The jazz nexus
Posted by keithosaunders on March 9, 2012
Get ready for a post that is so deranged it could be harmful to your health. Don’t blame me if you come away from it insisting that America go on the gold standard.
In 1994 Paramount released the first Next Generation Star Trek film, entitled, appropriately enough, Generations. It was a good film, not a great film, but one that I enjoyed when I saw it in its original release, as well in subsequent viewings on cable. It featured the epic meeting between Captains Kirk and Picard, as well as the destruction of the original Enterprise. What’s not to like?
For this post, however, I’m going to focus on a small portion of the film — a five-minute sequence in which Kirk and Picard find themselves marooned in the Nexus; an extra-dimensional realm in which ones thoughts and desires shape reality.
For Picard this meant re-discovering a love interest from his youth whom he had abandoned for the sake of his career. For Kirk it basically boiled down to going horseback riding.
No matter, though, they were happy, at least for five minutes. Once they realized that they had to get back to saving the universe they left the Nexus and returned to reality, or at least what passed for it in the Star Trek universe.
Which brings me to the jazz portion of this post. It is my belief that there exists a jazz nexus. That is to say that there is a zone that can be entered in which the beat becomes wide enough so that the musician possesses unlimited powers. While in the jazz nexus he can do no wrong and so is capable of executing an unlimited amount of ideas with effortless fluidity.
It’s not an easy place to get to. It takes a symbiotic and cohesive unit, as well as a nurturing performance space with a sympathetic audience. It’s not somewhere you can get to on your own. I believe that’s why musicians have chosen this life, which at best is a non-lucrative existence that comes with years of dues paying and struggle.
As for me, I believe that at some point in my youth — I can almost remember the exact night — I stumbled into the nexus and was given a brief glimpse of what it had to offer. Once I had the bug I dedicated my life to trying to get back there.
Musicians such as Wynton Kelley and Hank Mobley lived in the nexus. Mortals such as I are allowed in for a brief taste every so often — long enough to keep me going playing $50.00 gigs secure in the knowledge that I will return.