There is Magic at Your Fingers

For almost two years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Well Tempered ClavierJohann Sebastian Bach – The Well-Tempered Clavier (1722)

I haven’t really been keeping track, but I would imagine this is easily the oldest thing that’s been shared in the past two years. Previous to this, I think the oldest album was Copland’s Rodeo in 1942. Although there were some Duke Ellington songs that same week from the late ’20s.

A little background: in 1722 there weren’t pianos and what they did have (claviers) weren’t exactly tuned like pianos. They were tuned to a specific key, which meant that to play in a different key, you either had to retune or switch instruments. Bach wanted to have one keyboard that could play in any key, so he wrote these 24 pieces (one in each key, including major and minor)(unless you count the preludes and fugues separately, in which case there are 48) to make it inconvenient to play this whole series without one well-tuned keyboard. Continue reading

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It’s Such a Fine Line

For more than a year, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Neil Young – Harvest (1972)

While I’ve heard a bunch of Neil’s stuff, I’m more of a CSNY fan – if only because I love their harmonies. Neil’s voice is a little nasally and whiny, and you really notice that when it’s just him singing. Continue reading

What They Say is No Surprise

One year ago this week, four of my coworkers (well, now they’re former coworkers) and I started playing a little music sharing game. In honor of this being our one-year mark, instead of sharing a complete album, I decided to share something a little different: a mix tape of songs I thought the guys who’ve been playing this game would share, or songs I’m surprised they haven’t shared yet.

In addition to the five of us that started playing a year ago, we’ve had four others play this game with us: our boss, a former colleague, my brother, and (currently still playing) a guy I’ve been in a band with since about 2005.

But of course Spencer couldn’t put together a playlist based on Tim, Chris and me, plus five other people who stopped playing before he started. So he just shared an album. And then so did Chris and Tim.

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra at the Sands (1966)

When Spencer shared this album, he also related a story that was often told to the USU jazz band by the director, Dr. Gudmundson.

Dr. G. was playing saxophone in the house band on a cruise ship through the tourist season. The drummer of the band was an incredible player, great swing feel every night. Every night after the gig, this fellow would get monstrously drunk and listen to this album on his Walkman, tears streaming down his face, bottle in hand, shouting, “Can you believe they swing this hard? This is beautiful, man!”

Dr. G would tell every one of his students to buy this album and listen to it, so we could learn to swing that hard. I never did. But Spencer did, and he claims that nobody except the Count Basie Orchestra can do it. I’m not sure I agree. They sure swing, but maybe I’m not drunk enough to think nobody else can do it. It’s all in the drummer. Not that I’m claiming to have ever played as well as the Basie band, but in my limited experience a jazz band is only as good as their drummer. Continue reading