A powerful music, a powerful time

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I said to someone recently that I didn't consider Miles a trumpet player.

I said that would be like calling Salvador Dali a painter. It's close but it's not the essence of being an artist.

I said that I hoped I could be known as a musician someday.

Miles was and is and always will be a musician.

I said that Miles made more music just walking across the room than most people could make even if they practiced an instrument 24/7.

I said also that Miles was playing even when he wasn't touching his horn.

Sometimes musicians play to 'make a living'.

What a senseless, mundane reason to play music. I know; I've done it.

We shouldn't play to make a living; we should live to make music!

Miles stopped playing for years. He listened to the silence.

All musicians should stop playing for a year or two and listen to the silence.

I like to listen to the silence too, now. And sometimes I bring something back that I think is real music. Most of what I hear today is not what I would call real music.

There's Mozart and Tchiakovsky and Mussorsky and Stravinsky. Try putting some current names up against that kind of pressure.

Here's what I think music is:

It's the expression of our dreams in waking time. It's the courage to live (and die) for an idea. It's a sound we make when we are at our most human, our most frail, our most REAL.

Music isn't about chops. How vulgar!

Music isn't notes by the billions or slick prepackaged product.

It is NOT trashing Kenny G because he's making more money than other players. Could that be because he might be making more people feel good about life?

Music is what I make when I am real.

It makes itself, like love. It makes and remakes the maker.

It is every human word and no word at all; every sound in the world made out of infinite stillness, limitless silence.

When I look at a Klee or a Van Gogh I HEAR it.

When I listen to Filles De Kilimanjaro or A Love Supreme I SEE it.

When I am alive, all the divine things that make art like life also make life just like art.

When I hear great music, I hear my own heart; and when I occasionally make great music, I am shaken to the core by the beauty and the sacred value and the shortness of our time here on earth together.


A great wind is blowing across the world. We are changing. Our values will be tested, our beliefs will be under assault.

Our way of life will be threatened, and our true selves will be revealed.

I'm not a fortuneteller.

I'm just a watcher, a listener.

I'm pretty sure about this, though; we are going through a VERY important and powerful time.

This is a time when we will get to see good and see evil.

If we're willing to give up our old preconceptions about what the world should look like and begin to see it as the mirror of our own souls, we have every reason to believe that we'll be just fine.

If we try to force it into a mold of predictability and stasis, things could get very dicey.

This music we have inside of us is an ally, a talisman. It is a very powerful force.

It is voodoo and it is love.


It is everything we are or aspire to be.

It is religion for the believer, and it is a light for the seeker.

It is the reason many of us get up in the morning and it is the reason many of us lie awake at night, hearing the sounds and the cries and the sweet laments of our ancestors and teachers.

It is our tribal heritage and our filial bond; it fuses the human family together in a wordless union.

Play this Music.

For our lives, unto our deaths, this is OUR MUSIC. We give it freely to the world to promote and foster harmony and freedom and peace.

It is a powerful music for a powerful time.

-JW 3.7.04