Mike’s Monthly Musings – July

Having just had the June Listening to Jazz session, I realised the time had come for me to turn to another monthly rant, musings, or whatever about the music I’ve loved for over 60 years.  One thing I’ve realised is with over 2500 cds on the shelves, many of which are not worth much to a second hand dealer, and with no room for new items, the time has come for some thinning out – so my group has been helping me with this exercise.  But I doubt it will result in more than a few cds being passed on to new owners.…too many of them still seem rather special to me!  How, for example, could I possibly part with any of my 50 or so Duke Ellington recordings, the 30 Miles Davis, or any of the Monk and Parker, my Louis’, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Ruby Braff or Ben Webster discs?  Then there are the Art Tatums and all the other piano recordings I have – piano is by far the largest part of the collection, covering everything from Jelly Roll Morton (his Library of congress recordings in the late 30s give an aural history of jazz to that time) and James P Johnson to Ahmed Jamal and Keith Jarrett, and then there is Dick Wellstood and Ralph Sutton.  And all those British jazzmen with whom I grew up – from Humph, Ken Colyer and Chris Barber, Dankworth, Heath, Tubs and Don, as well as those of my own generation such as Art Themen and Mike Garrick, and the younger ones such as Jim Hart, Nigel Price and Gwilym Simcock.  Altogether too many to let go, I may just want to hear them one day…
And then there are the singers – my favourite, Billie Holiday (well there are a couple which are duplicated that could go), as well as Ella and the Divine One Sarah Vaughan. But what about Dinah Washington, Nina Simone (divorce proceedings if I let her go), Sheila Jordan…and the new ones like Diana Krall or Patricia Barber?  Or another favourite, not discovered until the late 90s, Shirley Horn, a singer who stretches time to its utmost limits, or Mary Stallings, discovered less than two years ago.  And for the men, won’t I miss the blues shouters such as Jimmy Rushing and Joe Turner, the class of Mose Allison and the newer sounds of someone like Gregory Porter and Kurt Elling?  And that is just the single cds – let alone the box sets!
Collecting of any kind is an addiction – time was when I could not pass a record store without going in and coming out with a pile of discs or vinyl (the latter is coming back into fashion), whether it was in Manchester, London, New York, Detroit, Melbourne, Zurich, Oslo, Milan, Berlin, Paris or wherever my travels took me.  Nowadays it is the internet – the dreaded Amazon or iTunes – to which I turn in search of something new.  On one significant birthday, my kids bought me an Apple iPod classic – now it plays through my car’s eight speakers, sorting at random through some 1600 tracks.  My laptop gives me access to a similar number from the music I have stored somewhere up in the Cloud, giving me pleasure as I work on the SLU3A Newsletter or something else demanding my attention – which reminds there is an academic survey about elected mayors to which I must turn.  After which it will be time for another shot in the arm – now isn’t there a new disc out by The Impossible Gentlemen…  Mike Goldsmith.