Friday, April 16, 2004

We weren't put here just to wait, you know.

I hate to say it, but I'm not big on jazz. My theory has long been that without the smack, it just doesn't make much sense. Still, there are some jazz-vocal standards and big band stuff I can deal with. For instance, I liked Louis Prima and his ilk until bowling-shirted fans of that god-awful swing revival tormented me for years at the record store, consistently clamoring for the latest release by the Cherry Poppin' Voodoo Daddy Nut Zippers Orchestra and the like and my manager thought we should play said tripe on an endless loop to lure the credit cards from the khakis of the Gold Coast Gap-oids. Idiots.

Speaking of endless loops, prior to that, I worked at a New American/Cajun cafe back in the day that played the same Davis, Coltrane and Ellington CDs nonstop for the entire three years I was there. I swear, "Take the 'A' Train" still makes me want to vomit up potato omelettes. So, yeah, jazz and I have an iffy history, if for no other reason than I associate it too closely with predictable management and horrible customers.

That said, there is one time when I'm more apt than any other to appreciate jazz: the first really warm and sunny day of the year in Chicago. For on that day, all of a sudden, your simplest tasks—heading out to the White Hen pantry for coffee, for instance—are suddenly set to a jazzy soundtrack provided by the myriad street performers found on nearly every corner. Earlier, the clarinet melody to my theme song for the day, "The Girl from Ipanema," wafted past me on Monroe as I crossed the street after work toward the bus stop. I dropped a dollar in the bucket and continued on with a spring in my step, no pun intended. And I smiled. Jazz made me smile.

Then, when I returned home and noticed a handful of new songs on my hard drive I'd queued up prior to my departure this morning, I knew what had to be done. I had to give you your own jazz theme song, courtesy of The C-Nuts and their "this is way better than I thought it would be" album, Blitzkrieg Bop and Other Jazz Mutations. So here is a track from that. If you like this, definitely seek out the whole album. Their "Shock the Monkey" and "Tainted Love" are pretty awesome. I wish the street bands played songs like this. Maybe when I see those guys next week I'll request "I Don't Like Mondays." It would be worth it just for the look I'd get, of course, but wouldn't it be crazy if they knew it and just started playing. Ah, the realities I create in my head.

  • The C-Nuts "Hyperactive" (Thomas Dolby cover)
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