I don’t take to the music but I find a certain second-hand joy in the bars nonetheless. It’s from the freeness of what’s being given from the musician- freeness in both the sense of the aforementioned looseness and in the sense that he expects nothing back in exchange for his emotional release. And it is that, a release.
Truth be told, when I hear the notes, if I’m having a good day and have the space and energy and willingness to be transported, there’s a singular place all jazz takes me back to. Being from Chicago, the tunnel between terminals B and C in the United Wing at O’Hare was a fixture in my childhood.
For those unfamiliar, it’s an 80’s dream, with rainbow colored neon lights swirled over mirrors covering the ceiling and frosted glass pastels in every shade along the walls. And the United theme, “Rhapsody in Blue” is perpetually playing. Even now, with its dated look, it inspires a certain otherworldliness.
It’s one of the only places I feel as unencumbered as those jazz musicians. Even when I’m on business trips I check my dignity at the escalator and arch my neck back, staring up at the ceiling as I stand on the moving walkway, watching myself float along illuminated by the multicolor lights. It is heavenly.
That’s jazz to me. Exiting our so established world for a moment to enter another, newer, looser- easier.