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Maggie at USSF in Detroit 2010When I think of JASS, the first thing that comes to mind is jazz music. Travis Jackson describes jazz music as “swinging, improvising, group interaction, developing an ‘individual voice’ and being ‘open’ to different musical possibilities.” JASS, as an organization and a community, celebrates innovation and improvisation. If a word or a process doesn’t exist for the work we do – we invent it. The ability to respond to challenges and changes with agility is another one of JASS’ strengths; working off of each other, riffing to create something new and exciting and effective. In contrast to European classical music, the so-called ‘composer’s medium,’ jazz is the product of egalitarian creativity, interaction and collaboration, placing equal value on the contributions of composer and performer. This is what JASS means to me, working within the ensemble, the group, the collective, the movement – but also celebrating the individuality that every one brings to the table, and working together to make change happen!

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