Friday, October 28, 2005

Notes from Everywhere

Item: Jazz saxophone legend John Coltrane, who died in 1967, has two of the top three albums on the current contemporary jazz chart.

Comment: Wow. I'm a Coltrane fan, especially of his work with Miles Davis, but also of albums such as Giant Steps and Blue Train. One of the albums, from a date with pianist Thelonious Monk, is from that approximate vintage, 1957. The other is a bit later, from 1965, and the point at which, in the name of spiritual exploration, Coltrane started pushing the edge of the avant-garde, cutting loose from traditional conceptions of meter and melody into the anything-goes world of free jazz. He could go there, but it's hard for me to follow, at least right now. The last time I listened to his masterpiece from that period, A Love Supreme, I felt like I was starting to get it--but I don't think it's ever going to be an album I'll put on for fireside listening.

Item: My local convenience store's piped-in music is still more progressive than 90 percent of the radio stations in this town.

Comment: I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how weird it is to walk into my local convenience store and hear smokin' blues tunes by the likes of Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Last weekend, when I realized they were playing Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla," I had to ask the manager where they were getting the music. It's a satellite channel, which I already knew, and he was a little hazy on where it came from, whether it was something from Sirius or XM, or was programmed by the convenience-store company itself. (He did say the store had chosen it by employee demand instead of the elevator music channel they had originally been assigned.) Earlier this week when I stopped in, they were playing "Carey" by Joni Mitchell, from her legendary Blue album. "Carey" is a particular favorite of mine, with the most arresting opening lines you're ever likely to hear: "The wind is in from Africa/last night I couldn't sleep."

Item: It's Friday, and time for another Random 10. In the interest of space, we'll skip the annotations this week.
"All That Innocence"/Patty Larkin/Red = Luck.

"The First Cut Is the Deepest"/Rod Stewart/Storyteller: the Complete Anthology.

"I'm Gonna Make You Mine"/Lou Christie/Classic Rock 1969: Shakin' All Over.

"A Quitter Never Wins"/Tinsley Ellis/Alligator Records 25th Anniversary Collection.

"Already Gone"/Eagles/On the Border.

"Every Picture Tells a Story"/Rod Stewart/Storyteller: the Complete Anthology.

"It Ain't No Fun to Me"/Al Green/Let's Stay Together.

"Almost Cut My Hair"/Crosby Stills and Nash/CSN (box set).

"Might Have to Cry"/Boz Scaggs/My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology.

"Abaddon's Bolero"/Emerson Lake and Palmer/Trilogy.
What, no jazz tunes on the list? Not even one by Coltrane?


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