Smooth Like Jazz


I’m a classical music lover (and player), and I love the characteristics that mark each musical era:

Baroque’s complex, mathematical rhythms…
Classical’s melodic chordal progressions…
Romanticism’s airy similarities…
Expressionism’s harsh atonality….
and Minimalism’s abrupt vacancies.

And I’ve often thought over the years how these classical music genres often mirror our own lives in its various phases and stages.

Sometimes life is like a Baroque score – a Bach-esque, complex, mathematically precise 3-Part Invention, beautifully harmonious, but absolutely uninterruptible or dynamic. As long as everything remains in sync, life is a beautiful masterpiece.

Sometimes life is like a Classical sonata, a Für Elise or Sonata in C Major. It’s friendly and inviting, but lacking in variation. The same routine, day in and day out – just as the recapitulation repeats the original theme of the music.

Sometimes life is like a Romantic Arabesque, a Debussy Clair de Lune or Chopin Raindrop PreludeFluid, cantabile, yearning, Romance music accents those nostalgic moments of life. But living forever as a Reverie creates a general atmosphere of complacency and nostalgia.

Sometimes our hectic modern-day life can feel more like a Stravinsky Rite of Spring than anything: Atonal, harsh, lacking in melody, beauty or cohesiveness. No time to catch one’s breath in the midst of chaos and clutter and pandemonium.

And then….there’s jazz.

Smooth jazz, to be exact.

No matter how much I love Debussy, Schubert, and the other masters of music, there are times when I find myself putting away the books…turning off the CDs…and tuning into some smooth jazz.

And instantly life feels “right.”

As the fluid saxophone melodies sweep over my soul, the troubles in my mind fade away.

Peace floods.
Time stops.

And I wish I could stay in that moment forever.

Perhaps I can. And so can you.

The Google definition of “jazz” provides three similarities between jazz music and life that I think are crucial to obtaining, maintaining, and remaining in that state of blissful contentment.

1. Improvisation

Today’s life requires a lot of improv. Schedules change. Dreams fade away, and new ones take their place.

Jazz reminds us to not become so fixed in one place that we cannot go with the flow. Carpe Diem. Embrace life’s improvs, because sometimes they make up the most beautiful and emotional moments of all.

2. Syncopation

Admit it with me: sometimes things in life happen “off-beat.” When that happens, we can do one of two things: (a) Grow upset and complain; or (b) embrace life’s syncopation.

Car trouble? Embrace the syncopation and be thankful for the finances to repair it.
Off-hand comment? Embrace the syncopation and pray for the person who said it.
Hecticness of every-day life? Embrace the syncopation and live in each and every minute.

Life’s “off-beat” moments can be exasperating or exhilarating.
But we have an opportunity, every day, to make them part of our life song – our character.
Jazz does.

3. Rhythm

Despite its improvised melodies and syncopated, “off-beat” riffs, jazz is ultimately characterized by an unwavering, tasteful rhythm.

So are we.

God’s Word and God’s Spirit provide that rhythm.

As we dance through our days of extemporaneous improv and off-beat occurrences, the Word of God keeps us on rhythm.


Without rhythm, jazz would be a cacophony of notes and beats.And without God, life would be a cacophony of events and emotions.

Rhythm makes all the difference.

GOD makes all the difference.


Smooth like jazz.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s