IPod: A cassette-sized jukebox in my ski jacket | AspenTimes.com

IPod: A cassette-sized jukebox in my ski jacket

My friend Will had the ultimate music playhouse.His dad worked for (directed, as I recall) the Boston Symphony Orchestra and each room of the grand old Morris house contained some kind of musical artifact. There was the mondo-sized grand piano, more string instruments than I could identify, an assortment of saxophones, trumpets, trombones and French horns, a set of booming timpani in the attic and, for the mother lode, an authentic, old-school, vinyl-spinning jukebox.

During my youth, I took lessons for clarinet, sax, piano and drums, but none of them stuck. As much as I liked to wail on the trombone and sax and drums, what I really was into was that Morris family jukebox. Oh, the possibilities with a ready-made DJ booth at your disposal …Skipping ahead about 20 years, and owing to the graciousness of another friend, Dan, I now have an iPod – the little white cassette-size number that blows that old jukebox out of the sky.Let me tell some of the fun I’ve had with this lil’ piece of life-affirming happiness.Take, for instance, Aspen Highlands on the biggest powder day of the decade. It was a Tuesday in January. Nobody was there except, it seemed, me and my buddies and a couple lifties and patrollers. New to the game, I had my iPod in the breast pocket of my jacket. It was dumping – all day.

Now, because I’m the conversational type, I wasn’t plugged in for the duration. And good thing, too, because we caught word that Highland Bowl had opened, and up we hiked to see for ourselves. Indeed, the gate was open – but only for about a half-hour. In any case, it’s me, Brady, Tim (another Tim) and Dan and, as is often the case, one region of the bowl had been entirely overlooked by those who’d beaten us up there. So, one by one, we began to drop.Brady went first, then Tim and Dan. As the tail-gunner, I took the opportunity to cue up a tune – it was “Elephant,” by Antibalas, a deep base and drummy groove instrumental piece. I waited until it gathered some steam before dropping in. And when I did, in a fresh line, a large section of snow sloughed off with me – a mini-avalanche. But it didn’t knock me off my feet. The beat driving me downhill, you see, was too strong – the iPod proved to be a stabilizer of sorts. Then I encountered huge face-shots to go with my audio delights. It was sublime, especially considering the Morris family jukebox wouldn’t have fit in my pocket.Did I mention that my friend Dan had the back of my iPod inscribed? It reads, “Raise the Epic Flag – Highlands Bowl.”Anyway, now the thing goes everywhere with me. It’s dinged up a bit, but no worse for wear. I loaded up a Johnny Cash box set yesterday. Right now I’m listening to “Night Speaks to a Woman,” by Trey Anastasio. And what’s next is up to me.

Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is mutrie@aspentimes.com

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