My Thoughts As Civilization Slowly Unravels

Jazz I Love: 1960s Edition

“Jazz” is hard to define because it’s fluid and ever-evolving. A big reason jazz is hard hard to define is because it has continually mutated and thrived for well over a century. Continual evolution has kept jazz fresh and surprising. Bebop, for example, evolved in the 50s and 60s, while “jazz fusion” arose in the 70s. Jazz musicians today continue to innovate while simultaneously harkening back to and riffing on the genre’s brilliant past....

February 3, 2024

Project Learn Piano: 8-month update

Three new recordings reflecting my growth – I hope – since beginning to learn piano about eight months ago. I try to do at least 15 minutes a day. Missed a few more days recently when I drove with my son to Pittsburgh (where he auditioned on trombone at CMU). The Trolley Song I Want to Be Happy I Get a Kick Out of You A few things I’ve recently noticed Piano has become a habit....

February 2, 2024

Jazz I Love (4/?)

Trombone-heavy list this time…. And I’m using the term “jazz” very broadly, as in “quality music.” ;-) Steve Davis Sextet featuring Antonio Hart & Eric Alexander Jeannine BLUE NOTE TOKYO ALL-STAR JAZZ ORCHESTRA by ERIC MIYASHIRO with Steve Gadd Way Back Home Too Many Zooz (+ Lucky Chops) I Will Survive Snarky Puppy Take It! (feat. Bernard Wright) (Empire Central) Hilario Duran and his Latin Jazz Big Band Esperando la Carroza (Live In Studio) Javier Nero Jazz Orchestra featuring Sean Jones, Tim Green, and Josh Richman Jam #3 (In C# Major) T-Bones Brasil Ensemble Chega de Saudade (No More Blues) Rafael Rocha Big Band feat....

January 31, 2024

Jazz I Love (3/?)

This is the third installment of my hopefully endless series of jazz/bluegrass/bossa nova/Afro-Cuban/etc. recommendations. (First installment & second installment) I can’t explain why jazz isn’t all anyone ever listens to. Hoping to infect you with my excitement by giving you more free samples… Luna Watanabe & Masato Honda Tokyo Train Airmen of Note + Dave Steinmeyer Spain Herbie Hancock Cantaloupe Island Chris Potter & Snarky Puppy Lingus Too Many Zooz + Michael Wilbur Rake Stepper Leo P BBC Proms 2017 Chick Corea (piano) & Bill Watrus (trombone) Spain Pasquale Grasso + Emmet Cohen Trio Night in Tunisia George Benson (age: 23) Benson’s Rider (Newport Jazz Festival 1966) Benny Goodman Orchestra (including Gene Krupa, drums) Sing, Sing, Sing (1937) Tuba Skinny Concert @ Jazz & Heritage Center 2022 Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue Backatown live in Jazzwoche Burghausen With thanks to Adeyemi Emmanuel Abebayo for their photo on Unsplash

January 30, 2024

Books I Read in 2023

I read quite a few books in 2023, mostly as audiobooks while making coffee, taking long walks, doing laundry, raking leaves, watering the lawn, showering, washing dishes, preparing lunch, brushing my teeth, shoveling snow (ominously little of that these past several winters!), etc. I sometimes even enjoy watching sports – mostly condensed soccer match highlights from around Europe – with the sound off while listening to an audiobook. You can find a lot of time to “read” if you put audiobooks (or podcasts) on your phone (which you can likely borrow for free from your local library!...

January 29, 2024

Piano Project: Update 2

In June, I committed to practicing piano at least fifteen minutes a day for the rest of my life. Here are a few new recordings for anyone curious how quickly a middle-aged man can learn piano with non-intensive daily practice. Georgia On My Mind Sweet Georgia Brown Fly Me to the Moon My previous update (Christmas songs) With thanks to Johannes Plenio for his photo on Unsplash

January 14, 2024

Walking on a warm winter day!

I’m blessed to live in a safe, walkable town with plenty of trees, good sidewalks, a pretty downtown, and several lovely parks. I used to jog frequently and play squash, but I’ve grown lazier. I now enjoy long walks. On days I’m too busy working, I’ll often walk late at night around our local middle school because it’s nearby and has good lighting. (I occasionally see deer, foxes, and bunnies!)...

January 13, 2024

How much piano can I learn in 15+ minutes/day over six months?

Six months ago, I bought a Yamaha DGX-670 – which I’m very happy with – and committed to spending 15+ minutes a day for the rest of my life learning piano. As I explained in Never Stop Learning… Slowly; Old dog learning new tricks in small, daily steps: I’ve said many times that I’ll die regretting I never learned to play jazz. After hearing myself say that one too many times, I decided to do something about it....

December 9, 2023

Our Amazing Planet

NOVA’s “Ancient Earth” I yesterday discovered a fascinating new NOVA science series, “Ancient Earth,” which presents scientists’ best understanding of our amazing planet’s 4.5 billion-year history. Earth began as a molten, lifeless, hellscape with no atmosphere or oceans and evolved step-by-step over billions of years into the amazing live-rich planet we’re lucky enough to inhabit. This incredible story – which enabled your existence – is told by the scientists themselves and depicted visually with visits to rocks and fossils that informed our understanding of our planet’s evolution and with graphical recreations of ancient Earth....

October 19, 2023

Jazz I Love (2/?)

This is the second installment of my hopefully endless series of jazz/bluegrass/bossa nova/Afro-Cuban/etc. recommendations. (First installment) I can’t explain why jazz isn’t all anyone ever listens to. Hoping to infect you with my excitement by giving you more free samples… Red Rodney, Chris Potter, and Bill Watrous Girl from Ipanema The Phil Collins Big Band Pick Up the Pieces Nils Wogram & Harry Watters Cherokee Emmet Cohen Trio + Patrick Bartley + Fabien Mary Live in France 2022 The Brecker Brothers (Michael & Randy) Sponge T-Bones Brasil Ensemble Chega de Saudade (No More Blues) James Carter, Pierre Manetti, & Lévis Adel-Reinhardt Girl from Ipanema Tuba Skinny Thriller Rag Warren Wolf & Wolfpack Four Too Many Zooz Bedford The Beegie Adair Trio Happy Hour (Part Two) With Beegie George Benson Take Five Lucky Chops (with Leo P) Funkytown The Swingin’ Ladies Jazzwoche Burghausen 1995 Michel Petrucciani, Steve Gadd, & Anthony Jackson Take the A Train Sonny Stitt, Howard McGhee, JJ Johnson, Walter Bishop, Tommy Potter, & Kenny Clarke Buzzy James Carter, Pierre Manetti, & Lévis Adel-Reinhardt (again!...

October 9, 2023