LOUISVILLE, KY—A five-disc jazz-anthology box set, lovingly assembled to give novices an appreciation and understanding of the uniquely American art form, remains unopened nearly two years after its purchase, sources reported Monday.
"Yeah, I should really give that a spin one of these days," said Marc Bergkamp, 29, who in July 2001 purchased Ken Burns Jazz: The Story Of American Music for $69.99. "I just haven't had the time to sit down and go through it. I was thinking about putting it on this weekend while I clean my apartment, but jazz isn't really cleaning music. I need something a little more rocking, like The White Stripes or something."
Bergkamp purchased the deluxe box set after watching a portion of an episode of the 10-part, 19-hour Ken Burns Jazz documentary on PBS.
"I'd always meant to buy more jazz, but every time I went record shopping, there'd be something I wanted more," Bergkamp said. "Finally, after seeing the thing on PBS, I decided to commit to getting some. I went down to Tower [Records] to get a Miles Davis CD, but there were, like, dozens of them, not to mention all these 40-disc Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel—1965 box sets or whatever. I ended up buying an Ornette Coleman CD, since I knew he's supposed to be pretty important, but that ended up being a total mistake. So a few days later, I went back for the Burns box."
Continued Bergkamp: "Even though I haven't cracked it open, I've looked over the list of artists included. It seems like there are some pretty big names on there, people I should really try to force myself to know."
Despite his lack of familiarity with jazz, Bergkamp said he has listened to it on numerous occasions over the years.
"One of my friends in college made me a mix tape that I used to play while I studied," Bergkamp said. "Unfortunately, she didn't write down any of the people. I'm pretty sure there were a couple of John Coltrane songs on there, but I don't know which ones. Ever since then, if I'm just chilling out reading a magazine, I'll put on a jazz station, but I never really catch who plays what."
By purchasing the anthology, Bergkamp said he hoped to broaden his musical horizons, as well as improve his romantic life.
"Girls love guys who are into jazz," Bergkamp said. "Knowing about, like, Thelonious Monk makes you look all sophisticated and soulful. Next time there's some chick I want to score with, I'm sure the box set will do the trick, but I really should take off the shrink wrap before I bring her home. I don't want it to look like I bought it just to impress her."
Bergkamp said he sees his purchase as a sign of his growing maturity.
"I feel like I'm at an age where's I'm too old to just like rock and rap and R&B," Bergkamp said. "I still really prefer it, but to have a few Charles Mingus CDs in your CD collection is a nice way to make you feel like more of an adult. Plus, if I ever feel like listening to something without lyrics, it's there."