Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Altman Earworm, Relaxin' With Henry Rollins, and Going Home With Art Pepper

I once had an earworm in the form of the theme from Robert Altman’s ‘The Long Goodbye’. It stayed in my head for days...perhaps even a whole week. The way it recurs in the film, as supermarket muzak, and played by a Mexican marching band, for instance, it’s as if Altman could not get the tune out of his head either.

 To my surprise I find that Henry Rollins has been invited to select tracks from the Blue Note vaults for a 2-CD compilation called ‘Rollins’ Choice’. I’d have thought something far more rowdy than Dexter Gordon would be to his taste; some Last Exit, perhaps, whilst he pumps iron. It just goes to show that you can’t always judge a man by his mouth, muscles or tattoos. Or a woman, for that matter. There’s no Cecil Taylor, but Ornette Coleman’s ‘Airborne’ is included, along with Dolphy’s ‘Out To Lunch’. At least the latter conforms to the stereotypical view I had of him. But I still can’t picture the wild man of post-Punk aggression and poetry-with-attitude relaxing at home on his sofa, perhaps with a glass of wine, to Booker Ervin’s ‘Stolen Moments’. What next? Iggy Pop selects Prestige classics?

I’ve not heard any great new releases over the last couple of days. The fact that I say that proves just how rapidly we consume things now. I do recall a time when I bought one album a week, maximum, and that was plenty. Today I can listen to a dozen new albums in one afternoon, and ‘own’ them on the computer. So instead of the new, last night I blew the dust off the record-player and laid a big black disc on the turntable, transfixed for a minute by the sight of the yellow Contemporary Records label as it spun. Then the music took over and I fell in love once more with Art Pepper’s rendition of ‘You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To’. It seemed fitting in the sense that I was going ‘home’ to a turntable, the place where my love of music was born.

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