Sunday, January 3, 2016

Freedom - New Years Resolutions

A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra perform music from Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts. I was also able to interview Mark Harvey for the JazzBoston newsletter.

I was so taken with Ellington's Sacred music that I wanted to base my New Years resolutions off of some of the words Duke said of his companion Billy Strayhorn in the song, "It's Freedom."

Lena Horne and Duke Ellington perform his first Concert 

Listen to Duke Ellington's "It's Freedom" from the Sacred Concerts:

Freedom - New Years Resolutions

In "It's Freedom," Duke Ellington says that Billy Strayhorn lived by four moral freedoms: 

1. Freedom from hate unconditionally.

2. Freedom from self pity.

3. Freedom from the fear of passively doing something that might benefit someone else more than it would him.

4. Freedom from the kind of pride that could make a man feel that he was better than his brother.

The way Duke Ellington says these words hit me so strongly. Religious background aside, these are moral traits that we all strive for. What struck me about the song "It's Freedom" was the realization that freedom isn't just an external, socio-political ideal - it's within us morally. We strive to be a better person, and simultaneously being a better person makes us free. 

I would like to echo these freedoms for my New Year's Resolution. Making a new mantra for myself, I would like for us all to strive for self love, peace, acceptance and freedom by lessening hate, self pity, ego, jealousy and pride.

Listen to Strayhorn's composition "U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group)":

Final Thoughts:
Happy New Year! 

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Since September 2015, I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer/ editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene. 


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