Oct 20, 2012

Dancing to Jazz

Modern concert hall jazz is not the same as the original jazz at noisy and busy bars and clubs in US in the post-war forties and fifties, where working class, mostly blacks, gathered for some alcohols, some fun, chit chat, food, and...music to carry the hours, after a frustrating day of hard labor. I would imagine the jazz musicians were almost half-drunk, trying to grab the attention of the audience amidst the noise and chaos created by the patrons as well as those serving the tables. "Gotta grab those folks' attention with these non-chords", which after hearing repeatedly, finally became pleasing to the ears one day, and the musicians were honored to have created a new harmonious chord!

The rhythm and chords, broken or not, were always there, half-drunk, a jazz pianist will strike a few pleasing, free-flowing notes here and there when the noise was too loud. O man, when the noise began to subside a little, our pianist would immediately catch the moment, adding more and more notes on top of the continuously running rhythmic patterns. And virtuoso as he was, his hands worked like magic, perhaps helped by his occasional substance indulgence, that substance nowadays was commonly known as recreational drugs. His audience was electrified. When he couldn't do it no more, he would pass the spotlight to the drummer who had been waiting for his turn eagerly at all times.

Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center New York was a clean version of the original jazz club. Two years ago I was there, the audience consisted of mostly jazz-loving tourists, including me and Paul. We were up close to the musicians, with seating arrangement simulating the original jazz club, the ticket came with a drink, and a chef ready to do light meals, with occasional orders. Otherwise, the place was as quiet as a concert hall. The musicians played virtuoso music, probably better than the original jazz musicians, now that they are clean, with better musicology and more time to practice. What remained the same was the basic rhythm and chords patterns, overlaid with free-flowing notes at high speed, creating passionate and more subtle music catering for a new generation of more discerning music lovers.

I created my Dancing Roses line of jewelry almost 10 years ago. I was inspired by the changing role of the modern woman, an efficient manager at home and in office, yet, can freely express her love and passion meeting her loved one. I expressed it through creating a minimalist geometric form, the always there rhythmic patterns, and inside freely moving petite roses, of single or multi-color, crying out for attention in different combinations. The same year I was the only Hong Kong jewelry designer being invited to exhibit at the prestigious Designer Hall in Baselworld, Switzerland.

I danced to Jazz.

Dancing Roses by Sabina Lee

Listen to Jason Marsalis at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York

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