Jase Hates Jazz

I’m trying to become a jazz nerd. I’m not sure if listening to random acts of brass blowing whilst still suffering from pig sickness is a wise idea. Maybe the trotter-induced indisposition is behind my inspiration to come across like something of a character from the Fast Show? Either way, all that jazz is giving me a right old headache.

I’ve downloaded the New Yorker’s 100 Essential Jazz Albums in its entirety. I’ve become stuck at #6 and Fletcher Henderson’s Tidal Wave. If this is the sound of an epoch defining musical genre, then Dumb and Dumber deserves an Oscar for intruige and storytelling.

Jazz has a reputation for freethinking, liberal acts of indulgence. Speaking as someone who found U2’s transition from fake delta blues rockers to post-modern pop art pranksters something of an issue, maybe I’m just not open up enough to embrace this seismic change in rhythm.

The BIG PROJECT of an anticipated rather large lifestyle change over the next few years started me off in search of my personal jazz odyssey. I had visions of building up my own jazz library in the reading room, surrounded by dusty political memoirs, and passing away my years slowly morphing into a slightly less liberal version of Ken Clarke.

But if this means that listening to Broooce and wearing lycra is something of a jazz-fusion faux pas, then you can stick yer Hush Puppies right up your federalist freefall state.

Lessons learnt from my (limited) immersion in the jazz lifestyle have been mixed. Louis Armstrong can’t but fail to raise to a foot tap (although a five CD box set is stretching it a bit. I tried to match the facial distortions of the New Orleans trumpet blower as I listened along. By the end of Disc 2 I looked like I was overdosing on an incredibly big bag of gobstoppers.)

Bessie Smith doesn’t quite sound as good as her name suggests. Plus the download I’ve got my grubby hands on is recorded in mono, which doesn’t sound very jazzy at all.

I’ve got high hopes for the Count Basie box set that is scheduled to see me through to the other side of my pig sickness. It’s nothing to do with the musical delights on offer, simply that come the end of the good Count’s fifth CD, it will be time for my next dose of tamiflu, necked down with a heavy does of the hallucinogenic Night Nurse.

I’ll come up smiling by the time the New Yorker recommends I play some Charlie Parker. Ah, now there was an artist who knew how to handle his Night Nurse.

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