That’s It: Episode 10, Life-Changing

What music changed your life?

Everyone has music that affected us so powerfully that we can remember exactly where and when we first heard it. Music that almost changed us in one way or another. Today on the show, five pieces of music that were life-changing for me.

Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring

If you’ve never listened to The Rite of Spring, I’ll wager you’ll be struck by how modern and contemporary it sounds – especially since it was written over 100 years ago. There are several spots that it almost sounds like a DJ switching between channels on his/her mixer and spots that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Metallica tune.

John Coltrane, “Giant Steps”

Getting this album and listening for the first time was a rite of passage. I remember how eager I was to pop it into the CD player and check out what I’d only heard talked about with such reverence you’d think it was a holy text. And, for jazz, if kind of was. Truly game-changing and transformative.

The Beatles, “Tomorrow Never Knows”

One interesting thing to note about this tune that I discovered during the intense period of Beatles research I entered into once I became obsessed, is that at 1:28 there is a high-pitched sound. That marks the exact middle of the track – not on the video, but on the album. Pretty neat.

Steve Reich, Different Trains

There are minimalist pieces I honestly prefer over Different Trains – Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Philip Glass’s Glassworks come to mind – but this was the composition that really opened my ears to a completely different world of music and sound.

Bob Brookmeyer, “The Nasty Dance”

Listening to this for the first time in a while, I couldn’t help but think that this recording is absolutely perfect in so many ways. The colors, texture and layering of the ensemble. Lovano’s absolutely sick playing. (I’ve always loved the short lick at 8:04 and remember having a “holy shit” moment the first time I heard this recording when I heard him quote “Softly As A Morning Sunrise” at 8:28.) The emotional arc of the piece and the way it builds and climaxes is perfect. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Chime in with some of the music that changed your life. Let’s make a playlist.

And don’t forget to subscribe to That’s It in iTunes and give us a five-star rating.

Thanks for listening.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style


Chime In

  • Bill Tourangeau

    I was seven years old and was in the theater seeing Star Wars: A New Hope.

    Luke Skywalker walked out of his Aunt and Uncles dwelling and stood looking into the horizon when my life changed… John Williams ‘Binary Sunset’ started to play, and this nerdy little boy (before nerdy was something to be proud of) woke up. I didn’t understand what I was hearing, and I couldn’t really grasp what a ‘score’ was for a movie, but to this day I can still recall how it made me feel.

    I wasn’t unfamiliar with music. I listened intently to my parents playing The Beatles, Paul Simon, The Staple Singers, and a wide variety of the music of the day, and I loved and absorbed it all. But for the first time ever, I was able to FEEL music. To experience it. Williams score swept over me and spoke to me in a way that no other music ever had, or has been able to since.

    Now, at almost 45 years old, I have an interest in music that runs all over the map; everything from folk music to world music, to old school punk, underground hip-hop and rockabilly. Improvisational jazz to bluegrass to experimental and small label indie music.

    I listen to and adore it all. But I credit John Williams for creating that passion for music in me. As soon as I was old enough, I dove into classical music… not movie scores specifically, but it helped me develop my love of classical baroque and chamber music. It made me (musically) who I am today, and I would like to believe that this also was an influence in who I am as a person.

    Though I know we’ll never meet, I own John Williams more of a Thank You than I could ever manage to put into words.