“Eddie Harris and Les McCann walked onto the stage and though they had hardly rehearsed at all, launched into an ad-libbed song that made history. Ironically enough, the song contained the line, “Real... compared to what?”
“The vinyl souvenir of that live performance is a million-selling classic: Les McCann & Eddie Harris - Swiss Movement: Montreux. Listening to the vinyl LP isn’t the same as attending the original concert, but it’s convenient and sounds great.
“Twenty years later, “perfect sound forever” brought us the CD version. There’s no pops and crackles, but to my ears, it’s just a reminder of the depth of the LP.
Montreuex Jazz Festival (1969): Better on YouTube?
“Then they had us move everything to MP3. Now I’ve got the CD version ripped on my iPod. There are far fewer bits of data and it doesn’t sound as good, but it reminds me of the original.
“Now, I’ve got a Monster cable for my car that lets me broadcast the MP3 version of the CD version of the vinyl version of the live event over the FM airwaves to my car radio. It sounds like Eddie’s in the Holland Tunnel. And it’s not even close to music, but it reminds me of the way I felt when I heard the album.
“This is not just happening to music. It’s not just traditional media, either. An e-mail doesn’t communicate as much information as a meeting, and a voice mail is really hard to file. A PowerBar may have plenty of vitamins and stuff, but it’s just not as good as a real meal…
“This phenomenon creates a big opportunity. The opportunity to provide sensory richness, to deliver experiences that don’t pale in comparison to the old stuff. It’s not just … nostalgia — it’s a human desire for texture.