After a couple of family funerals this week, I decided to talk about something a little more upbeat (no pun intended). I come from a musical family, with people walking around singing and playing the piano. We always had a piano in our home that my sister and I were expected to play on. She played on it, and I pretended to play on it. Let’s just say I wasn’t the most dedicated musician. My mother was a soloist, and part of the church choir. My dad had a great voice, and sang barbershop quartet style when he could. Even my reclusive brother could hum a great tune. Some of that talent just dropped off before I could use it.
I just heard that one aunt and uncle on my dad’s side were quite the “partiers”, constantly living it up with the barbershop group they belonged to. I never pictured barbershop quartet singers drinking and smoking and staying up till the wee hours of the morning, but life was apparently different in the late forties and fifties. Who’da thunk? Anyway, music was a biggie in the cultural lifestyle at the time, and I was exposed to a wide variety of styles of music. I am most attracted to the rock music of the seventies and eighties, but, that’s because it was so integral in my teenage life. I think we like what we grew up listening to; it brings back memories.
Here’s the secret I have, that I will now confess: I don’t like jazz music, and I’m am being nice when I use the words “don’t like”. I know, I just don’t know enough about it. I am sure that there is a reason the music goes all over the place with no apparent destination. I am sure that there are people who LOVE jazz, play jazz, write jazz, and just live for jazz. I just don’t get it. Blues, yes. Blues is so different. It has a definite rhythm and repetitive choruses, not to mention you just want to drink when you listen to it and cry into your beer. But when I listen to jazz, and I have given it a try in fancy jazz bars with martinis, low lights, and cheese plates, I can only take it for a maximum of twenty minutes. Something about listening to jazz starts to invade my brain and make me think I might need to talk to somebody. Jazz is like trying to babysit ten three-year-olds that are half dressed, running around the house with forks, jumping off the furniture. You just don’t know where it’s going to go, or how it’s going to get there.
This is, apparently, why some people love listening to it. The free-floaty, independent wandering lines of notes that play with each other and somehow produce a completed body of work, or something like that. For me, it is the torture of wanting desperately to find common ground with the music; to hum a tune, to maybe even know some words, or at least recognize I may have heard one of these parts before. No go man, it’s just crazy jazz. In my mind I imagine the founder of jazz was just practicing, forgot what he was playing, and just went with a stream of consciousness theme. Oh well, we aren’t meant to like everything, or even understand most things. I guess I’m just a moronic boob who can’t think that way with music. Even some new age stuff starts to bother me. If I suddenly look up at Alexa, or the radio, and say, “what the hell IS this shit?” Give me some Led Zeppelin….., hell I’ll even take Kenny Loggins over whatever this is. My brain wants to identify with where it is, and what’s going on.
If you like jazz, I admire you because apparently your brain is able to go where no man has gone before, and might not go exactly there again. Keep it up, the world needs you. I’ll be in the corner with my earbuds in. trying to hum along with “Dixie Highway” by Journey, without breaking a couple of glasses. Order the cheese tray and get a double dirty martini with the blue cheese stuffed olives. Remember that some of us just like a little structure, you rebel you.
Have a wonderful day enjoying that Dave Brubeck album. If you want to educate me on jazz, just leave a comment below. Don’t forget to “follow” for more random stuff.