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This Weekend: Branford Marsalis plays John Williams with Nashville Symphony

Isn't it funny, how two people, same age, similar upbringing and beliefs, can differ so completely in music preferences? Of course, I think all across the board, we – as a people, love whatever we listened to as teenagers, but as we grow, often our taste in music does as well and though that oldies music, whatever your oldie might be, is still in your heart, you most likely have new passions and preferences in your music repertoire.

Branford Marsalis playing Schermerhorn this weekend
nashvillesymphony.org

Take me, for example: I grew up listening to 70s music (which is odd, since I'm only 39 - not.) but as I've gotten older, I've learned to love Indie, alternative, blues and even classical music. I'm so glad I like more than just one genre now; it makes life more exciting and gives you so many more options for concerts and the like. I actively encourage my grandkids to give all types of music a listen and give it a chance to grow on them and I certainly encourage you to do the same.

Now, you may have noticed that I've left Jazz out of the mix I listed above. It's not that I hate jazz, I find myself liking a select few soft, easy, simple jazz tunes or other genres, like blues, with a jazz flair, but the hard core stuff, not so much.

The reason I'm telling you this is that last night, my better half and I went to Schermerhorn Symphony Center for the Branford Marsalis concert. (He has a huge following, so you may be interested to know that he's there tonight and Saturday night too, 7pm and 8pm respectively. You can check out nashvillesymphony.org for tickets and more info. Anyhow, I found myself last night at a classical jazz concert, for want of a better way to classify it. And interestingly, though I could tell what a genius the man is at his sax and I so appreciated his talent, I still found myself feeling uncomfortable. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

First up last night was Nashville Symphony Orchestra, performing John Adams' City Noir and as soon as they began performing the intensely jazz-flavored, modern piece, I began to feel uneasy. Now, don't get me wrong; the orchestra was performing in their always high-standard, top-quality fashion, but the piece they began with, “The City and Its Double,” confused me, made me feel jumpy, for lack of a better description. I am admittedly a bit OCD and like things in my mind to be synchronous; I like everything in even numbers, preferably by fours. I have to let my blinker sound eight times every time I use it – it's just a thing in my head; it's an OCD thing and though slight, it makes me strive for everything I do to be in balance, which keeps my mind feeling balanced. And Jazz, in my order-driven mind, is like chaos to me.

When Marsalis came on shortly before intermission to join the Orchestra in performing Heitor Villa-Lobos' Fantasia for Saxophone and Orchestra, I so very much enjoyed his expert Sax parts, but still – and again, the Symphony was playing wonderfully – but still, I couldn't make sense of the music. It feels disjointed, chaotic and just doesn't feel like I can follow it. I know there are a lot of folks who feel the same way as me. And I don't know about you guys, but I'd love to be able to understand how to listen to and appreciate, perhaps even learn to love, jazz music.

With the concert still on my mind this morning, I was chatting to my musician brother about my uneasiness with Jazz. He instantly advised me to watch Ken Burns' Jazz Film, showing on Netflix currently, in all ten parts. He said that learning the history of Jazz, the evolution, the different vibes and types of the music might make me feel less “scared” of it, it might remove some of the mystery. As he has always found, whether coaching me to sing or learn guitar, once the mystery is taken out of something, I tend to begin to learn. So, with Jazz queued on my Netflix, I am more determined than ever to learn about my musical nemesis, Jazz. And hopefully, I shall also learn to love it, maybe even find a peaceful mindset when listening to the New Orleans created musical genre.

Regardless of whether I love it or not, Jazz music remains a very popular genre all over the world. And lucky for you, there are several Jazz concerts a year at the Symphony Center. If you love Jazz or want to give it a listen, point your browser to nashvillesymphony.org and buy yourself a ticket. I don't guarantee you'll love the genre, but I guarantee that you will be enchanted by the breathtaking décor of the venue, will be treated like a king while within its walls and will hear very good music! Oh, and the wine ain't too shabby either!!