LJC before Jazz

1965-2005

Forty years is a long time, LJC. What else did I listen to before Jazz- any “hidden secrets”?

In a word, plenty

This is the CD collection and yes, there is a secret –  Jean-Michel Jarre has his own compartment. Shhh!! Its our secret. No one must know!   Da di da da da…

Potted Biography

Growing up in London in the Sixties was easy. You just picked up an instrument, practised a little, and joined a band. I played lead guitar in an R&B Band, passably well, but not well enough to do it for a living. What followed was years of listening to music, rather than playing it.

Emerging from the Sixties British Blues Boom, somewhere around 1970, I followed signposts for Jazz Fusion, but took a wrong turn somewhere in the 1980’s, and ended up  in Californian New Age.  Doctors feared I might never think again.

For the next twenty years I travelled the music world in search of a cure: Europe, India, West Africa, Brazil, world ethnic genres, contemporary classical, I even dabbled with “European Post Modernism”. Nothing worked, at least not for long. Just when hope was almost gone, in 2006, I wandered into a small record store in London’s Soho and something led me to pick up a copy of Anthony Williams Lifetime, Blue Note 4180, from 1964, mono first pressing. It was £50, more than I had ever spent on a record before in my life.

I still don’t know what made me buy it, but when I got it home and put it on the turntable I was overwhelmed. I had never heard sound like this before. The rest, as they say, is history. If there is a greater force up there,  jazz is his music.

A lot of the the musical journey was made via the evil silver disc, so the CD racks still offer an audit trail, like discarded travel tickets, as to where you have travelled.

Any other significant things? Yes. What’s not there:

  • The Reggae, Rap and Hiphop Collection bottom right compartment. Zero. Like, you take the words out of rap, what have you got?  Peace and quiet with a beat.
  • No dance, soul, garage, indie, metal, mainsteam pop, psych-funk, latest hot bands, experimental noise or pre-20th Century classical. I have listened but I couldn’t find anything there for me.
  • Marketing nightmare – no interest in what or who is hot, trending or the next big thing or what my friends are buying. No Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Bozo, whatever, don’t watch TV, buy no magazines. I chart my own course.
  • No songs in English, though some in other languages not my own. The human voice is an instrument. In a foreign language the voice remains an instrument, untroubled by narrative..
  • Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon“. A hifii test record worshipped by a certain demographic. I haven’t listened to it since 1973.
  • The music of my youth. It’s been and gone, bye bye. I am much more interested in the music I have yet to hear.

If you think there is any social group or demographic I have not yet managed to offend, there is plenty of room for more pages. People say I am opinionated. And that’s not just their opinion.

Next: LJC before “hi-fi”

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14 thoughts on “LJC before Jazz

  1. Fascinating, this notion of settling into a certain genre. I’ve never felt that interest and enjoy several, on different levels, for different reasons. I accept that causes me to not know as much about any one of them, and probably not connect as deeply as any one of them.

    But if you’ve dipped deeply in several areas previously, it appears you’d been looking for “the one” genre to settle with for some time.

    • Hi and welcome. With hindsight, it does look like stops along the way, though it rarely felt like that at the time. Digging into the genre of the moment was each time over four or five years. Then something else came along and caught my ear – a musical philanderer I guess. This time, with Modern Jazz it’s different. It is the one.

  2. I wonder if anyone’s interested, but just as LJC doesn’t have any hiphop music in his collection, i only found my way to jazz by that bridge. There existed lots of samplers from the nineties collecting the jazz-sources of a lot of really great hiphop albums and many of them focus on Blue Note. I don’t know if it might be an interesting idea to try this sound-connection the other way around, but i am really glad that the music of my youth helped me find a way into “Modern Jazz”. I’d say: take the words out of rap music and you sometimes have an interesting mixture of jazz and soul and a beat. These hiphop artists from the nineties helped the jazz from the 50s to stay alive to some extent…

    • Interesting point of view, I hadn’t thought about jazz samples in that way. I guess it doesn’t matter too much how you get here, only that you get here. Looking back, I took a much longer way around…

      • Like Chris, I came to jazz from hip-hop. It might surprise some, but there’s a lot of parallels between jazz and hip-hop. Due to it’s “in-your-face” bluntness, hip-hop is often overlooked for it’s artistic value by outsiders. Obviously there’s a lot of bad hip-hop out there (especially in the past few years), but one could say the same about jazz or any other genres. Usually it’s those without real understanding of an art form that are quick to dismiss it. If a person’s only exposure to hip-hop is a few songs on the radio or TV, he/she doesn’t have enough information to make a worthwhile comment. If one only knows jazz through Kenny G Christmas CDs, elevator music, or department store background music, they’d say “jazz sucks” (and we’ve all met those people), but does their comment really mean anything? I think most people who have taken the time to really explore jazz learn to appreciate it. Same goes for hip-hop.

        I’ll get off my hip-hop soapbox now :). Love modern jazz, love your blog. I check it every day for updates. Keep it up!

        • Sounds to me like The Hip Hop Challenge, Henry! I’m up for it…err..dude.
          You are welcome to point me to any Hip Hip you think might change my mind, I’ll happily lend it an ear. Just one thing – the baseball cap, do I have to wear one?

          • Sure, I’d be glad to give you some recommendations. I’ll send you a direct email as to not crowd this comments section with off-topic stuff. I tend to get pretty wordy in my evangelize-ing of jazz and hip-hop.

            Oh, and baseball cap not required haha…

  3. It’s always interesting to hear how people wind-up collecting and listening to what they do. JUst before Christmas I concluded that my record collection was getting out of control. I couldn’t find what I wanted to listen to and I didn’t want to listen to much that I had got.

    After much soul searching I sold everything that wasn’t jazz, and everything that had a voice on it (these were usually but not always the same thing). Lady Day (a lot) went, and I heaved a sigh of relief at no longer having to try and enjoy her affected whining. I hate singing.

    This has reduced my collection by at least a third, given me more space (and money) to focus on buying jazz records and freed me from the task of looking for anything that isn’t jazz (of some description). It works for me.

    But non-vinyl is another matter. There’s a lot of ECM stuff I wouldn’t like to do without, and so I buy these on CD. There’s also plenty of great jazz from say the early-90s onwards only available on CD and so I have to buy some of this too. There’s also a lot of baroque music I return to again and again and here CD seems to offer not just the most convenient format but also the best.

    • Let this be our secret but I have three boxes of 1980s new age vinyl – Californian, Windham Hill, Narada, a German bloke that plays nose flute and hits clay pots a lot, and like, stashed away in the loft. I don’t have the heart to throw them out, Every now and then I pop one on the turntable and it comes straight off as its absolutely cringe-making. I know I will never play them again, but I can’t bring myself to “chuck ’em”. Well done for “purifying” your collection. Takes courage.

      • First, I must say, having just discovered your blog, how great I think it is. I’m really looking forward to exploring its all pages. I’ve been a fan of jazz for some years, having come to it via an interest in rock of many varieties. I’m intrigued by what you say about ‘purifying’ one’s collection but I don’t really understand the need to do so. There are times when I get rid of stuff (I’ll admit I have mostly listened to music on CD for many years though I do have an extensive vinyl collection – my stereo isn’t exactly top-notch, though), but only because the particular album or artist no longer appeals to me and not because I want a ‘purer’ collection. I love rock, folk, jazz, country, blues, reggae, soul, prog, punk and many other styles and would never want to concentrate on just a small area for my listening pleasure. Ultimately, I follow the maxim that there are only two types of music – good and bad. Of course, there is only so much time in a day and so much (or little) room in a house, so perhaps not spreading oneself too thinly does have something to be said for it. Just a few thoughts by way of saying hello and thanks for the fine blog.

  4. I discovered this session today and wonder how many readers did it before, in absence of comments.
    here we can find very interesting inputs for all.
    I’d like to begin with “no songs in English” coupled with “before Jazz”.
    my low interest for voice in jazz has been already declared, Lady Day apart. I’m an instrumentalist addict.
    in my teens, 1964-1968, there was a singer, which I used to listen to almost daily, Bob Dylan.
    those were years of rock growing interest for me, but this guy had a particular appeal for me.
    no, I couldn’t understand what he was singing, I was far away from American politics, I wasn’t on the protest wave.
    anyway I loved him, and still loves.
    there was no rock nor electric guitar nor particular drumming in his records, being for the most acoustic. and, most of all, I really could’t understand what he was talking about.
    simple lines, medium voice, no prog but I was hooked.
    I don’t know why yet.
    the free wheeling, highway 61 revisited, blonde on blonde, bringing it all back home, another side of bob dylan,the times they are a-changin.
    I still own in vinyl.

    • Hi Dott, I am adding things all the time to the static pages of the site (Pages listed across the banner at the top) as the mood takes me. The “Museum” I added the other day. WordPress lets you add stuff, like a “proper” website, in addtion to the regular posts. A lot of people don’t know that there is new stuff there – I can see from the viewing statistics, few views, so few if any comments. The section on record labels seems to be getting attention now – especially “Impulse!” – I wonder why? (Answer: C*ltr*n* !)
      Good to know I am not the only one who “dated” different kinds of music before settling down with Jazz.

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