Friday, June 10, 2011

The music of cool



I've been listening to a lot of jazz lately, not on purpose, even though I believe listening to jazz makes me smarter. Bringing my neural network up to speed seems like a very good thing always, but maybe especially right now, in the midst of this mighty transformation I am now moving through.

Just this morning I remembered reading somewhere, in a book about the history of jazz, that the quality of "coolness" was very highly regarded within certain African cultures, the very places from where humans beings were stolen, taken across the Atlantic, and put out in the fields of early America. I googled for awhile this morning, but could not find the source, though I did find this, which made me giggle.

Seeking what's cool, aka jazz (for instance) is a great idea at the moment. DC is hellishly hot this week, so perhaps at a subconscious level I'm not only trying to get smarter, but am also seeking the cooling qualities of jazz.

I like every kind of music; I need every kind of music - well - except for insipid space-out music, the kind of thing you might hear in an elevator (do they still do that?) or on the treatment table at a spa. I really detest stupid music so much.

Leading up to summer solstice 2011, in the midst of this eclipse cycle, I can't stop listening to Alice Coltrane, Bird, Miles, Sonny Rollins, and Bill Evans (among many many others). The music is taking me from point A to point B on this journey of healing. How cool is that? VERY cool. Oh yeah.

9 comments:

Infinite Possibilities said...

I like jazz, but its not usually my first choice. But music has saved my life a few times. On the flip it can be a most dangerous element for me as well. It can feed the healing or the destruction.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I also love music. Funny thing is I'm more interested in the words of a song and my husband is more interested in the music. I often say "that's a great line" and he has to ask whay they were saying because he doesn't pay attention to the words which I just don't get. I like most music except maybe hard rock, never took to it.

ellen abbott said...

I don't get jazz. I guess that means I'm not very cool. I do like most other kinds of music though. Lately I've been listening to a lot of foreign language music, can't understand the words even if I can make them out. it's like two kinds of music woven together.

Dan Gurney said...

I love jazz too. LOVE IT. All the guys you mentioned. Also Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Gary Burton,
Ella Fitzgerald , Astrud Gilberto, Nina Simone, and Bay Area local, and one of my long time favorites, Cal Tjader. Many many others, too, of course. Jazz is the biggest category in my iTunes library, followed not far behind by Latin Jazz and world music.

Kerry said...

Being married to a jazz musician, I ought to be sooo smart because I sure do hear a lot of it! Jazz is a very deep well, and I still have a lot to learn.

I love Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis, so great any time of year but maybe best on a hot summer night.

steven said...

jazz shows up in my life every so often. miles, elvin jones, miles, weather report (their first few albums), miles, keith jarrett (band), lots of stuff off the ecm label, miles, you get the drift. the spine of my jazz listening is miles. miles from the fifties, soxties, seventies and then i stop. when the needle lifts off the pangaea album so do i. i love his work through the late sixties and early seventies. when he dropped most of his fans because he wanted to be the hendrix of the trumpet. i was blown away. no tear the world apart miles. you've done it so many times before let my generation have a kick at the can. alice and john coltrane both are places i go when i have the strength to make the journey because they both travelled a very very long way with their music. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven YES they did travel far in their music. How perfectly said.

Ellen, I, too love music with lyrics in languages I'm unfamiliar with. Never thought of it as two kinds of music, but it certainly is. Very cool.

Jeanette WHERE ARE YOU??

Cyndy said...

The music that is known as "cool jazz" definitely has its own especially cool aesthetic. What I love is how transforming music can be. Each style, artist, or even just a song can move you in a particular direction so the more different styles of music you enjoy, the fresher you will feel!

The creative improvisation within a relatively consistent harmonic structure that you find in jazz has many parallels in real life (like finding freedom within boundaries and being open to all kinds of possibilities)so it is probably the perfect music for you right now. But I'm deeply prejudiced in the jazz direction, so of course I would think that ;)

Reya Mellicker said...

I love that Jeremy Taylor quote, "Improvisation is the only skill worth cultivating." Or something like that. There are a few other skills I'm interested in, but being able to fly by the seat of my pants? Always useful in every situation.