Welcome to the Jazz Gallery by Guest Curator Jane Hall


“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – unknown (erroneously attributed to Plato)

JaneSHall_186x300Hi, this is Jane Hall welcoming you to the Jazz Gallery.

The different exhibits in this gallery are: listening and fee association; story telling; interpretation, beyond theory, loss & mourning; and goodbyes.

Psychoanalysis and jazz have something in common: the magic and spontaneity of improvisational interaction. In jazz music something new is always created, often based on what happened before. In jazz ensembles, from duos to big bands, the musician is working off both his own and his partners’ internal rhythms, chords, colors, melodies, and moods. Players free associate to each other by relying on the spirit, camaraderie, love, energy (both libidinal and aggressive), openness, risk- taking, and braving the unknown. Mistakes, lapses, even trepidations are used to further the music. Have you ever noticed how musicians react to each other? That attention or even lack of it becomes part of the music. Barriers are crossed in jazz. Trust makes this possible.

The analytic dyad makes its own unique music too. And the farther you travel on your journey the less you will rely on the notes and theories you have learned because they have been synthesized and internalized – freeing your energy in the service of the creative listening that will fill your days.

Psychoanalytic work, like music requires listening. This gallery on jazz emphasizes listening as a way of connecting. Jim Hall is my late husband. I was his muse and he was mine. For 50 years we listened to each other. He read what I wrote, nurtured me and so he will always play a major role in my life. You might say that this gallery is inspired by and dedicated to him. As you listen to the music you will hear examples of texture, counterpoint, improvisation, syncopation, acoustic and amplified instruments, in solo, duo, trio, and larger groups playing jazz music . Visitors to these exhibits will be exposed to the ways musicians articulate feelings and how they move their audiences.

Jim is in many exhibits but other jazz musicians are too. I have shared some of my favorite selections to illustrate the topics. There are many other examples out there but these are some of my favorites. Let’s begin with a well known jazz standard that illustrates connection. One musician listener commented: “I am a bona fide Jim Hall nut. Undercurrent is such a wonderful album. From a musician’s standpoint the thing that I still marvel at is how well these two guys played off each other. Never will you hear more openness and space, but how is it that they could leave such large chunks of open space and it still swings like hell? It swings within the silences. Hall and Evans taught me that having a strong internal sense of time guides the listener to continue grooving in their own minds.”

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” ― Bono

Let’s begin with a well known jazz standard that illustrates connection.

Jane S. Hall, LCSW, FIPA, is Past President of the Contemporary Freudian Society, a member of the IPA, APsaA, AAPCSW. A Training and Supervising Analyst who has taught, lectured, and consulted on how to deepen psychoanalytic work for the past thirty years, Hall is the author of: Roadblocks on the Journey of Psychotherapy (2004) and Deepening the Treatment (1998), published by Jason Aronson; and other articles. She consults and supervises in person and via skype and telephone, and is on faculties of three NY institutes. Hall is in private practice in New York City.

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to the Jazz Gallery by Guest Curator Jane Hall

  1. Beth I. Kalish, PhD, FIPA

    Hi Jane:

    This is wonderful. A real treat. As a former dancer/dance therapist I had to contain myself while listening- (now, I dance mostly ‘in my mind’!
    Much love,

  2. Arthur Bijur

    Great to wake up to this on Father’s Day. I love and agree with your take on jazz, which goes for other music too, of course. But Jazz has so much improvisation it really does reflect how we all move through life expressing ourselves as we figure out what we feel–and want to express. And with jazz, or any music, as in life, when we do it, we connect. Hope you are great.

    Arthur Bijur

  3. Maxine Nelson, LICSW, FIPA

    Jane, thank you for initiating this wonderfully creative endeavor. I love the idea of analytic dyads making music together–sometimes syncopated and other times sharply discordant but all grist for the mill.

  4. Alison O'Carroll

    Dear Jane,

    Yes! I so agree that psychoanalysis has much in common with jazz. The rhythm section is like the analyst in that it provides the structure (frame) for the soloist (patient) to play (free associate) over. Many functions of the rhythm section’s “frame” are just like the analyst’s frame… the rhythm section holds the time, remains grounded in (or at least in reference to) the harmonic structure (akin to the analyst holding theory at the back of their mind), is emotionally receptive, mirrors the soloist and is present.

    I have often wondered if Bion’s famous advice for analysts to let go of memory and desire and “just be” when practising could be influenced by his growing up in India and being exposed to Indian classical music which has similar qualities to jazz … in that the performer has spent years learning the ragas (scales and rules of use) and talas (rhythmic pattern) but, when it comes to performing (and improvising), a master can “let go” of theory and rules, while embodying them, and play in the moment. They soar like Charlie Parker.

    I studied jazz for two years at my local conservatorium of music and think it better prepared me to be a psychotherapist than did my 6 years of training in psychology. One of my teachers, Mike Nock, used to yell in frustration at us “Nobody is listening! Just listen!”. Another teacher, Don Burrows, wisely advised me that “jazz is not a ‘what’, it is a ‘how'”.

    I love your virtual psychoanalytic museum! Many thanks,
    Alison O’Carroll


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