As a completely live and improvisational recording with spoken word by Alex Caldiero and the accompaniment of 5-piece cello/bass/drums/slide-guitar/keyboard combo Theta Naught, Disc 1 is good to listen to at night when you feel like being at a jazz joint or a coffeehouse but you donâ€™t want to have to leave the house. How Long Did It Last? is my favorite track, track 8, and that may be because by then the performance collaborations between music and poetry has finally stewed to just the right temperature for all the songs on the rest of the disc. Or, because by then my ears and mind have finally tuned to the proper channels for the attentive listening this record deserves. Disc 2 is an instrumental bonus disc that is on the same expressive ambient music plane. After being inspired by the voice of Alex Caldiero, itâ€™s fun to listen to and decide what words it makes me want to say.
I know I may have said this before but I am in love with the record store. Not just one, but the whole concept of having a place to go to and buy records, CDs, whatever format music is being sold on these days. It is the only way I buy music.
Not that I don’t trust the internet, mind you. I don’t worry all day someone is out there at the other end of my computer waiting for me to slip up so they can steal my identity and all the perceived groovy things that go along with it. Actually, if anyone actually thinks my sorry life is better for them than their own, come and get it as far as I am concerned. All that tells me about the person who would do that is how little taste they must have ’cause my life just ain’t roses and pickled herring my dears.
But, I digress.
I LOVE RECORD STORES.
For example, I am motoring around the town of Charlotte in what I call my car (what you’d call it is another matter) and I pass a relatively new record shop and decide to go in and check out the used section. Since I haven’t been in the shop for about a month I am already salivating at the thought of what cool used CDs have come in since the last time I was in there. As soon as I enter, the owner (who knows me from when he managed another record shop in town) immediately greets me by name and informs me he had just recently made a big jazz buy from someone selling their entire collection. Since he knows I love organ jazz (Jimmy Smith, McGriff, McDuff, etc) he had scoured the buy and had put a bunch of stuff away for me, awaiting the next time I would enter his store.
He immediately runs behind his counter and produces a giant stack of organ jazz CDs! The best thing about it is there were only a few out of the thirty or so CDs he had saved that I already owned and most of the CDs were rare and extremely hard to find. Seems the person selling them was a keyboardist.
Now, maybe I could have found all of this very cool stuff on the internet. In fact, I am sure I could have. I could have searched for title after title, one at a time, and made a very mechanical and worklike thing out of it all.
But it wouldn’t have been near the amount of fun and it’s hard to get service as good as that no matter who you’re dealing with. The owner knows me, knows what I like and he often saves or recommends things to me when I walk in the store. The best part about that is I know he is not trying to trick me because he knows I know about music and he knows I will call him on it if he does something messed up like that.
Why am I writing about all of this? Well, in the past year or so quite a few used shops have closed in Charlotte and many, many have closed all around the US and it’s a damn shame. Though the internet gives us the comfort of shopping from home it seems we have forgotten the visceral experince of going to a shop and picking up CDs because the covers look cool, or because we recognize a producer or player. It seems (after talking with a bunch of like-minded friends) that we are, for the most part, going after what is safe and refusing to discover great new music whether it be vintage or totally new.
Sure, we can search names on the internet but what about the names we don’t know. How do we learn about those? Magazines, radio, sure. But I have always thrived on recommendations and I usually only get those from the workers or another customer or two at my favorite record shops.
Let’s try to patronize these things once in a while so they stick around. I don’t want to mechanically search for stuff. I want to stumble upon stuff I have never known or maybe forgotten about only to see it finally there in front of me, turned in for money because some idiot didn’t like it. I have found so much cool stuff this way. My God. I won’t let you internet shoppers take them away from me. Don’t make me kill you……
The Music Nerd knows……where YOU ARE…
Buy from your local used store.
A number of the albums featured in the book are available on CD. This link goes to a handy shopping guide to help you ferret them out.