From The New Yorker, August 10/17. 2009:
For a century or so, the life of a home listener was simple: you had your disks, whether in the form of cylinders, 78s, LPs, or CDs, and, no matter how many of them piled up, there was a clear demarcation between the music that you had and the music that you didn’t. The Internet has removed that distinction. Near-infinity awaits on the other side of the magic rectangle. Video and audio stream in from around the world. . . . but these meandering journeys across the Internet soundscape can be taxing. The medium too easily generates anxiety in place of fulfillment, an addictive cycle of craving and malaise. No sooner has one experience begun than the thought of what else is out there intrudes. Putting on an old-fashioned disk and letting it play to the end restores a measure of sanity. This may explain why the archaic LP is enjoying an odd surge of popularity among younger listeners: it’s a modest rebellion against the tyranny of instant access.
At times, I enjoy “the tyranny of instant access,” and I think that in some small way my blog-videos have contributed a rivulet to the deluge, but I know well what Ross is writing about. I propose (in my ancient way) that we take it back even one step deeper into the past, with One-Track Moments: where we play one recording a half-dozen times in a row to hear it deeper and deeper. This, of course, is a poor substitute for the tactile thrill of placing the stylus once again at the beginning of the track, or (an infinitely more seductive pleasure, now half-denied us) of replaying a particular passage or even a moment — a series of three Jo Jones accents behind Tommy Ladnier, or the different ways Billie Holiday sings “Yesterdays” on her 1939 Commodore record, or the glorious pots-and-pans clatter Dave Tough makes on “Tappin’ the Commodore Till.” Let us occasionally listen to jazz as they did in 1939, intently, intensely, dipping ourselves neck-deep in its pleasures, rather than moving through twenty-five tracks of a compact disc as if we were someone mowing a meadow, one strip closer to going home. Try it! It satisfies . . . .
Posted in Irreplaceable, Jazz Worth Reading, Pay Attention!
Tagged "the tyranny of instant access", 78 rpm record, Alex Ross, Billie Holiday, Commoore Records, compact disc, Dave Tough, internet, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, Jo Jones, Michael Steinman, MP3, recordings, The New Yorker, Tommy Ladnier
I just visited Agustin Perez’s very enlightening and heartfelt blog, MULE WALK AND JAZZ TALK — where he has arranged for our delight a series of jazz record advertisements from magazines circa 1938-1944: Hot Record Society, Blue Note, Signature, Bluebird, Solo Art, and more. If you don’t know the music represented here, these ads might seem charmingly archaic but no more meaningful than drawings of old-time detergent boxes or tubes of toothpaste.
But if you do know what it must have meant to buy the new Art Hodes session on Signature, these ads are tender artifacts of a time when “a record” was a two-sided 78 rpm disk, highly breakable, costing anywhere from thirty-five cents to a dollar, and it was something to treasure. We who collect jazz now and are able to buy every record Fats Waller made (for example) on twenty-four compact discs, should stop a minute and recall such pleasures, even if they had vanished before we were born.
(In the spirit of accuracy, I must note that the label on the left isn’t advertised in Agustin’s pages — but I was looking for an appropriate illustration and found this: the first of the Circle label’s issues of Jelly Roll’s Library of Congress recordings — a rarity I had never seen before and wanted to share here.)
Posted in "Thanks A Million", The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged 78 rpm, Agustin Perez, Bluebird Records, Circle Records, compact disc, Fats Waller, Hot Record Society, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, jazz records, Jelly Roll Morton, Library of Congress, Michael Steinman, MULE WALK AND JAZZ TALK, Signature Records, Solo Art Records
I bought a jazz CD this morning. For anyone who knows me or has intuited something about my life from this blog, that should hardly be worthy of comment.
The prize CD — which I found out about because of John Herr’s recommendation — features Matthias Seuffert, Rossano Sportiello, Harry Allen, and Anthony Howe. Three of those musicians are players I revere, and if Howe, a drummer, is part of their company, I’d take it on faith that he swings. The title is “SWINGIN’ DUO BY THE LAGO,” and it comes from Styx Records.
The disc itself, however, isn’t the reason for this post. I bought the disc through CD Baby (wittily titled) and late in the evening I got this automated response, which made me laugh so hard that it is worth a purchase in itself. This message — happily over-the-top to be sure– is the way to treat customers! Check their website out for yourselves.
Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Saturday, January 24th. I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
the little store with the best new independent music
http://cdbaby.com firstname.lastname@example.org (503)595-3000
Posted in The Things We Love
Tagged Anthony Howe, CD, CD Baby, compact disc, customer service, Harry Allen, I Found A Million Dollar Baby, jazz, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, John Herr, Matthias Seuffert, Michael Steinman, Rossano Sportiello, Styx Records