The Jazzonian

Jazz is Diversity. Jazz is Democracy.

#Wheelchairistocracy
#GroovicusMaximus

From the demented mind of Rusty Taylor
Jester and Vocalist for jazz band

Southern Standard Time
Rusty Taylor's singing " 'Round Midnight" with Grammy-nominated Joe Gransden (trumpet) at a Columbus Jazz Society fundraiser - The Loft in uptown Columbus, GA
Points of Interest
in this month's issue

  • God Speed, Taylor Pierce
  • Salutations
  • Thanksgiving Memories
  • Serious Accolades... Tuskegee
  • Serious Accolades... Atlanta
  • I'm No Music Critic, But...
  • Encomium for Nashville singer Annie Sellick
  • My Muse Muses
  • Apothegmatical Axioms of the Month
  • Lethean Stream of Consciousness
  • Word History
  • Why I Hate Trump
  • Glossary

If, perchance, you, dear reader, are interested in following my musings, my singing, my puns, my dancing, or simply wish to receive an occasional jolt of cognitive stimulation followed by restorative positive energy, I encourage you to join my facebook group:


The Jazzonian
A Monthly e-Storyletter
December 2018
God Speed, Taylor Pierce
Our beautiful jazz community is currently reeling from the sudden departure of Taylor Pierce. If you were lucky enough to hear Taylor’s powerful jazz guitar mastery, you have been blessed by serendipity. Taylor had a passion for jazz that comes perhaps every other generation. The aching question is—as with Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and others whose wicks were callously snuffed too quickly—what he may have mastered with additional terrestrial longevity. 

At his funereal I staidly allowed an internal emotional explosion of irrational passion silently rage against my friend’s acquiescence into that good night, followed by an antediluvian waterfall of mental agitation as lachrymal salinization unabashedly cascaded over the bottom rim of my reddened, shell-shocked eyes, a briny tributary’s pooling into the calderas of my sunken cheeks, an insidious sebaceous coulee’s encroachment onto my convoluted physiognomy. This was followed, almost immediately, by an inspired awareness that Taylor’s terrestrial sponsor must have needed his ineffable ethereal skill-set (more than likely stemming from Taylor’s peaceful demeanor) for reinforcement against negative antagonism that clandestinely stalks the Universe with nefarious intentions. My emotions, like Taylor’s soloing, have been sporadically jumping from vesuvian anger to tranquil universality, inspiring confusion and wonder… but mostly Hope.

On the way to the funereal, my parents and I lost about forty-five minutes in traveling time due to a traffic accident that blocked our passage; although, it was a beautiful, bright sunny November day with a high of around 55° F. Arboreal foliage from the deciduous hardwoods illuminated our ocular senses with the brilliant sanguine and ocher hues of seasonal change, the burning leaves’ unabashed flamboyant speciosity of extravagant sartorial exhibition, the shocking beauty of colorful botanical emotion as expressed through the dazzling floral expression of joy snuggled amongst the lean and lanky ever-olivaceous pines’ reaching for solar guidance from the homogenous blue sky, the conspicuous unconventionality of their boldly shouting a serendipitous exalting realization that terrestrial existence is an especial gift and that it’s loss, although terrestrially tragic, is a blessing for post-terrestrial inevitability. 

The kaleidoscopic trees’ clustered leaves gamboled graceful dervishes in the gay wind (ebullient copses of arboreal dance companies parted by the black asphalt ribbon highway) blushing with excitement over their finally experiencing crisp autumnal relief from the nearly intolerable torching heat of summer. The extended drive was beautifully scenic: rolling meadows; sturdily constructed red barns trimmed in white, adorned with rusted skeletal weathercocks; cows mulling in pastoral fields, ruminating about chewing the cud; densely populated forests bisected by rushing silver streams’ dancing over smooth stones—all very conducive to my remembering the gift of Taylor Pierce and the brevity of his inspiring legacy: his musical enchantment juxtaposed against his being one of the warmest human beings on the planet.

The ceremony was somber, but Taylor’s family spoke with loving warmth and an occasional jolt of humor (as if I’d never guess that Taylor would intentionally lose boring board games he played with his family in order to practice his beloved guitar or that Robert Orr was a major influence in Taylor’s quest to be musically viable… which is about as salient as proclaiming that breathing oxygen is conducive for life). Taylor’s mother Dawn was especially brave as she detailed her loving son’s crippling depression and failure to overcome the addictive struggle of pharmaceutical authoritarianism. Taylor’s older sister said that Taylor possessed an “old, passionate soul,” and I can think of no greater compliment. Another tsunami of emotional warmth inundated my tender sensibilities when Taylor’s friends, his jazz musician family, played. I personally believe that when they lifted their collective musical voice to Taylor’s tellurian memory, the Universe was, briefly, perfectly still.


Taylor's Jazzonian Family
With Skyler Saufley, Akiko Buchanan, Dan Campbell, Teresa Rodriguez, Jason DeBlanc, Chris Helms, Coleman Woodson III, DJango W Bruce, Patrick James Bruce, Rusty Allen Taylor, Coleman Woodson, Jr, Daniel Bowden, Sion Brunson, Jane Drake, Eric Buchanan, and
La'Roy Bodiford
Taylor’s guitar playing, especially his soloing, possessed a passion that had been his unsolicited yet distinctive characteristic, that and the staid manner with which he played so expressively. He will be missed. I am ineffably and indelibly impressed with Taylor’s musicianship. To my ears, he never played a bad note, but what drew me even further into his web of admiration was his humility. The dude had mad skills yet he believed that he could learn more. He was still searching for his perfect sound.

Last month in Opelika, AL, the Eighth and Rail lounge held an impromptu memorial for Taylor after news of his unexpected promotion into the post-terrestrial adventure that awaits us all. Quite a few musicians slowly trickled into the venue, somberly, quietly. Hugs, strained smiles, ineffective encouraging words, the ambivalent aching of emotional apprehension, the intense internal conflict of whether or not to be there coupled with the desperation to be near empathetic people who feel a shared sense of loss and grief, the raging against circumstance within the heart juxtaposed against the uncontrollable grief that we, collectively, will no longer share secular stories with our fallen friend… future terrestrial collaborations have been suddenly and irrevocably terminated.

The softly droning murmur of sympathetic banter fell silent as Coleman Woodson III gave a short yet powerfully emotional eulogistic sentiment about our beloved musician’s transition before playing a beautiful solo introduction to Hoagy Carmichael’s haunting “I Remember You” with the sparse trickling of an obsessing melodic Danse Macabre that guided my soul to the most embryonic addresses of the vast Universe and gently nuzzled my angst against the most flocculent and velveteen comfort imaginable, simultaneously sharing Grief and Hope in the yin/yang of harmonious cacophony that gently massaged my soul.

Drummer Eric Buchanan added tasteful brushing to Colee’s keyboarding solemnity then transitioned back to the top of the head when Nick Johnson reintroduced the melody, and the trio mourned. The eulogy ended in a haunting silent reverie as lachrymal saline seeped over vermilion crackled eyes and baptized mutual funerary affection. Afterwards, vocalist Jane Drake hosted the rest of the jam that was simultaneously therapeutic and heart wrenching.

Before the music began, it was beautifully heart warming to watch the musicians and jazz enthusiasts pour into the venue. It was a cold, misty night, already dark by early evening, hauntingly dreary. The drive down I-85 was particularly dismal with the windshield wipers tap-tap-tapping like a raven upon my bedroom door… this and nothing more. The radio seemed to mock my sadness as tractor-trailers buzzed by, indifferently, slicing through frigid condensed vapor without distraction as I recalled one of my favorite dreams: the dream of watching Taylor’s seemingly inevitable future glory as an incredible jazz musician; to have possessed his passion for jazz that was forcefully driven into his psyche, the irrefutable importunate ache to master an art form that, for most people, is simply inaccessible yet, for Taylor, seems to have been a gift from ineffable puissance, from an omniscient power that, obviously, needed Taylor’s services urgently.

I formed a friendship with Taylor that I will cherish beyond infinity. He is one of the warmest, most caring individuals I have ever met, and I can’t wait to confabulate with him after I shuffle off my mortal coil; I hope that when I am free from my terrestrial incarceration that I will finally understand the concept of Infinity ; I will then understand Taylor’s musical genius. The euphoria of celestial wisdom is what Taylor is now experiencing and what I long to experience as well. Like everybody else on Earth, our Deaths will not be of our own volitions. If there is a reason for our current secular reality, it is beyond the scope of our understanding. We seem to be here for specific reasons specified by a powerful entity, or entities, that we, in our current corporal manifestations, are unable to understand. Taylor has been called to fulfill his destined purpose; I know that he is extremely satisfied.

Another very important reward of befriending Taylor is that I now know his family, who are simply beautiful. It is obvious why Taylor has been a joy to know; his family is the loving inspiration for his undeniable attraction. It seems that they, too, recognized Taylor’s musical potential and fostered it lovingly. They—along with all the other jazz enthusiasts who make the Tuesday night jazz jam a special weekly celebration of life—are part of the Eighth and Rail family, which showed up in droves to say goodbye. One of the songs that the Pierce family enjoys is Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” and I am honored to have been granted the opportunity to sing it as a tribute to Taylor’s passing; although, I had to close my eyes while singing.

I while back I sang “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” at a funereal for a friend. Unfortunately, I opened my eyes in the middle of the song, and when I did, I saw the lachrymosely contorted faces of her family’s desperation to remain in control of emotions that were too overwhelming. I nearly lost my composure and had to struggle hard not to burst out into raging emotion. I was not going to allow that to happen again. I concentrated hard on singing Billie Holiday’s song, which helped me navigate through the emotional straits of Scylla and Charybdis that would have callously exposed my grief; I closed my eyes and focused with the fastidious determination of a eight-year old’s entomological curiosity as she carefully studies a butterfly under a microscope. I listened intently to the entire room, the music, the musicians, the melody, the harmony, the rhythmic and collective heartbeat of the planet, the silent respect, the sincere love. Taylor was there in the room; he was the room, and I could sense in every fiber of my being that he now understands how much he is loved. Thankfully, we will all one day meet again and join him in the celebration of our shared post-terrestrial manifestation… and that will be ecstasy.

Jazz is my personal anodyne against the bleak indifference that currently engulfs our planet, and the memory of Taylor Pierce is my personal Holy Grail, my quintessential inspiration to continue my quest to find universal harmony when the path seems desperately unnavigable.

Peace Through Music


P.S. – If any of you dear readers balked at my rhetorical “joke” (i.e. a cow’s ruminating about chewing the cud), then I’d like to remind you that one of the secondary, or tertiary, denotations of the word ruminate is to chew cud .

P.S.S. – As I wrote this eulogy for my friend, I was listening to one of my playlists, and I heard three recorded songs of my band’s playing at The Loft (Columbus, GA) on May 13, 2015, i.e. Southern Standard Time with Taylor Pierce (guitar), Jeff Smith (bass) and Mark Parker (drums): Pat Metheny’s “Bright Size Life,” “Oleo,” and “7 Steps to Heaven,” and Taylor plays his heart out; actually, Mark and Jeff were on as well; it was a pretty awesome jam. I hope I can find somebody with the skills to clean up the recording as part of Taylor’s legacy. That would be so groovy.


Salutations

Greetings!...

Our nation is in serious turmoil. I know. That opening sentence has to be the biggest “Duh!” moment since the collective realization that the unrestrained cupidity of the “trickle down” superficiality is a hoax concocted by bigoted avarice. Yes, Brachydactylic DJ “Little Fingers” Trump and his lackeys are headed to federal prison with much of the bigoted GOP. This embarrassing period of history will, hopefully, better guide future generations of peaceful people against charlatanism; however, this is a subject for a future Fireside Chat. On the totally opposite side of the emotional spectrum, Jazz had a great month of November: The most amazing jazzonian excitement was that Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and the city of Columbus, GA officially proclaimed the second Friday in November as Jazz in the Fountain City Day .

And our city’s local newsrag, Ledger-Enquirer, didn’t even mention it in print, which is sad. Oh, the local “newspaper” will print the ubiquitous specious kitsch that encourages slavish loyalty to the unregulated Capitalism that has driven our nation to insert a fake billionaire to the highest public office on the planet, which is an international embarrassment, but they neglected to cover a major local event that has a significant positive, chest-pounding impact for the minority of music enthusiasts who adore the therapeutic complexity of Jazz. I even searched the Internet, including the Ledger-Enquirer’s website, and I could not find any mention of Jazz in the Fountain City Day .

However, the not-worthy-of-any-accolades e-storyletter, The Jazzonian , proudly reprints the proclamation here, with especial thanks to Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and the City of Columbus, Georgia, the Fountain City:


WHEREAS,
Jazz music has throughout the ages proved to be a powerful vehicle for communication; When it springs from the fusion of the music and creates a harmonious expression that speaks to many different cultures; and


WHEREAS,
Jazz is a unique style of music which originated in the southern United States and has become an international art form, evolving as it travels across the globe, borrowing the best from other nations, cultures and regions to enrich it; and


WHEREAS,
Jazz speaks many languages and has become a unifying force for its adherents regardless of race, religion, ethnic or national origin; The 100 th United States Congress designated jazz as “ a rare and valuable national American treasure ”, but today it belongs to the world; and


WHEREAS,
Don Tipton and Buddy Nelms have consistently and continuously offered jazz music every Friday free of charge at the Loft Uptown to the Columbus, Georgia audience; and


WHEREAS,
By offering jazz every week many bands and musicians have been employed and have had the chance to express their talents; Musicians and musical organizations have also been afforded the opportunity to develop their skills and talents.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor of Columbus, Georgia, do hereby proclaim the second Friday in November as

Jazz in the Fountain City Day

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Official Seal of Columbus, Georgia to be affixed this seventh day of November 2018.



Hopefully, the Columbus Jazz Society and Columbus State University’s Jazz Studies program (under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen) will host an annual celebration to appropriately acknowledge the joyful proclamation; although, I know they will. Jazz is insidiously creeping into Columbus, GA’s bloodstream as represented by the Chattahoochee River and will extravasate throughout the southeast into the Caribbean Sea and beyond. Our city celebrates jazz; we need to shout our enthusiasm for complex music to the world; unfortunately, we can’t even whisper it amongst ourselves.

Peace Through Music

Schwob Jazz Orchestra

2018-2019 Season

  • October 11, 2018 - Schwob Jazz Orchestra | RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Studio Theatre | 7:30 PM | Free admission
  • October 30, 2018 - Kevin Whalen Faculty Jazz Recital | RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Studio Theatre | 7:30 PM | Free admission. Chances Are It Swings: The Music of Shorty Rogers featuring Matt Roehrich (Valdosta State), Dan Kolan (Andrews College), Joe Girard (CSU), Bryan Canonigo (CSU), Randy Hoexter (LaGrange College), Ben Weatherford (CSU), Chris Enghauser (Georgia College), and Paul Vaillancourt (CSU)
  • November 2, 2018 - Schwob Jazz Quartet and the Cannonball Jazz Sextet | The Loft Upstairs (1032 Broadway) - Listening Room | 7:00 PM | Free admission
  • November 9, 2018 - Schwob Jazz Orchestra (SJO) | The Loft Upstairs (1032 Broadway) - The Loft Music Hall | 7:00 PM | Free admission
  • November 30, 2018 - Schwob Jazz Orchestra (SJO) @ The Broadway Ball | Rivermill Event Centre | 6:30 PM | Ticketed event



The Schwob Jazz Orchestra (SJO) is an18-piece large jazz ensemble focused on presenting the best in classic and modern big band music. For this concert, the band will be featuring the music of a wide variety of jazz big band icons. Selections will include The Queen Bee from the Count Basie Orchestra, an arrangement of Oliver Nelson’s Down By The Riverside, the iconic Big Dipper from the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, a special contribution from noted modern jazz composer Ben Markley, and a soprano saxophone feature on Pat Metheny’s perennial favorite James.

Under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen, the Jazz Studies Program builds upon the mission of the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music by offering its students engaging jazz performance opportunities synchronized with in-depth study of jazz music. The program also hosts several small jazz combos, a jazz workshop experience, and a thorough curriculum of jazz courses designed to enhance performance ability and prepare future music educators to teach jazz in their communities.

Live-stream: TBD
Dr. Kevin Whalen, Director of Jazz Studies
Columbus State University



Columbus Jazz Society


The Columbus Jazz Society is a (501)(3)(c) non-profit organization who, for over 30 years, have existed solely for the benefit of enjoying the expression of live jazz and to promote the education of this art form to our members and the general public. The Society is about rendering service and promoting, creating and supporting musical events.

The Columbus Jazz Society began in the 80‘s as a few musicians got together monthly to play, sing and enjoy live jazz. As more and more musicians and their friends came together they found the need to locate into a common public area to accommodate everyone. This began at hotel convention rooms, then local restaurants, and a night club (The Loft) that would host them for the joy of the music. They later established a membership fee to cover the costs of paying musicians to insure that a full set of players would be in attendance. Any money over and above our society needs is used for charity. 

For a list of area jazz events, click  here   .
Friday Evening Jazz at The Loft
Monthly Schedule for December 2018
  • December 07 - Snakebite Six
  • December 14 - The Jazzmatics
  • December 21 - A Jazz Christmas at the Loft
jazz fundraiser for Columbus Jazz Society
  • December 28 - The Solar Quintet

Thanksgiving Memories
One thing that I love about my family is exactly that… it is a family, whether biological or not… it is a family! Right now, I have the honor of experiencing the final insidiousness of my parents’ terrestrial transition into their individualistic post-terrestrial manifestations, i.e. Death, the pre-existing condition into which we are all born, and it truly is a blessing. Well, it’s a blessing because I’ve learned—very intermittently and even then for a very brief, nearly insignificant amount of time—how to stop expecting failure. I’m learning, still learning, and will continue to try to remember to learn to live in the moment.

Sure, my parents are apt to fall. I know that. I’m not blind. Every time my father stands, I see his shaking. I see that proud man, and he has a reason to be proud… I see him struggle to stand as he uses whatever’s available to get out of his soft leathern throne. I see the embarrassed sadness in his eyes, the look of acquiescence to the overt cogent recognition of his body’s entropy as he prepares for the arduous twenty-foot journey towards the sanctuary of his bedchamber. But to anticipate his tragic fall each time he nearly endlessly shuffles his feet—as he boot-scootin’-boogies across the room—instantly eliminates my opportunity to embrace his present circumstance. It is a denial of each additional moment, a rejection to contemplate the very fact that every second is an eternal gift. Is this not a better, more positive way to enjoy the last moments with someone I love instead of shipping him off to a nursing home and justifying it because I “need” a new car every few years… to help the economy? Which reminds me of a story.

Yes, I’m stoned, but that’s about as surprising as the fact that DJ Trump is a traitor… just saying. If he’s not a traitor to the country, which he is, he’s definitely a traitor to humane civility.

And, yes, justifying my being stoned by veraciously—not voraciously, mind you, but veraciously… a superfluous caveat just in case anyone who still supports Trump happens to ever read this —claiming its medicinal benefits is a “privilege,” but I only “justify” my marijuana support in case this becomes a legal matter. Not that it would aid in my exculpation against big business. I am pretty sure that anybody who actually knows me realizes that I’d be writing stoned regardless, but I digress…

Before I begin the next memory, I have to preface it with the proud acclamation that I have the greatest mother on the planet. Without her, my father and I would be dead. She is a great nurse, but, more importantly, she is what I call a real nurse. I have been a quadriplegic for 32 years. For some, that is a lifetime. I have seen many, many nurses, and, overwhelmingly, the vast number of them are very caring people; however, although emulous, good intentions cannot be the only criteria for nursing simply because, at times, nurses make life-or-death decisions.

I honestly love the warm and loving people who are cripplingly limited because their lack of mental acuity precludes their performing acts of daily living without substantial yet venial negative consequences, but their opportunities to unintentionally catalyze potentially fatal consequences should be limited; unless, like we’ve seen, these geniuses’ (not sarcastic… they are geniuses)… unless these geniuses’ ineffable abilities focus on something as detailed as brain surgery, or accounting, or nuclear science, etc. (and pay these geniuses to manually count electoral votes sans political loyalty. Plus, these very special people shouldn’t be economically exploited because they simply do not comprehend the fascination of money… in all honesty, they shouldn’t be given high ranking political positions either, but I digress…)

Nearly all nurses are wonderfully loving people; I reckon it’s in their natures; they simply want to help people; however, some of the nurses who currently make up the profession differ in their abilities to effectively provide the hands-on kind of nursing that has been usurped by a for-profit, economically motivated proxy. The nursing profession has undergone some noticeable changes since I broke my neck in ‘86. Whether or not it is a bane or boon will be for future generations to decide, but it is our current situation.

There are some people who view nursing as an economic opportunity. That’s simply the way it is, begging the question of which philosophy is more terrestrially viable: the Florence Nightingale kind of empathy or its new modern alternative? What kind of nursing do we want as a culture? The kind of nursing that culls out the weak in favor of the more economically viable, or will we embrace the enchantment of alleviating the pain of a suffering human being? Do we want the sterile nurse-like clinician who coldly articulates the fact that her patient is dying and should stoically prepare to be sanitarily removed from society or do we want a grandmother’s sympathy as we come to the finality of our temporal terrestrial reality?

Do we want a head nurse (settle down, this is serious…) who comes once a month (settle down…) to chat for a few minutes about the weather then asks if there’s anything she can do as she walks toward the exit without looking back for a response, or do we want the kind of nursing that assuages the stress of being sick with soul-and-skin massaging comfort; the what’s-this-nearly-imperceptible-bump on your back kind of curiosity; the “let me take your temperature with the back of my hand” interest; the “oh shit, what’s this in your feces” concern; the “may I rub your face with a cold washcloth” kind of love; the kind of nursing that actually makes the patient not only “feel” better, but the kind of nursing that encourages the patient to understand that she is a warm blooded human being with feelings instead of a scheduled appointment. Nurse is much more a verb than a noun… and CNAs are the most underrated nurses on the planet… LPNs are slightly less underrated but underrated nurses nonetheless. In the hospice program that I currently use, I’ve had both kinds of nurses. Probably ain’t hard to figger out which one I prefer.

My mother is the latter, the kind of “I did clinicals in the Houston County emergency room” [Georgia… near Warner Robins Air Force Base and pronounced House-ton], the kind of sanguine-and-shit experience that instantly nullifies the superfluity of a nurse whose only experience is that she read a specific book. Of course, it’s Thanksgiving Day, and what better way to express this sentiment than with a memory. BTW, bearing children is also nursing…. the latter kind.

My paternal grandmother was a joy. She did not have a single enemy in her life. Sure there were people who may have been uneasy with some of the things she did or said, but even they respected her sincerity. She was the central cog of our family when I was a boy. Everybody was at Gran’ma Alice’s on 17th Avenue in a Spanish deco house that reminded me of The Alamo (near Lake Bottom Park where I have many memories, especially a special “kiss”). Actually, in my youth, I had the very extra especial privilege of having a Thanksgiving celebration with both my grandparents. One was much more formal; the other was at Gran’ma Alice’s, and, yes, I have those Norman Rockwell memories of sitting at the Children’s Table then moving up to the Adult Table. Is there any better honor?

[Can you imagine what Jaco Pastorius thought when Joni Mitchell asked him to play music with her? What a rush that must have been.]

I have the memories of my raucous aunts’ and uncles’ playing a game called Spoons on, for me as a kid, the biggest wooden table on the planet. And this was no rinky-dink table; it was a Robin Hood, dense-wood-from-the-Sherwood-Forest type of table atop which an entire troupe of Irish folk dancers could perform 70% of their repertoire.

The game of Spoons is straight up hilarious. A group of drunks get together. The more, the better, right? I mean, what could go wrong? They then find a few decks of cards and put them all together. The contestants saunter up to the table to grab their seats. Their meandering adds to the illusion that they are ambling like John Wayne, but their instability is more bibulously influenced.

Everyone is dealt three cards, and one person gets the remaining deck placed within her control, a tower that probably contains just short of a million cards, waveringly reaching toward the ceiling. Incidentally, the table is long and oblong, so the more athletic are strategically placed at the far ends… the two physically strongest competitors glaring intently at each other throughout the controlled conflict.

There is a pile of spoons in the center of the table. (Ah, that’s the reason the strongest are furthest away…) The number of spoons is one less than the number of bibulous contestants. The contestant— contestant ? Or is it combatant ? One of my kin actually did wear a baseball catcher’s mask. No kidding—the contestant who starts the game looks at each card from the tower, a single card at a time. She looks at it; if she needs it, she keeps it and discards one from her hand. All players must keep only four cards. The idea is to get three-of-a-kind. Once this is achieved, the person with the matching set reaches for a spoon, and the chaos ensues. The person who doesn’t get the spoon loses the round. After three losses, the player is eliminated from the game, and a spoon is removed. The winner is the last one remaining.

While this is going on with the “adults,” we children, the cousins, would be playing in gran’ma’s back yard in a house that looked like The Alamo. Behind her house was a small three- or four-unit apartment complex with a garage through which we kids could always rummage. Sure, it’s vandalism, but we were young and having fun. We didn’t destroy anything on purpose; we were kids. Also, we were one block from Lake Bottom Park, its playground, its tennis courts, its track and field course, its softball fields, Weracoba Creek running along its eastern border and Cherokee Avenue, a quick creek that meanders its way to the Chattahoochee River then to the estuary of the Gulf of Mexico at Pensacola, Florida. Yes, I have a very special relationship with all my cousins. We’re thinking about having a cousin’s reunion soon; I hope it pans out. My family is great and a major reason that I am still alive.

These very specific memories are extant because my Grandmother Alice was who she was, warts and all, but a grandmother who was loved. I am honored to have watched her transition from her terrestreality [a word I just accidentally made up but like anyway]. I watched as she nursed my father’s maternal grandparents in The Alamo; the two rooms in the back of the house were great Gran’ma and Gran’pa Jackson’s magic rooms. As a kid, I knew that I wasn’t always allowed in their sanctuary, but I could always pass by the door, and if one, or both, waved me in, I knew that I was in for a special visit, especially if my brother and sister were doing something else. That meant that I was getting exclusive Gran’ma and Gran’pa Jackson Time. Happy Thanksgiving, thank you.

[Incidentally, my great grandfather loved the Cubs and the Braves, so he was in luck because TBS and WGN would carry many of their games. He grew up, as did my father, listening to baseball games on the radio and was thrilled when baseball was finally televised. I remember that he didn’t initially understand instant replay when it was first introduced to the public. “Oh, look. He hit another homerun… in the same place,” he would muse. I also remembered that great gran’dad Jackson was exceptionally skilled at a card game called Crazy Eights (or maybe he cheated… as a kid you simply do not question your great gran’pa… he has the word ’great’ in his name) and that he had a hearing aid. When gran’ma Jackson would cuss him in French—she was from Belgium—Gran’dad would simply reach up and turn it off.]

During another Thanksgiving, or maybe the same one, the kitchen was buzzing like Keith Richards. As a child, I thought the kitchen was palatial, but it was really very teeny. As an adult, I almost filled the room… not as much as my “little” brother who had to come in sideways and promise not to step on the little people. So gran’ma and my ma are in the kitchen making pies when great Gran’ma Jackson comes in and wants to help.

Gran’ma always had pies for Thanksgiving. We even had a table specifically for pies: apple pie, chocolate pie, lemon pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie (not sweet potato pie… gran’ma was from Muncie, Indiana; although, my maternal gran’ma, and my ma, was from South Carolina; Gran’ma Bannister, my ma’s ma, is from whom I got my love for southern food), butterscotch pie (my favorite), pecan pie (my ma makes the best), and rhubarb and gooseberry pies (Gran’pa Jackson’s favorites, so we kids could not have any, which was fine with us ‘cause they were bitter to a child’s confectionary sensibilities).

Both my grandmothers (and my great gran’ma) were excellent cooks and bakers, but they slaved over the kitchen to share their gifts with family and friends simply for the joy of it, a joy that my mother shares, which she passed along to her second son, the “tiny” one who, incidentally, passed it on to his penultimate son.

In fact, at this very moment, the entire house smells like Turkey, which my ma basted throughout the night—try to sleep through that, although I did sleep noticeably soundly last night… hmmmm? The savory odor of enticing gobbler is intermingling with the apple pie she’s baked as well… a much better Thanksgiving memory than going to Pritchett’s Fried Catfish restaurant that is totally excellent any other day of the year.

[Incidentally, I just ate a piece of the aforementioned apple pie—ma added peaches—and it was divine. The pie was still warm from the oven… not the microwave, a pie that was made with love, not purchased for convenience. It’s the difference between emotional analogue ambiguity and sterile binary precision. Neither is wrong. Neither is right; although, I prefer the infinite shades of gray to strict black and white delineation; I prefer the tragic hero, the flawed, not the precise and predictable.]

So great Gran’ma Jackson starts kneading the pie dough, softly humming Belgian folk tunes. She flattens them out with a rolling pin, flour everywhere but smiling like a child’s receiving her very first bright red cherry lollipop, and then she starts rolling up the pie dough.

“What are you doing?” my gran’ma asks her mother.

“Making noodles, dear.”

OK. I get a little choked up by this memory; it is that special… to me, but this is the type of story that may never be heard again. The times are a changing. Whether or not the change is merely a fad remains to be seen. Are we, as a community, going to stop allowing the weak and infirmed an opportunity to live life to its fullest even when the maximum of their “living” is nearly exclusively within their minds? Are they allowed to live when they consume many more resources than they provide… even though when, in their youth, they took nearly no resources?

I openly rebuke people, good intentioned people, mind you, some of whom I love dearly but who claim to be pro-life and expect that life to be in a pharmacological stupor that facilitates not only the patient’s acceptance of her corporeal incarceration but callously facilitates the exploitation of the infirmed by big businesses that provide adequate nursing care at the most effective cost desirable. Let’s make some money off of gran’ma’s death. Why the fuck else would we allow nursing homes (and healthcare in general) to be for-profit institutions? Are we so callous to deny life to the beautiful people who have been especial gifts to our very existences? But I digress…

Yes, it was a pleasure to witness Grandmother’s similar transition… with dignity; although, there were instances of familial conflict, right? But it was/is a conflict of wanting to do what’s best for Gran’ma. Case in point:

My mother just told me another story. (She, too, is slowly preparing to retire terrestrially, so she’s telling me my oral history… and she has many, many stories that are unraveling the pretty packages that had previously swaddled some memories in more appealing wrappings in an attempt to disguise that fact that the memory is simply, like nearly all gifts, cheap bric-a-brac, but, again, I digress…)

Before Gran’ma’s final transition, she was moved to a peaceful small Georgian town that is perfect for who gran’ma was. I imagine she felt safe; regardless, she was often surrounded by family, and I know she liked that.

One day, my mother, the nurse with years of hands-on nursing experience, was asked to sit with Gran’ma Alice, which she did because she loved her mother-in-law, who, incidentally, was my mother’s patron when my mother converted to Catholicism. Fact is that my mother’s conversion was very important to my grandmother and is still very important to my mother (who would love to go more regularly to Saturday evening mass but hasn’t the strength most of the time… which is yet another thing that vexes me as a quadriplegic unable to assuage my mother’s hidden grief, but I digress…)

As they sat together in the living room, my mother asked my grandmother what she wanted to do. My grandmother simply wanted to sit on the front porch. Nothing to it. Sure gran’ma was feeble; sure she could’ve tripped; sure it would’ve been no problem to simply tell my gran’ma that the doctor told her not to overexert herself and that she should just watch TV. I am sure one of her “favorite” shows was on; besides, she’d forget in time.

I guess my mother thought, “How would I like to be treated if I were her right now?” Duh! She would want assistance to the front porch. Gran’ma wanted to talk to God, not half-heartedly listen to Dick van Dyke’s diagnosing homicide or Angela Landsbury’s penning murderous intentions, so my mother, who worked years in a nursing home, had the experience to help her mother-in-law to the front porch.

A train passed about one hundred yards in front of her wicker seat. (The tracks have since been removed.) I imagine that each clickity-clack of the railroad track sent her back to the time she and Gran’pa Taylor—whom I never got to know—danced to Harry James live (according to my father’s memory… he says that Harry James came to Muncie, Indiana in his youth). Regardless, she danced to the records of Glenn Miller and the myriad big bands of the era when trains were the metaphor for American Freedom.

I can’t effectively imagine what my ma and my gran’ma talked about; they were alone without any interference from their husbands or children, two women with life experience wondering, pondering, musing. “Remember the time that…”

Not too long after the train’s departure, another kin pulled into the driveway and immediately questioned gran’ma’s potentially dangerous sitting on the front porch watching the neighborhood’s limited flora and fauna. “The doctor told you to stay in bed.” (Actually, the doctor told her not to overexert herself, not to stop living.)

Obviously, both caregivers really loved gran’ma, but which approach was better… and for whom? I imagine that living at the end of WWII was one of the most exciting times for our species ever, and I am sure that Gran’ma is in Heaven now, still fondly reminiscing her sitting on the front porch with my mother; I am just as sure that she simply ignores the memories of being incarcerated in bed simply because she might fall, lying under the comforter or waiting for death in her easy chair watching Wheel of Fortune and wondering why the winning phrase is simply a bunch of meaningless words.

My mother worked in a nursing home, the same nursing home that allowed me and a couple friends to sing to their adorable residents for around a decade, which I miss sorely; they loved us… not because we were any good (although we were) but because we loved them; we received unimaginable gifts of gratitude simply for treating them as human beings instead of as a meaningless means of income.

One day, my mother asked one of her residents what she missed most in life. “Making my own breakfast” was her immediate reply. Problem is that there’s a hot stove involved and knives and forks and slippery floors. She might trip. The administration could not, in good conscience, allow her the gift for which she wished, so her request was denied. Again, we too easily anticipate failure, so we make the inevitable and steady deterioration of growing old easier by taking the path of least resistance. The only problem is that we, as a society, favor one group over another. The group that wants economic expediency is the first group; the other is a group of people who want to die while they are living (the people who want to rage against the coming night instead of acquiescing to the Grim Reaper in a pharmacological stupor) along with people who enjoy giving them that opportunity, the kind of nursing I prefer. That is the question for future generations to ponder, at least until the death of mortality is eradicated: how do we deal with corporal entropy? It seems to depend on what pursuit of happiness appeals to the majority, I guess. Good luck with that.

Peace Through Music


Do For The Others
by Stephen Stills

Round, round, up and down
All along the lonely town
See him sinkin' low
Doesn't see the joy there is to know
And he cries from the misery
And he lies singin' harmony
She is gone there is no tomorrow
It is done so now here must borrow
The life of his brothers
And living in sorrow
Must do for the others

A chill wind hits his face
Was that a tear I thought I saw a trace?
Loving people everywhere
Where is she? 
She is not there
And he cries from the misery
And he lies singin' harmony
She is gone there is no tomorrow
It is done so now here must borrow
The life of his brothers
And living in sorrow
Must do for the others

Ooh, ooh hm



Abel 2, Inc.

Mission Statement: To enhance the Quality of Life of People with Disabilities and the Under-served by Creating Music and Arts opportunities for Employment and Enjoyment!


  • Are you a Performing Artist (singer, dancer, musician, actor, comedian, poet, etc.)?
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Abel 2 wants you to promote your talent!

We are in the process of building a database of performing artists with disabilities who reside in the Southeast. Send us the contact name and information on our "Contact Us" page or email us at Abel2Nonprofit@aol.com. Be sure to include your talent, level of experience, head shot, and video of one of your performances. Click on banner for more info about Abel 2 or click the photo of Myrna Clayton, artistic/executive director for Abel 2.

Serious Accolades... Tuskegee

The Columbus Jazz Society has quite a few “Faves,” i.e. area musicians who simply blow our minds. CJS has actively sought to highlight musicians from Columbus, Atlanta, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Opelika, and Auburn, and these musicians are beyond amazing; it makes me wonder about the quality of technologically assisted music by people who, like I, have no clue about complex music theory but can take a simple melody and make a profit from a purchasing public that understands music viscerally sans intellect.

Two of the Columbus Jazz Society’s “Faves” are Dr. David Banks and Bill Perry, both from Tuskegee. David is the leader of the gospel-Jazz ensemble the David Banks Gospel Jazz Revue . He and his band have performed many unforgettable evenings of really groovy music at The Loft, The Montgomery Library of Fine Arts, the Jule Collins Smith Museum in Auburn, and all throughout the southeast. He is also the current president of the Columbus Jazz Society and has performed countless hours supporting music and musicians throughout the southeast. David is a must-see when he plays his toe-tappin’, feel good style of music.

I’ve told the following story about Bill Perry so many times, but there may be at least one reader who may not have heard it, so…

For a time, the Columbus Jazz Society held its monthly jazz jam at the historic Liberty Theater in downtown Columbus, GA. (Incidentally, the Columbus Jazz Society is working on revisiting our monthly jam; hopefully, it will include Columbus State University.) I recall Bill Perry’s walking into the venue, an unassuming man who tacitly strolled to the sign-up table to request playing “My Funny Valentine,” and I actually heard an audible but muffled groan from more than one person. 

You see, the song “My Funny Valentine” (like “Summertime”) is one of those songs that is really popular, a song that seem easy to perform (especially by singers) but are really complex to the extent that the number takes a tragic turn towards the abysmal. Many neophytes simply butcher the song.

So the jam begins. When the time comes, Bill Perry’s name is called, and he casually strolls to the stage area. He announces that he wants to play “My Funny Valentine,” and, again, soft murmurs rolled like an ineffective thunderclap just below the ceiling before sneaking out the front door and into the Universe. In his introduction, Bill acknowledged the song’s reputation, but he insisted.

The song began, and it was immediately obvious that Bill has skills, but when it came time for his solo, Bill threw down some serious musicianship; in fact, the rest of the band actually stopped playing. The venue was silent save Bill’s improvisation as he tickled nearly all 88 keys with the digital dexterity of a magician’s legerdemain. His solo ended with raucous approval. Bill Perry introduced himself to the Columbus Jazz Society with meteoric success, and he’s been a staple jazz musician since. 

So why are we spotlighting these two amazing musicians? 

The Jazzonian proudly announces that Dr. David Banks and Bill Perry have been inducted into the Tuskegee Music Hall of Fame. Congratulations.

From Tuskegee University’s website, verbatim...
Dr. David Banks, who was born in Ghana, West Africa but grew up in Tuskegee, is classically trained and has enriched audiences for 45 years with his jazz, R&B, country and Top 40 dance talents. In 1982, Banks made a full commitment to the ministry of gospel music, but added a jazz component — thereby making him one of the few gospel-jazz artists in the world. He has played with such greats as Ramsey Lewis, B.B. King, Maynard Ferguson, Bar-Kays and the Duke Ellington Band (under the direction of Mercer Ellington), and many others. Currently, he is an instructor at Tuskegee University, president of the Columbus Georgia Jazz Society, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Jazz and Blues Federation. 

Willie “Bill” Perry, who was born in Aiken, South Carolina and grew up in Thomson, Georgia, is a musician with a mission. By the age of 6, he decided he wanted to play music when he grew up. He followed in his sister Barbara’s footsteps and attended Tuskegee Institute, where he majored in architecture and minored in music. As a young musician, he played in local bands — learning all he could and developing a unique piano style. He discovered writing and arranging music in the style of Quincy Jones, which opened his eyes to diverse musical fields. Perry is the resident composer of the Tuskegee Repertory Theatre, as well as plays keyboard for the jazz group Smoke, Panama City’s Straight Up Jazz Trio, and other regionally renowned jazz groups. He has appeared with such greats as vocalist and film star Harry Belafonte, Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Holiday, and R&B legend Peggy Scott Adams.

The Columbus Jazz Society congratulates the two recipients on the well-deserved honors and is excited that they are part of our society’s mission to bring live jazz music to the southeast.

Peace Through Music 


Serious Accolades... Atlanta

The Columbus Jazz Society has been extant since the mid-80s, and we’ve heard many amazing musicians (CJS “Faves”), but are you aware that we’ve highlighted Grammy winners? Yes, Kevin Bales (piano) and Mace Hibbard (sax) have Grammy creds! But wait; there’s more!

Kevin Bales, along with Keri Johnsrud , recently recorded a tribute to the Music of Mr. Rogers’ songs that Kevin arranged with jazzonian intrigue. “Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Mr. Rogers,” is a musical homage to Mr. Rogers wherein Kevin and Keri celebrate the iconic educator of human urbanity, and the recording has been nominated for a Grammy. Congrats to Kevin, Keri, and their band for a magnificent recording.

Incidentally, I went to see Kevin and the band earlier this year. In fact, here’s my journal entry from June 24, 2018:


I went to The Loft earlier this evening and listened to Kevin Bale’s CD release party. His band was excellent; in fact, it was probably the best band that’s played jazz at The Loft; although, the venue has had serious musicians, so my encomiastic laud may very well be inflated because I’m still riding high on the euphoria I experienced while watching these cats perform.


But wait! There’s more!

Joe Gransden is another Columbus Jazz Society “Faves” for sometime now; he’s even played for a CJS fundraiser. The really groovy aspect of our society’s relationship with Joe is that he’s famous… “Jazz” famous but famous nonetheless. He may not be on the cover of Superfluity magazine, but, as I understand it, he is one of Clint Eastwood’s musical preferences. Joe has two recordings up for Grammy nominations, both of which he recorded with his awesome big band orchestra: “Go Getta” and “The Christmas Song.” I jes cain’t he’p but be geeked ‘cause I have met this incredible musician and others who have journeyed to Columbus, Georgia to share their talents with us. They dig our city, and we have been fans of theirs for a seeming eternity. Congrats to Joe and Kevin and Keri; hope to hear you soon.

Peace Through Music


“Joe is a young man with and old soul and a classic voice. He is a great new talent with a wonderful sense of humor to boot. And don’t forget, he plays a hell of a trumpet!”
---Clint Eastwood
Every note on this album is just. so. right. Beautifully shaped jazz, tinged with the nostalgia of childhood (for many of us, anyway). Keri Johnsrud has a voice like melted caramel, and Kevin Bales is the absolute, understated master of his instrument.

I think children will enjoy this, but it isn't what I normally think of as a children's album. You could play this when you're hosting your dinner party, or having a romantic evening, and this music would be just perfect.
---Amazon Review 


I'm No Music Critic, But...
a bit o' encomium for Annie Sellick
I write this essay on Thanksgiving Day, and Annie Sellick is singing exclusively for me at this very moment, here in my bedroom through the magical speakers that showcase her bodiless voice straight to my emotional center where it gently stirs the melting pot of my joyful Christmas cheer. She is lyrically warbling her heart-warming “Let’s Make A Christmas Memory,” and the sweetness that this song invokes cheers the embers of my soul as they slowly, heavily, heave their lithe orange-and-black glowing energy with the graceful and rhythmic gaiety of dancing sugarplums. Why this song isn’t a Christmas Classic is beyond me. Have you heard it? Check it out. Seriously. For me, this song ranks right up there with the best of Karen Carpenter but slightly edgier and with tons of… and I don’t want to get into trouble here, but Annie possesses an invigorating lust for life that reminds us that a bit of feral energy is healthy. OK. ‘Nuff said. The fact remains that her song “Let’s Make Christmas A Memory” is necessary for my personal eclectic Christmas playlist. (As a matter of fact, the song playing right now is an Irish tune from the Middle Ages, a tune played an a lute.) I strongly recommend that you not only listen to Annie’s song (that has NO association with John Denver) but to share it with the folks you truly love. If that doesn’t strengthen your relationship, nothing will.

Peace Through Music



My Muse Muses
Hemp-Inspired Rhetoric

Wouldn’t it be cool if I existed in Georgia in the days of the War for Independence from English authoritarianism, maybe a woman (a writer as an observer, not a politician)—I’d like to think that I’d be wearing that almost-hair-net-kinda-lookin’ bonnet, sky blue with white trim and a comfortable(?) dress, donning a delicate pair of glasses as recently invented by Ben Franklin, sitting at a simple round wooden table, a quill, the ink, a fireplace, dinner is over and I’m as content as humanly possible as I write…

The Chicago Bears just scored a touchdown, and the player who was on the team that maintained possession of the ball when the touchdown was recognized by the men refereeing the game… that single individual—he who had tactile physical possession of the stitched leathern football—slammed the ball down with the supercilious ridiculousness of a Donald Trump rant about being treated unfairly. He then danced around like an epileptic peacock around a player on the opposing team who skittered away in humiliating defeat, yelping rather distasteful vitriol about exacting swift and militantly aggressive revenge.

And we wonder why our nation is as it is.

Peace Through Music




Lethean Stream of Consciousness

Hillary’s Email. Lock her up. Fake news. Benghazi. Ebola. The “caravan” of disease infested criminals invading our nation’s southern border until the mid-term election. War on drugs. Voter suppression. Three strikes and you’re out. Climate change as a “Chinese hoax.” Southern Strategy. Gerrymandering. The mid-term “Red Wave.” Denying press passes to reporters. Mitch McConnell. Trump steaks. Bill O'Reilly. Not paying contractor bills. Rush Limbaugh. The Muslim ban. Grabbing pussies. The wall... with a nice front door. I know the best words. Stable genius. Not visiting Arlington on Memorial Day... twice. Being publicly humiliated by French President Emmanuel Macron. Being publicly humiliated by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Blaming California's wildfires on the state's mismanagement. Supporting Nazis as “good people.” Being humiliated by Finnish president Sauli Niinistö for “raking” forest fires. Driving his golf cart on the putting greens. The Central Park Five. Five time draft dodger. Reproaching military Navy Seal who brought down Saddam Hussein and killed Osama Bin Laden. Reproaching a Gold Star family. Tax break for the ludicrously wealthy. Record breaking governmental debt... reaching a trillion dollars. Trade wars. Failed Trickle Down economics. Government deregulation... since Reagan and including Clinton. The rise of white supremacy. Democrats voting then going to their cars to change their shirts and hats to vote again. Stormy Daniels. Karen McDougal. Bill Clinton's taking advantage of an intern. The firing of James Comey because of the Russian Investigation. Calling lifetime Republican Robert Mueller a Democrat. Cover up of the gruesome murder of a green-card holding immigrant journalist for a U.S. newspaper. Separating babies from their mothers. Brett Kavanagh. Mexicans are rapists and murderers. Matt Whittaker. Birth certificate fiasco. Jeff Sessions. You're fired. Lindsey Graham. Trump's public complaining about Obama's taking too many vacation days. Sean Hannidy. Trump's profitable boarding of foreign officials at Trump Towers. Roger Ailes. Trump's bombing of Syria without congressional approval. Rupert Murdock. Trump's excessive executive orders. Harvey Weinstein. Weapons of Mass Destruction. The illegal invasion of Iraq. Waterboarding. Dick Cheney. Donald Rumsfield. For-profit prisons. For-profit healthcare. Citizens United. The Koch brothers. The Mercer brothers. Golden showers. John Bolton. Tax evasion. Fake billionaire status. Insipid coiffure. Maria Butina. Trump's wanting to create a joint cybersecurity task force with Russia. Cohen. A see-through wall to protect 'mericans from catapulted bales of illegal drugs. Paul Manaforte. Trump's desire to forcibly expropriate Iraq's oil. Trump's desire to remove LGBT from the voluntary military. Desire to appoint judges who claim exclusive loyalty to the Old Testament. General John F. Kelly. Trump's deriding London mayor Sadiq Kahn for terrorist attacks. Gerald Ford's pardoning of Richard Nixon. Unnecessarily sending troops to the border during Thanksgiving holiday. Kellyanne Conway. Tarriffs that hurt farmers. The eight-year-old style of Trumpian tweet about Senator Adam Schitt [sic]. “Low IQ” Maxine Waters. I am president, and you're not. Water is wet. Claiming John Lewis is not a civil rights hero. Only I can fix the government. Death penalty for women who have abortions with impunity for the male partner in the crime. White Jesus. White Santa. War on Christmas. Meagan Kelly. McCain’s NOT being a war hero. John Kerry's NOT being a war hero. Trump University… and a small mushroom-like penis surrounded by Yeti pubes.

These are the results of maintaining the status quo… well, except the penis thing… that’s a speculation I really have no desire to verify… but it is comic.

And both sides do it?

This is why I try not to debate prepubescent sensibilities about the veracity of Santa Claus. 

Peace Through Music



Word Origins
Charlatan :

A charlatan and chatter [like DJ Trump and ignorance] are inseparable, even perhaps in the etymology of charlatan. According to one explanation, charlatan goes back through French to Italian ciarlatano, “mountebank, fraud,” from the word ciarlare, “to chatter.” Another explanation would derive charlatan from the Italian word cerretano, “an inhabitant of Cerreto, a quack,” the village of Cerreto being noted for its charlatans. It seems, however, that both ciarlare and cerretano have been involved in the formation of the Italian word. The first example of the English word and of its earliest recorded sense, “huckster, especially of medicines, who gives his pitch to a crowd; mountebank,” is found in 1618. The sense familiar to us, “a person pretending to skill or knowledge,” is first recorded in 1809.



Bad Joke of the Week

How do you fix a broken brass instrument? With a tuba glue.



Apothegmatic Axioms of the Month

Caveat: These aphoristic tweets may seem redundant because I have already posted many to facebook, but in my defense: I write essays throughout the month prior to their posting. I feel it imperative to voice my opposition to the status quo in real time. The reason I am reprinting them is so you, my dear reader, have time to ruminate their content:
If “Pro-Lifers” seriously want to eliminate a majority of abortions in our nation, simply vote for politicians who promote free healthcare to everybody.
—SSTJazzVocalist

If you find out that your favorite restaurant waters down its ketchup, it’s time to investigate other culinary options. “Put down your fork and walk away.”
—SSTJazzVocalist

I wonder (and haplessly giggle) how any cogent woman or man feels about overtly supporting someone who is just plain, straight-up stupid, especially when the insipid charlatan claims to be the only stable genius to do… ANYTHING.
—SSTJazzVocalist

Can anyone think of one word to describe anyone who, despite his overt lack of a moral compass and embarrassing lack of mental acuity, still supports Trump? Anybody? Hillary?
—SSTJazzVocalist

Donald Trump’s phantasmagoric “red wave” was effectively “walled” by the blue-tsunamic cleanser of a progressive majority that digs humane social behavior.
—SSTJazzVocalist

Finally, academics are now running for political offices that, since Reagan, have been only chased by business people looking to fatten their coffers.
—SSTJazzVocalist

I’ve noticed that the largest faction of voters who are motivated to eliminate “illegal immigrants” are insecure men who claim that the “illegals” are coming for their jobs! As if these pasty-white men, like Mitch McConnell, have ever got dirt underneath their fingernails. These cats aren’t afraid of losing jobs; they’re afraid of losing their women to swarthy men who make their women swoon by simply smiling.
—SSTJazzVocalist

Democrats who voted early did so out of a concern that their votes may be repressed. Republicans voted early out of a concern that credible news may surface to discredit their preferred illegitimate politician; they would then have an excuse for voting so irresponsibly for a candidate who is not only unqualified but of highly overt moral dearth.
—SSTJazzVocalist

I really need Medicaid; well, only if I want to prolong my life. The question is whether I deserve many more resources than I have put into the system. If the status quo remains extant, the business-like modus operandus that motives policy justifies euthanasia. If Georgia didn’t deny me the Medicaid that ADA promised me, I would be much healthier than I am. If Stacy Abrams fails to become governor of Georgia and strengthens Medicaid in my state, I will die more quickly than without it. My life is on the ballot. For the folks who vote for the status quo because the economy is in their favor, I hope you spend your #bloodmoney by focusing on your shiny new merchandise, whatever it is. My death will be forgotten a fortnight after I am cremated. Have a prosperous life.
—SSTJazzVocalist

Here’s an idea: Have savants manually count the votes in every election, the magical humans who can do incredible things like accurately counting incredibly high numbers of anything in the matter of seconds but find the use of money an ineffable enigma.
—SSTJazzVocalist

Why I Hate Trump
  • Insults Against...
  • Mexicans
  • The disabled
  • China
  • Veterans
  • Women
  • Muslims
  • Sexual assault victims
  • African-Americans
  • Donald Trump's mansion and Saddam Hussein's are basically the same. (Vanity Fair)
  • The people Trump has hired:
  • David Friedman, ambassador to Israel: Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, Friedman believes that Barack Obama is anti-Semitic; that Israel has a legal right to annex the occupied West Bank; that liberal American Jews who disagree with him are “far worse than kapos,” i.e., Jews who carried out Nazi orders during the Holocaust.
  • The Reverend Jamie Johnson, director of community outreach, Department of Homeland Security: To work with skeptical faith-based communities, Trump picked Johnson, a conservative talk-radio host who’d argued that “Islam is not our friend” and that “America’s black community” had “turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use, and sexual promiscuity.” (Johnson resigned in November 2017.)
  • Steve Kingambassador to the Czech Republic: As a security guard for Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, King was accused of keeping Martha Mitchell, wife of then–AG John Mitchell, in a hotel room — so she wouldn’t talk to the press about Watergate — and holding her down while she was injected with a sedative.
  • Hypocrisy
  • On golf – Before moving into the Oval Office, Trump tweeted his outrage about Barack Obama’s “excessive” golfing (27 times). As president, Trump has visited a golf resort roughly one out of every four days.
  • On travel – Trump found it scandalous that taxpayers were forced to finance Obama’s travels and pledged that as president he wouldn’t take vacations “because there’s so much work to be done.” In his first 26 weeks in office, Trump left the White House for the weekend 21 times. His family’s travel expenses are on pace to substantially exceed the Obamas’ (and Trump pockets a chunk of that change by channeling it into his own properties).
  • On Syria – In 2013, Trump tweeted that bombing the Assad regime for its apparent chemical-weapons attack would be “bad,” but if Obama was set on it, it’d be a “big mistake” not to first get congressional approval. Obama didn’t, in the end, order a strike. In April 2017, Trump ordered a strike against Syria without congressional approval.
  • On executive orders – In 2012, Trump castigated Obama’s “major power grabs.” In April 2017, the White House boasted to the AP that Trump would sign 32 executive orders in his first 100 days, “the most of any president … since World War II.”
  • Trump believes that 'meriKKKa should...
  • Form a joint cybersecurity task force with the nation (Russia) that had just used cyberattacks to influence the U.S. Election.
  • Give the president power to “challenge” the broadcast license of any news network that he deems irresponsible.
  • Make “the wall” see-through so immigration agents don’t get crushed: “When they throw the large sacks of drugs over … you don’t see them — they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over.” (Drugs really are, occasionally, catapulted into the U.S. But there have been no reports of agents getting beaned.)
  • Forcibly expropriate Iraq’s oil: “If we kept the oil, you probably wouldn’t have ISIS, because that’s where they made their money in the first place,” Trump remarked to a CIA audience. “So we should have kept the oil. But, okay, maybe we’ll have another chance.”
  • Ban transgender Americans from the military: The glacial pace of the president’s multi-part policy tweets brought panic to the Pentagon last July: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow … ,” Trump wrote. He did not complete his thought for nine minutes — and America’s top military officials scrambled to ascertain whether the president was about to declare war on North Korea. To their relief, he was merely declaring thousands of U.S. troops unfit for service while falsely suggesting that “generals” told him to.
  • After filling his administration with racist incompetents whose main qualification was loyalty to Donald Trump, the president-elect chose to publicly pressure Prime Minister Theresa May to appoint the far-right Nigel Farage as U.K. ambassador to the U.S. The British government politely explained the job was already taken; Farage became a Fox News commentator instead.
  • The morning of the London Bridge bombing, Mayor Sadiq Khan told his constituents not to be “alarmed” if they noticed an “increased police presence,” as it was merely precautionary. Trump’s twisted translation? “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed.’ ”
  • In late November, the president decided to push out three videos from Britain First, an anti-Muslim hate group, with titles including “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Muslim Migrant Beats Up Dutch Boy on Crutches!” (The “Muslim migrant” was actually just another Dutch boy.) After May’s office scolded him, Trump wrote to a Twitter account belonging to a different Theresa May, “Theresa, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”

I generally choose my words very carefully, so when I use the word hate, I mean it; the dude is deplorable. At least I can find solace in the Rude Pundit, who seems to find the usurper of the presidency as deplorable as I:

I [write my opinions] not because I want to excuse Trump's racism on a personal level, but as a way of trying to explain to racist Trump voters why they are racists even if, in their hearts, they believe they have no issue with people of other races. That part doesn't matter if you helped put someone in office who regularly says racist things and regularly, deliberately does things that target non-whites, including the Muslim travel ban, the savage immigration policies, and the attacks on African Americans who protest violence against them. You can't say, "I believe that everything Trump is doing is making America great again" and then follow that with "But I'm not racist" because that's plainly a lie.
—The Rude Pundit

After Barr said that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett looked like an ape, several people responded by pointing out how Bill Maher and many others have said that Donald Trump looks like an orangutan. Of course, that's because of his hair and weird tan, both things he chooses. Believe it or not, he wasn't born orange.
—The Rude Pundit

You wanna call that prejudice? Fine. You're right. You've nailed me. I am prejudiced against racists. I don't think those people (yes, "those people") should have a voice in the public sphere. They should be treated as pariahs, mocked, and condemned until they are too ashamed to say those things out loud. You have free speech, sure, and the rest of us have the free speech to say that you are pathetic and have stopped the human race from advancing and that you should be accountable for the horrible things you say and do. Because, see, you're a racist.
—The Rude Pundit



Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Sunday, December 2 at ST James Live in Atlanta, Carol Albert will sing starting at 7 pm ET. Fo' mo' info about Carol, visit her website by clicking here.
  • Tuesday, December 4 at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, Robert Cray will perform beginning at 8 pm. Fo' mo' info 'bout Mr. Robert, visit his website by clicking here.
  • Thursday, December 6 at Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, Robert Glasper will perform beginning at 8 pm. Fo' mo' info 'bout Mr. Robert, visit his website by clicking here.
  • Monday, December 10 at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Wynton Marsalis will perform. Fo' mo' info 'bout Mr. Wynton, visit his website by clicking here.
  • Saturday, December 15 starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, the MCoE Holiday Concert will be presented. For over 50 years, the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band has taken great pride in entertaining the soldiers, military families, and civilians of the Fort Benning, Columbus, and Phenix City communities. The Band’s performances create esprit de corps among soldiers and veterans, as well as provide patriotic spirit within the civilian community. Currently, the MCoE Band, with its eight performing groups, accomplishes over 500 military missions a year in support of the military and civilian communities in and around Fort Benning. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Monday, December 17 starting at 7:30 pm at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas will be in town. I know it ain't jazz, but I really dig Chip Davis' musical prowess. According to the venue's website: "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 30 years! Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics along with a selection of compositions from Chip’s groundbreaking Fresh Aire series, which introduced the distinctive Mannheim sound to all of America. Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with dazzling multimedia effects and the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller!" Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Thursday and Friday, December 20 and 21 at the City Winery in Atlanta, Dwele will play starting at 7 pm ET. Fo' mo' info, visit Dwele's website by clicking here.
  • Saturday, January, 19 2019 starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, Kenny Brawner will channel the spirit of Ray Charles. According to the venue's website: "This concert/theatre work brings the music and the story of the great Ray Charles to vivid life! Portraying Ray, master pianist/vocalist Kenny Brawner leads his 12-piece orchestra and three sultry vocalists (a la the Raelettes) performing this American legend’s most popular hits: “What’d I Say?,” “I Got a Woman,” “Mess Around,” “Georgia On My Mind,” a blazing hot duet on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and many more! The music is interwoven with monologues depicting how gospel, blues, jazz and country influenced Ray’s style, while also reflecting on American social history, his epic battle with drugs, and his triumphant return home to Georgia." Fo' mo' info, click here.



A Little Lunch Music
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts
Auburn, Alabama


On Thursdays at Noon, make a lunch date with the finest musicians from our region and beyond. A Little Lunch Music is an informal, come-and-go performance presented by JCSM and coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It features national and international performers as well as professionals and students from Auburn University and the surrounding areas. You can sit in and listen to the entire performance, dine in the Museum Cafe from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., browse the Museum Shop, or explore the galleries.

* * *

  • Thursday, August 23 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features Boyun Kim. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. On Thursday, August 23, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery, the series will present a free concert by gayageum player Boyun Kim. The gayageum is a traditional Korean stringed instrument. The program will feature music by Byeong-ho Kim, Seong-cheon Lee, Yu-dong Ko, Geon-yong Lee as well as traditional and popular music from Korea, France, and the US. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible.
  • Thursday, August 30 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features pianist Mary Staton. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. Pianist Mary Slaton will perform August 30. Her specialty is playing lush arrangements of standards and popular songs from most of the 20th century.
  • Thursday, September 13 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features pianist Vadim Serebryany. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. Pianist Vadim Serebryany, on the music faculty at Ithaca College in New York and formerly with Huntingdon College, will return to the series to perform on September 13. He will perform music from the canon of classical piano repertoire. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, September 27 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features pianist David Bottoms. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance. On September 27, David Bottoms, a pianist, composer, and investment manager, will perform a tribute to the victims of 9/11. He performs the memorial program annually on September 11 for Bargemusic, a concert series in a renovated 1899 coffee barge just under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
  • Thursday, October 4 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features a showcase. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. On October 4, the series will become part of Showcase, the Work of Creative Scholarship. Elizabeth Benson is on the school's Department of Theatre faculty, and will present a lecture-recital of songs by Tom Cipullo. Benson will share the program with Alyssa Ross, who is faculty in the Department of English. Ross will do a poetry reading, "Women of The Harvard Observatory." Showcase: The Work of Creative Scholarship celebrates the very best creative work of Auburn University faculty and students in the fields of fine art, applied art and design, performing arts, creative writing and other related disciplines. The exhibition is on view Sept. 28 through Oct. 14.
  • Thursday, October 11 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features saxophonist Michael Pendowski. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. Auburn saxophone professor Michael Pendowski will lead a chamber music performance on October 11. His program is titled, "Jazz Influences in Classical Saxophone Music," and will involve guest artist J. P. Pendowski on piano and Auburn faculty violinist Guy Harrison. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, October 18 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features Auburn Indian Music Ensemble. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. A regular installment of the series, the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble will return on October 18. The group is led by Chaitra Gururaj and combines community and student musicians as well as non-musicians, learning traditional music of India and performing on authentic Indian instruments. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, October 25 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features KKR Trio. William Ransom directs the piano program at Emory University. He has appeared on the series before, and returns on October 28 with the KKR Trio to perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97, or “Archduke Trio.” He will be joined by violinist Helen Kim and cellist Charae Krueger.
  • Thursday, November 1 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features guest vocalists. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. On November 1, visiting faculty from Mississippi State University will perform a program of vocal music. Guest artists will be soprano Jeannette Fontaine, soprano Roza Tulyaganova, and pianist Christy Lee. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, November 8 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Night Music features Samford University's String Quartet. The Samford University String Quartet, members of the school’s music faculty, will perform an eclectic program of traditional repertoire and new music on November 8. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, November 15 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features Brazilian concert pianist Alessandra Feris performing a program of Latin American music.
  • Thursday, November 29 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features a mixed recital. On November 29, recent Auburn University graduates, soprano Jin Lee and pianist Christian McGee, will join saxophonist and Auburn University senior Nikolai Klotchkov for a mixed recital. All have performed for the series in recent years.
  • Thursday, December 6 from noon 'til one pm, A Little Lunch Music features flutist Stephanie Payne. On November 29, recent Auburn University graduates, soprano Jin Lee and pianist Christian McGee, will join saxophonist and Auburn University senior Nikolai Klotchkov for a mixed recital. All have performed for the series in recent years.

Fo' mo' info on A Little Lunch Music, click here .




Make Concert Stages Accessible

Peace and Love
The next time you go see a live musical group, check out the stage. Does it have a wheelchair ramp leading from the audience to the stage or are their steps? Is there a wheelchair ramp backstage? Is there handicapped parking where the performers load and unload? Chances are that the venue doesn’t provide these accommodations. It’s like this: my biggest challenge as a quadriplegic jazz vocalist is finding accessible stages on which to perform. I was once raised up to a five-foot high stage using a forklift and a wooden palette because the stage was not wheelchair accessible. Fortunately, I didn’t die. Point is that there are
few wheelchair accessible stages; otherwise, I’d sing much more often.

It’s easy to see why this isn’t a mainstream problem: there are few “physically challenged” performers, but that’s merely an excuse encouraged by indifference. We handicapped performers exist and are eager to share our dreams with fans who dig what we do. But why are we unconsciously ignored? That’s easy: Being unable to perform even the most rudimentary acts of daily living is a major downer; the wheelchair, quite frankly, is a symbol of lost hope. Let’s face it; it’s a marketing problem, and this is where you come in to save the day.

Physical handicaps are wrapped in lugubrious imagery, but not every moment of life in a wheelchair is steeped in mournful decay. Believe it or not, I laugh every day… some days more than others, but if life were perfect, I, for one, would take a bite of forbidden fruit to find some excitement from the decay of entropy (the hypothetical tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity). What I’m trying so desperately to connote here is the fact that having a physical challenge can, at times, be fun and inspirational. What we need is positive imagery, and here’s where I ask for a favor from you, dear reader, and it has to do with social media, more specifically, using the ubiquitous #hashtag: will you help by coming up with a #hashtag meme that has positive connotations for the handicapped and send it to me. This could be fun. Maybe I can come up with prizes for creative contributions. Regardless, this could be the beginning of a social movement that witnesses an outcry of creative energy by talented people who have difficulty overcoming the obstacles that are hidden from people who can hop out of bed running full tilt. By the way, I’ve come up with a possible #hashtag meme that might work: #FantastAbility. What do you think?

The gauntlet has been dropped. Do you accept the challenge? Please reply to this email with as many suggestions as you want, and challenge your friends as well. Let’s see if we can extend this conversation internationally. (Actually, when you send in your suggestions, include the name of your hometown city. We’ll see how far this request goes.) Let’s make the wheelchair a symbol of fun… or grace… or intelligence… or, dare I say it? Let’s make the wheelchair Sexy!

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Jazz Etiquette 

There are few absolutes in life, but this is a definite one: do not stand in front of the bandstand playing air guitar, air trumpet, air bass, or air drums. This activity irritates the musicians. It is disrespectful to both musicians and fellow listeners. It also makes the air player look like... well, there's really no need to spell this one out. Please, save those air moves for the National Air Guitar Championships held annually in Las Vegas.

In today’s society, texting is as ubiquitous as sunshine is to day. Please, do not text while watching live jazz; if you're not into the performance, leave. Along the same line, turn off the cell phone. If you are so important that you cannot miss calls, perhaps you - and everyone else in the audience – would be better served if you did not go to hear live music. If you'd get upset watching somebody else do it then it's wrong for you, too.

Try not to get up and walk out in the middle of a song. It is rude, akin to walking away from someone who is speaking directly to you. Likewise, please refrain from talking during the music. No one came out to hear about your day. More often than not, other audience members came to hear the music.

Most jazz musicians and seasoned listeners will agree that it is acceptable to clap after the solos that each musician takes. However, it is a good idea to keep this applause to an enthusiastic minimum because the next musician usually has already well begun her solo. By the time the claps and cheers fade, the audience has missed a good section of the next solo. Be a good listener. Learn to notice the interaction amongst musicians on stage. An understanding of their communication with each other will help novice listeners, and those not familiar with the song, to learn when the song has ended. Clap, cheer, whistle, or shout, after the last notes of the song are played, not during.

The most important rule of etiquette when it comes to live jazz deals with the type of common sense your grandmother believes you possess: be respectful. Other than that, have fun. Jazz is inclusive and strongly embraces peaceful harmony. It is the type of music that demands active listening to maximize the musical experience to its most positive conclusion. If you have an uncontrollable urge to get aggressively plastered, go listen to a more kitsch musical performance. Hardly anyone there will notice.

Peace Through Music

Interesting Blogs and Websites by Interesting People

  • A Blog by Dallas Smith
  • A Blog by Susan E. Mazer
  • Collaborating since 1984, Susan E. Mazer and Dallas Smith create some of the finest contemporary instrumental music available. Our compositions for harp and woodwinds merge the aesthetics of jazz, classical, and world music into an experience that feeds both the intellect and spirit. Extending beyond the boundaries of genre, our unique sound has a richness in melody, rhythm and sonority. Visit their website by clicking here.
  • Now available in more than 750 healthcare facilities in the U.S. and Asia, The C.A.R.E. Channel’s stunning nature video and original instrumental music provide a therapeutic tool for use at the patient bedside, waiting areas, and public spaces in acute care hospitals, residential care facilities, hospice/palliative care units, cancer centers, children’s hospitals, and rehabilitation centers.
  • The Rude Pundit - Proudly lowering the level of political discourse.
  • Randy Hoexter is a jazz pianist, composer and educator living in Atlanta. He is currently the Director of Education at the Atlanta Institute of Music. His recent release, “Fromage” Featuring bassist Jimmy Haslip, Drummer Dave Weckl, and the finest of Atlanta jazz musicians has been receiving rave reviews. His previous recording “Radiant” with Mike Stern, Dave Weckl and more, also received critical acclaim.
  • Jimmy Haslip  World-renowned bassist
  • Sam Skelton  Saxophone/woodwind virtuoso and educator
  • Trey Wright  Gifted guitarist and composer
  • Kit Chatham  Brilliant percussionist and drummer
  • Carl Culpepper Virtuoso guitarist and educator
  • Jazz Evangelist Great jazz blog and reviews.
  • Wonderful freelance writer Candice Dyer.


Weekly Area Jazz Jams
Eighth and Rail
Every Tuesday 7 - 10 pm CT
The Eighth and Rail in historical downtown Opelika, Alabama is the venue for a wildly groovy weekly jazz jam as hosted by the Jane Drake Jazz Band. It's a cozy celebration of life that has become a buzzing collection of jazz-loving fanatics gathered together in a coterie of peaceful, fun-loving positive energy. I am downright proud as a peacock with enhanced LED-flashing feathers to participate in the jam on a regular basis, and I really love it! Proprietor Mike Patterson makes the wonderful sushi and Miss Tiffany keeps the affable atmosphere at a lovely level of emotive satisfaction. Plus... they serve an awesome cheesecake that'll make you wanna slap yourself so hard as to tell horrific knock-knock jokes to mimes. No lie. We have really talented musicians come in from the bi-state area: Auburn, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Columbus, LaGrange, Fort Valley, et al. The jam begins at 7 pm and ends at 10 pm CT. Hopefully, I'll see you there.

Eighth and Rail


Venkman's Jazz Jam
Every Tuesday starting at 8 pm ET

Venkman's is a nightclub in Atlanta, a venue that Joe Gransden uses for his weekly jazz jam. This is where the Who's Who of the Atlanta Jazz Scene come together to dazzle us mortals. It's free and starts at 8 pm ET. Fo' mo' info, click link below. I've participated in this jam a couple of times, and I love it as well. Joe Gransden always welcomes me with a smile that will melt antarctic glaciers in the middle of winter, which, oddly enough, is during June through August... when it's so hot and humid in middle Georgia that my toenails sweat. Nevertheless, Joe's band often includes keyboardist Kenny Banks (sometimes Kevin Bales), drummer Chris Burroughs and bassist Craig Shaw, and these cats kick it. When I find the transportation, I'm going.



Red Light Cafe Jazz Jam
Every Wed at 8 pm ET

I have not been to the weekly jazz jam at Red Light Cafe, but it is hosted by the Gordon Vernick Quartet, and I am a huge fan of Gordon's, so I'm planning to go soon, and when I do... Ha! I'm very likely to get excited. Fo' mo' info, click here .


Apache Cafe in Atlanta
Every Wed at 9:00 ET
Al Smith's Midtown Jam Session @Apache Cafe!  Contemporary Jazz , Soul, R&B vocalists jam Session. Featuring live band led by keyboardist Al Smith! Vocalists are invited to sign the list and jam with the band, musicians can sit in too... a must attend! Different Dj spinning on the back patio each week! SPECIAL GUEST HOST EVERY WEEK! Doors open at 9pm and list-sign up is at 9pm. Event admission, the day of, at the door, is CASH. Fo' mo' info, click here .


Brin's Wings in Montgomery
Every Wed from 6 to 9:00 CT

Brins Wings in Montgomery presents Coleman Woodson Jr. Jazz Jam from 6-9 CDT. No cover. Fo' mo' info, click here .


La Salle Bleu Piano Bar in Montgomery
Every Wed from 6 to 9:00 CT
Jazz jam La Salle Bleu Piano Bar, 9 until, no cover. Fo' mo' info, click here .


The Suite in Columbus, GA
Every Thursday at 9:00-11:30 ET
Thursday, January 11 from 9-11:30 p, EDT Live Jazz - Big Saxy Thursday, The Chemistry Project Band starting at 9 pm at The Suite Bar and Grill .


Irish Bred Pub in Montgomery
Every Sun at 9:30-12:30 CT
Third Thursday jazz jam session at the Irish Bred Pub Montgomery, 78 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, Alabama 36104, Corner of Dexter Ave and Perry St, 3 blocks from Capitol. Fo' mo' info, click here .


1048 Club in Montgomery
Every Sun at 9:30-12:30 CT

The 1048 Cafe is in Montgomery, AL. The weekly Jazz Jam led by Sam Williams, 9 pm CDT, $5 cover. I don't really know that much about it, but the 1048 has a jazz jam every Sunday from 9ish 'til whenever. Apparently the jam draws some incredible musicians. Fo' mo' info, click here .


The Suite in Columbus, GA
Every Sun from 6:00-11:30 ET
Michael Johnson and the Silent Threat Band plays at The Suite in Columbus, GA from 6-11:30 pm ET at The Suite Bar & Grill, 5300 Sidney Simons Blvd. Fo' mo' info 'bout the band, click here .


Piccolo's Lounge, Auburn

It's not a jam, but the Piccolo lounge offers a comfortable, clubby environment. Leather club chairs, a cozy fireplace and comfy banquettes serve as a relaxing getaway. Enjoy a single malt scotch and relax and unwind from a hectic day or meet friends to hear live jazz every Friday and Saturday night, of non-home football game weekends. Fo' mo' info, click here .
Jazz Association of Macon
We Promote Jazz in Macon
and Middle Georgia
Our purpose is to:

  • Encourage and support creation, presentation, and preservation of jazz music.
  • Support the creation of new audiences for jazz music.
  • Provide education and information about jazz.
  • Encourage young musicians to learn and appreciate jazz.
  • Develop a network among local and regional jazz advocates.
  • Increase awareness of jazz events and musicians in our community.

To read their blog, click here .



Area Musicians

Actually, this is a link to a page of my personal website, but it makes it much easier t maintain. It is a dynamic list of area musicians that will, hopefully, be continually updated until I can no longer do it. If you are a musician who is not listed or you are listed but with invalid info, please let me know, and I'll make the appropriate revisions. Thank you, and click here to visit the link.




High Museum of Art: Atlanta Jazz

Live jazz in the Robinson Atrium at the Atlanta High Museum of Art every 3rd Friday of the month. Fo' mo' info, click here .




On-line Radio

  • WCUG 88.5 Cougar Radio - Columbus State University.
  • KUNR 88.7 Reno, Nevada.
  • KNCJ 89.5 Reno, Nevado.
  • Saturday Night Jazz hosted by Scot Marshall and Dallas Smith (Columbus, GA native) - Scot and Dallas bring their rich musical experiences together in "Saturday Night Jazz" to feature music which ranges from the latest releases to jazz classics and occasional recordings by local artists, as well as announcements of upcoming local jazz events in the Reno-Tahoe area. "Saturday Night Jazz" is supported by the Reno Jazz Orchestra and For the Love of Jazz. Dallas' program airs on KUNR (kunr.org) from 10pm-12am PST/1am-3am EST. The 9pm-1pm EST broadcast is on KNCJ (streaming via the kunr.orgwebsite).
  • WCLK 99.1 Atlanta's Jazz Station, Clark Atlanta University.
  • Adore Jazz - Adore Jazz makes listeners relax, feel, think and smile through listening to the finest vocal jazz.
  • WTSU 88.9 Troy State University - Ray Murray's Jazz Radio Show Saturday nights at 10 pm Central Time.
  • WVAS 90.7 Montgomery - Jazz, Blues, News, and views.



Jazz Matters @ The Wren's Project
Preserving a musical culture, tradition & Art Form
 
Jazz Matters , Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that believes Jazz Matters, because music matters.  Jazz is America's only original art form and this national treasure was created by African Americans.

It is our vision to Preserve a Musical Culture, Tradition & Art Form by:
  • educating & developing new audiences;
  • inspiring new Jazz artists; and
  • providing a forum for artists to perform and perfect their craft

Peace Through Music