Composer Ralph Rainger’s “If I Should Lose You” has become a personal anthem for North Side High School’s Ashton Morris.
Weeks after developing Bell’s palsy, the young musician has found a deep connection with Rainger’s work. He flips between Chet Baker’s and Hank Mobley’s renditions of “If I Should Lose You.”
“It expresses a feeling that not everyone knows, but will feel at sometime in their life,” Morris said. “I lost the ability to play, and I relate to it.”
Morris has developed a reputation as a gifted young hip-hop/rap and jazz saxophonist with groups like The Wildsiders and Los Galaxy, so the idea of saying goodbye to jazz, even temporarily, left him with the blues.
“I felt it fade away from me, the sensation of watching something leave your fingertips,” he said. “I went through several stages of grief, where I asked why and got angry.”
While a likely a temporary condition, it makes him ask, “What if?”
It’s also given him a surprise gift that has helped him handle the flood of emotions.
“It was definitely shocking, but I know I’ll do whatever I can to help others,” Morris said. “The music isn’t just in me, it’s not just in my band, it’s everywhere. People feel music in different ways, and I’m gonna help them express it.”