If you have read even one Murakami novel, you can't help but notice he makes a point of mentioning specific pieces of music. These pieces vary from classical to jazz to The Beatles (his best-known novel is titled after the Beatle's song "Norwegian Wood"). In "Absolutely on Music" Murakami records a series of conversations with is friend conductor Seiji Ozawa. The majority of the conversations start out with them listening to specific pieces of classical music. I found it fun to look up the pieces and listen to them as I read. They even provide a playlist available from Murakami's website. Despite Murakami's extensive jazz and classical collection and knowledge, he confesses to knowing nothing when it comes to the technical side of making music. This keeps the book from being bogged down with complicated terms the average reader would not be familiar with. Instead, the conversations follow Ozawa's musical career, how he conducts his favorite pieces, how he learned under Leonard Bernstein, and most interestingly the difference between making music in the Western world with an Eastern mindset.
An intimate conversation about music and writing illuminates the perspectives and shared interests of the internationally acclaimed author of "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.