It began the day I bought Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. It was April 2000, and my life was very close to changing drastically, as our move to Florida was right around the corner.
On this particular Saturday I had picked up the Davis CD at a good sale price. I had no idea if I would like it — I had just heard many times that it was very good. It was twilight, and I took a glass of wine and decided just to sit in my upstairs room alone and listen to the music, while I watched the changing light out my window.
I cannot really explain what happened. I’ve often likened it to a religious experience. This jazz music, created in 1959, moved me deeply. But not in a way I can put my finger on. All I know is that when it was done, something had moved inside of me.
I tried to recreate the experience, but once something like this happens, it is hard to ever reinvent the the feeling. I still love listening to Kind of Blue, but it is always in the shadow of that first time.
Then last weekend I was talking to my music teacher, Tom, about writing songs. We discussed writing music and writing lyrics, the processes involved. Then he mentioned Kind of Blue. “Those songs don’t need lyrics,” he said. “It is all said in the harmonics and melodies of the music.”
Tom had named what I had been unable to verbalize. I was so stunned by what he said, I couldn’t even respond. That was what I had experienced. It is in the music. Words are not needed.
Somehow, during that Twilight Wine evening fifteen years ago, I heard all I needed to hear come through the currents and rhythms of a master and his band. When I said it was like a religious experience it is because it spoke to me on a level that I did not have direct access to. Trying to paint any fancy words on the experience diminishes it somehow.
So that’s it. Twilight, wine, and Miles.
Nothing more needs to be said.