Eddie Harris and Les McCann – Swiss Movement

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I was studying film production at the University of Southern California.  At that time, I wanted to double major, with a minor in music.


I wanted to play bass in Frank Zappa’s band, but felt I could never be that good.  But I did love to play jazz and rock, and I think every single person in my dorm, if they had one jazz album, had Swiss Movement.

This album was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the song “Compared to What” became a kind of anthem for us kids in the mid-1970’s.

Last week was the birthday of Eddie Harris, and it brought back all kinds of memories for me to hear that music once more.  And that made me think of memory cues, how sights and smells and sounds can trigger our thoughts and jog our brains until we are in the dorm room once more, on the 11th floor, looking out at the flat wasteland that was just south of downtown LA, and wondering where life would take us.

How about you?  What acts as a trigger for your memory?


Published by Thomas Kaufman

Thomas Kaufman is the author of STEAL THE SHOW and DRINK THE TEA, which won the PWA/St Martin's Press Best First PI Novel Competition. He is also an Emmy award- winning motion picture director/cameraman. Since graduating from the University of Southern California with an MFA in Film Production, he has worked as a Director of Photography on documentary, commercial, and fiction films. In addition to working as director/cameraman for National Geographic and Discovery Channels, Mr Kaufman has also shot documentaries for British Broadcasting Corporation, WGBH, WNET, and Academy Award-winners Mark Jonathan Harris, Charles Guggenheim, and Barbara Koppel.

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