In today’s New York Times, an incredible story details the discovery of a trove of recorded jazz from the 1930’s, recently unearthed and now in the process of digital transfers. Listening to the 37 second sample of Lester Young soloing in “Tea for Two” gave me chills. This is music that hasn’t been heard since then, when it was broadcast over the radio. Only those in the club or sitting at home next to their radios heard it. Until now
I have been thinking about this story all day and all last night, with time to think, while the Sox were signing prospects during a day of rest. We all needed a rest after the weekend in Texas, right? My central preoccupation has been with the glory of the past. Maybe we don’t always like to think of the past, but why even go there unless we can celebrate. Yes, effective reflection, no matter how painful, let’s say the 1986 World Series, might lead us to a more enlightened state. But equal to the commiseration we rigorously seek out is the desire to recapture the joy of greatness. Characters live this way in songs, as in “Glory Days” by (my) hometown legend, Bruce Springsteen. But then there is the old conundrum, first posited by poets like William Wordsworth: in returning to the beauty of the past are we then reminded of what we don’t have now?
So how bad is it? We keep hearing about the injury plagued year of 2006, when we won only 8, that’s eight, games in the entire month of August. We have already won exactly 8. Some fans, as reported by friends recently returning from Martha’s Vineyard, are paying more attention to the Patriots. Another born and bred New Englander, my former student, Trenna Field, wrote to say, “maybe Pedroia will have something on Tuesday. After all, it’s only August.” I have to thank Trenna for her endless optimism. (By the way, Trenna Field is clearly a great baseball name.) You know that the Rockies won 20 or 21 of their last 22 games in 2007.
What a year, 2007. . .not so long ago really, but somehow in my mind, it feels like decades. That doesn’t mean I won’t celebrate it, even if it’s only seconds of audio clips or footage of Dustin’s game 7 laser show at Fenway against Cleveland. That’s one sure element that we still have in our midst, that spark plug for our team. We know we’ll be raising glasses to him for many years to come. Welcome back.
How about the photo that won the reader’s photo contest in the Globe. Skinny days for the boss, besides glory days.
When I uploaded the photo of tenor saxophonist, Lester Young, my stored images got mixed up with Jon Lester. So my loose connection was not so loose. The two Lesters–greatness abounds.