If you want Paradise

Currents + | -


If you want the world to be heaven, make heaven in your own heart.

If you want the world to be paradise, create paradise for your self.

If you want the world to live in peace, find peace within your own life.

Live it every day as best as you can.

Serve others when serving them will bring peace and greater good to them and to the world.

Never serve false masters.

Never become a slave.

Ask yourself everyday, "Is this MY will, is this MY decision, is this MY Music, Is this MY voice?"


Today I talked for a long time to Dr Billy Taylor. We talked about the Music. He and I agree on so much. We talked about a lot of things, and our conversation is not to be shared here, except for one already salient point, a point that I've made repeatedly in my blog here many times.

That is:

This Music needs to let in ALL the people and become the Music of Freedom that it once was. It's become so elitist and closed to the "un-hip" (not to mention women and other minorities) that less and less people "get it" or are even ALLOWED to "get it"...and I agree with those people. It's nonsensical. Jazz is not a CLUB that one should have to JOIN. It's not an exclusive island which only one type of human being is allowed to inhabit.

Is this all just about "GETTING OVER" in a NYC club scene? Gee, that's a high mark to strive for. How about making people FEEL something? How about SPEAKING to people's HEARTS? How about playing and SAYING something NEW? How about developing a body of work and a style and a vocabulary? How about letting those that have something to say SAY IT?

How about playing for the BEAUTY and the TRUTH and the GLORY of God, or Freedom, or the Universal Spirit, or WHATEVER makes positive ripples in the air around us? How about being the exact polar OPPOSITE of the forces of evil that DO exist and create a tide that will clean the world and make it whole and safe?

I won't compete in Music because it is not a SPORT. It is an ART. I won't play in a club because people can not listen to the sounds of the sacred Truth while eating chicken wings and drinking Budweiser. I won't paralyze my Music by letting a producer pick a band for me, and I won't compromise my soul by letting a promoter tell me what to play.

(I just turned down the San Francisco Jazz Festival. They wanted me to come there and play Monk tunes, just Monk tunes, only Monk tunes.

I said that the only person who was qualified to do that was Monk, and that he was presently unavailable. I said that I loved Monk but that his Music was not My Music and MY Music is not his.

And the feeling was that I was (gasp) comparing myself to Monk. No. There are no comparisons. That's one thing that's wrong here. Don't call Rothko to paint a Deibenkorn. Don't call McCoy and ask him to play like Bill Evans.)

Have some respect for the dead AND the living. Seek the NEW. Let the old go. As Abbey Lincoln said, "Throw It Away!"

Why do jazz sales in downloads and CDs now account for less than .5 (yes, POINT five) percent of the world market?

Because it won't open, it won't change, it won't let other people IN. It's stagnant. Oh, it sounds much more complex. That's because many many more notes are being played.

But if a person talked and talked and talked and never listened, what entertainment value would THAT have?


I'm moving away. I'm not just talking about geographically, although yes, that too... I'm moving away from the entire enclave of savvy, ultra-hip, totally cool, club-oriented group of individuals. I can play very fast but I want to SPEAK to the people, not assault them with speed and volume. It's a noisy and fast world, and I need quiet and softness.

I need to find my paradise within myself.

I need to play for a new world of peace.

I need to be the polar opposite of the evil that we face.

I need to be part of the greater good.

I need to forget my ego and my pain and my sorrow. I need to heal.

What I did for many years was killing me. It killed almost all of my friends.

I needed to let it go, to "throw it away."

The new Music is my best, and it is different.

It is about Freedom and Truth and Beauty.