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Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova

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really liked this

Murakami, H. (2019). Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova. , 148, pp. 83-93

87

I’d like you to start by listening to the first track on the A side, ‘Corcovado’. Bird doesn’t play the opening theme. In fact he doesn’t take up the theme until one phrase at the end. The piece starts with Jobim quietly playing that familiar theme alone on the piano. The rhythm section is simply mute. The melody calls to mind a young girl seated at a window, gazing out at the beautiful night view. Most of it is done with single notes, with the occasional no-frills chord added, as if gently tucking a soft cushion under the girl’s shoulders.

And once that performance of the theme by the piano is over, Bird’s alto sax quietly enters, a faint twilight shadow slipping through a gap in the curtain. He’s there before you even realize it. These graceful, disjointed phrases are like lovely memories, their names hidden, slipping into your dreams. Like fine wind patterns you never want to disappear, leaving gentle traces on the sand dunes of your heart . . .

from the (fictional) article. i want to read more music writing like this

—p.87 by Haruki Murakami 3 years, 8 months ago

I’d like you to start by listening to the first track on the A side, ‘Corcovado’. Bird doesn’t play the opening theme. In fact he doesn’t take up the theme until one phrase at the end. The piece starts with Jobim quietly playing that familiar theme alone on the piano. The rhythm section is simply mute. The melody calls to mind a young girl seated at a window, gazing out at the beautiful night view. Most of it is done with single notes, with the occasional no-frills chord added, as if gently tucking a soft cushion under the girl’s shoulders.

And once that performance of the theme by the piano is over, Bird’s alto sax quietly enters, a faint twilight shadow slipping through a gap in the curtain. He’s there before you even realize it. These graceful, disjointed phrases are like lovely memories, their names hidden, slipping into your dreams. Like fine wind patterns you never want to disappear, leaving gentle traces on the sand dunes of your heart . . .

from the (fictional) article. i want to read more music writing like this

—p.87 by Haruki Murakami 3 years, 8 months ago
89

I thumbed through the Charlie Parker section, but the record was nowhere to be found. I was sure I’d returned it to this section yesterday. Thinking it might have got mixed in elsewhere, I rifled through every bin in the jazz section. But as hard as I looked, no luck. Had someone else bought it? I went over to the register and spoke to the middle-aged guy. ‘I’m looking for a jazz record I saw here yesterday.’

‘Which record?’ he asked, eyes never wavering from the New York Times.

‘Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova,’ I said.

He laid down his paper, took off his thin, metal-framed reading glasses and slowly turned to face me. ‘I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?’

I did. The man said nothing and took another sip of coffee. He shook his head slightly. ‘There’s no such record.’

‘Of course,’ I said.

‘If you’d like Perry Como Sings Jimi Hendrix, we have that in stock.’

‘Perry Como Sings –’ I got that far before I realized he was pulling my leg. He was the type who kept a straight face. ‘But I really did see it,’ I insisted. ‘I was sure it was produced as a joke, I mean.’

—p.89 by Haruki Murakami 3 years, 8 months ago

I thumbed through the Charlie Parker section, but the record was nowhere to be found. I was sure I’d returned it to this section yesterday. Thinking it might have got mixed in elsewhere, I rifled through every bin in the jazz section. But as hard as I looked, no luck. Had someone else bought it? I went over to the register and spoke to the middle-aged guy. ‘I’m looking for a jazz record I saw here yesterday.’

‘Which record?’ he asked, eyes never wavering from the New York Times.

‘Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova,’ I said.

He laid down his paper, took off his thin, metal-framed reading glasses and slowly turned to face me. ‘I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?’

I did. The man said nothing and took another sip of coffee. He shook his head slightly. ‘There’s no such record.’

‘Of course,’ I said.

‘If you’d like Perry Como Sings Jimi Hendrix, we have that in stock.’

‘Perry Como Sings –’ I got that far before I realized he was pulling my leg. He was the type who kept a straight face. ‘But I really did see it,’ I insisted. ‘I was sure it was produced as a joke, I mean.’

—p.89 by Haruki Murakami 3 years, 8 months ago
91

"I was only thirty-four when I died,’ Bird said to me. ‘Thirty-four!’ At least I think he was saying it to me. Since we were the only two people in the room.

I didn’t know how to respond. It’s hard in dreams to do the right thing. So I stayed silent, waiting for him to go on.

‘Think about it – what it is to die at thirty-four,’ Bird said.

I thought about how I’d feel if I’d died at thirty-four. When I’d only just begun so many things in life.

‘That’s right. I’d only just begun so many things myself,’ Bird said. ‘Only begun to live my life. But then I looked around me and it was all over.’ He silently shook his head. His entire face was still in shadow, so I couldn’t see his expression. His dirty, battered saxophone dangled from the strap around his neck.

‘Death always comes on suddenly,’ Bird said. ‘But it also takes its time. Like the beautiful phrases that come into your head. It lasts an instant, yet they can linger forever. As long as it takes to go from the East Coast to the West Coast – or to infinity, even. The concept of time is lost there. In that sense, I might have been dead even while I lived out my life. But still, actual death is crushing. What’s existed until then suddenly, and completely, vanishes. Returning to nothingness. In my case, that existence was me.’

—p.91 by Haruki Murakami 3 years, 8 months ago

"I was only thirty-four when I died,’ Bird said to me. ‘Thirty-four!’ At least I think he was saying it to me. Since we were the only two people in the room.

I didn’t know how to respond. It’s hard in dreams to do the right thing. So I stayed silent, waiting for him to go on.

‘Think about it – what it is to die at thirty-four,’ Bird said.

I thought about how I’d feel if I’d died at thirty-four. When I’d only just begun so many things in life.

‘That’s right. I’d only just begun so many things myself,’ Bird said. ‘Only begun to live my life. But then I looked around me and it was all over.’ He silently shook his head. His entire face was still in shadow, so I couldn’t see his expression. His dirty, battered saxophone dangled from the strap around his neck.

‘Death always comes on suddenly,’ Bird said. ‘But it also takes its time. Like the beautiful phrases that come into your head. It lasts an instant, yet they can linger forever. As long as it takes to go from the East Coast to the West Coast – or to infinity, even. The concept of time is lost there. In that sense, I might have been dead even while I lived out my life. But still, actual death is crushing. What’s existed until then suddenly, and completely, vanishes. Returning to nothingness. In my case, that existence was me.’

—p.91 by Haruki Murakami 3 years, 8 months ago