Saturday, March 21, 2009

Volume 14. Learning it the Hard Way: A Cautionary Tale

A few weeks ago I was updating my Music Library by adding yet another CD to it when something strange began to happen. Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire was taking to my computer like molasses. It was taking eons to transfer a tune and my MacBook began to make crunchy, squilking sounds! Sadly, this was a harbinger of things to come. When I finally gave up on John and the boys my screen eventually went grey/blank. A little later on when I checked on my beloved computer, the grey screen was still there now augmented by a little envelope like icon with an exclamation point in it. As I researched what this might mean on my other computer, I was certain my fears would most likely be realized. And when I went to the Apple Store the next day they were. My hard drive, with thousands of pieces of music (around 90 GB worth), all correctly labled (Artist, Composer, Label, Artwork...), was gone. And while I had often thought about the possibility, and the importance of backing up my computer, I in fact had not gotten around to it. So I was SOL as they say. I have been recreating my massive and much loved Music Library ever since. It has been quite a chore as I am sure you can imagine. First I was able to transfer some of the contents of my 60GB iPod back on to my MacBook. Oddly, the Apple Store would not, does not assist in affairs such as this. I had to use a program or two I found on the internet instead and they didn't work all that well. Then I began adding CDs, one at a time from my library, back into my MacBook with new Hard Drive and trusty External Hard Drive by my side. Much of my spare time has been spent this way. At breakfast, at lunch, in the shower (just kidding), in the evening... Now though I am backing the contents of my computer up every day. I also purchased the newer OS Leopard for my puter which assists in all of this. Much of this has been drudgery. Some of it surprisingly has been wonderful.

You see, in going through my entire collection, I have refreshed my memory of all it entails. When Joni Mitchell released Travelogue around 7 years ago I think I must've been a bit OD'd on her music. When I listened to it the past couple days it came as an epiphany. An absolutely brilliant take on tunes of hers (Otis and Marlena, Amelia, Troubled Child, Refuge of the Roads, Hejira...) that I really missed. Music that took me back to the 70's. Performed by orchestra with musicians I love, like Wayne Shorter. Does it get any better than this? I have tons of ECM recordings, and as I perused yet another Dave Holland recording I had to pop one in the player. How nice was it hearing Cassandra Wilson singing Maya Angelou's Equality on Holland's Dream Of The Elders? It seems that everything Manfred Eicher does is superb. Surely that's the case here.

Playing Joe Lovano's From The Soul recording just now blew me away as well. His playing sometimes reminding me of Trane. A great rendition of Central Park West didn' t hurt to that end. The late and much missed Petrucciani's playing sounding an awful lot like Bill Evans. And Ed Blackwell's playing brought to mind his days with Ornette, or Don Cherry. Such a beautiful & distinct sound.

There is so much in my collection. So much brilliant music I am grateful for. Stacks of Mahler, Bill Evans, Mehldau, Metheny, Sorabji, Argerich, Mompou, ECM ... I grabbed Solstice and just marveled at it. Ralph Towner, Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber & Jon Christensen. To think that I was just a 16 year old kid in Highland Park, Illinois when I was lucky enough to discover it! We are so lucky to have these great musicians around us. Both Towner & Garbarek had birthdays recently and I hope they have many, many more. Eberhard had a stroke a while back and I am always wishing him the best. Looking forward to hearing more from him. Me, I'm going to get back to it. My library that is. Maybe I'll cue up some of this swingin', poignant Joni again. For old times sake.

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