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The Power of Jazz

Music is a part of all of our lives. But for some - music is their life. A well-known musician visiting the valley today tells us about the extraordinary power of jazz.

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Music is a part of all of our lives. But for some - music is their life. A well-known musician visiting the valley today tells us about the extraordinary power of jazz. 

His name is Bill Jacobs - and he's a musician. Growing up in New York City, jazz immediately became part of his life by way of his father.

"He had many friends that I later found out were world-famous jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Milt Hinton, Lena Horne, to mention a few," he said.

Under their influence, Bill developed his gift for music. The aspect of jazz that still speaks to him most now is improvisation.

"The whole element of putting yourself in and being able to learn a language where you get to express yourself," he said.

It's this self-expression that helped him through times when dangers tempted to throw his life off the tracks

"I grew up in the sixties in New York City when drugs really hit the community very hard - a lot of drugs was introduced in our communities. If it wasn't for my music, and the grace of God of course, I probably would have gone off the deep end like a lot of other people did," he said.

That's why he spends a lot of his time now mentoring young kids. He'll do just that this summer in Little Falls. For Bill, playing the piano or a traditional African drum is something he calls “humanity in harmony.” And that's a message he wants heard around the world.


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