Garr Reynolds has a great series of posts (1, 2) on Wynton Marsalis’s new book “Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life” which has me itching to pick up the book.
The points Reynold’s brings out of Jazz’s mode of creativity as a method for creativity for design and for living I can personally testify to. As a jazz dancer and amateur washboard player, the affect living in a jazz-immersed culture has drastically changed my perceptions of the world and of myself.
From the perspective of a new designer I had never explicitly brought together my understanding of jazz and the creativity of jazz with my far more limited understanding of design and presentation. The notions of simplicity and accessibility coupled with the deep and intelligent naturalness of jazz make for a solid principle of design.
One of my favorite quotes that he pulls out:
“Our desire to testify through some type of art is unstoppable. A palpable energy is released when inspiration and dedication come together in a creative art. The energy is transformative in an individual who is innovative, but it is transcendent when manifested by a group. There are no words for the dynamic thrill of participating in a mutual mosaic of creativity.”
The notion of communal artistry is even more provoking for me as I meet and get to know more creative artists, teachers and people from a variety of fields. The energy that I gather from being around like-minded artists who have had the influence of jazz in their life amounts to something unassailable by words alone. It is an immersive experience where I feel enriched and have at my disposable a previously unknown font of creative energy.