The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 44; Stop and Truly Listen

I am hoping by now wherever you are in the world you have learnt to cross the road, so this is not about that, nor is it my sheer fright when an electric car creeps up on me.  This is about music and my love of jazz.  It goes well with a cocktail, it pairs with dinner of any kind and certainly sets the mood for a more seductive evening.  But if you notice all of these are  in the background of another activity.

I will listen to the classics of the jazz world, Charlie Parker, Kid Ory, Count Basie and more modern styles with Gregory Porter and Haley Reinhart.  But I am one for sticking on a random curated playlist, late night jazz or coffee table jazz, morning jazz anyone?  The list goes on and the songs come and go and vanish in the undergrowth of reading, shoe cleaning, eating and a like.  This is a shame and I have come to think of it as a disrespect to the artist.  If you stop and start listening to your background playlist, you enter a world of quality new, old and obscure jazz music from great artists. 

From those classic jazz scales to something off the cuff.  I can only compare it to when you open that old box in a loft and find a treasure trove of delights. Solid tune after solid tune just tantalising your ears, everyone smashing it out the park.  Per Thornberg, what a sax player, and an artist I follow to keep track of releases now.  Another is New York based Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, just take a listen to the single Mack the Knife and you will see what I mean.  I had missed these due to not really listening to what I was playing.

As I try to rectify my clear error, I urge you to pick a playlist by all means but actively listen to what you are playing. I do not believe you will be disappointed, unless of course you are listening to “pop”.