My highs a couple of weeks ago living in the bubble of Jazz Camp came crashing down with a healthy dose of reality when I came home. I'm still saddled with limited talent on a difficult instrument trying to play a complex genre that nobody really cares about anymore.
During this whole time I've been reading Miles Davis' autobiography Miles. It just happened that, while I was at jazz camp, he was telling me about his days with Bird and Diz and about recording my favorite Miles album, Kind Of Blue. But Miles didn't stand still. By the time Kind Of Blue came out, he had already moved on to something else. He seemed to have been like that throughout his career.
When I got to the last sections of the book, he was complaining about how everyone wanted him to play "that old shit." But he refused to play it anymore because he felt that everything was said that needed to be said with the music, and that the world had moved on and he did too.
This got me thinking. Yes, I love listening to jazz. This, of course, makes me want to play it. But the reality is that I will never be able to play it at more than a rudimentary level. I just don't have the time available for that kind of intense study. And that's ok. As Miles stated, it's all been said already.
I promised myself some time ago that if I ever started playing again, I would not play music I don't like or don't listen to. So what else do I listen to? Well, my guilty pleasure is hair metal from the 80's, but I don't want to play that. I've done that before. I also love the music of the 70's that always seem so much larger than life: Queen, ELO, Rush. And let's not forget the true rock of the 70's: Led Zep, The Who, AC/DC, Kiss, VH.
So where does that leave me? Well, I ain't quite worked that part out yet. I was thinking it'd be cool to play in a cover band playing music from the bands mentioned above. I don't know that Queen and ELO get touched on much at the local bars, but I could be wrong. But, that doesn't really agree with Miles' philosophy; I'm just trading standards from the 50's for standards from the 70's. The only difference being that I have a connection to the music from the 70's and can actually play it. Maybe it's a combination. Find people with similar tastes, learn some covers together, then start writing our own.
My compass is wobbly, but at least it's moving.