Friends and especially former co-workers continue to stay in contact with me on a regular basis. They ask a lot of interesting questions about pensions, 401(k), health insurance, etc.. And, lucky me, they also provide a fair amount of ribbing about Geritol, Polident, Depend and other such products aimed at seniors. It all comes with the territory, especially when one retires in his fifties.
One thing I do not discuss with them is my love of big band crooners and jazz. A love of any kind of musical genre or art form should have absolutely no age restriction. But let’s face it, those of us who grew up in the seventies are forever tied to a coolness quotient among only our closest comrades. Admitting that I’m listening to Bennett, Cole, Clooney, and Sinatra will only add fuel to their friendly fire. But boy do I love my music from the 40’s and 50’s. Lately I’m at my absolute happiest around sunset when the martinis are being shaken and Dick Haymes or Johnny Hartman are singing softly in the background.
As the youngest with three older siblings, my earliest musical influences were those that my sisters brought into our home. We grew up in 1960’s suburban Detroit, and the sound of Motown was omnipresent on local radio. My earliest song recollection is hearing The Supremes’ “Stop in the Name of Love” blaring from my oldest sister’s room. This was quickly followed by The Beatles, of course. From there, you know the rest of the story; I don’t need to recount for you the musical landscape of that era. My friends know me as the guy who loves all things related to the British band, Genesis. I am a huge Genesis freak, and can talk your ears off about either the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins eras. The current and resurgent interest in progressive rock has made me a very happy boy — I still love that genre.
But there is something about the earlier big band sound that pulls me into a different direction. Whether it’s the soft muting of a trombone or the vocal stylings of a Jo Stafford and The Pied Pipers, I find myself transported to a very mellow place.
As I type this, it is just after 5:00pm. I am looking out of our front living room window where palm trees are in the foreground of a setting sun. Artie Shaw and “Summit Ridge Drive” is playing on the XM 40’s station, and all is right in the world. My neighbors might even approve.
One olive or two, Gorgeous?