Jazz Music used to really piss me off.
Back when I was in high school in the seventies, there were basically two classes of kids when it came to music. You had your long haired rocker types like me, who favored pre-heavy metal bands like Alice Cooper and Uriah Heep. And then you had the "straight" kids — the cheerleader girls who swooned to Elton John and Seals And Croft, and the fathead macho jocks who grooved to jazz influenced bands like Chicago and Blood Sweat And Tears. So, since the rock and roll music guys like me enjoyed was widely believed to be made by long haired communist hippie queers, I knew for sure that I wanted no part of jazz on principle alone.
This pre-determination was further reinforced by my high school journalism rival, a guy named Mike DeFelice. Mike and I were friendly enough — we even got involved as partners for a time organizing a public forum about the school levy. But when it came to music, we just couldn't see eye to eye. At the time, I wrote a popular column for the school paper called "Rock Talk." Mike of course countered that with his own music column, "Jivin' With Jazz."
But Mike actually got to me with one record, a jazz version of "2001: A Space Odyssey," by this guy named Eumir Deodato. I already loved the movie, so he pretty much had me right there. Deodato's version jazzed up the original with a slick arrangement centered around the artist's Fender Rhodes keyboards. I had discovered my first guilty pleasure. Which was a secret I had no small problem in trying to keep from my rocker buddies at the time.
So, this began my teenage exposure to jazz music. In the early going though, it would prove to be a rough journey. Deodato's album was recorded on a "jazz boutique" label called CTI (which stood for Creed Taylor Inc., named after the label's founder). In addition to the music, what I liked most about CTI was their glossy album packaging. So I decided to seek out other recordings on this label.