Sunday, November 1, 2009

Miles to go

There was a time when I was obsessed with Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue." I still think it's the greatest jazz recording of all time. But back when I was a single guy, living alone, there was a stretch of a couple of months when I couldn't stop listening to it.

I don't recall exactly what started it; but one of the times when I put it in the CD player, I didn't take it out, or turn it off. I just left it on repeat, and let it play over and over and over again. I would leave for work and be listening to the plaintive phrasings of "Flamenco Sketches." I would get off work and "Freddie Freeloader" would welcome me home as I walked through the door.

I especially liked taking baths while it played, since the acoustics were pretty good in that tiny bathroom. I would scat along with it, since I had every note memorized, and my voice would reverberate off the walls. And nothing was better than falling asleep and waking up to it. Sometimes the same song I would remember hearing as I fell asleep would be the same one playing as I woke up.

It's hard to believe that only five songs, totaling only about 45 minutes long, could have such an impact on me. But I remember those two months as if they had only just happened, instead of being almost 20 years ago. It felt as if I were walking on air, as Miles' music moved me along, providing the soundtrack to my life.

"Kind of Blue" just celebrated it's 50th anniversary this year. I'm sure if I live long enough to see it's 100th, it will sound as fresh as it did those 20 years ago, when I couldn't stop listening to it.

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