An interesting -- if not exactly surprising -- report published last month by researchers at John Hopkins University's School of Medicine and the National Institute on Deafness demonstrates the almost rapture-like dream state the brains of jazz musicians enter when they are "in the zone" of improvising. Check out a good article on the study here. For a cool 5-minute interview with the interestingly named Dr. Charles Limb M.D., who headed the study with Dr. Allen R. Braun, M.D., and also a studied jazz saxophonist himself, go here. To read their actual report, go here.
If anything, this study is a refutation of that classic National Lampoon bit between Christopher Guest (playing Mr. Rogers) and a VERY young Bill Murray (as a hungover jazz bassist) when the former asks the latter what he thinks of when he is soloing. "I think of candies -- fresh little candies," Mr. Rogers ventures. After an awkward pause, the jazz musician admits: "Well, mostly I think about my financial situtation..."