Wait... Is Jazz Cool?
I don't know, mom. Do you like jazz?
My husband is into it but he was also WAY into jam bands back in the day and I can't help but think that maybe jazz is just a grown-up version of The String Cheese Incident. He'll turn some on while we’re cooking dinner and, I swear, after about 10 minutes, I feel sick. I mean, I understand that jazz is the original, that jazz started all the good stuff, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, right? That doesn’t mean that it’s cool.
I mean, I’ve tried to get into it. I say “yes” to requests for it on long car rides. I’ve taken my growing fam to New Orleans 3 times and been bombarded at every corner with the stuff. I even "watched" the Ken Burns Jazz documentary in an attempt to believe the hype. It put me to sleep in record-breaking KB time, which, in this case, was nanoseconds.
But then, a few years ago, I heard this album (The Bad Plus Joshua Redman). And I wanted to hear it again.
Give this track a listen...
Ok nice, but it’s the exception to the rule, no?
And then AGAIN, early this year, a few cool moms started talking about this album (Kamasi Washington, Heaven and Earth) and I gave it some time and I guess I’m on board. Yeah. Like, this one is good, huh?
Well, and what-do-you-know! Last week, I won free tickets to see Makaya McCraven play his latest album, Universal Beings, courtesy of my fave radio station, Vocalo. Now, I’m not a really concert mom but cool artist person Megan Borah had rec’d this guy so hard, I thought I better see if I could stomach it. Plus we’d booked a babysitter for dinner anyways. The show started at 8. We got there at 9:30 and had to head home at 10. A full 30 minutes of live jazz! BUT guess what, mom?
I LOVED it.
Listen to this neat one... is that a jazz HARP I’m hearing?
Sure, there were times where my mind wandered but for most of that half hour, I was bee-boppin along with the crowd- and, yes, many of them may have been spotted at Yonder Mountain String Band 15 years ago. But there were new faces too. YOUNG faces. COOOOL faces.
And then the NYTimes ran this piece on Sunday and I felt sorta validated.
So, am I getting old? Or is jazz cool?
I need your take, mom. So, I put together this small playlist with some tracks that might help you come to a decision. This is very important. Take your time. But get back to me.
My reputation depends on it.
Cover photo is me with Malaya McCraven album Universal Beings.