Deaf Download: Interstellar Melody From 1976 UM Concert Jazz Band

My name is Matthew. And I am a hoarder.

Some chose to remain in fervent denial. "I'm an archivist," they'll Tweet @ you. Or maybe the stuff-obsessed subject at hand refers to his stuff as a "collection" and the compulsive act of acquiring more stuff as "collecting."

As a self-loathing blogger, I am forced to tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may after the shit hits the fan. In other words, I am a hairy, hypercaffeinated, sweaty, squinty-eyed hoarder who smells like chicken nuggets.

And, in the words of Icona Pop, "I lahv it."

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Fortunately, the focus of my greedy, bloodthirsty treasure hunting is not shopping carts or eggshells but vinyl records. So while I am most certainly a dust-monger, at least I can use my hoarding for good rather than fuel for the banally evil reality-television industry.

In addition to a scavenger, I am also a native South Floridian. Subsequently, I'm always on the hunt for stimulating ephemera from the margins of the Magic City. For example: college students playing hot jazz-fusion featuring pop stars before they were famous.

Front cover.
Front cover.

I found this LP at a thrift store in Little Havana, and the discovery informally and accidentally kicked off an obsession-quest for any and all University of Miami jazz albums. The music departments at UM are highly acclaimed, and this LP demonstrates that the university's legacy of quality audio output stretches back several decades. It's also shockingly hip. The space motif rules, obviously. But even just the concept of students releasing original compositions using then-contemporary ideas and stylistics... It resonates within a very basic framework of cool.

Liner notes.
Liner notes.

Among the internet's myriad casualties of outmodedness, liner notes are one of the most unsung. Ya can't really include an essay presented as a big block of aestheticized text with an MP3, can ya? And anyone buying physical records can look up whatever they want to know about the music online.

The medium is a lost art. Much like the parameters of length endowed by vinyl, liner notes are both defined by their form -- whatever length is available for text, the historical precedent of the performer, what the music sounds like -- and end up defining their form via how the artist (in the case of liner notes, the writer) grapples with and personalizes his medium.

Additional paratext.
Additional paratext.

How about that scorching vocal solo from Teri Desario? I recently approached a clerk at South Miami hoard palace Yesterday and Today Records to see if he knew anything about UM jazz, and he clued me into the fact that Desario went on to be a minor pop-star with a handful of charting hits. When she recorded "Bittersweet Pathway," anyone within earshot must have known for certain that she was destined for future success.




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