Music means so much to me. Next to travel, it is the thing that keeps me going when I am stuck “in some unforgiving place“, perhaps far away from where I want to be.
It is amazing how different kinds of music can affect you though: either raise you up or bring you down.
Jazz and Blues are like the chalk and cheese of the music world in that way – yet it is surprising how often some people refer to the two of them in the same breath, as if they are interchangeable.
For me, it is probably better to say that the difference from one to the other is like trying to contrast the difference between saints and sinners.
Jazz is very much for those inclined to follow a saint somewhere, perhaps without even realising they are, until they arrive at their destination – and are (somehow) happier, and even relieved, for it.
Whereas Blues, or The Blues (to get it right), is very much about knowing where you are – and perhaps not being able to escape it, but (what the hell) “that’s the way it is and ah’m gonna SING about it! Ya hear? Dee-Dee Dee Dum, my baby she left me…(and so on it goes)”
Swing, of course, is for those somewhere in between – like Paloma Faith’s “Upside Down” number that I have linked above, just so you get the idea, and it can be marmite or vegemite (and the choice of which then largely depends upon whether you are from “Up Over” or “Down Under” in the planetary taste of things)
I was very much reminded about these contrasts, in a way I never really realised I knew, when I met Laura Collins that day over breakfast at (I kid you not name-wise) Parsonage Farm, that little B & B we stayed in down in Somerset over the August 2011 bank holiday weekend.
Perhaps it was not surprising then that Laura captured my other half in conversation over the breakfast table with all the energy and passion for her art. While I had a sombre – more Blues-like convo – with her husband Mark, the good doctor mentioned in my previous post.
Yet, without both her and Mark, perhaps I would not have come to the final point of revelation about the contrasting and subtly beautiful balance between the two sets of people I met on the road. One set who are very much the realists on the road to Canterbury, and the others very much idealists on the road to “Camelot” (which is somewhere near Glastonbury, surely?! 😉 ).
Somehow the two manage to co-exist with an equal share of romance about not only their respective roads but about the country they live in – and can still manage to meet happily at the crossroads to exchange thoughts and ideas.
Indeed, that is like Laura and Mark themselves really. Without a doubt like the significant swans they are, you can see it will be a lifelong conversation of light and dark contrasts – sometimes uplifting, and other times grounding, but always ending up meeting somewhere in the middle.
So if Jazz and The Blues were to be personified and get married, then these two are probably not far off being examples of what that’d be like.
In relation to the Chaucer of old though, these two also represent how the tables have come to be turned upside down with how women can now happily be seen and introduced through their profession as much as men can be, which was not the case in medieval times – as reflected in the titles of tales told by women in The Canterbury Tales, where the women are known by their marital status only.
So I feel some credit needs to be given, when I come to write my story of The Road from Camelot to Canterbury, about how far we have come from only being able to see damsels as being in distress (which Chaucer does challenge just a little with “The Wife of Bath’s Tale“) to the times we are in now, when a lady can very much sing for her supper.
In the case of one Laura Collins, from somewhere in The Midlands, she definitely can sing the jazz. So never fear, Paloma, there’s another angel in town to help you get things swinging – but, by contrast to you, just more likely to jazz it up a little.
Take it away, Laura! 😉