have always loved


Thanks for visiting Stratoz. I dig comments. Feel free to leave one here.