CH CH CH CHANGES
It is said that March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb. Somewhere in the month we hope a weather change happens! Winter becomes Spring. Living and working on the coast we have a heightened awareness of the seasons, and Spring always seems to us a change for the better. Longer days and some sunshine is a change we look forward too.
Fortunately or unfortunately change in life is a constant. Modern life (it is argued) is even more stressful for its ever increasing rate of change. Politically and economically the last few years seem to have been grand daddies of change, but thus has it ever been. We bet those Romans moaned about all the change as the empire fell about their ears. As difficult as change can be it does have upsides, and in music, as in life, it can lead to exciting times.
Those of you that lived through the 60s and 70s will be aware of the phenomena of progressive rock music. This was all about change. With each successive album the prog rock bands of the day set out their new progressive stall. It was all rather exciting or deadly dull depending on your taste. Along came change (in the form of punk) and things became much more exciting or downright uncouth -again depending on your taste. Such is life’s great changing tapestry. We recently visited a new record store near to us. The owner was at pains to advise us that he intended to buy in new and old progressive rock vinyl as he seemed to think there was an increasing demand for it among the younger generation. They liked exploring he said. We shall see on that one!
A recent record store purchase of Amandla by Miles Davis got us thinking about the great musical artists of change. Miles is a particular candidate for the top changing man. In the field of jazz he would be one of our top bets. Just compare his Blue in Green to Back Seat Betty. Light years apart but both extremely valid we would argue. Compare the difference in his clothing between these two songs! The man thrived on change, as did Bowie.
When you grew up with Bowie (as some of us did) you could not help noticing the changes wrought album to album. For us Bowie was the archetype man of change and his change seemed to fall into musical stages as his career progressed. We all have our favourite from the various stages of his life be it Ziggy Stardust era, the Berlin period, or his last great albums. Like Miles he was a musical changing man genius who is more than ever sorely missed by us. How we wish he had lived another decade as what musical changes he may have made?
Change of course is very much a part of Classical music. The classical musical world has its fans of the early classical period, whilst others are fans of the romantic catalogue, or 20th century classics. On our trips to the proms each year we are always amazed at programmes that may feature Thomas Tallis, Mark Anthony Turnage and finish with Tchaikovsky. Talk about a contrast! One genre of classical music is built all around change, but in very minute measure. Minimalist music exists in its very small changes as the music progresses. Like change itself you either love it or loath it but you can’t but be impressed by how such a subtle change to a repetitive theme can be so mesmerising and so beautiful.
So as we look forward to the change to longer, sunnier days of Spring think about all those musical changes over the centuries, and those artists who were and are still at the forefront of musical change. So many great musical artists have managed to crossover from one genre to another whilst remaining faithful to the art form. Let us know who you favourite changer is? Don’t forget next month sees 2019 Record Store Day. Time to buy some more music? Why not try a change?