Friday, January 25, 2008

Acquiring Jazz & Money

Jazz Times has now made available online the selections for the best jazz CD’s released in 2007. If you click on the link in the previous sentence, you’ll be able to see what about thirty-five jazz critics have chosen as their picks for the past year. Downbeat, unfortunately, doesn’t make its selections available online and requires the purchase of the magazine, a trip to the library, or access to a university library database.

Discovering the current releases in jazz has only been a recent interest of mine. As I worked at putting together a collection of those classic jazz albums, my interest was more in the timelessness of jazz, that is, those jazz albums that remain worthy of attention today and that exemplify the best work of certain musicians within specific periods of time, such as John Coltrane’s work during the years he recorded on the Atlantic label (as in Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, Coltrane Plays the Blues, Coltrane’s Sound, and Ole).

When my son’s saxophone teacher recommended that I go back and listen to Joe Henderson’s Double Rainbow, an album that I had previously neglected in favor of So Near, So Fear, I discovered that Double Rainbow is indeed worthy of attention. I apparently hadn’t been ready for it when I heard that album initially. I have now been rediscovering some of the other albums previously neglected in my collection.

I also need to see whether my local library carries any jazz that I have been looking for. Perhaps I’ll get lucky. I didn’t discover Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker Live at Carnegie Hall until I rented it from a library about ten years ago. Kenny Wheeler’s Deer Wan has been on my list for twenty years or so. A new copy of Wheeler's classic is now much too expensive, running about $25., probably because of the declining value of the dollar (the cost of CD’s imported from Europe will continue to get more expensive, unfortunately).

I can see that my cash flow problem will lead to alternatives in acquiring music. That tax relief from the government, if it indeed comes, has already been budgeted toward our state and federal taxes. But it's possible that it will be intercepted by our student loan people. If it were up to me, I would just as soon see the government do nothing more than increase unemployment benefits with some of the $155 billion it has ear-marked for its tax relief program. This country can ill-afford giving away money to its citizens when it already owes trillions of dollars to those foreign governments holding treasury bonds.