Haruki Murakami and Jazz

Haruki Murakami jazz

Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is full of musical references. This playlist of diegetic jazz from the novel had me revisiting a few of those passages:

I sat at my desk to write my Sunday morning letter to Naoko, drinking coffee from a big cup and listening to old Miles Davis records. A fine rain was falling outside, while my room had the chill of an aquarium.

Ordering a second whiskey and soda, I ate a few pistachios. Somewhere behind the sound of a sloshing shaker and clinking glasses and the scrape of an ice maker, Sarah Vaughan sang an old-fashioned love song.

The moon was so bright, I turned the lights off and stretched out on the sofa to listen to Bill Evans’s piano. Streaming in through the window, the moonlight cast long shadows and splashed the walls with a touch of diluted India ink.

Even though I knew of Murakami’s love for music, when I first read Norwegian Wood I didn’t linger on most of these references long enough to hear the music in my head. Reading his prose with a Bill Evans soundscape immediately unlocked a Murakami-ness that I hadn’t appreciated before.

See also Haruki Murakami’s official website, with a more comprehensive list of songs from Norwegian Wood and other books.