Friday, January 06, 2012

Nostalgia with some jazz on top

I am 50, heading fast for 51. By all rights, I ought to be 70-something, heading fast for the nursing home.

This is because I'm pretty sure I was born too late. This is because I'm pretty sure it would have been a grand thing to be a young man in New York in, say, 1961 -- the year I was born too late in a city far to the south.

One of my great joys nowadays is buying old jazz albums to play on my old record changer. And if I have to, I'll buy 'em on compact disc, too -- just not for playing on an old record player. That would be bad.

An old CD player will suffice.

This, obviously, is nostalgia, the yearning for an idealized past lost to the outgoing tide of history. In my south Louisiana hometown, 1961 was no walk in the park, and much less so for blacks.

I'M SURE that, to whatever extent, the same went for New York in '61. Or '58. But there was the music -- the wonderful jazz. The rock. The roll. The street-corner symphonies in rhythm and blues.

It seems to me that the time of my life --
the one I was late for -- was one of higher culture, if not always higher ideals. We may not have behaved better then but, by God, we kept up a good appearance, didn't we?

So live from 1958, here's the inimitable Blossom Dearie on the Jack Paar-era
Tonight Show. My spirit sits in the audience, enjoying the time I was born for -- and the respite from the time I'm stuck in.

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