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kenny weir

Making the most of precious playing time

9 posts in this topic

Not so long ago, there were far fewer time constraints on my listening time so it didn't really matter if it took 4-5 hours to find out what it was I really, really wanted and needed to listen to.

But these days - with a two year old son, a wife (who tolerates and even supports my habit, but will draw the line at anything too noizy) and sundry other time-greedy issues to deal with - that seems like a frustrating waste.

A couple of days ago, for instance, I had a clear run for a whole afternoon, yet couldn't settle on anything.

I went through Coltrane's Meditations, the subdudes, Herbie Nichols, the Byrds, the Hots 5s, Charlie Christian, Miles @ the Blackhawk, and many more. By the time I got to Monk on BN Vol 2 - "Ahhhh, THAT"S it, THAT'S what I've been hanging out for" - Deb was pulling into the driveway and it was time to start thinking about dinner, running of baths, fire-lighting, bill-paying etc etc.

Argghhh!!!!

Help me get into the groove quicker. Life is too short for this BS!

Edited by kenny weir

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I very, very rarely take the approach of or have the need to listen to something in particular because of its vibe or whatever. When I have an afternoon of uninterrupted listening time, I just grab the next 5 off the stack and toss them into the changer. I've never been that particular about satisfying the jazz craving.

So, no advice here.

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I began living the same situation in 1994 with the birth of my 1st son, to be followed in '96 by son number 2. I am still living it.

When my first son was born, I had to basically mothball my main equipment to accomodate my son. Some strategies that evolved out of that move:

1. I bought an alarm clock with a CD player. Using headphones, I listen to jazz every night as I fall asleep

2. I bought a decent sounding portable CD player (boom-box). I listen as I do yard work or relax on the patio/deck

3. I bought a "space saver" under cabinet mounted radio/CD player for my kitchen. I can listen almost any time of the day as this is still the one room that has not been impacted (too much) by our growing family.

4. I made sure my car had a CD player

I'm convinced that my life-style change is at least partly responsible for my Mosaic habit. I know that I can rely on these sets for focusing on eras or artists. Pick a set and enjoy and know woth confidence that the material is top quality. (Please no Four Freshmen or Hackett comments ;) )

Same with Blue Note records. Because of a far more limited budget and dramatically less time to explore, I rely on their new releases and reissues to feed my jazz jones. I'm generally happy with what they release and while I don't buy their product exclusively, their releases are easy, no thinking involved pick ups for me. I use the board for recommendations for other artists. You guys provide an invaluable service !

I recently remodeled my basement - creating a jazz listening room and a separate "family room". I finally was able to get my main system up and running after about 7 years in mothballs. I've picked up a few guitars and am practicing on a regular basis as well. But my "quality" jazz listening time is generally restricted to the time after the boys are in bed. Generally I'm pretty exhausted myself and sometimes fall asleep while listening.

I can tell you that things have not changed much since the birth of my sons from a time for listening standpoint. These days, at any time my jazz could be drowned out by my older son playing his piano, viola or cello. My younger son will be starting piano this autumn. But I plug away and more often than not the jazz becomes background music as the family interaction is more important anyways. I enjoy what I can when I can. I'm glad to be giving my boys exposure to this music and hope that some day they will remember fondly the Sunday mornings at home when I usually bring out "the old stuff" - Mildred Bailey, Venuti/Lang, Django Reinhardt and like this morning - Billie Holiday.

Life after children changes the old jazz habits for sure but I would not trade it for anything. :)

Edited by Ed Swinnich

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I try to make sure that I have as much available to me as possible at any given time. This means having mp3's and mp3-playing devices everywhere I go. I use a 20GB player for work and traveling. I have an mp3 CD player in the car. My computer has about 140GB of storage, and a third of this storage is currently being used to store mp3's. I also bought a DVD/SACD/mp3 player combo for my living room, so that I can listen to any format I have whenever I want. About 60% of my music collection is in mp3 format now, so I have lots to choose from wherever I am. Everything is encoded at 128k, so I am sacrificing some quality in order to have the quantity around, but since I'm not an audiophile and don't have audiophile equipment, the small sacrifice in sound quality isn't as noticeable to me. Oh, and I also have a standard CD player/clock radio for the shower, which is a nice way to squeeze in some extra listening time when I might not otherwise do so.

I get "cravings" for a particular artist or instrument, so I just scroll through the list of albums, create a playlist and go with it. The only downside I can think of is that sometimes having mp3's is "too easy" - I get impatient for certain songs or albums, and thus kind of skip around rather than sit through whole albums or whatever. I listen to music 12-15 hours a day, so you'd think I'd be a little more patient. Oh well. :rolleyes:

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I've got a stereo in three rooms and a cd player in the car.

My one regret in life is that I don't have a profession which allows me to have a stereo on while working. Oh, how I envy those cabinet makers and muffler shop people! :g

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My one regret in life is that I don't have a profession which allows me to have a stereo on while working. Oh, how I envy those cabinet makers and muffler shop people! :g

Not to mention audio production/voice talent/web publishing people ;)

(admittidly, when I am editing audio or doing a voice over I don't have music going but for everything else, :w:w:D

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Timely, sage advice in this thread for this soon-to-be-daddy! Funny Ed, I have been contemplating going the headphone route. I'm spoiled with my current stereo audio quality, though, so looking at Grado and other comparably expensive phones and saving a bit to make the grade.

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Thanx for the great replies. Sadly, the aforementioned family situation (and the mega mortgage that goes with it) makes many of the technical suggestions unfeasible at the moment.

Ed, while I don't (yet) own any Mosaics (can't afford a credit card either), I know what you mean. Lately, the Gil Evans/Miles and Coltrane Quartet boxes have been getting a thrashing. It's great to have such things to literally disappear into.

And I'd like to think Bennie sometimes enjoys the music. We make a point of "nude dancing time" before his bath, and he sometimes chooses music over the TV. And at two years and three months, he's already a veteran gig goer, having been to all sorts of shows genre-wise. Gotta watch out for those little ear drums, tho'. B)

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because I am a college student, I pretty much have all the time in the world, barring classes to listen, but since I work this summer (bill collector for MCI. hey, the money is good) I usually have to listen after work about 11 at night...... I do need some new and better headphones. just have a crappy pair of Sony headphones with the earpads worn off. I've been interested in looking into the Grado SR 60 or 80 headphone series.

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