Why do we have musical boxes?

Why do we feel the need to put all music into it’s own little stylistic box? Last night after my gig I stopped by dba to hear the Robert Walter Trio. I hadn’t really heard him live, eventhough he has lived in New Orleans for some time now. I must admit my expectations were low, but some friends were playing with him, so I stopped to check it out.

I was expecting some sort of bland jam, and the first bits I heard didn’t completely convince me otherwise in terms of the tunes, but the groove was happening and the energy was good. As I opened myself to listening I realized that the improvisations were all honest and interesting. As the night continued, tunes like Juju and Monk’s Dream made their way into the set, and I really enjoyed the music.

I left feeling good about what I had heard, and wondering how many nights of good music I had missed, because the catergory or box that Robert Walter is usually put in doesn’t usually get me to listen open mindedly. I realize that it is my responsibility to listen openly always, and I also realize that there is only so much time to explore, so we tend to start with things that have been categorized in ways that appeal to us.

I just wonder how much good music we are missing because we look at the category instead of listen to the music?