A Weekly Jazzonian Newsletter
January 8, 2018

...is a jazzonian e-newsletter published weekly unless the author is somehow incapacitated. It details the thriving jazz scene in Columbus, Georgia and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley, written exclusively by
Rusty Taylor, the jester-singer for the vocal jazz band Southern Standard Time


Welcome to this week's Jazzonian newsletter brought to you by the words chrysocracy and verisimilitude.

  • chrysocracy (noun): government by the wealthy; plutocracy
  • verisimilitude (noun): The quality of appearing to be true, real, likely, or probable.

Our nation's chrysocracy began long before our forty-fifth president, but the verisimilitude of the current kleptocrat's mental state is a serious threat to personal freedom.

I've added a few more weekly jazz events, like the weekly jazz jam at Brin's Wings in Montgomery, so check it out.
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Saturday, January 13 – The Tivon Pennicott Quartet at Venkman's starting at 7:30 pm EDT. Tivon Pennicott was born & raised in Marietta, Georgia in December of 1985. He began studying tenor saxophone in high school, garnering recognition early on as an outstanding soloist in the Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington competition, as well as the Georgia All-state Jazz Band. In 2004, he relocated to Miami to study at the University of Miami, where he had the opportunity to perform alongside artists such as: Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, and Maria Schneider. Visit Tivon's website by clicking here.
  • Sunday, January 14 – The Glenn Miller Orchestra begins playing at 3 pm at Spivey Hall in Morrow, Georgia. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Friday, January 19 – Friday Jazz featuring King Baby at the Atlanta Museum of Fine Arts from 6-10 pm EDT. January features King Baby's signature blend of jazz, R&B, soul, and funk with compelling original vocal and instrumental compositions. Quickly rising out of Atlanta's fertile music scene, King Baby have assembled a compelling, invigorating sound cemented by their long-standing friendship and willingness to experiment. For mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, February 3 – The Afro Cuban All Stars at The Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, the Afro-Cuban All Stars band begins at 8 pm EDT. Afro-Cuban All Stars is a Cuban band led by Juan de Marcos González. Their music is a mix of all the styles of Cuban music, including bolero, chachachá, salsa, son montuno, timba, guajira, danzón, rumba and abakua. To visit their website, click here.
  • Friday, February 9 – Diana Krall - Turn Up The Quiet World Tour At Atlanta Symphony Hall.
  • Sunday, March 25 – Legendary bassist Stanley Clark will start playing at the Atlanta City Winery. Fo' mo' info, click here.
This Week at The Loft
I proudly admit that I am as excited as a kitten entering the milking barn of a Wisconsin dairy farm to not only smell the dairy air but to lap up the tsunamic flow of spilt milk that puddles on the ground. This Friday, January 12 from 7-9 pm, Kevin Vannoy and the Basin Street Boyz will be playing their brand of funky jazz at The Loft. On a personal note, Kevin is one of my most favorite people on the planet. He’s such an awesome entertainer and musician with the elegance and southern charm of a brunch prepared by Bobby Flay that includes mimosas and doobies the size of dirigibles, and when Kevin blows the harp, I smile so aggressively that it makes children nervous. He makes my entire quintessence beam with the luminous intensity of a supernova on steroids. Unfortunately, I will be going under the knife this Friday early in the morning in Atlanta, and I don’t think that I’ll be able to make the gig, which would sadden me inconsolably save for the fact that I’ll probably be on hallucinogenic pain killers and won’t give a rat’s ass about anything other than a deep concern that the brightly hued sky might be melting into a Picasso-like abstract of an explosion in a crayon factory. Obviously, I will miss Kevin, yet he will remain a permanent resident within the most sacrosanct addresses of my special memories alongside the magical moment when I witnessed from the top of Mount Yonah (between Helen and Cleveland, Georgia) the sun’s slipping into the crack between the distant horizon and the edge of the Universe. I strongly encourage you to check out this week’s jazz concert. You will leave the venue with a strong desire to do something nice for someone you do not know without expectation of remuneration. 
Click image to purchase CD
Click image to purchase CD
Last Week at The Loft
Impressions featuring Nick Johnson returned to The Loft last Friday, and I would like to encourage you, dear reader, to check out Nick Johnson if you ever get a chance; this cat is special. He not only plays an inspiring sax, he’s a damn fine dude as well. He has quickly asserted himself into the local jazz music scene as easily as ice cream melts in the insufferable August sun. Playing alongside Nick were two of the brightest upcoming musicians currently developing their already formidable music chops with Columbus State University’s Schwob Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen: Yair Ophir (bass) and Tommy Embrich (drums) who kept the rhythms tight and interesting, Yair employing techniques that produce clear and dulcet tone and timbre on the upright bass that belies his youth. Both young men represent the future of jazz and they are well worthy the challenge to return jazz music to the forefront of the music industry. Completing the ensemble, the dignified and composed Don Tipton tickled the ebony and ivory in his inimitable style that seems to evoke happiness for his fans’ listening pleasure. Although Yair hails from Israel and Tommy comes from Illinois, the quartet are local for a while, so, hopefully, we can enjoy these incredible musicians collectively or in different ensembles, which suits my interests just fine. Can’t wait to hear these cats again.
I Need A Favor... Please
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!
Jazz Poetry

The Weary Blues
Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967

 Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
   I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
   He did a lazy sway . . .
   He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
   O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
   Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man’s soul.
   O Blues!

In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
   “Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
    Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
    I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
Jazz and Democracy
Over two hundred years ago, a group of European immigrants decided to try something different: to develop a form of government that takes into account the needs of everybody. This was when monarchies were the status quo, an authoritarian form of government that catered to the exclusive desires, and whims, of one person… one man. Of course, for that man to acquire and maintain his exclusive narcissistic agenda, he had to assemble a small faction of concordant people… men… who had similar egocentric philosophies, so a hierarchy was developed that vouchsafed privileges exploited by cabals of white men who wielded power over the insidiously growing group of citizens so that only an insignificant number of men controlled the destinies of the remaining much larger and diverse group… the feudal oligarchy was created. Conservatism, the inclination to maintain the existing or traditional order, socially metastasized under this patriarchal regulation; why would a despot even consider anybody else’s needs when his are so easily importuned?

Of course, persuading a large group of people to change is nearly impossible. To broach such a mind-blowing concept as majority rule with minority rights must’ve been daunting. Compromise was necessary. That’s why slavery was written into the Constitution (such as the counting of a slave as only a fraction of one human being), but along with these types of concessions was accorded the ability to make changes, i.e. amendments, to the Constitution itself. Its ideology is not carved in stone; the document is a living organism that can adapt as humanity’s spiritual essence develops. 

Change was the crux of influence stoked by our nation’s founding fathers. They realized the immanent dangers of an irrevocable predetermined temperament like that of a theocracy or any other governing system that attempts to assuage the power of the common man by claiming a divinely sanctioned patronization of the status quo while systematically undermining dissenting points of view. This desire for representational government was encumbered by the fact that the common people who were exploited by the minority with power were also intensely indoctrinated to not only accept their meager lot in life but to expect no better. Unfortunately, this destruction of one’s basic convictions, and its replacement with an alternative sets of fixed beliefs, is still rampant in contemporary society; it’s the mindset of the people who have been coerced into believing that Donald Trump the Kleptocratic Moron© is a viable demagogue instead of the egocentric ass-hole he has been throughout his life, the same people who were similarly coerced by the Southern Strategy to errantly believe that Ronald Reagan was somehow recognized as a champion for the proletariat instead of the leader suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and incapable of effective cognition.

Through its brief history, Democracy has experienced its share of apexes and nadirs; in fact, it is currently undergoing its lowest point in history with the authoritarian purport of Donald Trump the Kleptocratic Moron© and his lackeys, but for every step backwards, Democracy has rebounded with a couple leaps forward. It will survive the latest assault on its existence and become even stronger… more diverse… more eclectic. Democracy is like jazz music: it is more powerful when more instruments join the conversation; it is more effective when regulated by prudence; it is much more fun when spontaneity quickens, especially when the soloist has studied her craft for decades; it is more stimulating with syncopated rhythms instead of an exclusive adherence to a monotonous down beat; it is more productive when it is more challenging; and it is more rewarding when one works diligently to improve one’s understanding and participation in its process. Hopefully, with the strengthening of Democracy comes a congruent rise in the popularity of jazz.

Peace Through Music
Area Jazz

Talking to a friend who recently became cognizant of the reality of the weekly newsletter that you are currently enjoying more than you’d care to publicly admit, and she confessed an ignorance to all the jazz in the Chattahoochee Valley and surrounding areas. In fact, I’ve just learned that Coleman Woodson Jr. hosts a weekly jazz jam every Tuesday at Brins Wings in Montgomery 6-9 CDT. No cover.

Many of you know that I regularly attend the weekly jazz jam that is scheduled for every Tuesday at Eighth and Rail in Opelika, Alabama, a jam hosted by the Jane Drake Band, and it has become a home for me and a loyal group of active jazz listeners in a really cozy and groovy venue with a hip staff, a full bar, cheese cake, craft beers, and sushi. A quaint stage sits majestically before tables and couches occupied by a diverse crowd of enchanting people. Although the stage is not accessible, the establishment’s owner has set up an area for me right in front of the stage that includes a microphone, a music stand, and lighting. My vocal jazz band has also headlined the venue twice last year, and Mike, the proprietor, has procured a portable ramp and assisted in getting my fat ass on the stage… which rocks! Last week jam was a really groovy time. The joint was nearly packed with young and old alike, coming together to share live jazz music. Eighth and Rail has become the place to be on Tuesday nights, so come on by if you’re in the area. I guarantee that you’ll have a blast.

For the record, my band Southern Standard Time will play The Loft in Columbus, Georgia on Friday, February 9 from 7-9 pm EDT. The gig will be on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, so I will be singing a few love songs with dulcet baritone timbre that may stir your mind with thoughts of amour. We’ll also play songs more upbeat and polyrhythmic, so the gamut of emotions will be represented. If you’re in the area, come and check us out. It will be fun. By the way, some friends and I are going to the weekly jazz jam at Venkman’s in Atlanta on February 13. This jam is hosted by legendary jazzman Joe Gransden, who always welcomes us as extended members of his musical family. I can’t wait. Meet us there; we will have more fun than the dancing bubbles in a bottle of Champaign. 
Weekly Area 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.
A Little Lunch Music at Jule Collins Smith Museum, Auburn University
On Thursdays at Noon, make a lunch date with our region’s finest musicians. A Little Lunch Music is an informal, come-and-go performance presented by JCSM and coordinated by musician Patrick McCurry. You can sit in and listen to the entire performance, dine in the Museum Cafe from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT, browse the Museum Shop or explore the galleries.
When the lunch program resumes, I'll let you know.

"Black Coffee" is a song. The music was written by Sonny Burke (based on the 1938 piece "What's Your Story Morning Glory" composed by Mary Lou Williams), the lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. The song was published in 1948. Sarah Vaughan charted with this song in 1949 on Columbia.

Black Coffee

I'm feeling mighty lonesome haven't slept a wink.
I walk the floor and watch the door,
and in between I drink Black Coffee.

Love's a hand me down brew.
I'll never know a Sunday in this weekday room.
I'm talking to the shadows 1 o'clock to 4,
and Lord, how slow the moments go
when all I do is pour Black Coffee.
Since the blues caught my eye,
I'm hanging out on Monday.
My Sunday dream's too dry.

Now a man is born to go a lovin'.
A woman's born to weep and fret,
to stay at home and tend her oven,
and drown her past regrets in coffee and cigarettes.

I'm moody all the morning; mourning all the night,
and in between it's nicotine and not much heart to fight Black Coffee.
Feelin' low as the ground.
It's driving me crazy just waiting for my baby
to maybe come around

Video of the Week

The following video is of the Ella Fitzgerald's singing "Black Coffee." Enjoy...
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 9pm-1am PST. The 9pm-1pm EST broadcast is on KNCJ (streaming via the kunr.org website).  
  • 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.

Thank you very much, dear reader, for your support. I will be going under the knife this Friday, but I'm hoping for a quick recovery. I should be able to write next week's newsletter. Of course, I won't know 'til the weekend, so if you don't receive next week's edition, I know you'll understand. I love you.

Peace Through Music
Social Media Experiment

In an ignorant attempt to exploit social media to expand my personal fan base, I've created this section to list hashtags and other metadata that might auto-magically give more access to the newsletter I write. Hope it works.

#SouthernStrategy #QuestForBest #GroovicusMaximus #FantastAbility #WheelChairistotle #SCI #Handicapplication #Impairistotle #MuscoviteMarionette #BlackLivesMatter 
#Wheelcherry #RudePundit #MakeStagesAccessible 

@SSTJazzVocalist @frangelaDuo @JoeGransden @AtlantaMagazine @VenkmansATL @rudepundit @MalcolmNance @EricBoehlert @CharlesPPierce @StephMillerShow @JohnFugelsang @Thom_Hartmann @ anniesellick  @TheRealTBone