A lazy Sunday afternoon all to myself; many might find this to be a lonely prospect, however, I savor the opportunity like a rare and special gift.
On days like these I find myself drawn to the book store, especially when it is particularly dark and gloomy outside. I enjoy the smell of the paper and coffee mingling in the air. I pass by old friends in the “Classics” section. I can’t resist browsing through a fashion magazine or flipping through the latest celebrity “confessional”; mostly for the pictures!
And, of course, there are the cookbooks. One glossy book after another filled with food porn, right there out in the open for everyone to see. I could sink into a big over-stuffed chair for hours devouring the photos with mouth watering anticipation.
Eventually, spent, I head upstairs with my coffee and lose myself in the Jazz section of the music area. Listening to Dinah Washington and Ruth Brown, I close my eyes and feel like I could be in 1950’s New York, walking along the Avenues.
I inevitably come across Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. Now, Kind of Blue is an old favorite of mine, as it is for so many. I think that many of whom born on the tail end of the Baby Boom generation don’t realize that a lot of this kind of music provided the background for their childhood.
Anyone who has ever watched I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched or any Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film and countless other movies and television shows from that era will find the jazzy sound familiar and evocative of the milk man, soda in glass bottles, and station wagons, just to name a few.
I can remember rainy afternoons as a child, sitting in front of the record player, reading the liner notes on the record sleeves and looking at the artwork on the album covers. This time period, around 1959, had some particularly great artwork. S. Neil Fujita provided the memorable art on Charles Mingus’ Ah Um and on many Columbia Records releases. These works have become generational icons both musically and artistically.
Just as I did as a child, I wiled away a Sunday afternoon listening to great Jazz, gazing at captivating artwork and transporting myself to a time and place which lives only in my dreams and in the melodies of Miles and Mingus.