Improv Jazz: Ur Doin It Worng, and Other Thursday Thoughts

As you may or may not know, jazz great Dave Brubeck passed from us this month. That led me to replay, as I often do, the first record I ever owned. When I was just a wee little MomGoth, my mother bought me DAVE DIGS DISNEY. As you also may or may not know, quite a few Disney songs became standards in the jazz community. Mom and I got to hear Dave live twice, and both times, he played a couple of songs from the album.

Okay. Now, the whole point of improv jazz is that you never hear the same piece the same way twice. If a musician plays the same thing in two different performances, he or she isn’t improvising, right? But I’ve played this album so often, so often, so often, I go around humming and bum-bum-ba-ba-ba-pumming the spontaneous riffs and changes as if they were carved in stone. Because I am not an improv musician, and the only way I can fly is to hop a regularly scheduled flight.

Kinda sad, really.

I got into a heated discussion with the head of our church Property Committee at the board meeting last night over our coffee machine, which is broken. He said he’d look into replacing it. I said not that kind, because it’s dumb. He said we didn’t really need anything that big for Sundays, just for soup and salad luncheons and so forth; for Sundays, we just needed a regular household coffee maker. I said two coffee makers, so we could have regular and decaf or coffee and hot water for chocolate and tea. He said one. I said two. He said we might as well get another of what we had. I said what we had is dumb, because you have to use it every day or it doesn’t work properly and we don’t use it every day. He said it wasn’t working properly because it was second hand, that he bought it used from a gun shop. I said if we bought it from a gun shop, it’s no wonder it’s shot. And we laughed.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to bring my own coffee pot, I guess, if I want coffee at church.

p. s. Praying and laying hands on it didn’t help.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Put a character into a situation that includes coffee, improv jazz, church, and an argument.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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