I don’t keep a television in my apartment, my life doesn’t have room for it. I read books – one per week – and I listen to music in my downtime in the city. I like to read historical non-fiction and I like to listen to jazz.
I read non-fiction because I enjoy the stories and experiences of real people in real places. It helps me put real people and real places in my life into perspective. It is often more compelling than fiction. I am usually less surprised by human nature while engrossed in a piece of historical non-fiction about just that.
I listen to jazz because of the four major musical elements of melody, harmony, tone and rhythm. Jazz is mostly improvised, melody is unpredictable, making an artist out of every musician creating or replicating jazz songs. I also find a sort of discipline in the appreciation of jazz music. It is easy to remember melody when it is accompanied by lyrics. The absence of lyrics encourage the listener to remember the melody as an entity to itself.
My understanding of art is that it must be a challenge – it must challenge something in the consumer. Jazz is a challenge. I am an appreciator of art.
From there I get pretty predictably, many jazz consumers will tell you the same thing: Thelonious Monk is the most remarkable improviser of all time and without him, the world would be a darker, bleaker, uglier, more predictable, less surprising place from which escape would be a welcome event.