The Road Less Traveled
Ever since I was a teenager, one of my favorite vehicles has been the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ll never forget when it came out…there was something about both its outer and interior design that felt quintessentially masculine without being alienating or off-putting to a feminine presence (think Sean Connery or “the world’s most interesting man” commercials). And upon my first glimpse of a JGC when it first came out, I knew that—just like Jazz—it was going to be a long love affair that I was going to have with this vehicle. And while it was reluctantly not the first vehicle that I ever owned, it was my second, and has continued to be the only vehicle that I’ve continued to purchase since my first one back in 1998 while stationed at Parris Island, SC., shortly before I left active duty as a Marine.
The reason why I bring attention to this gorgeous vehicle is because there are so many uncanny resemblances between it and my first love [Jazz]. For one, both Jeep and Jazz start with the letter “J”; they have the same number of letters in its name; the stylistic birth place of the modern Jazz vocabulary rests squarely within the musical developments of Bebop, which were being crystallized at precisely the same time as the Army’s adoption of the first Jeep prototype in 1940, whose light 4x4 capabilities would prove useful for the upcoming complexities of WWII; the storied origins of how the name Jeep came into existence is also shrouded in as much speculation as the name Jazz; and the overarching idea of both Jazz and Jeep is that they can address a multitude of problems, which is why the Marine Corps modo of “improvise, adapt, and overcome” can be aptly applied to both. But at the end of the day, the social impact that both Jazz and Jeep share is that they represent a deeply ingrained sense of American ingenuity that’s reflective of our belief in the stories we tell ourselves about our exceptionalism. And because I feel that both Jazz and Jeep continue to represent two of the best modern exponents of American ingenuity, is why I see them as important stalwart pillars of American culture. In short, because they’re both American entrepreneurship personified, is why it’s inconceivable to me that either one could ever lose its relevance, as the indelible mark that they’ve left on the world has long since been woven into the fabric of every society worldwide. So as new technological and stylistic advancements are made within both the automotive and music industry, I firmly believe that Jazz and Jeep will continue to “lead from the front” of their respective formations to blaze the uncharted roads less traveled.