Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Music and Stress

One of my ways to endure and overcome stress is to place greater emphasis on music. It’s music that helped me survive a period of unemployment when I was living in Connecticut. I was listening to Frank Zappa’s Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar, the complete set, at the time and found that music defiant and high in energy—the things I needed to overcome losing a job in insurance and to scrape together a couple of part-time jobs.

While in graduate school, I distanced myself from my professors and from my graduate program by studying jazz discographies. Finding out which Chet Baker CD’s deserve attention proved to be more satisfying than reading another play or more critical theory in preparation for my doctoral exams.

Lately, I have been listening to Anouar Brahem’s Thimar. Brahem plays the oud and is accompanied by John Surman on soprano saxophone and bass clarinet and Dave Holland on double-bass. This music fascinates me with its strong presence of the double-bass, creating what the critics would refer to as a drone. A sample appears at this link: Kashf .