Week 208: “Conference of the Birds” by Dave Holland Quartet


There’s a group of pigeons who sit on a telephone wire that I walk past each day, and every time I see them, they look less like birds and more like a line of old men sitting on a porch talking about the weather. Sometimes I pause for a few seconds to look up at them (being careful not to stand directly beneath them, of course).

I make up names for each pigeon/old man. The one with the bum leg is Rufus. The fat one is Milt. The energetic one is Cliff. I imagine them sharing stories about how the grandkids are doing, how the neighbourhood is changing, how young pigeons don’t appreciate what they have.

Then I realize I’m late for work, and I move on.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The wandering bass line at the opening. The first six notes remind me of the guitar riff from this song. And at 0:47, it reminds me of this song.

2. The way the flutes interact. A great way to get the listener to imagine a group of chatting birds.

3. At 3:08, the percussionist stops drumming and moves over to the vibraphone.

Recommended listening activity:

Sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch.

Buy it here.