The Music of Fall
The days are shorter; the air outside has gone from sweltering to pleasant, sometimes even cool; and now the official date has arrived. Fall is here. And so I pull out the fall music.
I discovered it this way: Years ago I was very fond of a TV commercial for a bank. Citibank? Chase? I don’t know. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember much of the ad itself. My vague sense is that it portrayed a city — not with views of the Empire State Building and the like, but with shots of people waiting at street corners or other, similarly innocuous scenes, representing the kinds of unrushed moments in which a city dweller’s thoughts might be anywhere. What I do remember clearly is the music in the ad, which fit perfectly: a lilting clarinet solo, capturing the feel of a person’s wistful, private musing. (You can write me off as a stooge manipulated by marketing, but if I am, why can’t I remember the name of the bank?)
One day, in a bookstore, I heard the music from the ad. I asked the store clerk about it and learned that it was track number three, “How Am I To Know?”, from the CD The Benny Goodman Sextet. I went to a nearby music store and bought it immediately.
And I play it still, often at this time of year. The euphoria of summer is over; the rush and requisite cheer of the holidays are still aways off. It is a good time for reflecting on where we’ve been, where we might go. The Benny Goodman Sextet is good music for such reflection.
My only advice is to skip the track “Four Or Five Times,” on which Goodman proves that prodigious skill on the clarinet does not make one a singer. It reminds me of the great, smoking record Sonny Side Up, with Dizzy Gillespie and two tenor saxmen, Sonny Rollins and the underappreciated Sonny Stitt – which includes Dizzy’s endearingly bad vocals on “Sunny Side of the Street.”
But back to my main point: What music reminds you of particular seasons? Ponder that and other matters sometime soon, round about dusk, as you pour yourself a drink and listen to “How Am I To Know?” . . .