seven beautiful days, seven fabulous nights (listening, day 1)

In which the author writes down, more or less, everything he listens to over the course of seven days.

Dark Night Of The Soul – Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse.  Part of the ‘music I don’t quite get’ collection, along with Flying Lotus and Tallest Man on Earth and much of the rest of the smart end of popular music of today.

Despite the fact that this music can seem like it’s made up mostly of clever references, I can’t get enough of a handhold to tell whether it’s good or not. Half hearing it, quiet, it sorta, kinda sounds like pop music derived from the Beatles circa Magical Mystery Tour.

Or not.

Los Guachos III – Guillermo Klein.

A lot of the most popular and critically acclaimed jazz leaves me cold: Keith Jarrett’s duet album with Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau’s new one (though I may return there), Pat Metheny.

The problem, I think, is that while the music is sophisticated and masterful, it does not seem to be about much.

Talking about what music is “about” is beside the point, I’ll grant you, insofar as music is really about itself and is almost always diminished when viewed programmatically – “This is the sound of the soldiers marching in” – because that knowledge, while sometimes helpful, can also cut into the ability of the listener to construct his or her private, fragile musical universe from what is being played.

Still, with the above examples I can’t help but feel like a lot is being brought to bear in the service of point that can’t quite bear the weight.

Not so with Klein. This is the only album of his I own, but I have played it as much or more than any current jazz in my collection for the last eight years and I invariably get something new out of it. It’s two cds and is a double album in the best sense; disc one is mostly shorter pieces, and disc two is dominated by a long suite. I hear Miles and McCoy Tyner and a hint of harmolodics, an especially strong sense of the different players’ sounds and approaches, obviously many South American influences (I’m not versed enough to be more specific), memorable melodies. And that was just today’s listen. I suspect this will be recognized, down the road, as one of the Great Albums.

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