i like my whisky neat, single malt and old, to be precise. i read cheever and chandler, the occasional carver. henry james, jack london and melville, steinbeck, nabokov, both, the russian and the american. the greeks, some of the old romans, a few french and italians. also the germans, though not in translation. visual arts, all the ones considered classic, sixties new york, details too much to encompass. my preference for music, straight bach, no transcriptions, played by casals, landowska, gould, those who know how. beethoven, ditto, and mozart, the brendel kind. some jazz: miles and the train, monk, dolphy, diz 'n bird.
yes, i am arrogant, often beyond belief.
and so it came about, a conversation, as discourse, finally a monologue, like the one of many years past, over what makes jazz, why a white man playing bass won't ever be ron carter. or sadly, satchmo turning bing. last night, initially as a likeness to dan, a chat about klezmer. as played by an african american. of course klezmer and jazz might be of a kind and some musicians can cross. but klezmer is a joyous music, for merrymaking, unlike jazz which tenders the blues. blend them and you've got canadian whisky, no offense to dan. seems to me blending as often turns a good mash to mush. this is not to say that one couldn't have fun playing klezmer. something wrong if you don't. take benny goodman. jazz, klezmer, the sound in both so full of his jubilant bluster. yet him doing a clarinet mozart has just too much verve, it turned the staid into swing. frivolous to feign may be once, like 'switched on bach' at the classical station. nothing wrong from the car radio, sunday afternoons in the rain, your honey cuddling close.
unlike the old single malt, books and musik are often hard to confab about. taste and preoccupation, likes and dislikes, passion, though mostly of this inert aptness decides on matters of such dispositions. a man likes the russian romance of horowitz, yet another wants serkin. the argument here is all about errors, or are those a well placed discord? can horowitz do mozart? or beethoven? does he the best scriabin? the discourse gets dark when you're talking lipatti vs. rubinstein you call on to play chopin and if the latter, is it the young or the elder you fancy? and say you like serkin, how do you like him doing bach, a transcription at that? there is worse, nimble fingered jarrett, he of the long ago famously lengthy cologne concert, doing bach's well tempered klavier, talk about blend, compare that to landowska. it is in the end, so i hope, a well tempered discussion, where all sides concede a different distinction, possibly going as far as taking a turn on bach, as performed on a wurlitzer, or that miraculous voyage 'cross oceans suffering the '26 welte mignon of a young horowitz.
it is easier to discuss writers and their books, as long as they're not done up in translation. though more on that another time.