Jazz Note:
Total Mess Situation
19 February 2018

“Don’t you like jazz anymore?” Kathleen asked, in a level voice tinged with anxiety.

What I didn’t like was going to the trouble of playing it, of “picking records,” as we used to say. I had made a mess of our jazz library. I had not completed the project of uploading jazz into iTunes. About half of the CDs remained to be transcribed to MP3 format, and these tended to be the CDs that we didn’t want to play. Or, take Basia. Remember her? I could never figure out how to categorize Basia. So her albums, like the CDs of music that I didn’t care enough about to reformat for the iPod, remain stacked, disorganized, in three of the four CD racks in the apartment. The library had been a mess in the old apartment; the move downstairs  only made it worse. 

As I said in my last Jazz Note, my grasp of jazz — a genre that I sometimes suspect of being all frontier and no core — is not strong enough for me to make choices without handling actual CDs in their jewel cases. And even if it weren’t for that, there was no way, in the chaotic conditions prevailing when Kathleen asked the question, for her to find what she might want to listen to. Indeed, once I resolved to get organized, it took days of head scratching and looking in unlikely places to find the Jarrett-Peacock-De Johnette and Manhattan Transfer collections, both of which had been broken down (removed from jewel cases) and filed in bins where they didn’t belong. A total mess situation. 

But I did find them, along with such anthologies as Jazz Giants Play Hoagy Carmichael, also where they didn’t belong. Now I can pull out the CD, from an old BOMC collection, that ends with Red Norvo’s band playing “In a Mellotone” (sic), a sixteen-minute fiesta of solos and reprises. (The cut was my introduction to Slam Stewart.)

All it took was buckling down and getting to it, something that I’d have postponed indefinitely if Kathleen hadn’t asked.

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