Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Is The Way My Mind Works

OK… First big decision of the day: What to put on the iPod for my morning commute? Today’s answer: continue with Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners, which I had started last night. Good stuff. I discovered Monk when I took a Jazz Appreciation class in college (hey, they can’t all be engineering classes!). And I’ve been a fan ever since. Whether it’s his use of “dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists” or his "quirky yet rigorously logical, playful but always purposeful choice of skewed melodies and interrupted rhythm patterns."  Or maybe it's just the genius = mental illness angle?

Regardless, while cruising with Monk down I-255 (to work), I got to thinking about rock songs that reference Monk. I could only think of 2: Jeff Beck’s Thelonious from Blow By Blow, and Steely Dan’s Midnight Cruiser from Can’t Buy A Thrill (which starts “Thelonious my old friend, Step on in and let me shake your hand. So glad that you're here again. For one more time, let your madness run with mine.)…

Of course, either song could be referencing a different Thelonious. But it seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, while the Steely Dan lyrics jumped right into my head, I was struggling to remember the song name, or even which album it’s on…  So, while I’m thinking about all this (and negotiating the construction zone along the highway), my train of thought randomly switches, and it’s off to Weird Al Yankovick’s “White And Nerdy”. A true mastermiece, which was then dialed up on the iPod. Or, as they used to say on Monty Python’s Flying Circus: And now for something completely different.

Which reminds me. Anybody remember that song from 1979 or so: “Stairway To Gilligan’s Isle”?  Not nearly in the same class as Weird Al, but fun...


John Roberts said...

I would probably need a class to "get" jazz too. I've tried a few times to listen to modern jazz and it just doesn't do anything for me. Being from New Orleans, I like Dixieland jazz on occasion.

LSqrd said...

"I got no kick against modern jazz
unless they try to play it too darn fast
and change the beauty of the melody
until it sounds jsut like a symphony"

I mostly like the Jazz from the 40's 50's 60's... artists like Monk, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck... And while I like it, jazz represents a small portion of my overall collection, about 3% of my iPod song list.