Monday, February 06, 2006

The future of music: A divergence

I've been receiving some good reviews for my new compilation disc "Romance For A Week." I'm extremely gifted at making compilation CDs because my song choices resonate with people's daily rhythms. A friend wrote, "Suddenly, I'm listening to all this jazz and by some some beautiful coincidence, a package that was posted to my address but was meant for someone else, had a book in it called 'But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz.' Coincidence or magic?"

This is rather simple, because jazz and blues just happen to be good music. I find myself connect to jazz and blues more and more, because the music conveys a sense of depth that most pop music cannot do. To put it simply, there's "more going on" in jazz and blues than say, Ludacris. Don't get me wrong, I often return to some good pop music time and again to connect to reality and what youths feel these days. Lately, however, I find myself perusing aisles of classical music at Tower Records and sitting down on a couch listening to Emanuel Ax play Beethoven or Maria Callas' opera styles. Classical music is also another great form of art that conveys complex feelings. I'm slowly getting accustomed to classical music, but still, the spontaneity of jazz and blues speaks more personally to me.

Also, I'm narrowing down my CD collection. Now, I'm trying to cut it down to the "bare essentials." It's a hard task, because there are many CDs by many artists that I just can't get rid of. For example, I like all the Oscar Peterson CDs I have, even though not all the songs on all CDs are breathtaking. Also, I tried very hard to let go of a Dave Brubeck double CD set that I have. It's painful to sell some of the music you used to love. But at the same time, there are many CDs that I never listen to and will never listen to I just put them on the CD shelf to impress people. But then again, how many people will really be impressed by a Gene Ammons/Sonny Stitt live concert featuring Don Patterson on the organ? Have most people even heard of Fenton Robinson and Johnnie Bassett?

The hardest CDs to let go are the Blue Note and Chess recordings. Those CDs I tend to keep. That was the golden era of jazz and blues, and the best recordings were made then. No matter how hard Sun Records was trying to compete, when you have a lineup of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sunnyland Slim, J.B. Lenoir, Lafayette Leake, etc., Chess Records was hard to beat. Sun Records gained its momentum with the early rockabilly stuff with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis. That stuff was gold too.

I could go on and on...but the key is: there's only good and bad music. A word of wisdom to the MTV/Ipod generation: if you think Usher is the only good thing out there, shame on you. At least you could name Brian McKnight I would go easy on you.

It's sad that Ipod is taking over the music industry. Because most of the good stuff is still on CDs and vinyls. I don't know what's going to happen to music in the next 20 years, but I don't remain hopeful seeing how youngsters do not dig deep into T-Bone Walker. Maybe I'm too sensitive.

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