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(HOST) What gets you going in the morning? For commentator David Moats, these days, a little Dizzy does it.

(MOATS) I have a new exercise routine. Not that I’m regular enough in sticking to it, but there’s part of it that got me thinking. Now that it’s winter, what I do is jump rope. But I don’t just jump rope. I put on loud music.

I remember reading that boxer Sonny Liston used to jump rope for hours to the tune “Night Train”. This isn’t exactly the same. At first I put on a Ray Charles CD, but then when my son reclaimed it, I put on Dizzy Gillespie, playing with a raucous Cuban orchestra in concert in Cuba. It’s not that I’m jumping to the music, but the music is there, and in between my sets of jumping rope, the music is moving, and it keeps me moving.

This music is good. A lot of percussion, soaring trumpet, clarinet, baritone sax, the works. And soaring is the word for it. It gives you a feeling of levitation. So I do this for half an hour or so, and it’s a good work out. But then I began to think. The feeling of the music reminded me of something. It reminded me of being young.

In more recent years, I got into a different habit. I’d take my morning cup of tea into the living room, and I’d sit there listening to a Mozart piano concerto. Now Mozart can rock out, too, but you get a different feeling. Amid all the movement of the music, there is a feeling of serenity. It’s a serenity that comes from a sense of order that kind of surmounts the music. There comes a time in life when that feeling of serenity is a good thing. It’s not a denial of turbulence. It’s a transendence.

But then there’s Diz. If anyone transcends, it’s Dizzy Gillespie. Even so, the momentum and force of his music is not about serenity. It’s about movement. It’s about – hey, let’s get going, let’s get on with life. It’s the feeling you get when you go on a college campus and the stereo speakers are in the dorm windows blaring music outdoors and there’s a sense that the party’s just beginning. In my day, people blared the Doors and the Stones. In my house, if I put on Diz in the morning, I get the same call to action. Of course, there’s a time for Mozart and the great complex, interweaving vastness of his music.

Like I said, I’m not as regular as I might be with my Sonny Liston routine. But sometimes a little transcendence before work, either serene or soaring, is not a bad thing.

This is David Moats from Salisbury.

David Moats is the editorial page editor for the Rutland Herald and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. He spoke from studios at Middlebury College.

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