Jazz – What I Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Me

It’s funny how cruising the internet sometimes takes you down a rabbit hole to the oddest places. Jazz music is something I never quite warmed up to. Never quite understood what seemed to me to be the rather erratic nature of the beast. I try to be receptive to new ideas, but being a linear thinker, it is a challenge to push beyond the comfort of my well trodden ways. Jazz music is an example.  So I said to myself… self, keep an open mind and follow the white rabbit.

I began with a blog written by Marc Myers, “JazzWax”.   This fellow has encyclopedic knowledge of everything Jazz……whoa Nellie,  information overload!!!  I had barely begun and I was already headed to the refrigerator for an energy boost.  I came back to give Mr. Myers another chance.  I stopped reading his blog when  I became distracted by the pictures and music videos. The videos proved to be very helpful. I listened to Sonny Rollins, part of a 1942 radio broadcast of Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra; The Charlie Byrd Trio;, Carmen Cuesta and finally Mel Blanc playing the part of a record dealer.  The older I get the shorter my attention span. Had to get up to let the dog out.

When I came back I thought I might get into the more technical aspects of the genre. I found my way to the A/B test, which I knew from quick research (Wikipedia), had something to do with the sound quality of stereo equipment. I was under the assumption that an A/B test involved an A and then a B. Not so, apparently it also involves X/A, X/A, X/A.  All of this started to sound vaguely like geometry… a cold drink was in order to snap me back to attention.

As I understand an A/B evaluation, one usually has a preferred list of music to be played in order to test equipment.  Hence the need to get up again and put on my favourite music the music…”Hotel California”. Not Jazz exactly, but good enough for jazz, research, that is.  I found what I thought would be my moment of enlightenment… it wasn’t.  I found another article on the A/B test which was barely comprehensible, but I plodded on to the end.  That went well I thought, so perhaps there might be something in the comments section to help me on the learning curve.  I started to read the remarks in the comments section, the first of which I will reproduce here;

 “I also find when I gently cup a woman’s breast that the sound really opens up and  becomes much more holographic. They have to be a “c”cup for best results”…….

OK, that did it for the technical part of my research. Now, I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure you want to limit that sort of enthusiastic observation to the confines of your private mental library of opinions. Huge or dainty, the size of a guy’s testing equipment is between him and his amplifier.  A little breather was in order.

I came back to my research with renewed vigour and a stash of junk food sufficient to keep me pinned to my seat for a while.  I discovered ” A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz…How to Become and Aficionado”.  I was never much for “how to” books so I took a slight diversion to Lahla Hathaway and then on to the band The Roots,  both of whom have a jazzy eclectic sound.  I was interested in finding out more about The Roots, and discovered that the band members were among others, Black Thoughts, Questlove,  F. Knuckles, Tuba Gooding Jr., and Captain Kirk Douglas. I mean, who names their kid “Black Thoughts”.  I confess to having a few “black thoughts” while raising three female children, but I am over that now. The Roots are now the house band for the Tonight Show.  Maybe a name change is in my future, I digress.

A glass of wine was in order.  I turned on Canadian radio station Jazz.FM91.1  and to my delight and surprise, the first thing I heard was Aretha Franklin. How could this be bad.   Who knew.


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