“What is the root of appreciation?”

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Wayne Shorter posed that question.  “It possibly could be compassion“, he said.

One of my students asked, during a Skype lesson the other night, “How do you start to analyze the Music you listen to?”  When I asked what he meant, he replied, “Well, how to you decide what you like?”

Great question.

Why are there particular pieces of Music that we put on repeat?  Why is the current trend to purchase and download tracks from albums rather than the whole recording? Why do we create playlists of certain songs?  What is it about those pieces that speaks to us?  Is it a particular emotion or scene that develops in our minds?  Do we identify with the composer or performer, considering why they wrote or played what they did?

For me, it can be a particular chord progression or sonic texture.  Perhaps it is the orchestration.  Maybe the groove really hits me or the bass line is particularly interesting.

The sound of Pat Metheny’s Guitar soothes me and makes me smile.  I love that signature Oberheim patch that Lyle Mays often plays on the the old PMG albums.  I love Paul Desmond’s Alto Saxophone with the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

It can also be a memory or scene that gets triggered.

When I play George Shearing’s recording of “September In The Rain” from the Shearing On Stage album, I immediately recall and see  my Dad playing Trumpet. He’s warming up his lip, in his shorts and formal shirt, in the dining room of out house, standing in front of the Hi Fi on a Saturday night.  I also love the “George Shearing sound” of the piano/vibraphone/guitar playing in unison.

Every time I hear recordings of the Maynard Ferguson band, I remember the moment I first saw him.  Not the band.  Him.

For some reason, I tend to only listen to Kind of Blue on a rainy day.  I often listen to 1950’s and 60’s Lounge Music in January and February.  STAX and Motown recordings in the Spring.

Why do you decide what Music you like?  What makes you feel good? What triggers memories or scenes?

I’d love to hear your answers.




About DaveWelsch

New York State based First-Call Bass Player, Dave Welsch, has been been performing all styles of music for nearly 50 years. He most recently toured with Grammy Award winning artist, Victor Wooten, featured on Bass, Trumpet, Keyboards, and Vocals. He previously worked as Victor’s Tour Manager in 2005, 2007 and 2008.


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