JavaScript, Bill Evans, and the universal mind

I will always be a musician. And I will always hold the music of jazz pianist Bill Evans dear. Like most great jazz musicians that I love to listen to, not only could he play elegantly, but he could speak eloquently. There was a great session of his playing and speaking recorded a while back. He was interviewed by his brother, and the proceedings were televised as "The Universal Mind of Bill Evans".

The core principal from this broadcast that will always resonate with me, in music, programming, and life, is well summed up in the introduction:

Bill Evans argues that style, for better or for worse, eventually comes of itself - out of that mysterious interior well of creative inspiration that nourishes everyone to one degree or another. It’s much more important, Evans feels, to master fundamentals both in theory - so you understand what you’re doing, and in active practice - developing one’s musical muscles… not just technical dexterity, but the brain connection. Developing that facility to the point where the subconscious mind can take over the basic mechanical task of playing thus freeing the conscious to concentrate on the spontaneous creative element that distinguishes the best Jazz - and the best in all human activity.

For me, there are some essential books on JavaScript that speak to this primacy of fundamentals so deeply, so eloquently, that I must share them here as suggested reading for others (but imperitive reading, and re-reading, for myself).

Make the music part of your mind.

  1. JavaScript: the Definitive Guide
  2. JavaScript: the Good Parts
  3. Speaking JavaScript
  4. Effective JavaScript
  5. JavaScript Allongé