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A Brief, Yet Largely Incomprehensible, History of Blue Note

A Brief, Yet Largely Incomprehensible, History of Blue Note
Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius By

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In future generations, when the story of Our Music is told, there will certainly be a short list of absolutely necessary items which must be mentioned for any complete understanding of the birth and growth of Jazz. It is almost easier to determine what does not belong on the list than what does.

To narrow it down to the essentials, I pictured the Cliff's Notes of the Reader's Digest Condensed version of Jazz history. To that end, I looked back to my own college years, and called upon everything I still remembered after years of studying music. How much would be left, after decades of lying dormant as I've established my place as the Dean of American Jazz Humorists®? It boiled down to:

  • The treble clef looks like a backwards ampersand. The bass clef kind of looks like a big comma.

  • FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine, whatever the hell that means.

  • It is possible to play David Werden's arrangement of "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms" on the euphonium with a blood alcohol content as high as 1.2%.

  • Flautists are generally divas or aspiring divas. Women who play trumpet or French horn are difficult to kiss because our embouchures are incompatible. Low brass players are out, both because it's like kissing myself and because one of us ought to be sober enough to drive. Saxophonists tend to be high maintenance. My best bet for any real play is the clarinet section.

And that vital information only set my parents back 12 grand.

I imagined a recent college graduate in the year 2054, sidling up next to a person that his Hottiscope has identified as biologically female with all-OEM parts. Her DNA data-comp of him reveals that his genetic code was custom modeled for optimal long-term handsomeness and earning power, and that she can safely disable his sex drive before his inevitable mid-life crisis kicks in and he leaves her for a 23 year old yoga instructor.

As they begin chatting over a reproduction of a late-20th century 18 year old single malt Scotch from the Boozynth, she decides to test his cultural awareness and ability to appear genuinely interested in what she's saying even though her EmotiScan bracelet says that there's probably not enough blood left in his brain at this point to comprehend a word of it. She confesses her love of Jazz, "particularly the really old stuff like Medeski, Martin and Wood."

Immediately, he's transported back to Introduction to Jazz class from his freshman year. There's no time to access his auxiliary recall on the Cloud, and he doesn't want to risk just reciting a Wikimemory crowd-thought to her. He desperately tries to bring back the stuff his Marsalisbot® autoprofessor kept going on and on about. Words and mental pictures begin flashing in his head, just like back in the day before they banned neural advertising when they discovered the horrifying atrocities the subconscious could make a normal person commit for a Klondike bar.


"Blue Note." he says, coolly.

"Pardon me?" she responds.

"Blue Note Records. Some of the finest recorded Jazz ever captured on any medium, plus the invaluable documentary significance of Francis Wolff's photographs and the game changing album cover art of Reid Miles. Not to mention Rudy Van Gelder's legendary studio production." he expounds, drawing upon the few salient facts still remaining in the alcohol-soaked corner of his long-term memory containing his early college years.

"Wow, you really know a lot about Jazz." she says, admiringly, as he streams John Coltrane's "Blue Train" directly to her mind-fi enabled Beats by Dr. Dre cochlear implants. Next thing you know, they're back at her place. He dazzles her with corneagrams of Reid Miles's iconic album cover art, while she thoughtcasts futuregraphs of their predicted offspring to the iFrame on her coffee table. As he fills her head with the seductive strains of "Along Came Betty," by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, her Sensescent perfume takes on the characteristics of freshly baked gingerbread both to appeal to his brain's pleasure center and temporarily distract him from plotting the most efficient way to get her bra off. Which is why it is absolutely vital to preserve the elemental components of Our Music's history. Some future couple's awkward, sweaty initial hook-up might one day depend on it. And with it, generations of potential Jazz fans to follow. Especially when Dad has a few too many at Thanksgiving and tells the story of how Blue Note provided the pass code to the Chastitech security device on Mom's undergarments. And Mom thinks twice about reactivating his erectile function for the holidays. There's a lesson there for young boys and girls alike, though I've forgotten exactly what it was.

Let's just pretend those last few paragraphs never happened, shall we?


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