Bebop legend Charlie Parker once said, “They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But man, there’s no boundary line to art.”
It’s inspiring stuff, but musicologists will tell you that Parker’s improvisational playing nonetheless required a kind of structure. “Jazz, like all serious art,” writes Arthur Brooks in a recent piece in the New York Times,“is slavish in its adherence to boundaries and rules. And therein it achieves the nature of true freedom.”
Herb Alpert can relate.
As a jazz musician guided by “what feels right,” one may think that Alpert’s “seat of the pants” and “knee-jerk” philanthropy—his words, not ours—lacks an overarching design. Nothing could be further from the truth.