Jazz and youth are not mutually exclusive. Twenty-six-year-old jazz trumpeter and Wisconsin native, Paul Dietrich, is proof of that.
The Paul Dietrich Quintet’s first album, "We Always Get There," implies wisdom, experience and emotion that couldn’t possibly be contained in a 20-something’s wheelhouse. But, then there’s that cover of Bjork’s "Unravel" that reminds the listener that perhaps this is not your great-granddaddy’s jazz.
The modern jazz group formed in 2012 to showcase Dietrich’s small group writing. The band offers an accessible style that’s a fusion of influences like progressive rock, modern and classic jazz, contemporary classical music and folk and world styles. The band includes three more Wisconsinites: Dustin Laurenzi on tenor saxophone, Tim Ipsen on bass, Wisco-educated Andrew Green on drums and Paul Bedal on piano.
Dietrich, who went to college in Appleton and got his Master’s Degree at DePaul University in Chicago, now resides in Madison, where he is also an educator. Dietrich is a devoted Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks fan, which is not merely a way for the professional musician to show his home state team loyalty, but also provides an unintentional way for him to connect jazz with his leisure time.
"I remember an interview I saw once with Phil Jackson, who is a jazz fan. He compared the two in a way I thought was cool; in both jazz and in basketball; you have a group of people who all know a particular system and they all work together and improvise to create something out of that system that is more successful than any of the individuals," he says. "So there's a bit of a team aspect to it, I guess."
It’s that cohesive ordering of seeming chaos that it is so impressive about jazz. Perhaps that sense of chaos is because of a current mainstream unfamiliarity with the genre, at least within a certain demographic. There is of course, an intense precision to a successful jazz composition, no doubt from the immense education …
I am actually surprised I remembered to write this blog at all.
I will embarrassingly admit that I started this piece a while back, saved it and then never even recalled its creation or need for completion until I was opening another document and stumbled upon "Blog Memory." It was lying dormant, waiting editing in my Document file, abandoned not from malice or disinterest, but from pure ignorance of its existence.
The alarming nature of this incident indicated a need for some immediate brain healing and investigation into why I seem to be suffering from a lack of retention.
I’ve always been a "list writer." But, these days especially, if something is going to get done, it has to be catalogued on my "list." Even, then I have to actually remember to jot it down on there. Growing up (and to this day,) my mother utilized her "Famous Yellow List," a single sheet torn from a mini legal pad, that inventoried her endless "to dos" while also housing coupons and other important slips within it’s single fold, secured with a single silver paper clip. I took on this modeled behavior, which has evolved into an almost compulsive use of the Reminders App, born out of and maintained due to necessity.
But, I wonder if my dependence on "the list" has contributed to my brain getting lazy. Kind of like GPS has become my inner compass’s crutch. I’ve never really possessed a good innate sense of direction, but now I don’t have one at all. It’s become so easy to plug in an address and let Siri tell me where to go instead of knowing how to get there. Could this reliance on computerized mapping also have affected my memory? I haven’t had to actually remember how to get anywhere in ages! Perhaps my poor recall skills are a yet another symptom to fuel my dislike of technology.
I’m pretty sure my memory has been on the decline since my early twenties. Or at least I think it has been. I really can’t even remember when this all started. My ability to retain i…