The Jazz Quote of the Month
I got my copy of Robert G. O'Meally's wonderful collection of essays on jazz, The Jazz Cadence of American Culture, at a little second-hand music and book store on Mount Pleasant Avenue in Toronto. It's my old neighbourhood, where I had my first parish.
There are over 600 pages of rich reflection on the ways jazz has shaped American culture at its best. O'Meally calls its influence "a subtle set of threads that sparkles within virtually every aspect of modern American living." In its soul, jazz is about democracy in action. It's about the gifts we can become to each other and to our planet. It's an affirmative, progressive stance toward a mean, old world. It's a rough-and-ready, hopeful, but unillusioned, attitude toward life. It's tremendously complex systems of creative interaction represent the sound of joy and are a gesture towards the better world we imagine is possible if ....
The best of the Occupy movement contains many of these characteristics - a hopeful, affirmative, progressive stance that invites unillusioned conversations that might just help us sort through the messy process of innovation that will improve our life together. Those conversations don't make the headlines. They can't be captured in a 15-second sound bite. But they are happening across North America and around the world. People are taking the time to imagine a better future. People are connecting and communicating with each other - having conversations about their dreams and schemes, about what's preferable and what's getting in the way, about how imagination can spark creativity and creativity can spark innovation.
Maybe, just maybe, we're getting our groove back.