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"Whenever it rains, I feel this way..."

I fell in love with Jazz one night during my freshman year at college.

My love affair began a little something like this.....

I wanted to be a dance major, but my parents were NOT having it. In their defense, I hadn't taken a dance class in a couple of years, so they were right to be opposed to it. Communications was my second choice, I majored in it, but dance was never far from my mind. So, let me tell you what happens to a dream deferred.

I took a dance class. In fact, I took multiple dance classes, but one stood out the most. This one particular dance class merged jazz history and dance, creating an amazing class and overall experience.

The first class of my undergraduate career, and it's in something I love!? I was in heaven. Not only did I learn about dances like The Ring Shout and the cakewalk, but also learned about singers and composers like Ma Rainey, Count Basie and Charles Mingus. I made lifelong friends who to this day are never more than a phone call or text away.

With the semester drawing to an end, there was an opportunity for extra credit. The class could attend a music/dance senior showcase and provide a one-page review.

I went with one of my friends and was blown away by what I saw, heard and ultimately felt. The simple music room was transformed into an ethereal landscape, complete with an otherworldly appeal that immediately drew you in. The senior music student was reminiscent of singer Esperanza Spalding, with a billowing cloud of dark hair framing her face. I felt surrounded by a cloud of warmth in her presence. She could sing and play the guitar, in addition to her other talents, and that night she was going to perform a series of songs.

Her cover of D'Angelo's "Spanish Joint" resonated with me. The start of the bass line signaled the beginning of my love affair. Her voice was magical and melodic. Her style was raw and effortless. Everything about her was amazing.

At one point In the performance, there was a breakdown where each instrument had a solo, everything from the guitar to the horns and drums. I loved every part of it. Those five minutes of listening as each instrument was given a spotlight, in combination with the singer's voice transformed my musical taste.

It transformed my world.

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