In a way I'm like a teenager, in that I have a soundtrack to my life, music is always going inside my head, and it's not the simpler popular music that most people listen to, but complicated classical stuff as well as serious jazz (not that smooooth jazz that masquerades these days).
My musical capabilities aren't genetic, as far as I can figure out, but they do come naturally to me, and I'm always amazed that what I hear and take for granted is far from what most people hear. You hear the melody, for sure, and you probably hear the bass line, if it's pronounced enough. I hear that as well, but I also hear the inner voices, the chord structure, the secondary rhythms, and it's easy for me to isolate each element and understand what its function is in making the music sound as it does. And it's sooo easy for me to do this, it's the way I hear music. It's automatic.
And I've been fortunate to work in both rock n roll as well as classical arenas, touring with rock bands and singing at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as singing backup for Andrea Bocelli. I've seen the music world from all sides, having cut my jazz teeth on Miles, Mingus and the MJQ. I've got chops, as they say in the industry.
I often wonder what lights me up about a piece of music, music of any sort. It's the voice of the music, the tonal structure, the vamp, the rhythm, it's everything and nothing all at once. I can't figure out why I like Genesis, why certain Bach cantatas speak to me, why Gerry Mulligan's Big Band recordings reach my soul, and why I just shut down listening to other stuff that's standardly (a word?) great, like the Brahms Requiem, which bores me to tears.
Yesterday I listened to a piece on NPR about the marketing of the new Radiohead(?) CD---almost said album---as a download only, pay as you wish, and the bits of music that I heard reached right in and grabbed me. Can anyone explain to me why? I, the luddite, now have to download (as soon as the DSL returns next week) the CD.