Most of my “deep” music listening occurs in the evening or during the few days a week that I work from home. Although I often play music in my office at work, I am rarely brave enough to expose my colleagues to the energy-rich goodness of free jazz sensu Ayler. Typically I don’t push things much past Eric Dolphy, mid-period Coltrane, early Cecil Taylor, etc. For my more energy-intensive material I have a room in the finished basement of our very tiny house where these activities can take place. However, given the thin walls and my wife’s sensitive ears, listening to any music loud is typically not good for overall family morale, so if I want to really listen to something at high volume I typically use headphones. This next album benefits greatly from headphones, primarily because the sound quality is rather sub par, likely because it was essentially a bootleg recording.
I listened to “Slug’s Saloon” several times after I first downloaded it from emusic, but a couple weeks later I stumbled into a copy of Lörrach, Paris 1966, and it soon replaced this one in the player primarily because of the better sound quality. So although this album has regularly rotated through my listening queue I honestly didn’t listen to it very deeply until this past week. However, I have listened to this album at least a dozen times this week; in fact, it is essentially the only music I have listened to, except for a Pete Seeger album that my wife and 19 month old daughter have been playing upstairs. I am traveling today, and the frantic preparation for this trip and lack of sleep during the past few nights have left me feeling rather exhausted and a bit down. I just listened to this album again on the airplane, and as I sit here awash with the lingering jubilance it has created, staring out on the awe-inspiring mountains of Colorado, I am feeling incredibly uplifted.