I Love My New iPod and I Still Hate Jazz
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By etrigan - Last updated: Saturday, September 20, 2003 - Save & Share - 5 Comments

Before I could commit to the purchase, I had to call a couple friends and let them know that I was a hypocrite. Despite my previous derision at them for considering purchasing an iPod, I had come to the conclusion that I needed one myself. I have never been the type to carry a Walkman(c) around, but I needed a place to rip all my CDs so that my new “toy”:http://www.rollerfeet.com/backporchbeer/archives/000571.asp could have access to them. Now that I’ve started loading it I am listening to music like I was a teenager again — at work, in the car…between work and the car. I love my “iPod”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00009J5W0/rollecomthewebsi/ and I will probably be able to load every CD I would care to listen to at the final cost of about $1/CD. All in one place, that I can take to my car or on vacation, etc., etc. It’s just awesome.

sidebar: The best accessories I’ve come across are this “car charger”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00009KAPX/rollecomthewebsi/ and “FM transmitter”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008SB1D/rollecomthewebsi/ from Belkin (which is an awesome company). One plug-in and my car is rolling with iPod tunes (and charging at the same time!)

Now that I am getting closer to some new music (and refamiliarizing myself with old tunes) I have expanded on my theoretical dislike of jazz. As a musician (of sorts) I recognize the talent neccesary to play jazz and I appreciate jazz as an additional element in other musical styles, but the fact is listening to “pure” jazz is like watching someone else play a videogame. It’s boring. “The Low End Theory”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000004X7/rollecomthewebsi/ is a seminal rap album and one of my favorites, but Mingus puts me to sleep. I know that jazz influence is one of the things that makes Ben Harper special, but I don’t get Jango Reinhart.

(And I want to apologize to my fellow “high school alumnus”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004RCAG/rollecomthewebsi/ who has made his life’s work out of jazz, but he should take comfort that I’ve enoyed his contributions to several “non-jazz”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005YW4H/rollecomthewebsi/ “albums”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002C2E/rollecomthewebsi/ . I’m proud of you Brian, but I just don’t get it.)

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5 Responses to “I Love My New iPod and I Still Hate Jazz”

Comment from jank
Time September 22, 2003 at 10:26 am

Welcome to the light. I won’t be so trite as to suggest that the iPod changes everything, but it does a huge job as a lifestyle enhancer. Truly spoiled as a 21st century American, carrying around tapes or CD’s is SO much a burden…

I don’t think jazz appreciation is something that can be forced. Either you get it or you don’t. Dave Stamm, my college roommate and idol, was a huge Miles fan; at the time I couldn’t get into it at all. Painful, painful (At the time).

Then, while listening to Hendrix, of all folks, something clicked, and I had to run out to grab ‘Kind of Blue’. A week later, I was deep into ‘Bitches Brew’, and the music was unlocked. IMO, jazz is one of those things that needs to be read from the beginning. You can’t understand be-bop without big band, you can’t understand big band without Louis Armstrong, and you can’t understand Louis without N’awlins and the blues. I’m still trying to wrap my head around modern jazz and fusion.

Comment from cynsmith
Time September 22, 2003 at 11:22 am

So you’re an advocate of the Ken Burns approach to jazz?

Comment from jank
Time September 22, 2003 at 11:47 am

Not really, since Ken Burns has shown that he can successfully suck the life out of treasured institutions. Somehow his documentaries, while riveting, clinically suck the life and passion out of the subject. I loved “Baseball”, but don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t already been a fan. True appreciation involves late nights, booze, a little bit of sexual tension, and either fresh air or stale and smoky air.

I’m more a fan of what I like to call the ‘Scooby Doo’ approach – continually asking questions until the mystery is solved and the old guy is saying ‘And I would have been unknown in your subconscious if it weren’t for you kids and that meddling dog’. Until the TCQ:LET, I didn’t dig jazz that much. But, much like ‘Licensed to Ill’ gave me incentive to dig down and appreciate Zepplin for Zepplin and not just ’cause 98 Rocks had Zeptember, ‘Paul’s Boutique’ turned me on to Curtis Mayfield, and NWA and Ice Cube turned me on to Parliment, TCQ gave me reason to figure out where the samples came from, and wonder why Q-Tip and Fife Dog were digging the truly old school stuff.

Almost everything PBS puts out is like a museum. High quality, but too polished, cold, and stiff. There’s none of the grit and the dirt, no scratched records, no broken guitar strings, no fouled notes and laughter during rehearsal. In short, no soul. I dig it, but it’s clinical, to go back to the initial metaphor.

There’s places for cold clinicality (Doctor’s offices would be one, politics and war would be others). Art ain’t it. Drawing without soul is drafting. Painting wihout soul is what I do on the house on way too many weekends.

Comment from BT
Time September 22, 2003 at 4:58 pm

John:

Did you actually refer to yourself as a musician in this post? Color me skeptical.

Comment from etrigan
Time September 22, 2003 at 9:34 pm

Even counting the lessons you are taking now, I have had more instrumental lessons than you (3 years of violin, 2 guitar, 3-4 piano, a few months of trumpet) not to mention picking up instruments around my family pickin’-and-grinnin’ circles (dulcimer, mandolin, bass). I surprised myself by sitting down at the Kapes family piano and playing a few pieces of (simple) sheet music by sight when I was in PA a few weeks ago.

You are free to pick on me about the accordian, but it’s a really hard instrument to figure out. If I was happy with playing only half of it I would be playing it everyday, but I get depressed when I pull it out and am completely flumoxed when I make my feeble attempts at playing both sides. I’m pretty sure that I really wouldn’t enjoy a menage-a-trois if I found myself with the opportunity.

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