All through Charlie Parker’s bebop tune, Anthropology, practically every ending leads to beginning. It’s a trait peculiar to bebop, and a lot of jazz music in general. The syncopated phrases seem to end, only to push you forward to the next phrase. Every harmonic cadence (an ending of sorts) pushes forward to another key, a chord, an alternate possibility, or simply to the beginning again.
Syncopation does that — it leans forward, insistent, to the beginning of a new phrase or a new chorus. It’s interesting how a composition technique meant to interrupt the steady passage of time, a style purposefully applied to accentuate the in-between and the unexpected, can foster such a sense of forward motion and energy. Which naturally ends up with (perceived) endings that push toward another beginning.
Jazz: Always a New Beginning
Jazz is a surprisingly (and perhaps inevitably) hopeful art form, birthed from an oppressed people and culture, steeped in struggle. Arguably, it’s the only truly American art form. And it makes sense to me. Because what is life without hope? What chance do we have of evolving or creating anything new without a little struggle, without those funky disruptions that force us to search for alternatives? Jazz — learning it, playing it, teaching it, listening to it — always leads me to a new beginning. As life always has, and as art always should.
Endings leading to beginnings is a powerful theme in the duality of my life as a musician and in my role here at designRoom Creative. I can relate when a client launches a new brand or re-creates a current brand. I can relate to the stress, anxiety, and hopefulness that sparks new opportunity and new growth. It’s what I teach my students and work to put into my writing — honor the offbeats, nurture every ending, and jump into every new beginning.