READ NO FURTHER, PIANO JAZZ LOVERS

Every few years I give piano jazz another chance. I have friends whose cheerleading for this vile branch of popular music is relentless, and the feeling that I'm missing out on something slowly builds and needs release every so often by the application of a brutal dose of reality. So I listened to an hour or so on the radio this morning--really, really early this morning, since the station's programmers have the good sense not to cause the majority of its listeners to vow angrily to withhold their contribution from next year's fundraiser. Piano jazz reminds me of nothing so much as the doodling I used to do on the margins of my pad during interminable, boring meetings at work (no aspersion intended at any particular workplace; I could have worked at a Lap Dance Training Center, and once the hour milestone was reached in any given meeting, I would begin lazily obliterating any notes I had taken with little cubes and starbursts and scathing caricatures of the higher-ups.) Beginning, often, with a hoary old standard, the pianist slowly becomes bored and lapses into indolent filigrees, notes tumbling out like a cascade of Chiclets, full of C dim7 and A sus4, signifying nothing. There is no discernible passion to it, to my ears. When I want piano jazz, I'll travel back to Professor Longhair, and revel in his raucous outbursts of energy. So now my pipes are cleaned, my prejudices are comfortably replenished, and I can relax for another few years.