How To Pass The Dog Days


Yes, he’s cute, but don’t end up like Arlo, lost in ennui under the oppressive summer heat. This is the time for relaxing, but stimulating, listening and reading. The Big City Recommends™™™™™™™™™™™™:

Reading: Anything by John Le Carré, P.G. Wodehouse and Georges Simenon (depending on your relative taste for tragedy, lethargy or murder), the “U.S.A. Trilogy” by John dos Passos, Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye” (the very best Chandler, it will inspire to drink Gimlets which are truly excellent in hot weather), The Forever Way by Joe Haldeman for a good taste of our likely future, and, even though it doesn’t come out until the end of the month, Gary Shteyngart’s “Super Sad True Love Story” looks like it might be something special. And the author has a sense of humor:

Just don’t read anything off Jamie Dimon’s list. It may make you rich (doubtful), but it will also bore you and make you a boor (certain). Instead, read WIlliam Lindsay Gresham’s amazing “Nightmare Alley,” by far the greatest noir novel . . .

. . . or Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber, fantasy that’s not embarrassing. And if you’ll be preparing the bounty of the season, I can’t recommend “The Frankies Spunito Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual” enough, it’s more than a cookbook, it’s a beautiful guide to the purpose and beauty of cooking itself.

Listening: The best hot weather music gives you a sense of cool, refreshing focus, not matter the style, tempo or activity. There’s a core of that inside EMI’s “Mahler: The Complete Works“, the Haydn Symphonies, Quartets and Piano Sonatas,Live Evil” and “Jack Johnson” from Miles’ electric period, and two hard to find but excellent CDs, this ultra-glitchy collaboration between Gunter Müller and Jason Khan, and Don Cherry’s wonderful pop-funk recording, “Homeboy. “

Cool during the day? Tchiakovsky’s Symphony No. 1 and Debussy, try Biosphere at dusk and at night, with a good book (see above) and a cold drink, Don Byas. You may not want to listen to all of Steve Lacy’s great “The Window,” but Flakes is what you need when it seems you can’t remember the cool air of autumn, and Herbie Hancock’s “Thrust” is cooler than cool. This is dedicated to the ladies . . . oh yeah . . .

UPDATED: Correct videos . . . and no I haven’t had a drink yet today . . .

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Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.