Wh at drew me to classi cal music was always the "arc" of a piece, the way in which composers spin fantastic work s that take you from one place to another. It was the same spark that pulled me towa rds concept albums. For a 10th grade mu sic class, I remember analyzing the Grateful Dead's entire Live Dead record (which is mostly open-ended spacey improvisation) as a symphonic form. Th at's how I was thinking. Only recently, I've begun to understand musical concept as architecture after a visit to the Aya Sofya cathedral/mosque in Istanbul. A cohesive work of music or art has uniformity and developed variation, requires a strong foundation but is nothing without its walls and ceiling, and ultimately serves as a space for the listener to inhabit. But what pulled me towards "jazz", that extremely loaded 4-letter word, was the desire to play with people. I studied and love classical guitar, but there's nothing like connecting with other souls, and for me, the open-endedness of the jazz idiom was a fast-track to doing that: instant give and take if you could get past your ego and just open your ears. I also
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