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Free Write Friday ~ “My Year of Living Improvisationally.” Feat. Excerpts from Prelude to a Memoir Proposal ~ “Breaking Sounds” ~ Dizzy Gillespie performing Shadow of Your Smile with MJFO 1965.

 

"Jazz Box" Collage by Jazzybeatchick
Jazz Box” Collage by Jazzybeatchick

The Call:

The fog from PTSD of the  traumas in my life has lifted.  I had forgotten that major events like cancer, death from cancer, the death of my father, a neuropathy and mom’s death over time is cumulative.  It obnubilates living in the present moment.  Those moments expanded into thirteen years.  The Sound I Felt: Improvisations on Life.   Writing and listening to the sounds – jazzier and more; going to the beach; and daily life has evoked memories from 1965.   I didn’t know how to piece a narrative together.  Dramatic events.  Elusive missives and musings.  On frequent occasions only timbre or sound.  I didn’t write about the most traumatic experience, my mom’s death over this past decade.  I want to know why?  Now these past events are giving me the courage to transform my life.  Today marks the beginning of a new journey using improvisation and living creatively using conversations, quotes, literary and collage art and  participating in community literary and visual arts.programs in Oakland, CA.

Now thirteen years later, those consequences inspired me to start Fifty Shades of Jazz| Living Improvisationally | A,  a personal blog in 20014.  The unexpected utterances have liberated me from feeling hostage by the sum total of those traumatic experiences.  The dwelling on loss seems utterly self indulgent and toxic – actually it is, if it consumes all of your thoughts.   Now I am able to embrace those disorienting years through my poetry and accepting the mind’s selective entities.  I want to place individuals and communities especially those that  healed and were amazing and those times when not, strictly for holistic purposes.

Note:  I selected this track of my father’s cd because it celebrates the Men From Monterey and the launching of my creative life inspired by Gil Fuller (my dad), Ralph J. Gleason (muse) and Dizzy Gillespie (comic relief).

Yesterday I watched Joe Albany… A Jazz Life- 1980 Complete 60 min. Feature Documentary Film and Sepia Cinderella (1947) which brought back centering memories on growing up in jazz as a writer, poet and collage artist.  I plan to watch Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz.  Jazz documentaries bring back my fondest memories from  my year of musical thinking that began February of 1965 with the Monterey Jazz Festival , my father, Gil Fuller was the Music Director featuring Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody and the MJF Orchestra.  At the end of that rehearsal I learned the importance of hearing music at rehearsals, especially the final one.

I was eleven years old at the final rehearsal before the live performance when I met Mr. Ralph J. Gleason founder of Rolling Stone magazine.  I knew absolutely nothing about Ralph J. Gleason nor how meeting him transformed and inspired my literary and collage arts took flight.  It was the final rehearsal at the studio behind the sound stage….

“You were, he thought, accountable to those who formed you; it was your responsibility, especially if you were a writer with the chance to reach others, to honor those who had mattered, who had made a difference in how you or your readers lived their lives. Ralph was the most honorable man I have known. Some who did not know him will perhaps find such a claim excessive or too “emotional.” Those who did know him well will recognize it as a simple statement of fact.”The rehearsal was now under way, it became an invitation to my imagination renewing my love for writing – cultivating a joy deep in my heart.

But there was a time, not that long ago, when there were only a few and they all knew each other. Today’s pop music critics, who cut their teeth on Pearl Jam and Nirvana, will never have the chance to leave behind a legacy like Gleason’s. In an age of the information superhighway and media overload, the era of E! Television and Entertainment Weekly, how do you explain one lone writer working for a daily newspaper in a provincial backwater changing music history? But it was never easy to explain Gleason, even when he was alive.  Greil Marcus. Ibid

From the moment I met Ralph J. Gleason  and after that 1st meeting @ the final rehearsal  inspired me to pursue my dream to write.  In a lot of ways I have always been before my time, maybe it was because I began to read at three years old.  I credit mom for that.  Every chance I got when I was five years old I would read books from the library dad and converted  to a den.  I read Jung and secretly started writing in my journal poetry and doing collages in sync with what dad was composing on the  Steinway Grand piano in our downstairs livingroom.  I fell in love with words and reading things aloud to my mom.  I began to explore who I really was.  Dad did not encourage me to function as a creatively independent woman. I guess he thought I would have plenty of time to be independent and a woman.  During that time I would get frustrated and somewhat confused with the mixed messages I was getting from him. I knew what the clan wanted; I learned how to fit into the tribe and not make waves otherwise I could possibly lose my father’s love or be ostracized.  I grew to be afraid of being abandoned.  I couldn’t connect to my inner self and embrace solitude much less how to be a free individual.  What I did learn when I was with Dad at rehearsals was the musicians exhibited a fierce respect for their own creativity as well as respect and the creativity of the other musicians; I learned about the musicians and the families that I sat with and inadvertently learned about myself,

I began to explore who I really was.  Dad did not encourage me to function as a creatively independent woman. I guess he thought I would have plenty of time to be independent and a woman.  During that time I would get frustrated and somewhat confused with the mixed messages I was getting from him. I knew what the he wanted.  To keep the peace, I learned how to fit into the my dad’s wishes and not make waves.  Otherwise, I could possibly lose my father’s love or be ostracized.  I grew to be afraid of being abandoned.  I couldn’t connect to my inner self and embrace solitude much less how to be a free individual.  What I did learn when I was with Dad at rehearsals was the musicians exhibited a fierce respect for their own creativity as well as respect and the creativity of the other musicians; I learned about jazz life through musicians and their families, Gleason, my mom, dad… that I at the end of the day –I learned about myself,

My Response:

Do you remember1965?  It was early spring and you received a call from Jimmy Lyons one of the Promoters for the Monterey Jazz Festival.  You accepted the position for the MJFO and We were sitting in that Ford Torino station wagon that you constantly called it a pig of a car,  You hated that car.  We were going to Benny’s CantoneseWhen I close my eyes in the Parking lot at Azuma’s on Wilshire Blvd. “Dad, you created a phenomenal year for Jazz music from Monterey to the opening of the Music Center in L.A., …

 

Grace Notes to My Father

by Jannat Marie

 

I.

 

I learned that timing is the secret to living a jazz improvised life,

Knowing when to stop, to start, to step it up,  to slow it down but oh

so important is learning how to wait thru the strife.

Jazz harmony is the theory and practice of changing

dominant and tonic chords of life,

where major and minor share the same syncopated space

in a timeless bond…

Progressions depart in thirds and stacked fourths

favoring harmonic progressions where tensions are in intervals that resound

 

II.

 

I learned that searching for meaning, or intentions and having the blues

is about finding your truth and grace found in a life of humility

coz the universe is mistin’ the air with valuable scented truths

Improvisation is the essence of living in a tranquil and joyous place

where cadence and notes become window dressing that is a façade

pierced by listening to the spoken word filled with harmonic intent

of the path and choices you debate.

Play it slant is the message best heard in the evening.

 

III.

 

I learned that being different is the integral part of the master plan

Leaning in and seeing how high you can reach

The harmonies in real-time, flowing and ebbing

an improvisational context is the lessons you will teach.

I learned that playing jazz has four elements

broadening your words and expressing every letter

in a charismatic way to enhance

finding your intentions and mixing all of them together —

where freedom and coordination learn how to really dance.

Jazz has the power to go deep within,

having a relationship with you as next of kin

Transforming arrogance into the love of sound on the page.

IV.

I have been saved by jazz and words from above

healing my soul and body from within

thru life’s trials and tribulations

finding peace on earth that is filled with

the promise of words and life dancing with joyous jubilation

in our wake!

A Love so Supreme….Your Daughter

I found myself  on May 8th, 2015 without a place to call home.  For over a decade dealing with all of the post traumatic events in my life, year after year it was not a real place and I didn’t want to go there.  Today feeling like I had to summon up the courage to live a fuller, improvised life by learning from the grace noted memories that have been revisiting me on a frequent basis lately.  It has given me a new lease on transforming my life  to finish writing The Sound I Felt.  I am looking to work for a non-profit part-time re-connecting me with the creative community.  I love to read and write after meeting Ralph J. Gleason in 1965 how he transformed my life by using quotes and prose taking us on an incredible audiovisual journey, Starting today, I am going to write about  those scented and ornamented grace notes and wisdom from Gleason, my mom and dad and the cast of characters that have affected my life. This new series for 2016  is entitled “My Year of Living Improvisationally.”  Welcome, Peace & Love Out!  JBC 😎 & >3!

Symbol 4 Inner Peace & Strength
Symbol 4 Inner Peace & Strength

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