Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Labels . . .

I'm having an on-going revelation . . . experiencing an extended epiphany.

This isn't really anything new, of course, and the specifics of this situation aren't really important, but for what it's worth I offer this story.

I was in the check-out line at Whole Foods yesterday afternoon, and as my eyes wandered while the cashier did her thing I noticed a CD for sale in the "impulse buying" rack.  It was a re-issue of five classic Ray Charles recordings from Atlantic Records.

I've always considered myself something of a Ray fan, and I'd say, too, that I generally just think of him as an incredible musician.  A master.  But if I had to put a label on him I guess I'd have said that he was a popular R & B guy.  Something of a cross-over artist between the popular music of his day and hardcore rhythm and blues.

So I picked up this collection and so far I've listened to two of the albums.  And the first one blew my mind -- all instrumental, all jazz.

Like I said, nothing really new here.  It's not new to say that jazz has its roots in the same blues/gospel loam that gave rise to R & B.  But I've apparently never put "Ray Charles" into the "jazz musician" category in my brain.  But hearing him in this (for me) new context makes perfect sense.

And so I find that all of the file drawers in my mind are being reorganized.  The file drawers for "R & B," "Jazz," "Ray Charles," and "What I Thought I Knew" are all getting cleaned out, reconfigured.

And that's probably a good thing for me to do with all of the files, from time to time.

Maybe you too.


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1 comment:

Pete said...

Yeh we ought not classify and pigeonhole people no matter what they do. It has a tendency to close our minds when we presume "that's it" with someone or something. Nice post, glad you're enjoying the jazz!