Monday, May 17, 2004

Watched the series finale of Frasier the other night. There were tons of cliches in there: dog eating the wedding ring, cannon going off every time, the name of the married couple is mentioned, pregnant woman having the baby in a place not expected (with the two "doctors" not capable of real assistance), the show ending with the main character heading off to find the love of his life and a "new start." But I really enjoyed the program. I found myself laughing even when things were obvious. I had lost interest in the show as a whole some time back, probably after Niles and Daphne finally "found" each other. It was still okay, but I suppose it had lost its charm, and I think my family was interested in some other show that was on another network. (For the life of me, I can’t think of what it was, and I should chide myself for my laziness.)

But near the end, I have to admit, I cried. Frasier recited one of my very favorite poems, Tennyson’s "Ulysees." That poem always gets me. I have trouble teaching it sometimes because I always feel I have to read it, and my voice cracks just little each time. Frasier begins saying it to his family and friends and then the scene fades to him at the station reading it to his radio audience. And there I am in my living room bawling, my twins looking at me and wondering what’s wrong.

Listening to: three Lyle Mays cds shuffling on my computer. I like all his solo work, but I think Fictionary is probably my favorite. Terrific piano trio in the vein of some of Mays’ own influences. One track is called "Bill Evans," and it seems appropriate. Street Dreams and Lyle Mays are enjoyable, though I might think so because there are some hints of that Metheny sound in there. But not so much to make me think it is a clone; just enough perhaps to help me see just how much of an influence Mays has on the songwriting of the group recordings. I really like Solo: Improvisations for Expanded Piano. I feared Solo would remind me too much of Keith Jarrett (not that this would be terrible), but it did not. I bought it the summer it came out, and listened to it a lot in my hot car. The only think I don’t like about it is that some of the quiet moments are perhaps too quiet.

But Fictionary is my fave. I really don’t quite know how to describe a jazz album I like, and maybe I don’t have to. (A friend told me once that I didn’t have to understand jazz, just enjoy it.) I only really listened to this disc a few months ago, but I know that it already is one of those that seems right no matter what my "mood" is. It is strong where it should be, subtle where it needs to be. Of course the disc isn’t hurt by having Jack DeJohnette on drums and Marc Johnson on bass.

That reminds me: I need to get some DeJohnette for my collection. Downloaded "Cantaloupe Island" and something else a few months ago. Have a disc of him with Metheny and I think Dave Holland (what a fine band that is!). Noticed he has something new out.

The Metheny group, I read, is working on a new studio disc. That would make my summer even better!

blog written May 14, 2004

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