The 60’s were an amazing time for this wacky human race. I am grateful to have been a teenager during this era, when all sorts of values and concepts were being challenged by young people far and wide. We all began to wonder why the white Anglo Saxon model should be the guiding philosophy in daily life,, why Jewish folks were not allowed
to live in the next town over, why African Americans, were not hired to play in symphony orchestras, why Gays and Women were not allowed into various lines of work, why freedom of expression should be controlled and filtered by this same white Anglican philosophy. The resulting music, art, and literature of this period had a fire and passion that is striking to me to this very day.
I’m grateful for the music that was inspired by and created in the 60’s: Miles Davis’ series of ground breaking bands, John Coltrane’s further explorations, Jimi Hendrix, all the great Bluenote recordings (Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley) ,the Beatles, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Leonard Bernstein, even the James Bond movie sound tracks. There was a profound sense of exploration and subtlety in all this music.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to hear WNEW in New York, a radio station that played a wide variety of music, from Miles Davis to Sly and the Family Stone, to B.B. King, to John Coltrane., all on the same program! This was a period when good music was not categorized and formatted into narrow play lists on specialty radio stations.
I’m grateful to have grown up in an era when a middle class family could go on nice vacations, own a house, send their kids to college without going into serious debt. This was also an era when you could be a “starving artist” in New York City, and not actually starve.
How did we wind up where we are today? We must not have been paying careful enough attention. It appears we have reverted back to some of the arcane views of yesteryear. When our governing body votes to cut off funding to National Public Radio and Television (which hosts most of the jazz stations) what will we do?
Listen to Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck? Oye!!! God help us all!