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WIMPEY build houses; WIMPY flog burgers
Growing up in the thirties, as I did, I was exposed to the popular banalities of Tin Pan Alley lyrics featured by the dance bands of the day on records and the wireless. I acquired a taste for jazz in those years, concentrating on the instrumental playing and doing my best to close my ears to the obligatory vocals.
A few singers penetrated the barrierBessie Smith, Billie Holiday and a bunch of bluesmenbut otherwise I got into the habit of listening to the music and not the words. The rise of the singer in the pop music of the past twenty years or so has not tempted me to change.
Lyrics should be heard, not seen ... (Berry Bock)
I occasionally feel that time is running out on me & despair of catching up with all that's going on. Often it doesn't seem worth the trouble of trying. Over the years I've acquired more than 2000 lpsa collection of jazz, blues, Indian music and concert & chamber musicand I've been listening to it pretty hard during the period when loss of sight forced me to abandon most of my regular activities.
Like I was saying about fandom and mundanity up there, the categories imposed on music from outside begin to look pretty silly; the lives and music of, say, Joseph Haydn and Duke Ellington share affinities that span the centuries and artificial distinctions of the critics... Thelonious Monk does as much for jazz piano as Busoni or Alkan for Western 'serious' pianism.
Letter to Terry Hill of Microwave, July 1982
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