A Weekly Jazzonian Newsletter
January 15, 2018 A.D.
Martin Luther King Day

...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
Free SJO Concert
Under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen, Columbus State University's SJO was selected to perform as the featured university jazz ensemble at the 2018 Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) In-Service Conference in Athens, Georgia. We know that very few from Columbus will actually hear the band's performance in Athens, so we decided to present a special GMEA Preview Concert for the Columbus community on January 23 at CSU. This one-hour performance (7:30 PM) will feature a sneak peak at the SJO's conference program, including a premiere of a newly commission big band composition for the SJO written in tribute to Ma Rainey. This concert will take place in Studio Theatre (rather than Legacy Hall), so seating may be limited.



It has been an interesting week. Dilly! Dilly! Many of you dear readers know that I underwent a minor surgery last Friday in Atlanta to eliminate a blockage in my right kidney. You may also know that my remaining kidney works at less than twenty percent of a healthy kidney, which made the surgery a bit more fraught with uncertainty, but the procedure went well. The only aspect of the surgery that quickened unexpectedly is the extended recovery time.

It seems that a few things are disseminated to the human condition with more mechanical objectivity and with increasingly more regularity as one gains life-experience: Time gets faster; Gravity gets stronger; and recovery time lengthens almost epically. Yesterday, when I was young, I never considered Gravity as a force worthy of my concern. I had no way of knowing that Gravity's strength is its longevity. It simply outwaits humanity. Time, also, gains increasingly more significant as my terrestrial manifestation draws ever increasingly towards its conclusion, but neither the strength of Gravity nor the rapidity of Time is as frustrating a nemesis as the amount of Time used in recovery when a health concern rears its capricious head to infiltrate my inner peace.

I had my fairly noninvasive surgery around noon. Unlike my last surgery in July, I did not experience lucid or sentient dreaming. I was simply anesthetized and woke up nearly five hours later. I am thankful that my brother and sister alternated staying with me during the night; it made my hospital visit much more fun. An interesting thing I learned about myself: I talk excessively and am increasingly less concerned with confabulatory content when I am sated with pharmacopoeia intended to alleviate pain; my sibling's ears may be permanently damaged. Quite frankly, I never knew that verbal diarrhea could cause ear wax to liquefy. Lesson learned.

So here am I. It is already Tuesday, which is generally the day I participate in the weekly jazz jam at Eighth and Rail in Opelika, Alabama accompanied by the Jane Drake Band and the wonderful jazz musicians who are drawn by the venue's esprit de corps, but I spent the last two days in recovery... sleeping mostly, and it may snow tonight, so I'm staying home. I still have a tube from my kidney sticking out of my side; it is draining my right kidney, but it is intrusive and causes my lower back to spasm, so I have hit the weed. I now sit at my computer with all these thoughts in my head, and I'm wondering how much should I share. Then it hits me.

I write this weekly newsletter simply because I really like jazz, and I love to write; ergo, writing about jazz is doubly fun. So I share, and I change formats, and I admit my ignorant passion for the subculture. Until recently, I thought that I only a few readers, but I have recently discovered that I have a few more who dig my musings, a few who are actually fans of my style, which geeks me to no end. So I share my passion.

After a while our relationship becomes more intimate, and that is simply because I speak the musical language through analogies and metaphors, which brings a literary element to our two-dimensional relationship that grows more cozy. So we throw another log on the campfire and continue confabulating. Then a bunch of my high school friends plan to come listen to me sing, unbeknownst to me, but I have a brief but intense and hopeful yet formal conversation with Death who rather crassly reminds me about the irrevocable temporal nature of my terrestrial manifestation. Then my friends surprise me, twice, by coming to hear my singing at a local venue: 1) by their actual presence at my gig, and 2) by informing me about their original plan to hear me sing before my cancellation. Twice blessed. And positive energy was sent with the steady consistency of circadian rhythms by fans who are sincerely concerned about my well-being. Then another surgery is scheduled... minor... but the cloud of uncertainty hangs above my head and precipitates slashing sheets of sleet and jagged ice with winter-storm urgency, with an importunate insistence for immediate anxiety, again, emphasizing my personal mortality. And my septuagenarian mother falls in the parking lot of Mellow Mushroom and cracks her shoulder along with other lacerations and contusions. Who says that pizza can't kill you? And I've got two friends whom I love dearly but who are fighting cancer... with the bravery of all the gods of all religions combined and raised the the infinite power. And Time mocks me more with each new sunrise. And my brother is in failing health yet is trying to build a home for him, his wife Tanya and their children, me, our parents, Tanya's parents. Fortunately we've got family and friends, and I'm reminded that this terrestrial manifestation is a gift, an especial gift... or gifts... like a sunrise splashed with subtle hints of vermilion, blood orange, yellow in bold brush strokes; like Jazz; like you.

And throughout the past few years, I've witnessed the mass extinction of Decency within a faction of global society that I errantly believed to have existed exclusively within the distant outlying wastelands, far from any influence, a faction nearly extinct because it is fueled by Ignorance. Instead, I have discovered that these insects exist everywhere and not only have usurped our nation's government but have infiltrated my family, a faction of society ruled by a megalomaniac I consider the paragon of what a man should not be. And yet there is Hope.

Change is blowing in the wind. I see the youth getting involved with helping their neighbors. I see the rise in power of women, especially women of color. I see the LGBT and other marginalized communities rising from their ashes. I see the news media recovering their collective dignity and swagger. I see the alt-right's dreading retaliation by the people they've historically repressed (or is that voter suppression?). I see where the minority will quickly be the majority. I see a jazz renaissance. I see a future wherein the GOP since Nixon has used Southern Strategy to create this current monster of Hate they've built that, in the long run, will not only destroy their grand old party but will launch the world into a peaceful, diverse, educated society of servants to the entire Universe instead of exclusive idolatry to one single auriferous element of the periodical table.

I apologize for waxing poetic, the stream of consciousness, the bombastic rhetoric, whatever you want to call it, but I've spent quite a bit of the past few days in bed, and I've been thinking... a lot. I will write more about our area's growing jazz scene in the weeks to come. Incidentally, I'll be going to participate in Venkmen's weekly jazz jam in Atlanta on February 13. Plan to join me. We're treated like royalty by all the musicians. And the core band rocks. Let me know if you wanna go. It's always a blast.

Peace Through Music
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • 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
Click image to purchase CD
Click image to purchase CD
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 and Democracy
I have never been a nihilist, anyone whose circumstance is so dire that any outcome seems better than the status quo, so it may seem to some that I have no basis to wonder about people with whom I have no direct point of reference. Does that mean that I should avoid victims of suicide simply because my life’s circumstance is unjustifiably much less complicated, and I, therefore, don’t comprehend suicide as a viable action? There are some who strongly believe that I am unqualified to comment on #BlackLivesMatter because my epidermal condition is a whiter shade of pale; admittedly, I’ve never been African-American and have never been dismissed as irrelevant for that reason, but I can, however, empathize and support the cause because I am a human who cares for all gradient tones of humankind instead of its lighter, more preferential shades; however, I have been pre-judged as cognitively impaired simply because I use a wheelchair to advance my tangible social presence, so I have experienced unjustifiable hubris from a cult of society who claims a soi-disant supremacy.

I was watching my television’s watching me as I absorbed an advertisement from a pharmaceutical company’s solicitation of one of its products that had as one of its many side effects an anomaly named Explosive Bowel Syndrome. Seriously! This same drug also claimed as one of its additional side effects a reaction that is fatal. Again, I am not really concerned with what exactly this potentially deadly side effect is or whether or not the originally targeted health anomaly is possibly curable through application of the drug hawked by the commercial, but it is confusing to me how the advertisement encourages the viewer to question her personal physician’s qualifications to objectively prescribe pharmaceutical remedies, a not-so-subtle officious and ambitious aspiration of the major corporation to unconscionably promote the selling of their exclusive for-profit commodity simply to increase the major corporation’s economically lucrative exploitation of human emotion intended to legitimize the possible death of a patient’s using the fatalistic product. Again, I am outside the purview of the potential advantages of the drug’s ability to ameliorate the effects of the original health anomaly, but I also don’t understand how killing someone is in any way desirable; I similarly do not understand Stockholm syndrome.

I can’t recall what aberrant health condition the Capitalistically sanctioned yet fatalistic drug is alleging to assuage, and I have no idea what the people experience who suffer from this physiological (or possibly psychological) detriment, so I am totally ignorant of whether or not the other possible side effects are acceptable to the idea of not being alleviated from the pain of the original health anomaly for which the pharmaceutical was elicited, but the question swimming through my head is what if I, as a quadriplegic who needs assistance with even the most fundamental acts of daily living—including cleaning my corporeality from an unscheduled fecal evacuation or the physical exertion of someone’s, anyone’s getting me in and out of my wheelchair every day—what if I got Explosive Bowel Syndrome?

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.

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.

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