You know, for a Black Friday it’s pretty damn beautiful out. Brisk bordering on damn chilly, but the sun is shining like the blazing star it is. Skies are blue, with a hint of purplish hue near the horizon. Trees are bare and skeletal, showing their naked winter fashion with pride as they occasionally shake what the Lord gave ’em in the November wind.
Yesterday was a nice day. Lots of food, laughs, coffee, and that thing called fellowship. Fellowship not in a religious sense, but a secular sense(I know fellowship is a Christian thing, but they have “Christian” rock, so I can have “secular” fellowship.) I love getting together at our home for the holidays, as it forces everyone to actually sit, talk, and discuss. We don’t have cable, satellite, or an antenna hooked up to our TV(though we do have a Roku box), so entertainment comes in the form of stories, discussions, laughter, board games, and of course music. Mr. Davis and his Kind of Blue Legacy Edition filled the afternoon with cool jazz and allowed everyone to relax and enjoy each others company. We don’t get to see my brother, sister-in-law, and niece very often, so when the opportunity rises we take and relish it. My son in-particular takes great joy in playing with his uncle Chris, and I think my brother has just as much(if not more)fun teasing him and trying to pull one over on him. We also had a dear family friend over as well. She lost both her parents over the last three years, so our extended family is one she truly appreciates. She’s known me long enough to have babysat me when I was in short pants if that tells you anything. My mom and dad truly appreciated us hosting the shindig, as this allowed them to relax and just enjoy the food and not have to worry about dishes, cooking, cleaning up, etc. They roasted the turkey and brought it over, while my wife and I did the rest. I took care of all the sides for dinner, while my wife made a couple amazing pies from scratch(pecan, my favorite, and pumpkin.) My mom remarked that they reminded her of my grandma Ruthie’s pies. That’s about the highest compliment you can get around these parts. My wife also did a veggie tray and a cheese n’ cracker tray(not sure if the cheese was Wensleydale or not.) After everyone left we popped in ‘Elf’ and kept that family tradition alive and well.
I don’t get hung up too often on holidays, but Thanksgiving is one that means a whole lot to me. We all come together for an afternoon, enjoy each others company, laugh, stuff ourselves on food made from the heart, and reflect on how thankful we are that we have each other in our lives. None of us would be who we are without everyone within those four walls, on that specific day in November.
Currently I’m enjoying my only Black Friday Record Store Day purchase. Miles Davis Jazz Track is an RSD exclusive today. Side one is a soundtrack Davis did for the French film ‘Ascenseur pour l’echafaud‘(Elevator to the Scaffold.) Here’s the synopsis of the film, according to Albert McCarthy in the liner notes:
Ascenseur pour l’echafaud is a somewhat melodramatic story which commences by outlining a clandestine romance between Florence, married to Simon Carala, and one Julien Tavernier. They are threatened and are anxious to escape from the menace which now engulfs their lives…
Sounds very French, huh? Well it may not be Truffaut, but the filmmakers had the foresight to hire Miles to come in and add a touch of cool and noir to the proceedings. The soundtrack was recorded in a Paris radio studio at night, and the mood feels very relaxed and laid back, you dig? You can almost see candles flickering in the recording room and empty wine bottles tossed about as a cigarette burns seductively in the background. It’s classic Davis from the late-50s. Slick as hell and will surely wet the whistle of any die-hard jazz freak, myself included. Side two is three tracks by the Miles Davis Sextet from 1958, including John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, and Bill Evans. These tracks really show what was to come with Evans and Davis’ later work together on such classics as Sketches of Spain, and Porgy and Bess. Here, they’re in tip top club form tearing it up with the best of ’em. “On Green Dolphin Street” is a real highlight here, displaying Paul Chambers massive power on the upright bass(and his huge influence on a future Davis collaborator, Ron Carter.) Evans also carries this song to another level, his fluid piano chords floating in the background but never pushed back too far. This record is a real gem, and being one that his true love for Davis lies with his later 60s and 70s work, this one could make me re-think my position in that respect.
I also picked up Boards of Canada’s Twoism e.p. It’s not an RSD release, but it’s one my friend John got in at the store the other week and I’d been wanting to snag it. Looking forward to spinning that in a bit. For now, it’s Miles and Evans to the rescue.
So to all my friends and family out there, I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful for having you all in my life to laugh with, listen to music with, make music with, have a beer with, and talk about life with. My dog just licked me in the face as I typed that. I’m thankful for him too. And to all my family scattered across the country, I hope all is well. Hubners in Florida, Rinkenbergs in Florida, and the McKinnis’ in Oregon; Gordons in LA, Huffmans in Colorado, and Grandma Ruthie and Grandpa Gaut, wherever you may be in the universe.