“I wish to write down my musical dreams in a spirit of utter self-detachment. I wish to sing of my interior visions with the naïve candour of a child.” ~ Debussy
The first sound that I felt was my father humming the song he wrote for me. Silence held the truth. The title, Jannat, my given name expressed his love, hope and promise of what he dreamed and envisioned for my life. Even though I was minutes old and did not understand the meaning, I do remember the feeling. My life set to a song. Our Father-Daughter relationship etched in notes. Committed grace notes that challenged and ornamented my life. He was the first man who ever made me feel special. I had not realized how his love for jazz and me would be an aurally complicated, enlightened, sophisticated and tumultuous sentient exploration of life’s truths and tragedies. It was filled with his copious attempts to control my life which created conflict and disillusionment. His hope was to shelter me from the storms that life brings cloaked as fear, sorrow and sadness but I realized that because of his enormous love, learning through a jazz living and God’s grace would save me. And the mystery and secret life I had was already cast….
I want to awaken listeners around the world to the powers of jazz and literary arts and contemporary visual art that will heal and transform individuals and communities. Fifty Shades of Jazz is my personal blog where I write about all things I am passionate about in the present tense. I am living the dream in the Pacific Northwest, so I write a lot about that, too. I have always wanted the kind of blog that appeals to folks from all walks of life that will swing by my blog and will be entertained, enriched and most of all enjoy themselves. It is my belief that listeners who embrace jazz have curiosities of other aspects of life that are diversified and go above and beyond jazz, respectively. Music is an essential part of this blog. It is filled with literary arts, entertainment, knowledge, spirituality, memories, cuisine, philosophy, social commentary, music, wellness and various other thought-evoking topics. I am also living with Breast Cancer and write about mindfulness meditation and memories that have healed and transformed my life. It’s all about Jazz, Life, Cancer and Love from the Pacific Northwest….
So get your bags packed because this gig is gonna check out all kinda stuff visiting jazz terrains, vistas and styles.
“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.” Audre Lorde
I try to write books I would love to read and scripts that I would watch. They are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, memories, families, secrets, wonder, and craziness—most of all that make me laugh. Falling into the depths of racism, life’s tribulation and grief, I chose to write stories and scripts that would include community, simplicity and nature. Books, for me, are music to my soul.
When I was 11, my father tried to discourage me from anything creative or in “entertainment”. Most of all being independent because he thought, women like —Billie Holiday, Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne to name a few — had amazing talent but lead a very hard life. So I began writing and doing art in secret. It was my only salvation and a way to survive living in the “Other” ethnic world. I discovered the joy of getting in touch with my inner creative source. Ironically my father would take me to rehearsals and recording sessions; I could see and feel my father’s creative passion for jazz which inspired me to find my passion to write that is where I had fallen in love with the sound of words.
When I was 18 and a junior at Rutgers University, my father arranged for me to work as a researcher/writer intern for an ABC-TV Emmy winning television documentary special on Jazz in 1972. I worked on big band sound and bebop segments. I discovered that the jazz tradition stood up against the backdrop of racial strife, language, class issues which is defined in literature and criticism for over 75 years in America. Jazz was steeped in suffocating chauvinism and tradition. I have always had a fascination with creating works that would allow me to blend sound with words and abstract art. It is my desire to create a mosaic sensory experience using imagination, audio and visual experiences that are filled with the richness of childhood memories that shaped and inspired my thoughts. I’m a artist who paints with watercolors and acrylics as well as mixed media collage art.
I can’t tell you the number of things I have taken for granted. My health, my sight, my parental units and okay okay, my life. Listening is the universe’s way of connecting to nature, loved ones, that “still small voice” that has come to know as “Messenger of God”. It has become a personal ritual and my chance to explore my deepest universe within. It requires time, an openness so you can swing into your life. With each challenge that eludes us and each miracle that lifts us, all that is needed is to push back the catastrophes and judgments and feel renewed. Our journeys are unscripted just as life itself. What I have learned so far…if I listen intentionally it is perhaps the most imaginative and visceral experience one can imagine because it evokes a deeper understanding that will transform and open our hearts to the awe that lies at the center of the universe. We incorporate it into our daily lives and through developing a faithful practice it brings immeasurable joy. The truth about listening is that we must take the first step inward to Serenity. When we release all thoughts, fears and painful emotions we are connected to a universal understanding. This reveals kinship, mutual understanding and respect for our creative spaces that comes alive in each of our souls. It opens a portal that is beyond hearing, it is communing and awakening our lives to a unique relationships that is a gift from God and our Universe. Are you ready?
I love to take literary snapshots of the spaces that have filled my life. I am the “native” daughter of a jazz composer and my language is Jazz/ It functions as a communal bond, ritual and form of social interaction for me. It has become more than just sound. It has become a way of living in this world. Jazz is the touchstone of modern cultural imagination, archiving mythical images and an ascetic paradigm for new modes of writing, seeing, hearing and moving. I like to use the improvisational tropes of living using jazz hearing, sight, smell and touch that I have experienced to develop mosaics of creative literary styles that will evoke sensory experience in the listener. I hope you enjoyed yourself and will stay.. Thanks for stopping by. What’ say we take this journey and heal, connect and thrive together? Peace Out! JBC 😎
Copyright © 2011-2015 by Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick. All rights Reserved.