When I play the piano, which is not all that often these days, I need a score, a good light, and the right glasses. I dig out The Children's Bach, or more ambitiously, the English Suites and plod through material that's much too difficult for me, but loving the abstract form of a fugue, or Bach's Glass- and Nyman-like progressions through chords, patterns, keys and harmonies I can barely name.
Sometimes I've picked up J's introductory blues and jazz books, but my training doesn't really allow me to swing rhythms with any confidence at all. Something about the new piano I still find daunting, too, I think.
But tonight J asked a favour. Still with his left arm in its heavy cast, he had written out a little four-bar melody in 6/8. Could I play it, so he could test out whether the chord progression he had devised would work? I am sorry to say it took me a long time as he patiently took me through what will become the saxophone part till I could play it in a loop while he tried out his chords, playing what I would have thought of as the left-hand part with his right hand. And very sweet it sounded, too. By about the fiftieth time round my little loop J was off in full flight, and I had just added one little grace note, one time, and was starting to see how, yes indeed, it might be possible to improvise while playing, when he had thanked me and was off to start scoring the parts.
But I did get to play jazz, just a little.