Saturday, April 08, 2006

14 Years In Music

A few months ago, my friend Chris sent me a list of music that, for one reason or another, has stood out at a certain period in life, sorted by year. Sounded like a cool excercise, but I never really got to it until today. With that, here we go, the music that hit me in a meaningful way at a given time, regardless of whether or not it's still around. I can't pin certain years all that well, but I've tried my best...

Pre-7th Grade:
Mostly country for a long time, especially the Oak Ridge Boys (Elvira, baby!), The Statler Brothers, Charlie Daniels Band, Randy Travis, Hank Williams (Jr. and Sr.), Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, George Jones, etc. A marked break from coutry in 6th grade, listening to pop music to be cool...

7th Grade (12):
The beginning of the jazz years. Taping CDs from the Fairport Library. Yellowjackets - Live Wires and The Spin. Michael Brecker - Now You See It, Now You Don't. My first 4 CDs, summer afterwards: Two Kenny G (I was young and foolish), Spyro Gyra, and a Charlie Parker.

8th Grade (13):
Duke Ellington - Jazz Party, Ellington/Basie - First Time! Count Meets the Duke, Miles Davis - Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck - Time Out.

9th Grade (14):
Charles Mingus - 13 Pictures and Mingus Ah Um, Jazz Super Hits of the 60s (a collection of boogaloo hits: Lou Donaldson, Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, etc.), much of this blasted in the West Jr. High bandroom after school, Queen, Keith Jarrett - The Köln Concert, Art Blakey - Moanin'.

10th Grade (15):
GRP All-Star Big Band (rockin' out to this one on band trips with the splitter), Chick Corea Elektric Band, Aaron Copland, Vaughan-Williams (laying on the floor of the basement, one speaker on each side of my head), Joshua Redman, Cannonball Adderly, John Scofield - Hand Jive.

11th Grade (16):
Morphine - Cure For Pain (finally started to acknowledge the possibility of lyrics), Bill Evans (especially the Motian/Lafaro trio, the still remember hearing the first few notes of Explorations), Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

12th Grade (17):
Tower of Power, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder (the beginning of the jazz split... largely due to the Dill's Family Band, the Golden Garter Revue, and all the people involved, then and in years to come), Maria Schneider Orchestra, Pat Metheney Group - Secret Story.

Freshman (18):
Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band box set, Medeski Martin & Wood - Shack Man and others, Sting - 10 Summoner's Tales, Monty Python Sings.

Sophomore (19):
4-Sight, Radiohead - OK Computer, Bill Frisell - Nashville and many others (watershed moment for returning to country roots), Kurt Elling - The Messenger, Zappa (continuing throughout college), Kenny Garrett - Songbook, Brad Mehldau - Art of the Trio 1, 2, 3.

Junior (20):
Count Basie - The Atomic Mr. Basie (taught me how to swing, and I also realized that tenor saxophone should sound like Lockjaw Davis), Sex Mob - Din of Iniquity (watershed moment when I realized that jazz could be fun again), Morphine - The Night, Tom Waits - Small Change (one of my most important re-discoveries... it was either here or a year later), Michael Jackson - Thriller (blasted from our windows in the summertime).

Senior (21):
Radiohead - Kid A (we listened to it twice the night it came out), Kurt Rosenwinkel - Enemies of Energy, Bill Holman Big Band, Prince - Emancipation (all about "Joint 2 Joint").

Super-Senior (22):
Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Brian Eno - Music for Airports, Weather Report, Ray Charles, Otis Redding (the latter two defined my post-graduation summer, as I would pull a keyboard amp out on the porch, plug in the CD player, rock-n-grill).

Classic soul/R&B explosion (you name it, I was listening), Steely Dan - Gaucho and Everything Must Go, Joni Mitchell - Hejira (another watershed moment), India Arie - Acoustic Soul (very strong associations with a specific person), Muddy Waters, Earth Wind & Fire, Brad Mehldau - Largo, Donny Hathaway (wow).

Kris Kristofferson, Outkast, Charles Earland - Black Talk, Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace. (I'm not sure why I can't remember anything else from the first year in NYC. Strange...)

John Lee Hooker - Live and Cafe Au-go-go and Soledad Prison, Pat Metheney - The Way Up, Earth Wind and Fire - Gratitude, Daniel Lanois - Shine, Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Bob Drake - What Day Is It?, Billy Joel.

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska, Pat Metheney - Speaking of Now, Mos Def - Black on Both Sides, Lonnie Smith.

I'm sure there are some ommissions, some exaggerations, and some temporal stretches. But on first reflection, that's what pops out...


Blogger chris g said...

You know, I half forgot about Jazz Super Hits of the 60s. My mom gave me a copy of that tape when I was in 8th grade or so. What are the songs on that? Alligator Boogalo, Sidewinder, some Blakey I think, maybe Ramsey Lewis, there must be an organ tune or two, and of course Christo Redentor. To tie a couple of your posts together - that song sounds like home to me. I want THAT perspective.

Something that came to mind was that Smithsonian Jazz set that we listened to in the band room in Junior High.

One other thing - did awareness of Jesus Alemany and Cubanismo along with the jaw-dropping experience of Chucho Valdes live do anything for you?

10:05 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Funny how that brings back so many memories for me... you all even let me play on one song with you at Dills.

I am glad to see things like radiohead and wilco on your list. That about sums up my music of late, basically anything my radio station plays for me. = proof that some good things can come out of Ohio.

10:06 AM  
Blogger David said...

c - on Super Hits, I think it was the three you mentioned, plus Watermelon Man, maybe Moanin', and if there was a Ramsey Lewis, was it The In Crowd? I dunno...

I knew I left a couple things out. I'll make some edits today. The Toronto trip was summer '97, right? Think so.

m - didn't you play on more than one tune for Fam Band? :)

2:18 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

The only things in my brain right now are accounting rules and tax calculations - aren't you jealous? I can't even remember what songs right now....

4:57 PM  
Blogger David said...

I think it was the Steely Dan tunes -- My Old School, Deacon Blues, and Time Out Of Mind -- and Mercy*3?? Not sure.

Oh taxes. I had a hell of a scare with those over the weekend. Thought I had to bleed my checking account like a butchered cow. Turns out it's only a good ole Victorian blood-letting. Taxes are fun.

5:18 PM  
Blogger chris g said...

Dave, the Toronto trip was the summer of 97, you are right.

So far as transcendant live performances - Chucho and the whole Crisol gang was pretty unforgettable. I need to see Hargrove live again. Do you remember the MC after the show?

I was thinking about live shows that have made a major impact on me - it all starts with the John Hicks and Buster Williams shows at the Dennos. Then there was an all Ellington concert of the Interlochen Jazz Band (what was their bass player's name?) that blew me away. And one of the times I went to see the Mingus Big Band at the Fez they had a cd release party for the Blues and Politics album - what a holy shit moment - Meditations on Integration - completely overwhelming. Basically, anything involving Ku-umba Frank Lacy.

Have you ever been in a Staples and they are playing Steely Dan, and you end up a little too excited to be hearing My Old School and suddenly you're really self-conscious because you're jumping all around? You know, they don't play Jimmy Smith in china shops for a reason. At least not around me.

I tell you what - Dills family band nights were one of the great things about senior year. Damn near perfect. Wish I could help you remember the songs.

10:03 PM  

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