It’s been a hard year.
To help keep myself sane I’ve started listening to Jazz on vinyl. It’s a type bit of middle-aged dad pretension that people make jokes about but there is just something about the experience. Spotify and the like offer torrents of information. A record is a limpid pool of condensed truth, a real moment captured forever on a physical object.
So yeah, call me a Vinyl Dad. I can take it.
I started my walk through vinyl with some stuff my guitar teacher Charlie Appicella recommended. Music Masters Jazz offers records that I can only call “high density 45s.” Designed to be played at 45 rpm, they are full-sized LPs with a lot more sound information stored on them. The quality is amazing and the heft of these things is impressive. It’s like pulling out an old celluloid record from the 1920s but listening to a quartet right in your living room.
Apicella himself just put out 180 gram vinyl called Classic Guitar. He goes through some of his favorite tunes including some amazing blues in a song by Big John Patton.
“Sound engineer Chris Sulit and I had fun with this one, he helped make it the guitar tribute I envisioned,” he said. “I brought half a dozen 1950s guitar LPs and had Chris set up a turntable. We mixed and EQed different tunes on the record to match specific tunes on the different old LPs. Source material.”
The idea that you use old media to make new media is deeply satisfying.
That’s why I like about vinyl. Whether you’re picking up a Etta James (sadly sold out) album from the revived Tower Records or buying a bunch of old Coltrane on eBay, the records feel like they exist. They are a beautiful manifestation of the Art of Music and damn if it doesn’t feel good to drop the needle on a record at 8am and start another long, endless day with something new, exciting, but still classicly warm and comforting.