Sunday, August 04, 2013

Music on a quiet Sunday afternoon

I spent part of this afternoon, listening to one of my all time favorite CDs, Gymnopedies Gnossien, by the Jaques Loussier Trio. It is an amazing adaptation of classical music to jazz. The piano play is precision in music. The drums and the bass simply weave a background of music that literally twirls the ears around in some wild fantasy of simple sounds in a way that brings peace to my brain. It is by far, one of the best compilations of jazz I have ever heard.

I would not have taken an interest in it had I not been listening to public radio years ago and my father had not introduced me to jazz. It was my father who had also introduced me to Herbie Mann's classic album, Turtle Bay.

While these compilations are no doubt fantastic works of art, they leave something to be desired as they are only replicas. With every copy, there is some information lost due to the process of recording and replicating the recording. Like a copy machine with paper, with each succeeding copy, the resulting image or reproduction loses a little something from the original.

It was Neil Young whom I first heard complaining that the 44khz sample rate of CDs was not enough, not even close to what we get on vinyl disks. For a man who has toured the world and played on stage to large audiences, with giant amps behind him, I am surprised that he can hear so well as to find fault with CDs.

I remember my first CD player. I brought it to my friend Jerry's apartment to play Sgt. Pepper and he was astounded at the bright clarity of the playback. I thought CDs were cool because CDs were easy to care for, last for decades (I know, still I have CDs that I bought in 1988). The fact that they were compact, easy to store and wouldn't warp like vinyl had me sold.

Most of us these days, rarely handle CDs, though. I rip CDs soon after I buy them and play them on my computer, my phone or a computer at work if convenient. For the most part, I leave the CDs alone and let them rest for the day that I might need to rip them again in the next digital music format.

I am partially deaf in one ear and profoundly deaf in the other ear, yet I still find joy in music. I am aware of the iPod syndrome - deafness through iPod. The previous generation had Walkmans, but almost all of them have hearing aids now. I wear a hearing aid, too. I have long wondered what the brain does with the slight delay of the amplified sound through the hearing aid and from the hole in the mold that lets sound straight through. I suspect that the brain cannot tell the difference and if it does, well...the brain probably interpolates the sound just fine.

In some quarters, vinyl or analog music is making a comeback. Even vacuum tubes are being used in new electronics to give music that warm fuzzy sound we had with our old audio gear is coming back, too. There is something to be said about analog music, too. It just feels more natural to some.

But nothing can compare with listening to it live. Oh, how I would have loved to have been behind the glass in the control room while Jaques Loussier and his band were recording the Gnossiens. The magic in the room must have been mesmerizing.

For now, I can enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon with this music playing as the clouds pass between me and the sun, changing the light in the room, and reminding me that this season soon will pass.
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