Several years ago, for reasons too convoluted & nefarious to go into now, a friend & I attended a Superstars of Jazz Fusion concert at the Greek Theater here in L.A.
The venue was packed, roughly half white & half black, with a handful of Hispanics & only one or two Asians in the mix.*
We whites showed up in casual/faux beatnik attire: Jeans & chinos, sweaters & hoodies, sneakers & sandals.
The African-Americans? Man, those cats were stylin’! I have never been among so many elegantly dressed people in my life, each one looking like they had just stepped off a shoot for Vanity Fair or GQ.
And it dawned on me that while we were all there for our love of jazz, that love meant different things to us.
For the whites, it meant freedom, a chance to cast off rigid forms & styles & follow the heart & soul wherever they led.
For the blacks, it meant substance & sophistication, the culmination of an incredible odyssey that brought a whole new means of expression to the world & changed the face of music forever.
And y’know what? We were both right. We all had a great time, we all enjoyed the music we came to hear, the music we both loved…even if for entirely different reasons.
There’s too much nonsense in the world today creating false divides over absolutely non-essential differences. That magical summer evening is a delightful memory because no matter what reason we all congregated to hear the music, we heard the music.
* Asians, for some reason, have fewer jazz enthusiasts than any other ethnicity. Go figure…