‘I hear you’re mad about Brubeck – I like your eyes, I like him too…’: Donald Fagen and the New Frontier

12 Mar

I don’t know what got me thinking about this – maybe the recent passing of Dave Brubeck (and hearing all the great tracks that I’d previously been a bit snooty about with my ‘can blue men sing the whites?’ fixation), or the release of a new Donald Fagen album (which of course made me go back to revisit the lodestone of nostalgic sci-fi jazz – now there’s a genre – ‘The Nightfly’, which I first bought more than 30 years ago), or what increasingly seems like a perfect (and never to be repeated) period for clothes and music (say 1959 to 1964, which was the year of my birth!).  In the end it comes down to connections really, which is what this site is all about:  the 18 year old me that bought ‘The Nightfly’ imagined a world in which I’d meet incredibly sophisticated girls at parties, ‘move up to Manhattan/And fill the place with friends/Drive to the coast and drive right back again’ (as ‘Maxine’, below, has it).  All the while dancing to Brubeck and the ‘Velvet Fog’, and enjoying this clean, sophisticated world that was forming around us.  Feels increasingly bittersweet when you realise this won’t happen, but it doesn’t stop you savouring the promise of that early optimism (which I’m sure everyone has, and expresses in different ways)

Donald Fagen – ‘The New Frontier’, from ‘The Nightfly’

Donald Fagen – ‘Maxine’, again from ‘The Nightfly’

Mel Torme (‘The Velvet Fog’)- ‘The Goodbye Look’, song taken from ‘The Nightfly’ but recorded live in a lounge bar in Tokyo (tip: best viewed while sipping Cuban Breezes)

Dave Brubeck – ‘Bossa Nova USA’

And to bring us back to the Donald – a track from his new (totally essential album) ‘Sunken Condos’ – this is ‘Memorabilia’:

Because nothing dates like the future….

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2 Responses to “‘I hear you’re mad about Brubeck – I like your eyes, I like him too…’: Donald Fagen and the New Frontier”

  1. mrsuave March 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    That’s the thing about great music, even if I know that this isn’t going to happen, every time I hear the songs there’s just a little bit of hope left that maybe, just maybe this time . . . .

    Great blog. Just discovered and going on my must read list. Cheers.

    Mr. Suave

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