Jazz records and a new tattoo

Life is good for Chester.

I was attempting to change the sheets when he decided to take a nap. I got the first two sheets on the bed, then he flopped himself down. I continued with the blanket and comforter, thinking he would move. I was woefully mistaken. He stayed like that until he heard the refrigerator door. Yes, life is good for Chester.

I have restarted a daunting project. My dad collected jazz record albums. When he died, my son asked if we could take the albums. Of course I agreed. I thought the son would eventually take the albums to his house and enjoy them around a fireplace with a cocktail and slippers. What was I thinking??  It seemed like a good idea at the time. You should know however that there are over 900 albums and the son shares a NYC apartment with two other people. If A+B=C, then you can follow the logical conclusion…the albums continue to occupy space in our house. In my clean, clean, clean frenzy, I decided it was time to sell, sell, sell! So it began.

Part of the collection

In 2011, before he moved to NYC, our son and I attempted to document the albums, something my father was never able to accomplish. Plus my dad didn’t really care. We started a spreadsheet and began with the last name of A…We made it through the letter M, then the son moved. So they sat. I decided about a week ago to finish what we started. This entails handling each album, recording the performer, the title, the date, the recording label, and notes like other collaborators. I am halfway through the Ts.

Milo is supervising. It’s hard to work when he is sitting on the records. Can’t be good for the records. It’s OK, he’s a cool cat.

While searching for the date of the albums, I noticed that the old records (most are from the 1950s-80s) have extensive commentary on the back of the album. The front looks something like this one,

And the backs look similar to this:

Not the same album, obviously…

Sometimes my dad would make notes on the album, like “piano player is good” or “??” I began to read some of the information on the back.

When I was playing cello in an orchestra, during a rehearsal our very dear conductor, Ralph Katz, grew frustrated with the violins. We were playing “March” from the Nutcracker Suite. Now in “March,” if you start out at a proper tempo worthy of John Phillips Sousa, your violinists are going to struggle a bit in the middle. Since we were a community orchestra, they struggled mightily. One rehearsal night Mr. Katz (always Mr. Katz, never Ralph to me) placed his baton firmly on the stand and said “It’s just so much noodling! Quit noodling!” (For the record, cellists are physically incapable of noodling.) Reacting in typical cellist fashion, I thought it hilarious and “noodling” became a staple in our household vocabulary.

Jazz to me was noodling. Just sooo much noodling! I did not appreciate it, figuring that if someone took the time to write a perfectly good melody, why should it be changed? My dad however played jazz non-stop except when hockey games were on tv. I was a jazz rebel, preferring instead the complex musical stylings of “The Archies”. My dad, ever the gentleman, understood somehow that it was part of the kids contract to hate your parents’ music, and didn’t push it. He was happy just to listen himself and why not? He controlled the record player. We had our 8-track tapes, the latest and greatest in musical formats.

Yes, this is a vintage 1977 8-track tape. Remember the “clunk” when it switched sides?

Now that I see and touch these albums, I am starting to appreciate his incredible understanding of the intricacies. I’m finding that I (gasp) want to listen to these records. There was a whole part of my dad that I didn’t know. I wish I could go back and discuss them with him. My son and I were going to document these to sell them. Now I want to listen first. I’ll never listen to all of them, but maybe one per artist. We’ll see. The thing is, jazz was a part of who my dad was. I only knew or realized the other parts. How much more didn’t I know about him?

Changing topics, I got another tattoo! It’s an arrow. I got it because it reminds me of how honored and proud I am to have worked in the best unit in the county, the MUI (Major Unusual Incident) department. I learned so much from them and it makes me happy that we were able to make a difference. The people I see now did not know my work self. I was using a different part of me. The tattoo reminds me of who I was and still am. I guess we all have a lot more layers than we can show.

The wrinkles are from the plastic, not from me being old.

Chester, however, has no layers. His whole being is an open book. This is his “you are eating something I want” look. He does not use this look when I eat yogurt. If the force was with him my hand would slowly and uncontrollably move the bacon to his mouth.

You know I’m here, right??

This is his “I just came in and am one second away from doing zoomies around the house” look. See the wild glint in his eye? Only to be tamed by running full speed and leaping on the couch so it slides across the nice hard wood floor. Wheee!

Hi Mom! Got to run!

 Since no proper Cleveland resident can fail to mention the weather in any conversation, we are above freezing. The snow is starting to melt. Chester has decided that it is a good idea to take his bunny outside and play with it.

He snuck it past me. Then he leaves it there and I have to get it. I tell him to get the bunny and he looks at me like this:

You’ve got to be kidding. It’s cold out there.

Have a wonderful week!