Sunday, September 13, 2009

Memories in a CD

Lately, I’ve been turning to the library to fill in the gaps in my music collection. I’ve been borrowing CDs to take home to upload into my Windows Media Player and will, at some point, load selected songs into my MP3 player. Money is tight right now, plus I’ve noticed that the places I usually buy CDs at have drastically reduced their selections for some reason.

I didn’t have anything particular in mind, so I just browsed the stacks. After looking through the jazz selection, I ended up with a Dave Brubeck CD, “Time Out”, which included the track “Take Five“. It brought back a lot of memories, as this was a song that I discovered when I was around 11 0r 12.

I began taking piano lessons when I was ten years old, and started in band the following year. At that time, kids in the “band culture” of my school were exposed to a lot of jazz. So, while most kids my age were listening to rock, pop, and the like, I was listening to jazz. Though I like rock music now, my first choices in music when I started getting my own albums were in jazz.

Take Five” was one of the first jazz songs I got into, and I was fortunate to hear Brubeck, along with Gerry Mulligan perform this song in the summer of 1972 at the Newport Jazz Festival in New York City. I was also lucky enough to meet them after the set, and I think it pleased them that someone as young as I was at the time was getting into their music (I was 14), In next few years, I also saw Maynard Ferguson in concert twice and participated in a jazz workshop with Stan Kenton at my high school. At that time I wanted to be a jazz musician myself (and I’m sorry I didn’t fulfill my dream now).

The CD I borrowed was the original recording with Brubeck and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (who wrote the song). I was surprised to see that this song was originally recorded in 1959 — at the time I first got into it, I’d assumed it was a recent recording. But as I listened to it in the car on the way home from the library, it still had all the original electricity that attracted me to the song in the first place and in no way sounded as if it had been recorded 50 years ago. It sounds as fresh now as it did in the summer of 1959 when they recorded it. And it still has sufficient power to make me feel the feelings all over again I had as a teen in the early 70s when I first wanted to become a musician.

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