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Artists as chroniclers of our times

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Yesterday I sat with a music-loving friend who complained that audiences have dwindled for traditional “jazz”. “What a pity for the musicians,” he moaned. I thought to myself “how ironic”, for those musicians are creating from a time-worn tradition that for many audiences has gone “stale”. We then had a heated discussion about “music on the edge”, and artists whose calling is to create something new every day, as they hear or see it in their inner imagination. Generally, as the poet Rilke mentioned in Letters to a Young Poet, such creators simply create because they must. They arise in the morning and create anew. Still, as much as traditional jazz musicians have it “hard”, how much harder it must be to create from scratch, using an array of familiar colors, sounds and materials in new and intriguing orders. What possesses a human being to pursue a career of creating when there is a strong likeliness that audiences will never experience their works?

I was lucky enough to study and grow with the “old school”, including several great masters who never compromised, never created for notoriety and whose only wish was to create a definitive body of work. Yes, if they were appreciated by their colleagues, that was a bonus. If not, they did not give up.

After a lifetime of creating “on the edge” I too begin to ask the hard questions. Was it all worth it? My name has yet to become a household “word”. Nonetheless, I have created a body of work, hundreds of........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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