Hunting vintage jazz vinyl records in the Nutmeg State
A wise friend and musician/educator once said to me, “there’s nothing wrong with the sound of the struggle.” It was great advice at the time, a comment on how to fearlessly attempt nearly impossible music as a soloist in front of an ensemble, but I’m beginning to think that it has some context in the realm of music listening as well.
Even before the mp3 exploded, it was never possible to listen to EVERYTHING. Perhaps sympathetically, culture has made it somewhat easy to isolate your tastes and explore a deep yet carefully roped off pool. And if you do happen to have “eclectic tastes,” most listeners are content to zip from discovery to discovery, allowing one musician, band, or style to fully saturate your attention before moving on to your next main musical squeeze.
But what about those of us who want to learn, understand, and truly experience the full canon of recorded music? GEEKS, that’s what.
Seriously though: am I the only person out there who is just as likely to get frustrated by the pure breadth of influential music from the last century or so? Or do most cope with this heavy realization by purely marveling in the magic of the craft? Unfortunately, I’ve just both studied and performed music too much to be in that latter camp, but I’ve accepted that it’s just not going to be possible for me to ever hear everything.
At first, I thought I would focus on a format rather than a genre, and the way that I am most interested in exploring most music is through my vinyl record collection. It’s not a particularly impressive collection, but it’s something I really enjoy (both listening and seeking out records to expand it) and wish I spent more time exploring. I have plenty of records I’ve never listened to, and just as many that I don’t fully appreciate. This blog is a chance to take stock of my discoveries, as well as the exciting experience of actually finding records worth listening to, among the sea of Steely Dan, Moody Blues, and Ramsey Lewis records that have saturated the market.
However, it occurred to me that this simply won’t do. I can keep current to a certain extent by sticking with vinyl, but it would be financially impossible to only explore music through vinyl, being that mp3 and Spotify are my best options for digesting music on a daily basis again, as I hope to.
That being said, I’ve really been bit by the vinyl bug as of late and will be searching above and beyond to find cool things – the fine sounding vinyl of the 50s and 60s, the power and strangely confined depth of mysterious monophonic sound, etc. I guess that’s where the “Nutmeg” part comes in – I have finally learned enough from the years I’ve spent collecting records to know what you can find, what you usually can’t, how much it can cost, etc etc. I am convinced that lot of what I want is not in my home state, but I am determined to find at least some of it here. If even one poor Connecticutian sap stumbles upon this blog and learns something from it, that would be a major bonus.
So that’s the story. Sometimes I’ll post a recent find. Eventually I will start at the earliest recorded point of my collection and highlight noteworthy records. I’m going to pretty much log everything I listen to, vinyl or not, because frankly I don’t listen as much as a I should. I’ll maybe even profile some record stores in Connecticut. We’ll just have to see.