Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vive la France!

I had a religious experience Tuesday. It involved neither religion nor sex.

Let me explain.

My favorite used-record shop in Omaha is closing, and I’ve made a couple of trips so far to buy everything I could. With all vinyl half off and CDs for a buck, I’m taking the opportunity to buy some vintage jazz by artists I’ve heard of well enough but haven’t really explored yet.

Sunday's haul of old LPs included a French pressing of jazz singer, pop legend and movie-music composer Michel Legrand’s “Chante et s’accompagne,” released in 1965. The American version’s title is “Sings,” but that's one you're not gonna find on iTunes.

ANYWAY, I put the Legrand album on the turntable last evening, and when the needle dropped. . . .

Transcendence. That might be the word for it. The result of it was a middle-age man being blown out of his chair and onto his butt by a rapturous gale of Gallic jazz magnificence.

Lord have mercy on me, I dearly wish I could have such a transcendent experience at Mass every week. But no. In a church that really has no excuse, given 2,000 years of culture, hymnody and all, worship of the transcendent God usually involves descending into the Haugen-Hass fever swamp of dreary dinner-theater ditties and calling it liturgy.

This is why we must take our religious experiences wherever we can find them -- in this case, France, via the used-record bins of a dying music shop. Vive la France! Vive l'Antiquarium!

Et vive M. Michel Legrand, chanteur transcendant.

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