i had a crush on kiki shepard

the public internet just turned twenty.  it's hard to believe that our world existed without this technological magic.  a society without cell phones, cars, tv, and the schwans man seems plausible.  but no world wide web?

i remember getting together with college friends to listen to music, bringing a cassette carrier that doubled as my mobile hot wheels garage.  play-stop-rewind-stop-play-stop-fastforward-stop-play.  shushing everybody when your favorite part came on, and then getting shushed as you talked through somebody else's favorite part.  i remember cutting out articles from magazines housed in the library.  i remember staying up super late to watch dave sanborn's night music and showtime at the apollo.  i remember checking out cds from the school library and attempting to dump them onto the hard drive of my monster desktop computer.  i smuggled a mini recorder into concert halls and outdoor festivals, making my own bootleg tracks.  i got my hands dirty, searching for music.

kids these days paste youtube links onto their friends' facebook pages, post spotify happenings, and email each other tracks that they have somehow converted into an mp3 format. students write their own music, record it on their computer, clean it up with a free program they found online, and then throw it onto a soundcloud page.  they stream naxos, scavenge libraries from the couch, google literally anything they can fathom, and use wikipedia as the informational authority.

i teach with this really great guy at iowa state.  trombonist david stuart is a walking encyclopedia.  i go to him with a specific question on some obscure topic and leave our conversation realizing that he knows more about the subject matter than i do, despite the fact that it's not his expertise.  he is a terrific guy, and has my undying admiration.  a few years back, he told me that he was impressed that i had created a strong community of jazz students at isu (something that was woefully missing).  i smiled while my brain silently screamed "what a great idea!!!"

the social aspect of listening to records with your friends, consuming your beverage du jour, staying up forever to be dazzled by musical technique and calmed with artistic beauty and then passionately talk about it ad nauseum - is it vanishing?  staring at your laptop by alone, navigating through the wormholes of youtube videos, listening to 45 second samples of recordings, and watching webcasted live concerts in your pjs doesn't strengthen the human connection that music so desperately thrives upon.  do we actually want the touch of king midas?

well, there's no going back.  all of these wonderful video clips of any type of music you want are up on youtube.  albums that were only on vinyl are now remastered, and you can cherry pick the tracks on iTunes.  student musicians have immediate access to thousands of interpretations of lincolnshire posy. instructional videos, program notes, countless images - hell, even blog posts discussing these topics are at their fingertips.  the era of open information really is pretty wonderful, so we should celebrate.


the giddy vol. 10 - the spring edition

living in iowa is a trip.  randy travis spoke the truth when he sang about old men sitting and talking about the weather. his twang rings in my ears while i try to make sense of the craziness brother nature is bringing to the midwest. yesterday, sunny & a high of 84.  tomorrow, 3 inches of snow on the ground.  quit screwing around with my spring fever.

brad mehldau it might as well be spring - the art of the trio, vol. 5
he is quite simply the most happening jazz artist for me, these days.  i remember seeing back-to-back sets of this band at the old dakota (remember ... over on energy park drive?) they were touring this record.  it was snowy and super cold on a wednesday, and i went over after some teaching in st. paul. hardly anyone was there, but i hung for the entire show. these guys were locked in.  i don't remember this song per se, but i'll never forget that night.

frank morgan & hank jones you must believe in spring
i love love LOVE this song.  i learned it early in my music studies as a vocal jazz tune, arranged by life wiz phil mattson.  my classmates brad & paige (both older and far more seasoned than i) sang the shit out of this gem, and phil's tinkly lines decorated their phrases masterfully.  my favorite saxophonist for the longest time was frank morgan, and he kills on this track.  hank's not too shabby, either.

myra melford yet can spring (for don pullen) - above blue
i mistakenly bought this album back in undergrad.  my roommate at the time had just turned me on to piano giant don pullen, so i snagged this record that he's not on.  my haste in sheer idiocy thankfully led me to the incredible myra melford and her wonderful band, including chris speed, dave douglas, erik friedlander, and michael sarin.  this amateur review of the album is spot-on.

benjamin britten spring, the sweet spring - spring symphony
this effort by britten piles more credibility to his composer legacy, beyond the requisite peter grimes and young person's guide to the orchestra.  i bought this album at a record store beneath a crazy college kid club i used to play at on weekends in st. cloud.  the guys in the cover band gave me the weirdest looks, similar to those that they flashed when i played some major 7s or #11s on dire straits tunes.

ella fitzgerald spring can really hang you up the most 
my high school jazz band made the state championships my senior year.  i caught the last two bands of the biggest class before loading up the bus for hardees, and heard this saxophonist blow up this tune something fierce.  i bet i listened to that cassette (!!!) five hundred times, trying to wrap my head around the tune and his sound.  i later learned the lyrics in music school and became smitten with writing. ella sounds so sweet and sincere, but what's new...

miles davis & gil evans springsville - miles ahead
this is such a great song.  i didn't know much about miles davis (and nothing about gil evans) when i bought this album. gil's writing is exquisite and miles still makes me smile with his sound on this cut.  my giddy moment at 2:16 still has me rewinding and listening again & again.  i once pulled this stunt on the interstate, repeatedly falling for miles while i sat in the left lane and passed cars like it was my job.  i'm not sure how far i drove before i noticed the state trooper sitting on my tail, lights ablaze.  i quickly switched lanes and let him pass.  i tried not to notice those piercing eyes that sat underneath that broad and imposing hat bill.

aaron copland appalachian spring
of course, copland (spelled just like the movie that's not pronounced the same) makes the list.  i love the recording that mtt and the san francisco symphony did, but am still blown away by the way spike lee used copland's works throughout his basketball film he got game.  jesus saves.