Modern Jazz Quartet with Paul Desmond from Christmas Day 1971. I ran this one a few years ago, it’s one of my favorites and considering the year it’s been, more appropriate then ever. Don’t know about you, but Christmas snuck up on me this year – took me almost completely by surprise. Not a whole lot to celebrate, other than making it through to another Christmas – and maybe that’s just it – celebrating the fact that we’re here and still breathing; still here and still wishing for the best.
And so maybe Christmas this year isn’t big and loud – noisy and over-the-top. Maybe Christmas this year is celebration in a quiet place – looking calmly and taking stock. Finding strength and seeing the possibilities.
This rare pairing of Paul Desmond with the MJQ, one Christmas Day in 1971 – another year of noise and upheaval; stress and questioning – seemed so appropriate then. It is more than appropriate now.
Fans will have this one. It was originally issued only in Japan in the late 1980s. And then was reissued in the U.S. some years later. It is, no doubt, a go-to disc for many during the Holiday season. But if you haven’t heard this, or missed it (I’m not sure if it’s even in print), or are just looking for a bit of solace and peace for the season – this is a great place to start.
Even if you aren’t a Jazz fan – the sheer beauty of the playing and the subtle joy conveyed in this concert, give it a universal appeal to hopefully everyone.
Maybe your celebration today is chaotic and stressed – maybe it’s singular and reflective – maybe it’s a day you usually avoid. Maybe it’s a day you stagger out of bed with a head full of regrets. Holidays are loaded affairs – they are many things to many people. The nice part is that Music has the ability to transcend all of it and to be the place of peace and comfort.
And that’s what it’s all about. Enjoy. Be nice to yourself.