How To Avoid Musical Regrets

I love music. I’m very eclectic in my tastes, which range all the way from baroque classical to Brazilian jazz, to blues, and industrial. It all depends on my mood.

I have favorite artists in all of those fields, some of whom have passed from the scene before I got a chance to see them.

Number one on the list would probably be the Brazilian jazz guitarist and singer Baden Powell, whose absolutely unique music I can listen to hours on end. In fact, when someone asks me for my ten desert island discs, my answer is “Any ten Baden Powell albums.” He was a flawed individual with a tumultuous private life, a drinking problem, and he was a heavy smoker. And yet, when he played, his music was a totally unique blend of Brazilian folk music, jazz, flamenco, and pop music. If you’re unfamiliar with him, I suggest his album Tristeza on Guitar as a good place to start.

Related to Baden Powell by being a fellow Brazilian, Antionio Carlos Jobim, the composer of The Girl From Ipanema, Corcovado (aka Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), Desafinado, and many others died before I got a chance to see him perform. His music crossed the line between pop and jazz perfectly, lending itself easily to enjoyment by those loving melodic hooks and those loving soft and romantic jazz without the sellout factor of an artist like Kenny G.

Who wouldn’t wish the Jimi Hendrix was still with us. My dad always says he lost some hearing at a Jimi Hendrix concert, and I’ve never heard the slightest tinge of regret at having suffered that damage by Jimi’s small city of amplifier speaker cabinets. Jimi wasn’t the fastest or best guitarist when measured by guitar player standards, but how many guitarists can claim to have changed music to the degree Jimi did. You can’t hear a modern rock guitarist play almost anywhere without identifying in their playing something that was introduced or largely developed by Jimi Hendrix. How I wish he were around today. I can tell my father is glad he got to see Jimi before his untimely death.

And here’s one you probably aren’t expecting: Sammy Davis, jr.! He could sing. He could dance. But more than all that, he was the consummate entertainer. No, I’m not particularly in to the pop music of the 1940’s and 1950’s, but from the existing videos of his show, I know I would have been happy to have attended one of his shows. He was a one-of-a-kind!

The point is, when some artist whose music you really treasure comes to town, think twice before saying to yourself “I’ll catch them next time.”

There may not be a next time.


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