When I was a freshman in college, I bought jazz albums on vinyl. Not because vinyl was trendy, but because it was the least expensive way to get music. Jamey Aebersold published a pulp mail-order catalog, and I’d get records for $5 (CDs cost $18 and up at the time).
I had very few albums, but they were all great. I recorded them on cassette tapes and listened to them as I walked around from one class to another. At this point, I barely remember the classes at all, but I can remember in detail almost every note of Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Joe Henderson’s Page One, or Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage, among others. Back then I listened to complete albums from beginning to end, over and over, hundreds of times.
Eventually, vinyl and cassettes gave way to iTunes. As music became cheaper and easier to download, the good stuff got lost in a digital sea made up mostly of tons of music I don’t even care about.
I wanted to recreate the way I listened to music in the ’80s and ’90s. iTunes doesn’t make it very easy, but I found a way to listen to albums from start to finish. I started with McCoy Tyner’s The Real McCoy, and the result was incredible- I remained engaged for the entire record. I noticed all types of stuff that I hadn’t noticed before. I ended up listening to the entire album again immediately, and noticed even more great moments.
If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to listen to classic jazz albums uninterrupted from beginning to end, just like I did back in the day. If you have a turntable and listen to jazz on vinyl, you probably already know what I’m talking about!