In A Sentimental Mood

Serena Hakmeh
Lundi 21 février 2022

When the light dims, the show begins…and I found myself transported, yet again, between those  towering buildings and busy streets, in the middle of New Orleans, the city that care forgot. As I hear the sound of the saxophone, the trumpet, the trombone, the piano and the drums, a euphoric feeling bewitches me. And here I am, once again, drunk from the aroma of the first note, transported by this feverish ambiance, dizzy from its wonderfulness and begging for it to never end.

« Free, free, free » is what I saw myself muttering over and over again.

One may ask, what is this all about? Well, today is all about Jazz.

…or as I like to call it, the music of the soul, for it is spontaneous, free and soulful. Forget the sheets of classical music, the pre-written notes, the planning…and just play. No need for technical perfection, for jazz finds its supreme glory in the performer’s skills for improvisation. That is why you will never see the same piece played twice in the same manner.  

“Three, two, one…let’s jam!”. It is a strange alchemy of instinct, expertise and teamwork.

Born in the early part of the 20th century, Jazz is New Orleans’s child. One of the only forms of art the United States ever gave the world – an amalgamation of ragtime, work songs, blues and European music. It came from the cry of the people, the sound of freedom of the African American community suffering at the hands of the the Jim Crow Laws.

So, what exactly is Jazz? Louis Armstrong once said: “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know”. As for me, it is the art of capturing and expressing emotions, from pain, sadness to sheer joy. It has the power of embodying human emotions and conveying it in a way no other type of music I stumbled upon has ever done. It is timeless, for it transcends time. From the swing era, passing through bebop and bossa nova, jazz is an ever-evolving genre. No need to be a connoisseur to enjoy it, one should only let the music play, be it at the sound of Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday. And hopefully, their hearts, will sway.

“Jazz music is the power of now. There is no script. It's conversation. The emotion is given to you by musicians as they make split-second decisions to fulfill what they feel the moment requires.” -Wynton Marsalis