Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, and Old Boyfriends

I like an eclectic mix of music, but jazz has never been a big part of it.  My kids know musicals and light opera and rock and roll, but if they've ever heard of the gentlemen in the title of this post it's not through any fault of my own.

And yet, in high school, I dated boys who knew all about the inner workings of jazz. One after another they came through my living room, introduced to my parents with the added bit of information that "He loves Stan Getz," or "His parents saw Dave Brubeck," or some other bit of trivia that would get my father engaged on a subject about which he could speak.  Left to his own devices, I never knew what he'd throw at my date; it was always safer to have a conversation in mind before the doorbell rang.
In college, the first male friend I made took me to all the live venues in Ithaca.  He was a senior to my freshman, he drove a blue Kharmann Ghia (though his didn't have those very cool wheels), and he introduced me to James Taylor and Traffic and It's A Beautiful Day, whose White Bird in a Golden Cage still conjures up memories of his red hair and his goofy smile. 

I never loved him, but I liked him a whole lot, just not as much as he liked me, which was a complicated situation when I was 17.  Thankfully, he appreciated the fact that I'd go with him to hear any music any day of the week, no matter how late it was or how far we had to drive.  I never go to an outdoor concert without flashing back to the summer day we spent at Shea Stadium, 1970's protesting The War or something equally important as an excuse to hear Creedence Clearwater Revival , Janis Joplin, Peter Yarrow, Paul Simon, John Sebastian, and Poco

He set high standards, Gumps did.

Poco was my first exposure to bands which played the kind of music G'ma would enjoy.  In graduate school, my friends were part of the crew which fed the musicians at the University of Chicago's annual Folk Festival.  One day every winter we'd prepare tables-full-of-food, and watch the performers dine.  The New Lost City Ramblers, Flatt and Scruggs, the Staples Singers... I first heard them then and I listen to them now.  By that time, TBG and I were an item, and he was in D.C. while I was in the Windy City, and there's no romance attached to these memories. 

Instead, there's something even better, because it's not tinged with regret or broken hearts or "what if's."  When I hear this music, I'm in long braids and overalls and a flannel shirt, rockin' out with the other 877 people in Mandel Hall.  Craig's to my right and Big Steve's to my left and life is good. My aches and pains and sorrows retreat into the background.... it's 1977... leave me alone.... I'm dancing.


  1. Ah......your music of choice was later in my life. I was a fan of early rhythm and blues but jazz has always been a favorite. I'm with you on the memories, though, and they are good!!

  2. I forgot to say that an early boyfriend of mine drove a British racing green MG. He took me to hear live jazz whenever it was available, which in our town was not often. (1957-8-9)

    1. The first "fun" car we ever bought was a 1978 British racing green with tan interior MG. It never ran (we called it the stereo with seats) but it sure looked good :)


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!