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Jazz and Blues Affinity (2021-2022)

By Derek Zboran

Jazz and Blues Affinity, a podcast by Derek Zboran between 2021 and 2022, was an ambitious college-era endeavor aimed at showcasing and exploring the individual perspectives inherent in jazz and blues music. This podcast created a unique space where people could come together to educate, empower, and inspire through their mutual love of music and creative expression. It served as a platform for sharing stories, experiences, and insights into the world of jazz and blues, allowing for a deeper appreciation and understanding of these genres.

Despite facing the challenge of limited resources, Derek approached the project with effective questioning and an authentic curiosity that became the hallmark of the podcast’s compelling content. His ability to engage with guests in a meaningful way, drawing out their passion and knowledge, demonstrated that resourcefulness and genuine interest could overcome material constraints. This approach not only enriched the conversations but also highlighted the power of human perspective when exploring musical landscapes.

The project celebrated the diversity of voices within the jazz and blues community, featuring a wide range of interviewees including educators, performing artists, and authors. This eclectic mix of perspectives provided listeners with a comprehensive view of the genres, from historical roots to contemporary interpretations. The diversity of the guests underscored the universal appeal of jazz and blues while showcasing the unique contributions of each individual to the rich tapestry of these musical traditions.

Derek’s personal journey into the world of jazz and blues was marked by a lack of friends who shared his interest in these genres. He expressed profound gratitude towards the artists who took the time to discuss their passion for jazz and blues with him. “It was incredibly humbling and inspiring to have these conversations,” Derek remarked. “Hearing firsthand about the dedication and love these artists have for their craft deepened my own appreciation for jazz and blues, and my desire to live a creative life exhibiting a similar integrity in the space of writing.”

Inspired by the journeys of artists such as Ray Gallon, Angela Verbrugge, Chloe Feoranzo, Bob Corritore, Alicia Olatuja, and Ben Golder-Novick, Derek’s interest in living a creative life was further fueled by the project. He valued community-building and the opportunity to hear diverse perspectives on navigating a creative existence. “These artists’ stories of perseverance, innovation, and passion have inspired me to embrace my own creative path more fully,” he shared.

The purpose of the Jazz and Blues Affinity project—to highlight the people and perspectives behind jazz and blues—aligned perfectly with Derek’s interest in self-actualization and improvisation with available resources. This alignment not only made the project deeply personal but also served as a testament to the power of creativity and resilience in the face of challenges.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the project, Derek emphasized the importance of continuous learning, staying true to one’s inner calling as a creative, and being a supportive presence within the artist community. “The project taught me that creativity thrives on authenticity, curiosity, and mutual respect,” he concluded. “These are values I intend to carry forward in all my endeavors.” Through the Jazz and Blues Affinity project, Derek Zboran not only explored the depths of musical genres he loves but also discovered invaluable lessons about creativity, community, and personal growth.