Friday, September 03, 2004

I am not cool enough for the Bill Evans Trio. I have never visited a
nightclub wearing pearls and gloves. I do not like martinis, or other drinks
defined as "cocktails". I do not smoke. I have never sat in a below-street
club with blue spotlights and a coat-check girl. I have never held hands
across a small round table

There are some recordings that evoke an inescapable sense of emotion.
Mozart's Requiem, for instance, must cloak you in nostalgic melancholy. Some
create a sense of time -- "Eve of Destruction", for instance, will always be
the Vietnam War. But "Something for Debby" creates a sense of place. It can
only be New York. Specifically the New York of black before it was a fashion
statement, ever-honking taxi horns, steam rising from underground grates,
waiters in white coats, and women in red lipstick.

I am not cool enough for the Bill Evans Trio. But I "get" it in a way that I
hadn't ever really listend to jazz before. Perhaps because the multiple
tracks beg for repeated listening and comparison. Why is one version of a
song 15 seconds longer than another? How do three separate instruments
happen to sound so harmonious and yet so distinct? And why have I never
heard this music before?

This is jazz in a way that invites you in for a drink. So my assertion that
I'm not cool enough doesn't stem from the music's treatment of me -- rather
my assessment of the music. The quirky, beautiful, perfectly matched sound
is like something I want to be when I grow up. Unlike jazz that slaps you
with its uniqueness...and reminds you that you will never be a part of it;
this invites you to the party. It's your own fault if you lean against the
wall and feel only slightly like an imposter.

I want to belong to this music. I want to be one of those people
clapping in the background. I want to like drinks with olives in them, and
to close my eyes when the bass gets going. This music should accompany the
perfect romantic dinner at home. It's made to be listened to, closely, but
it won't be offended if it becomes a backdrop for conversation.

This is music to play on the stereo when you take your dream car for its
first ride. Music to cook to, before breaking into a spontaneous waltz in
the kitchen. Music to take you to New York, put you into that smoke-filled
club, and hold your hand across that small, round table.

There's only one problem with this music. I'm not cool enough.
For Fo, with love.

No comments: