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The Curator for the West Harlem Art Fund was just asked about her process behind their new location-based tours in Harlem. Just doing the tours was not enough. Using technology was not enough. There must be another reason. Quite annoyed, the curator slept on it and realized that the tours symbolized the spirit of jazz. Not the music, but it’s approach and understanding.

Jazz is America’s original music and art form. A combination of European chords that’s overlaid with melody or melodies which are entirely improvisational. It’s a blending of cultures, rhythms, and appreciations.

It’s more than just music, it’s an approach, a lifestyle that offers room for growth and change. Started by African-Americans but open to all people around the world. Our location-based tours are very similar to jazz. It’s independent. Refusing to be placed in some cookie-cutting box. Overlaying various new film, music or poetry over the architecture and history of Harlem like musical harmony with its repetitive chords.

Yes, taking what seems straight-forward and adding layers that are personal, controversial or just exciting. Masters of those jazz styles included Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus, Art Blakely just to name a few. West Coast Cool was slow and lyrical. Hardbop defined NYC with soul, funk and blues as its overlays.

As we present these tours, we are asking participants not to look backwards but to spring forward using technology to embrace our new melodies and songs.

Can you dig that!

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