When I was high school, I decided to listen to jazz. This was in the mid-90’s when grunge and alternative were all the rage and I had spent plenty of time listening to both. There isn’t a shining moment for my decision to listen to jazz. I didn’t grow up with an older brother or sister who told me to expand my musical palette nor was I exposed to anyone with a large knowledge of music in general. It was just me, thumbing through the Columbia House magazine and deciding to order the two CDs I always saw listed in the Jazz section, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.
A Love Supreme was my gateway drug to jazz, as it probably has been for many others. It wasn’t the standard jazz you were used to hearing but it wasn’t so far out that it drove you away. It brought me back to listen again and again. I still revisit the album often.
Whenever I hear something that reminds me of the experience of being a teenager and listening to John Coltrane, I’m immediately pulled in.
Yesterday I stumbled on Nat Birchall’s Cosmic Language album, released on Jazzman Records in 2018. I knew just by the album title and cover art that I had to check it out.
The album consists of four songs that represent a mix of jazz and Indian ragas. Birchall included a harmonium, a small pump organ, instead of a traditional piano which gives the album the raga inspired sound.
If you love cosmic, spiritual jazz, you will enjoy this album. It’s a pleasurable listen that moves well enough that I listened to it on my walk around the neighborhood this morning and never got the urge to skip to another song.
Researching the album further, I enjoyed Birchall’s quote from his Bandcamp page, “The whole act of making music is a spiritual experience. It’s during performance and when playing music that I look for a kind of truth. It’s with music where I find myself feel closest to attaining that ‘enlightened’ kind of feeling. On rare occasions I’ve actually felt as though I was listening to the music being played rather than being involved in making it, almost like an out-of-body experience.”
Highly recommended for fellow jazz fans.