Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sun (Ra) Never Sets

Here in north Alabama, we had covers, tarps, and plastic drop cloths draped over all our plants in anticipation of a nasty freeze last night. (It could have happened the night before, but didn't quite get cold enough.) It's almost as if the sun has gone away. For no particular reason not completed unrelated to that, I've been listening to three great, great, great recordings this weekend, one of which is Jazz in Silhouette by Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Good gosh, that is a great CD. Everytime I listen to it, I hear something I didn't hear before, and I'm just enthralled. It's one of those recordings where, you stop and listen, then shake your head and laugh out loud.

In fact, I didn't get to listen to all of it yesterday before dinner ended and we turned on a movie, so at bedtime, I pulled my boom box into the bedroom, threw on my headphones, and listened to it as I fell asleep. I used to do this quite a lot when I was younger: listen to music while falling asleep. Last night, though, I was so pooped out after pulling down a sick oak tree that I don't think I stayed awake even through the end of the first song. Sleeping on my back, I ended up drying out my throat and that had some other nasty consequences which I won't go into here, but I think I might be able to get used to this method of listening to music.

Sunday afternoon I almost fell asleep while listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing the Duke Ellington songbook. I had my Real Book out and looked at the music as she sang, but like I said, pulling down a tree all afternoon and drinking wine pretty steadily after that, I got sweetly mellow and almost fell asleep before dinner. Ella can have that effect. But anyway, some of the renderings of Duke's songs were impossibly imaginative and richly textured. There is just so much depth to his music and a singer like Ella is deft at plumbing it all the way. I should have jumped over to the piano to try some of her phrasings, but, I felt better lulling myself to that theta-wave pre-sleep instead.

Finally, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue rounded out my weekend listening trio, mainly because I'm working on All Blues, which is going quite well, too, thank you very much. There isn't anything that needs to be added to the commentary of arguably the greatest jazz recording of all time. I know anytime I put it on, I'll feel better before long, even in the face of an $8000 tax bill. KOB and jazz in general give me hope, and Sun Ra makes for a brighter everything.

Maybe it's time for me to add some more Sun Ra to my collection...

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