In the midst of my 3rd Jazz Course this summer and they’re all fun, moving (in all senses of that verb!) and revelatory. But I have to say that the one that I teach in my own music room, the former chapel of the church the school was before it was a school, and the present chapel of 38 years of miracles, has a special significance. And though there are marvelous people from Thailand, China, Japan, Spain, Germany, Canada and beyond attending, the fact that most are American adds a special twist when delving into the depths and heights of this miracle we call jazz.
The night before the first day, I had a profound dream about Bessie Jones of the Georgia Sea Island Singers. I was present with her and she was sharing things with me and this was a good sign. Because in her world, the whole show is about calling forth the Ancestors to rejoice with the folks and here she was in my dream world encouraging me. As my mother would say, “Imagine that!”
Once I’m in the zone of this music and the way I teach it, there’s the moment after when I start to talk and several times, I say a sentence on the edge of tears. They come unbidden, but they are welcome because I know I’m getting close to something real and authentic. I think those hint of tears are the presence of the Ancestors giving the venture their blessing and letting me know that the music is flowing with enough vitality to bring them to the window to peek in. And occasionally through the door and in moments that I can name of extraordinary grace, right into the center of the circle.
And I welcome them all.