My dad always had music playing in the house when we were growing up. He listened to the best of the best – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Art Tatum, Trane, Chet Baker, Lennie Tristano, Oscar Peterson. He had amazing taste, and an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and classical music. I owe so much to him.

Sometimes when we’d be talking about music, I’d mention an album or composition, and he’d make this sound – sort of like an elongated guttural “gor”. I think it was related to the British “cor!”, which would have come from growing up in London’s East End. It was his way of saying “Amazing!” or “Of course!”, and it indicated that the music meant something really special to him. The pieces he deemed “gor”-worthy always became favorites of mine too, and I still go back to them when I need some inspiration or musical nourishment.  Here’s some of those tracks:

I had just discovered Mozart’s Requiem Mass, and was blasting it daily from my room. He took the opportunity to introduce me to the lesser known but equally awesome C Minor Mass. This is the Kyrie.

My dad loved West Coast Jazz. The counterpoint in the Gerry Mulligan-Chet Baker pianoless quartet was a mix of his two favorite genres.

I remember listening to Bach organ fugues together in the car and thinking that music just couldn’t get any better.  Every note was the inevitable consequence of the one that came before it.  This beautiful performance of the A Minor fugue on piano by Michel Block is one of my favorite recordings ever.

Another Jazz-Classical bridge, Dave Brubeck playing “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” as an ersatz fugue. The track that got me into jazz.

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If you’ve listened to these tracks, that was the sound of my house when I was a kid.

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