We all know that it’s crucial to live in the Moment — NOW — not to be looking over our shoulders at the triumphs and failures of the past, or to be “killing time” waiting for Something Good That’s Coming. Occasionally, living in the Moment is nothing more than effectively focusing ourselves on the reality that is right in front of us: how the coffee really tastes to us, how the sunlight gleams on the red leaves outside the window.
But when it comes to the delightful and sometimes odd intersection of jazz and the internet, the Moment gets harder to pin down. As I write this, in the background of my computer, I am downloading videos from Jazz at Chautauqua — music performed in the Past of mid-September 2011 — so that JAZZ LIVES can share them. And in another room, videos taken just this past weekend at Mike Durham’s Classic Jazz Party at Whitley Bay (Newcastle, England) are being copied from my camera onto a presumably more durable external hard drive. And as I write this, I am listening to a “new” CD — from 1992 — of THE YOUNG GENERATION OF SWING — including those youths Kellso, Barrett, Sandke, Alden, Allen, Allred . . . in their collective boyhoods.
Now, which one of these is the Present?
And, to complicate matters, Chris Albertson posted the third part of an interview he did with Lil Hardin Armstrong —
The interviews are wonderful, but what caught my eye and stays in my imagination is a photograph that Lil saved — a portrait of her young husband Louis, which he inscribed most tenderly: “To my Dear Wife, whom I’ll love till I die, from “Hubby,” Louis Armstrong.” Chris tells me that the photograph is from September 23, 1929. And I read that sweet inscription, knowing that the happiness Louis and Lil shared wouldn’t last — but I imagine the romance and delight that is in that inscription, which is its own kind of Moment, not to be tarnished all that much by our knowledge of what was to come.
The flower at the top of this post is dead. Or is it? It seems tangibly alive through the bright colors of the photograph.
Sometimes our ability to have a rewarding Moment relies on planning for it well in advance. Thus, while I am downloading Chautauqua and still fresh from Whitley Bay, I must remind myself and you all about what is to come at the end of November 2011: the 32nd Annual San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival. Hot jazz in profusion, giving us all things to be deeply thankful for. I found out that tickets are still available . . . . take a look at this schedule, and you’ll see what there is to get excited about:
It’s reassuring for me to be able to see where I might be having a good time all through that weekend. I hope to see you there — and even if I’m filming, I will smile and wave (all in silent-film fashion): tell them that JAZZ LIVES sent you!
That’s the music that we love so deeply — a series of Moments that don’t die, giving us an Eternal Present.