Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reflections From an iPod...

The iPod is a wonderful invention. Being somewhat new to the technology, (and being woefully technology challenged), I have gone through a forced indoctrination on the various benefits of this new (to me) technical marvel.
Those of you who have had the opportunity to come to the Jazz Happy Hour at The Redmoor have heard the jazz playing in the background and between sets. This music is from my CD collection; I'm in the process of loading my CD's on to the iPod. I have loaded approximately 800CD's thus far...more to follow.
Loading these CD's, and listening to some of my favorites, has been particularly revealing to me. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to collect some pretty nice CD's. Unfortunately, time constraints and life's many challenges preclude the opportunity to sit and listen at leisure. This is really sad.
Listening to some of the CD's again causes a reflection to more happier times...remembering the first time I heard some of the albums that have affected me profoundly.
Everyone has undoubtedly heard Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue". Miles's solo on "So What" still is a fresh memory from the past.
Certain songs, even some obscure songs, can be memorable. Music in general can be uplifting; jazz music for me has been a trusted friend. A true source of strength and joy at down periods. In recent years, I had forgotten this...the iPod review of my collection has helped me become reacquainted with my past happiness...
I consider these jazz musicians "good friends". The vast majority of musicians I have not met; but I've listened to and shared their music. The recent passing of Freddie Hubbard feels remarkably like the loss of a friend, though I have never met him.
I remember being in high school and college looking for the latest Hubbard CTI release, and reliving all of his old Blue Note efforts. I remember when he left CTI, and went to Columbia Records; "Liquid Love", "High Energy" are two of the early records for that label. Still remember like it was yesterday...
Freddie Hubbard playing "Straight Life":
I felt a similar loss with the passing of Cannonball Adderly, Grover Washington Jr, Woody Shaw, Miles, Paul Desmond, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Henderson and Milt Jackson.
Coltrane, Lee Morgan, and Gene Ammons are musicians whose passings I don't recall personally, but through their music I have learned to become "good friends" with them.
Reviewing and replaying these CD's has also allowed me to reread the liner notes from the various CD's. When albums were the standard format, liner notes were as eagerly anticipated as the music itself. There were insights into the music and musicians that were treasured nuggets of information. Blue Note Records was especially good in that regard. Sad that the new CD format has seen less and less of the liner notes from all labels.
For those of you who know me, you know my favorite musician of all time is Lee Morgan. While I never met Lee, I have had the opportunity to meet two people who knew Morgan well.
The first person was Lee Morgan's sister. She gave a talk in my jazz history class while I was in college. I only met her briefly.
The second person is saxophonist Bennie Maupin. I had the privilege of meeting Mr Maupin when he agreed to play in a concert featuring "The Four Tenors" (Maupin, Billy Harper, Eddie Bayard and Bruce Menefield), that I promoted in January 2006.
Mr Maupin played extensively with Lee Morgan, and was on some of his best recordings.
Reviewing the CD's for my iPod has also allowed me to reread the original liner notes from CD's. One of those liner notes accompanied Lee Morgan's CD "Live at the Lighthouse". In the notes, Bennie Maupin wrote a particularly poignant note about Lee, which gave great insight into the musician and the man. In that note, Mr Maupin mentiones that the recording session of Lee Morgan's "Caramba" was one of his most cherished memories.
Caramba reminds me of a time when all was right in the world. I remember hearing Bennie Maupin's solo for the first time on that song; to this day I know every note. It was one of the defining songs of my past happiness, when times were so easier...
There are other songs and solos I have been affected by during the years: Lou Donaldson's solo on Jimmy Smith's "The Sermon", Coltrane on "Resolution", Gene Ammons on "My Way", Grover Washington on "Mr Magic", Wilton Felder on the Crusaders' "So Far Away", Lee Morgan on "Personality" among others.
The music has always taken me to a better place...over the past few years I had forgotten that. Sometimes when it seems like the world is closing in...the music can make it better for a while...that is what the iPod has reminded me of during this odyssey.
I guess the culmination of events, from Freddie Hubbard's passing to my self imposed review of my collection, has allowed me to reexamine a much happier time in my life...I will always be grateful to the music for that.
Reflections from an iPod...who knew that a modern invention could reawaken what was lost....I certainly did not.


Melvin Grier said...

I think the new technology of Mp3,iPods, etc. is great in that it lets us take our music with us no matter where we go. I'm seldom without ready access to my music.This process allows me to share Miles' Kind of Blue with those who, believe it or not, after all these years might not have heard it.At home I play my CDs and also my collection of vinyl. Jazz feeds that part of my inner self that neither food or drink can sustain. I think Jon Hendricks said "Listen!"

Doc B said...

Thanks, Melvin. The technology is great, but it's the music. I agree with you completely.