Jazz hands

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R and I arrived home a short while ago from a busy day in Cardiff with Baby B. At exactly six weeks old, his level of engagement with the outside world is remarkable: as soon as I stepped into his eye line and smiled at him I received a beaming smile in return – followed, exactly one second later, by a crumpled brow and a trembling park-bench lip. Over the next few hours both R and I had plentiful smiles, frowns, pulled faces and baby burbling from him, and I’m sorry to say (in terms of the amount of processing I now need to do) that the ‘few’ photos I thought I’d taken today turned out, on upload, to be 256. I’m comforting myself with the thought that he’ll never be exactly this age again, so this was my only chance to record these moments.

R has recently heard an American musician positing that babies can process far more complex music than we tend to offer them, and suggesting that the two best styles of music to play to a baby if you want them to grow up with an interest in music are baroque, and jazz. Having a baby to hand we thought we’d test this out, so over the course of the day Baby B got to listen to the Bach solo violin sonatas and partitas (the unsurpassed 1960 Grumiaux recording, naturally); Oscar Peterson’s Night Train; and – combining the two genres – a little of the Jacques Loussier Trio playing jazzed-up Bach. This highly scientific experiment resulted in a clear win for Oscar Peterson: Grandson One, it seems, is a jazz lover. I have a suspicion that his great-grandfather, whose favourite album this was, is smiling somewhere out in the ether.