Summer Fridays

Oh for the old days of throttling down on Fridays

In the last few weeks, as live music has slowly returned, I’ve heard musicians describe our current moment in different ways.

We’re in a “Ramp-up period with no rules.” Or: “Extended spring training.” Or: A “painful process of blasting away months of cobwebs and rust.” Or: A “Desperate Return to “Normal” That Comes With Its Own Type of Buyer’s Remorse.”

What these have in common is a recognition that our present moment involves new and unprecedented forms of stress. Within the music ecosystem, one response to stress has traditionally been to push through it, to essentially work harder. Some musicians have to do that right now because, hey, it’s the job and lots of people haven’t been able to do this particular job for a long time.

That’s laudable, of course. Also laudable: Kicking back with a classic album — today’s first-thought recommendation is guitarist Jim Hall’s absorbing Concierto — and listening from start to finish. Happy Friday.