December 27 2017

Jazz and Friendship

It's hard to put into words, but my friendship with Bix was one of the fine things in my life. It's probably tough for anybody outside of the jazz world to latch on to its real meaning. When you're a kid and your first millennium falls on you - when you get in a groove that you know is right for you, find a way of expressing something deep down and know it's your way - it makes you bubble inside. But it's hard to tell outsiders about it. It's all locked up inside you, in a kind of mental prison. Then, once in a million years, somebody like Bix comes along and you know the same millennium is upon him too, it's the same with him as it is with you. That gives you the courage of your convictions - all of a sudden you know you aren't plodding around in circles in a wilderness. No wonder jazz musicians have an off-center perspective on the world. You can't blame them for walking around with a superior air, partly because they're plain lonely and partly because they know they've got hold of something good, a straight slant on things, and yet nobody understands it. A Bix Beiderbecke will. He knows where to put the "Amen's."

- Mezz Mezzrow

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