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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Defining "The Jazz": A Short Dissertation on the A-Team

What is the Jazz? 

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we shall be looking at a concept that seems to still be without definition. I'm speaking, of course, about ... The Jazz. I'm not talking about the musical genre known as The Jazz, though we shall dip briefly into Musical Jazz and speak of what makes Musical Jazz cool, but when we talk about the Jazz in this article we are speaking specifically about the concept known as "The Jazz" on the hit 80s television show -- The A Team --.

The A-Team

In this Short Dissertation on the concept only known as The Jazz (and not the musical genre) we shall be: Firstly (A) Quickly looking into where the word originated from which is the Musical genre known as Jazz, (B) How Characters on the A Team Program attempted to explain to the viewers at home the definition of the concept known as "The Jazz", (C) Third-most we shall be looking at how other members of modern society have tried to explain "The Jazz", and Fourthingly (D) I shall attempt to synthesize it all and offer to the reader my own personal interpretation of .... "The Jazz."

Alright, buckle your safety belts reader, and if you gotta go pee do it now .... because once you start readin' a short dissertation on "The Jazz" there's no turning back: So, Here. We GO:

The Etymological Origin of "The Jazz" within Jazz Music

Jazz Music is a free form style of music ... but don't let that fool you into thinking that anybody can just pick up an instrument and be a gifted Jazz player. No, Jazz is NOT like abstract art in the sense that anyone can do it. Good Jazz is preformed by the most talented players imaginable but they are playing what they want. It's not from a sheet with notes, it's just free form playing, listen to a sample here:

This is not Abstract Art of just throwing crap around ... these are some of the most talented artists ever yet their structure has no form ... it is free flowing .... you work with each other .... you go with what the bassist's doing and you flow with what the drummer's doing and you groove your own style with how the saxophone man is grooving his style .... and in the end it's this big Free Form Entity. It's Jazz.

It's chaotic but due to the talent and trust shared by each player for each other ... it's also very orderly. It's a perfect clash of Order and Chaos. You couldn't just have Order and get Jazz, like read notes off the sheet and play it with full stuffiness .... yet on the other hand you couldn't just have chaos as in pick up an instrument and smash it over something style ludicrous do-what-you-want Chaos ... you need the perfect congruence of Chaos and Order to achieve Jazz Music.

You can see them in the clip above, no one knows what the other is going to do and in that sense it should come out as jumbly wild nonsense ... but it isn't at all ... it's very together and concise ... they are so good at their craft and have such trust in the others abilities ... that it is so purely organized looking as a final product that you'd think they were playing off of the same music sheets.

Jazz music, I would define as, being so incredibly talented at your craft that you no longer need structure because your experience with the craft has honed your instincts to a point where your Free Form expression of said craft comes across as a final product as being more structured than the structure itself.

There's a great Free Form Freedom to Jazz. There really is.

Yet, we are not talking about Jazz music as we are trying to conceptualize a concept who's definition has plagued humanity for decades now. What is "The Jazz" referred to on the 80s smash hit television show ... The A Team? Many of you may not be familiar with the show, so, nextly we are going to present how various characters on the show attempted to explain the "Jazz."

Characters of the A-Team Various Attempts to Explain the Concept of "The Jazz" 

The first time viewers of the A Team were ever introduced to the concept of the Jazz was on the Pilot episode, where as Face Man (in the only appearence where the character is not portrayed by Dirk Benedict), asked the A-Team's Strategist Hannibal Smith why he pulled so much "Maury Wills Junk" (referring to Maury's annoyance of pitchers by taking leads off of first base before stealing second) prior to pulling a sluice gate lever, which then flooded the canal/road and in which culminated in stymieing their pursuers. Bosco B.A. Baracus interrupted Hannibal's response to Face Man's question and responded:

"You know Ol' Hannibal, he loves The Jazz man, he loves The Jazz" - B.A. Baracus

We are introduced to this concept of The Jazz yet are (purposely?) left in the dark as to what this "Jazz" is or why Hannibal loves it so much.

Nextly the Jazz is invoked when the A Team is splitting into two groups to flank an enemy and the Face Man insists he be paired with the Tough Man Baracus instead of Hannibal. Hannibal inquires as to why the Face Man would rather be paired with Baracus and Baracus explains that when Hannibal is on The Jazz ... he's crazy.

It seems The Jazz is something in Hannibal that makes him reckless, unpredictable, and erratic ... yet Hannibal is the A Team's Strategist and should be the most calm and collected of the ensemble. How can their leader be so prone to reckless behavior that may endanger his team? It seems, as with an ensemble in Musical Jazz, the A Team trust Hannibal with their lives and throughout his erratic and sometimes dangerous free form plans ... this trust is still there ... they still trust him even though his actions are viewed as erratic, reckless, and without structure.

On a subsequent episode "The Jazz" is explained to the recently recruited character Amy as being that feeling when a gambler puts all his chips on the table. It's the moment as the dice rolls, or the card is pulled, or the ball lands, where the gambler doesn't know if he's gonna lose all of his money ... or make a shit load of money.

That's The Jazz. When Maury Wills dances off first base he knows the pitcher can throw over at any time and catch him dancing ... but he still does it. He still takes off from first base even though he knows he can be caught stealing. Maury Wills, like Face was implying, had The Jazz. He just got a hit or a walk and safely reached first but he tries to go double-or-nothing by either getting picked off or caught stealing .... the risk is big ... but the reward is big. That's the Jazz. Stolen Bases are Jazz.

There's a large feeling of Freedom in The Jazz. You can stay at first base if you want and play it safe. You can go to the boardwalk and catch a show in Atlantic City and play it safe. You can jump in B.A's car and rush off to safety without embarrassingly getting Colonel Lynch trapped in the canal whilst the sluice gate opens (getting him ALL WET). 


You can try and steal second base, you can go to the Tropicana Hotel and put it all on the table, you could wait until Lynch is exactly inside the canal/road before opening the sluice gate .... so he gets ALL WET!

In that time where Hannibal was waiting for the perfect Moment ... Lynch could've shot Hannibal or blew out the tires on B.A.'s truck but Hannibal needed to get that colonel All Wet and didn't care about the consequences or the risks because that man was on The Jazz!

Hannibal would endanger the lives of himself and his team .... just to get his pursuer wet. Now that's The Jazz.

What other Figures in Modern Society have said regarding "The Jazz"

Last article I mentioned a story I always found fascinating. It was the one about Telly Savalas losing all his money gambling yet for some reason "feeling clean" afterwards. That was the Jazz right there. It was the moment where it was all riding. That Living in the Moment type of moment ... that he had a chance to win it all and every moment leading up to, and after, that 5 seconds where it was all riding .... seemed to last for an eternity. The cup of coffee afterwards tasted amazing and during that cup of coffee bought with the last dollar to his name after he lost it all .... he probably realized he just spent all his money on a "Moment" and he probably didn't even regret it. That? You know what that is? That's the Jazz.

I recently read Norm MacDonald's book which is a collection of Incredibly Fascinating life stories he shares with us .... but that's just a subplot ... the main plot of the novel is Norm's journey with his trusted Sancho-Panza-esque sidekick Adam Eget to Atlantic City to carry out his "Plan" ... and the Incredibly Fascinating life stories are shared as flashbacks whilst Norm is experiencing varying forms of morphine-related psychosis during various stages of the "Plan".

Norm MacDonald's book is rife with The Jazz, I would even regard The Jazz as one of the main themes of this exceptionally crafted novel. You should read it, I won't go into it too much. It's good.

My own Synthesis of all Data Relating to said "The Jazz" and my own Personal Interpretation as such,

Now it's my turn. This is my opinion. After studying everything I could in relation to the Concept on the A-Team referred to as "The Jazz," after understanding the etymological background of it, after listening to many characters on the show's interpretation of it, and after applying those concepts to other variations I've seen in other forms of history or modern life .... it is only now that I feel confident enough to construct and be allowed to have an opinion on The Jazz. Would you like to hear it? Ok, here it goes...

The Jazz is Free Form Chaos presented in the most Organized of Manners. It is a moment in your life where all around you was complete and utter chaos yet you were calm, collected, and in total control of your own actions during that chaotic situation.  It was in this highly chaotic yet totally orderly moment in which you felt total Absolute Freedom. Even with all the chaos around you, you knew that you had a plan and even if the plan failed miserably, you were still in complete calmness whilst carrying it out. Thus The Jazz can only be described as,

Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom.


To me, Writing is My "The Jazz", and it will be different for everyone. Everyone has to find a fun and safe outlet to experience their version of Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom. For me, my The Jazz is writing, it really is. You're probably wondering how Writing incredibly silly, overtly long, overly constructed, almost downright pointless essays on a variety of strange topics can be a "The Jazz" to someone ... but it is for me.

Any topic, at all, can be chosen and a multitude of almost infinite sentences can be constructed for that topic. It's Free Form. I can pick whatever Topic I want and smash out keys on a keyboard like a jazz pianist smashes out keys on a piano.

I set out a goal, (A), (B), (C), and (D) in the opening intro .... and I think at the start of the process.... No, there's no way this can be done, you can't write something interesting, professional, and unnecessarily long about a topic such as "The Concept of The Jazz on the A Team" because it's not possible .... and that's when the Jazz really takes over ... the second you think it can't be done ... that's when the Jazz takes hold ..... It becomes a personal mission to prove yourself wrong ... and if you impose a Time-Limit .... then things get real Jazzed Up real quick.... if you tell yourself that you got to write this incredibly strange yet professional unusually long essay but only have 2 hours to do it .... then your brain starts to really pick up the Jazz. Some of the longest and silliest things I've ever wrote were done in approximately 40 minutes .... the self-imposed time limit of getting the words down and in a way that's readable .... it's the time limit is what really sparks the Jazz up something fierce.

I wrote the intro at 1:59 and it is now 3:57 ... meaning I am 2 minutes under the 2 hour time limit.

Then, you quickly proof read it to find errors .... and while you proof read what you just wrote the whole piece kinda settles in .... and there's a feeling that comes over you. It's like Something has just Came Together ... Something that Wasn't There Before .... and all you can really do when you're satisfied with your work is sit back and say to yourself .....

That's what The Jazz is. It is Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom but It's also the,

Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom .... Of Accomplishment.

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