While watching some YouTube videos of some of my all-time favorite acts, I happened upon one that featured the great Neil Peart playing at a Buddy Rich tribute back in the early 90's. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I became a (belated) Jazz fan. Its no-nonsense and improvisational-like approach as well as the outstanding and virtuoso musicianship appealed to me. Although it also has its own stars and prima donnas, Jazz usually lacks of some form of annoying, irritating, self-important , attention-whore front man or front woman; it's usually an ensemble and a team effort.
Musically speaking, I've been drifting more and more toward instrumentals, extended jam sessions, etc., because I'm becoming less and less interested in lyrical content. It seems that most of the things people are singing about (or whining about, take your pick) revolve around politics and/or failed romances of one sort or another. BORING!!!! PLAYED OUT!!! LAME!!! Personally, I'd be surprised if anyone gave a rat's ass about my love life, or lack thereof, so why should I give a fuck about someone else's? All politicians are liars and thieves, and people in general aren't that much better or different.
If that man or woman left you, got you fired from your job, wrecked your car, emptied your bank account, burned down your house, had kinky outdoor sex while they took turns pouring sugar in your gas tank and arranged for someone to beat the shit out of you and then throw you head-first into a full porta-potty, you probably deserved everything you got, so stop snivveling about it. Can't, can you? Why? Because there's about a billion songs that cater to dickheads and bitches just like you in a ceaseless barrage of painful reminders. Progressive Rock, or Prog Rock, at least made an attempt to address other topics and subject matter, like space phenomena and sci-fi. However, the experiment didn't last very long, and all the good Prog Rock bands eventually wound up toeing the "love song" line.
Jazz seems to be excellent general-purpose music. It's music to get stuff done by, but also music that you can quietly reflect upon, relying on the beauty of the notes alone to sooth your soul. It also can be very bare-boned and minimal, or very rich and fat, depending on who's playing. Because I'm so new to it, Jazz doesn't have the emotional content and/or baggage that a lot of other music has. For example, every time I hear a certain British band's music, images of a certain woman immediately go racing through my mind, and not in a good way; if I never heard anything from that band again, I'd be happy, which is kind of a shame, because I like their music for the most part.
I'm happy with my latest "discovery" and am enjoying it thoroughly. The classic "Laura", Weather Report and the insane bass-playing of the late Jaco Pastorius, and Frank Zappa's "Jazz From Hell" are only the beginning of what promises to be an audio renaissance of the highest order. Baby steps for sure, but it's JAZZ, BABY!!! I hope that others can also re-examine things and not be stuck in the same rut year after year, but then again, if that's your thing, then stick with it. It's a free country, after all!