Nearly three years ago, I embarked on a mission for the love of music, specifically Smooth Jazz.  I looked around and realized I needed to travel hours or wait months to see a live show.   Hopefully, in 2021, you and I can make a difference in sustained live Jazz entertainment in the Ft Walton Beach area.  Why do I continue to do what I do?  Some may think it’s all about the music.

Music, it’s the backbone of our lives and culture.  If we reflect on how gospel music strengthened the resolve of slaves and gave them hope for the future.   How nursery rhymes brought smiles to the faces of young kids.  Memories of a parent or grandparent singing us to sleep when we were sick, or just bring us comfort.  The first song played at a wedding reception gave promise of a brighter tomorrow, as a solidified team.  The song that was sung at a loved one’s funeral or played the first day a newborn arrives at home.  Remembering your first concert or what you were doing the first time you heard a song.  The smile a song brings to a child’s face, or even more so. when it makes them do the crazy dance only a child can do.  Music really does make us lose control, it becomes lifeblood, it soothes, serenades commemorates, distinguishes, and enlightens.  From gospel to rock, to rap or R&B, music is magical.

Then there is Jazz, in my humble opinion, an art form like no other.  This musical artistry comes in so many shapes and sizes because one flavor doesn’t always fit us all.  Jazz is more than the music, it’s about the people you meet at an event, the friendships made at a festival.  Jazz is about the artist who finds a way to connect with you, as no one else can.  Jazz creates families out of strangers, who met a few hours earlier.   Jazz will have you committed to staying in touch and making plans to meet at the next show or festival, although you just met.

Why do I do, what I do?   It’s the culture of jazz.  It’s the overall experience of enrichment and the people who enjoy the artistry, that can only come through jazz.   It’s more than the music.

Jazzy Ray & Jay Smooth


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