For many years, I've complained about being music-starved.
We have an abundance of music in our home, but I felt I had no solid time to listen. I can't have music on while I write, even while I write an email. The only decent music time I could find was if and when I cooked dinner - and that is not a regular occurrence. Between baseball and movies, gone are the days when we used to just listen to music all evening.
Living in the suburbs has helped this problem. In New York (or walking around any city), I don't like to use a Walkman, or iPod once they existed. But in the car, it's essential. Recently I've been doing errands with Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil, one of my favourites.
Now on my current weekend job, the problem has been eradicated. I'm in a small, shared space, with a group of non-stop talkers. It would be unbearable, except that the non-chatterers all put on headphones. I've been listening to music all day Saturday and all day Sunday, every weekend. I hope not to keep the job too much longer, but right now this is a great plus.
* * * *
The other side of this music-starved condition was that for many years I've been losing my interest in new rock.
This isn't "there's no good music anymore... all the good music ended in [insert year of most carefree, party life]". I kept up with new rock long past most of my peers. But for whatever reason, I increasingly found that the music didn't do anything for me. It all felt too derivative - and I was already attached to the older music, and the new felt like a pale imitation - or it just bored me.
I still have all the bands I love, plus my musical mainstays - blues, swing, Cajun and other rootsy forms. But new rock of almost any type was just putting me to sleep.
While that was happening, my interest in blues and swing was pulling me closer and closer to jazz, but I was too intimidated to dive in. Jazz! It's so big. It means so many things. I didn't know where to start.
But slowly, through friends' recommendations and an excellent jazz station, I started to find my way. The path was no different than how I originally explored blues: find something you like, get to know it, find what's related to it, get to know that. I'll never be an expert or anything close, and there are huge avenues of jazz I'll never walk down, but my list of what I like and what I'd like to hear more of is growing.
So far my short hot-list is mostly from the late 1950s and early 1960s. (I find that interesting, since the blues I love most is from the late 1940s and early 1950s.) Topping the list are Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, all only from a certain period. I'm also going farther back, to Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and farther back still, to some core music I've always loved, like Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and of course Mr Louis Armstrong.
It's exciting to be discovering new - that is, new to me - music that completely absorbs and thrills me. It doesn't happen to me very often, and this is like an avalanche of new and exciting sounds.