All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Jazz represents the intellectual and creative apex of American music. More cerebral than classical music, more visceral than rock, more emotional than country, more romantic than all the saccharin pop music ever recorded, and more men named Thelonious than any other form of music.
If you were to visit the Geniusdome, providing you could work your way through the gauntlet of Rube Goldberg-esque booby traps, you would find an urbane oasis of culture and refinement (pay no attention to the empty Budweiser 12-pack boxes and my collection of eighties teen sex comedies on VHS). You would find a place of intellectual and spiritual solace, a refuge from a world gone stupid, specifically designed to place members of the opposite sex into a state of Zen-like relaxation (and later, hopefully, into several Yoga-like positions). In short, you would see a triumph of the modern classic archetype, the bachelor pad, revisited with the sort of panache only a true Genius can bring to it. Be sure and visit the gift shop on the way out.
Mention this column and receive 10% off.
I'm a seemingly normal, healthy man of 34, although I read on a 36 year-old level. I'm a fully licensed, board-certified heterosexual. And thusfar, I have remained single (at least until redheaded, left-handed actress Nicole Kidman comes to her senses and makes an honest man out of me). Of all the things we have lost in this society over the past forty years or so, perhaps the most lamented is the concept of the bachelor. There was a time in this country when a man could be intelligent, cultured, witty and single without being automatically described with terms that get people in trouble with those GLAAD folks (no, not the ones who make the trash bags. Look it up). Gone are the days when full-grown adults could play the mating game without bringing a litany of emotional, social, and even political connotations to the simplest sport of slap-and-tickle.
We are being afforded an opportunity to remake ourselves, to strip away decades of convoluted interpersonal dynamics and go back to a time when men and women could commingle without being goaded into adversarial terms by a myriad of self-serving sorts who can't stand to see anyone have any real fun. Here in the new world, where our victim culture has been shattered and all our simpering complaints ring hollow in the face of real tragedy, we can once again return to the comfort of an unaffected self. "Let be be finale of seem," said poet Wallace Stevens, and what the hell that has to do with anything I'll never know.
The point being.
Do you remember the halcyon days when men wore smoking jackets and women wore bullet bras (what the hell is it with this guy and bullet bras? -Ed.) and when a man invited a woman up to see his etchings, by god, he actually had etchings? Those were the days when people knew how to live.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.