Music Memory – Abigail Neale

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the “Music For Memory Project”: a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week we hear from Abigail Neale, a listener, Humber music grad and a JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band alumnus.

“I’ll never forget the time my dad picked me up from school when I was 10, popped a C.D. into the car and told me, “This is jazz.” I had never experienced any jazz music up to this point and what I proceeded to hear was the most beautiful, velvety voice I had ever heard… The album was The World of Nat King Cole, and I was hooked from the first track, “Smile”.

I was so excited; these were new sounds to my ears and I remember trying to absorb every nuance of the music through the album. I became obsessed as a kid and must have listened to the album over a hundred times, memorizing every word and instrumental line. It was influential in directing my attention to jazz as a young saxophone player and I have since pursued jazz passionately.

And still, whenever I’m having a bad day, Nat King Cole is always my go-to because every time I listen to him feels like that very first time listening to jazz when I was 10, overcome with complete elation. ”