Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Dental jazz

This scenario seems to me like something out of Curb Your Enthusiasm. But it really happened. To me.

At the dentist’s office, music plays, always, on satellite radio. Hall and Oates were on. “Do you like them?” the dentist asked. “Oh, sure.” I vaguely recalled the song “Maneater.” What the dentist said he really liked though was jazz. Oh, me too. And as he began working on my mouth, he described what he liked — Bob James, Grover Washington Jr. He liked smooth jazz. Really smooth. His emphasis.

I wanted to say something back about my taste in jazz. Call it vanity: I didn’t want to be mistaken for a fan of smooth jazz. Or call it an insistence on accuracy in aesthetics: I didn’t want smooth jazz to be synonymous with jazz. I wanted to say, “Ooh EH-ee-uh! Uh-OH-ee-uh UH! Arh IHN-uh!” But I couldn’t say a word.

When the work was done and I could speak, I asked my dentist if he had a copy of Kind of Blue. No. “Oh, you should get one. It’ll change your life. It’s by Miles Davis,” I said. Or words to that effect. I hope he followed through.

I’ll make a $50 donation to a Democratic candidate looking to flip a Senate seat if anyone can translate the mouth-open speaking I’ve tried to sound out above. (Why not?) Leave your translation in a comment.


No one figured it out. I donated anyway. Answers here.

comments: 3

Fresca said...

I wonder, is insisting on "smooth jazz" code for something?
Like saying, "I like ALL music... except rap"?

Or is it just, you know, like saying, I don't like spicy food?

I cannot decipher your dental-chair speak. :)

ksh said...

In a dance score that I composed, there was a soprano sax part that required circular breathing. The player informed me that he wouldn't play it. I replied that I thought circular breathing was a common technique for soprano sax players. He told me that he could do it, but wouldn't, because it was the only thing that separated him from Kenny G.

Michael Leddy said...

@Fresca: Judging from the conversation, I’d say that he thought that’s what jazz is. Jazz = smooth jazz. I don’t think there’s any code: there are many Black musicians (including GWJr.) associated with smooth jazz.

@Kevin: I didn’t know that Kenny G practiced circular breathing. Now I realize why I always confuse him with Roscoe Mitchell. :)