As a composer, I always feel it hard when someone like David Bowie dies. Bowie’s unique creativity set him apart from almost all other artists. His flair so exclusive and exceptional, he created his own style.
Bowie fitted into many categories of music and created some of his own. Few composers do this. Some excel in their genres; some blow them apart, like Miles Davis, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Janis Joplin. But to create your own style, is what many musicians try to do. To succeed at this usually takes a lifetime.
This is where I am now, I’m on that journey. Even though I’ve been composing music for over 40 years, I’m not sure what style fits me best. I’ve tried pop songs, classical, electronic, rock and even movie music, but the more I learn about jazz, I find that it best expresses what I want to say, musically.
Of course, it’s my take on jazz, with some traditional arrangements and flow thrown in, but, hopefully, in my style, whatever that is.
But, it’s hard to make something unique and popular at the same time. Bowie didn’t seem to struggle too much with this problem. When listening to some of his songs, they seem to be effortlessly unique and popular. His music will always stay in my head, I’ll never be able to shake his tunes, and I never want to.
Jazz works for me, because it’s so free. It allows me to say things that most other forms do not. Freedom, in all parts of life is important to me.
Here are some of Duke Kennedy Ellington’s thoughts on jazz and freedom. “Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom… In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.”
But, as always, with people, I am trying to make something more than jazz, something more than music. Something, which contains jazz, but offers more, and hopefully, something popular and unique. My latest album is a step in that direction, and of course, it’s titled, More than Jazz.