Listening and Free Association

“Music is a total constant. That’s why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.” ― Sarah Dessen,  Just Listen

In this exhibit titled Listening and Free Association, we focus on one song that happens to be my favorite: “All the Things You Are” by Jerome Kern. As psychoanalysts you might liken it to one of our major themes: love and it’s vicissitudes. All of us want to be loved and to love, and there are many ways we express our longings, wishes, & hopes. We begin exploring the theme with Jim Hall who is teaching a masterclass in France. He explains the construction of the song. He is joined by a student playing stand up bass. We could liken it to a beginning psychoanalytic class or supervisory experience.

After this first lesson, we shall hear different renditions of the same song. “All the Things You Are” is known and played by all jazz musicians because of its structure and because – as with love – it lends itself to improvisation. Please feel free to browse slowly and not all at once.
I include vocals because good instrumentalists respond to the lyrics.

We begin with Charlie Parker’s solo, a really fine example of stating the melody and taking us by the hand thru his be-bop creation. Next is Annie Ross, with lyrics. Then several musicians illustrate counterpoint, different tempi, texture, and degrees of swing. Swing is a concept that means everyone is together in the same boat – real, pure, connection. It has nothing to do with the tempo, or the beat. For instance you could say that the overture in Carmen swings. Saying something swings means that it moves you! Here we go.

⇐Return to the Jazz gallery

3 thoughts on “Listening and Free Association

  1. Laura Ravaioli

    Music can be a simbolic way to express feelings (M. Mancia) and to reach a listening field (A. Di Benedetto) so I definitely agree about the importance of listening. Putting ourselves in a listening position and quitting our narcisistic gratification of talking is the first mandatory condition to communicate, because it gives a message of availability to the Other.
    …Then music connects with primitive affects of the listener, and takes place in his body…
    Thank you, this jazz gallery is beautiful!

    1. jane hall

      I just found your comment four years late, Laura. Thank you for your note. Did you ever sing All the Things You Are? I’ll bet you have.


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