The Gist and Jest of Jazz and Death

'Summertime Jazz' by Jay Schwartz“Over all, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things that he knows of and senses in the universe.”
– John Coltrane
 
“I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
– Woody Allen

 

As a writer and someone who tends to ‘feel and think’ his way through life, I have certain subjects I often feel compelled to write significantly about since they intensely stir the very core of my existence. Today, I’m referring to jazz and death – the former with love, the latter with fear. Time to connect the dots.

Please note that this essay is not the big magnum opus I plan on writing one day on these topics, but merely my attempt to broach related issues of an existential nature (breathe, breathe, breathe). In fact, I’m quite aware that in all likelihood I will probably never write what I’d like to, since I’m mindful of the fact that any attempt to do so would fall short … simply because jazz and death are both larger than life. Moreover, descriptions of jazz are just as elusive as rationalizations of death. Most literature provides the gist, but misses the jest. That’s where I come in.

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Intrasomatic Conspiracy: Part 1 – An Ill Wind Blows

The last month or so, I’ve felt a bit like some of the characters Woody Allen has played in his films. You know the characters: the worried ones that are priming themselves for a shot at being ordained a Patron Saint of Hypochondriacs.

Yes, I can relate, except I’m no hypochondriac. As such, I’ve been on a pilgrimage to find out what’s wrong with me. I need a handle on the situation. I need clarity. I need to make some sense of the random and collective aches and pains I have … and also a few chronic conditions, to boot. Not to mention the other few medical concerns, I might be plagued with, that I read about on the Internet and that are awaiting some medical confirmation.

There are days when I feel better, and then there are days when I feel worse. My body seems to have a rhythm all it’s own and resists any attempt to improve the status quo. Really, I’m not kidding. I think there is some intrasomatic conspiracy going on somewhere in my central nervous system. Consider the following evidence:

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