Saturday, February 19, 2011


It isn't that I sit around thinking and dreaming of music all the time. But it is that in my advancing age I have decided to bring music back into my life in a more active way. So today I'm tying up a few loose ends of this effort.
First off, remembering how much I loved Faure's Requiem and how I couldn't find my relaxation tape that used to help me get to sleep at night, in this blog sometime back I mentioned the possibility of purchasing a CD player to use at night with earbuds to hear this particular piece of music. Faure wrote such a soothing Requiem (compared to Berlioz', which would blast a person into heaven) that I knew it would soothe me into a good night's sleep. I made the purchase and began listening to this piece of music as I snuggled down into my most comfortable bed. I listened to it for four nights running. Two funny things happened. First, I stayed awake through the whole 37 minutes of playing time (I expected it to lull to to sleep long before then) and then on Night #5 I started mentally humming it long before I got into bed and discovered that I hardly needed to play the CD. And that made me laugh.

You will remember as part of my drive to move unused things out of our little apartment I was trying to convince Jerry to let go of all the audio tapes we had acquired over the years. I discovered he was much more emotionally connected to "things" than I was, and his response to my idea was 1) keep them because we "might" play them, 2) sell them, 3) give them to our kids, and 4) as a last resort donate them to a charity. Wrong! I reminded him the last time we listened to them was when we lived in Istanbul in 1991-92, no one was buying audio tapes any more, our kids used CDs now, and charities have more audiotapes in their thrift stores than they know what to do with.

But I did have an idea. I created the poster above and made a few copies to stick on bulletin boards around our apartment complex, offering them free to the first taker. Within two days a little old lady in a golf cart appeared at my front door asking if the tapes were still available. She said she didn't have a TV so her form of entertainment was listening to all types of music, except for country western. I told her she wouldn't find any of that genre in my collection, and after I carried the tapes out to her cart, she drove off with a grin. And I went back into the house knowing that there still are people, albeit mostly old people, who still use audiotapes. (Ultimately I had three calls.)
A third item of interest is reading in the LA times a few days ago that jazz celloist Freddie Katz is still alive and well, not doing many concerts any more at 91 but busy composing. The Times article says, "Growing up a classical cello and piano prodigy before falling in love with jazz in the Manhattan clubs, Katz went on to help define the sound of West Coast jazz with the Chico Hamilton Quintet, where he was the first to introduce a bowed cello into the jazz vernacular."

I met him in 1955 at the Strollers Club in Long Beach, California. "Met" is a misleading word. I, an under-age 20, simply sat with my Coca-Cola at a front table at this little jazz club, as close to the Quintet as I could get. I loved progressive jazz, and finding such a wonderful spot in my home town, especially one that would let me in the door in the first place and then let me listen and not drink (although my date, being older, did) was very special. The others of his generation are mostly gone now, but it made me happy to see Freddie, almost at his 92nd birthday, featured in the Times. Happy Birthday, Freddie, and thanks for all the good music!

And finally, recently I posted on the most unusual circa 1963-66songs of the Raunch Hands - Dr. Freud, The Old HUAC, Yas, Yas, Yas - and wondered where my old record "Raunch Hands Against the World" ever went to. I may have intimated that my son Sean in Sonoma had it, but after he read my post he let me know he didn't have it either. But Sean, a musician himself, recalled the record and before I knew it, he had purchased a copy on E-Bay and voila' -- I now have those fascinating old songs rolling around in my head again. Bravo, son, you did another good thing for your old ma! (He also keeps my computer running, another of his many talents)

The photo of the Raunch Hand's album cover above came courtesy of Greg's Grooves Classic Vinyl, A tip of the hat to Greg.

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