The Jazzonian
Jazz is Diversity. Jazz is Democracy.


From the demented mind of Rusty Taylor
Jester and Vocalist for jazz band
Southern Standard Time
A Weekly Newsletter
April 2, 2018 A.D.

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, a Mercer alumnus and the quadriplegic jester-singer for the vocal jazz band Southern Standard Time


Thou hast the patchy beard of a prepubescent squire.

OK. I jus’ goss to say it: Last Friday’s weekly concert at The Loft was special. Tuskegee pianist Bill Perry always delivers a very musical program whenever he is spotlighted; his mastery of the keyboard is as obvious as the proboscis of Cyrano de Bergerac. I hear classical influences in Mr. Perry’s improvisations as if Claude Achille Debussy (1862-1918) or Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) were privy to the improvisational styling of Bud Powell (September 27, 1924 - July 31, 1966) or Milt Jackson (January 1, 1923 - October 9, 1999). Truth be known: Bill Perry can play. His skills are so formidable that other musicians marvel not only at his digital dexterity but at his musical acumen as well.

Bill headed a groovy quintet of groovy musicians (I know it’s redundant, but I like the rhythm) that included local legend Elwood Madeo (guitar). Reggie Corbie played bass… really sweet; The saxophonist and percussionist (whose names weren’t verified by publishing time) completed the quintet, and these cats confabulated with each other with the alacrity of a newborn baby’s devotion to her mother. I really dug the ensemble. The played melodic music but with passion… and dynamics. Creamy. Not so incidentally, Wyndhem Bell Ennaemble not only ran the sound, but he sat in on a few songs on trombone ( Now that was rhythmic as well [articulated with a Groucho Marx intrigue] ). Nice job, Wynd!

The entire two hours were magical… a possible inspiration for the management of The Loft to consider giving just a bit more time to jazzonian music... at the non-cost of distributing stagetime more equitably with other musical genres that, although inspiring, rarely appeal to the beneficence of cognitive intrigue that supplements the welling of emotional energy as does jazz.

(I’m just saying that Jazz moves me in immeasurably more ways and with much more passion than music that is less complex, and that it’d be nice to have as many opportunities to perform jazz--by a fairly populous group of serious musicians--as the group that currently dominates the local live music scene, music spawned from the prepubescent angst of emotionally volatile fury (supplemented and nourished by hormonal confusion) raging through simple pentatonic innocence, the waveringly uncertain actions and reactions against the actions and reactions of somebody else, even when the initial reactor is ignorant of the latter offender’s identity. I’m not saying that simple music is not worthy of time nor space, no. Not in a million years. I’m just asking for more hours to play jazz. We’ve got more than enough local talent. Let’s share.)

And now for something completely different...

This month will have some really groovy live jazz music from brazen band brashness to the intimate coziness of a walking bass line, from the Schwob Jazz Combos of CSU (under the direction of Bryan Canonigo whom we all love) to Nick Johnson’s jazz ensemble from Valdosta State (I believe), which excites me because… well, y’all already know how fond I am of the Schwob Jazz Orchestra, especially of it’s leader Dr. Kevin Whalen who is expanding the already well-respected reputation of CSU’s jazz program to international recognition. My sincere admiration should’ve been established in the first, long-forgotten efforts of this newsletter, back when it was merely a monolithic text message: I have been a fan of CSU Jazz for a while, but, more recently, I have become an unadulterated fan of Nick Johnson’s musicality (and his kindness as a human being); it’ll be ineffably rewarding to hear a program from Nick’s catalogue of musical inspiration without the limiting restrictions of playing someone else’s program. Hopefully, I will be there to hear his musical inspiration, which sends me on journeys to hitherto unknowable destinations. I am ready to set my course for adventure. Pack enough emotional nourishment for an incredible journey.

And now, an instant turn around in theme sans appropriate segue...

This past Tuesday at the Eighth and Rail’s weekly jam (hosted by the Jane Drake Band who were on fire [bi-syllabic, pronounced fie-yurr ]) was special; there was a palpable aura of peaceful puissance that gently extravasated throughout the hep venue like a slowly expanding cloud of congeniality that everybody simultaneously respired, a glowing affectation that evanesced into the Universe from the epicenter of progressive respiratory, sensorial, and cognitive energy that exploded from Eighth and Rail’s main stage.

On a totally different tangential journey, I re-discovered that the written word is an effective tool that must be used with deference…

Unintentionally, yet surreptitiously, I was reminded that the written word is a powerful medium that, when obfuscated, intentionally or not, can transmogrify into negative consequences. I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout the Bible; I’m talking on a more personal level. I was confabulating with my friend Jake Shaw who told me that he reads The Jazzonian regularly and was particularly affected by the section entitled Jazz Etiquette. He is now suddenly conscientious of the possibility that he has been overzealous and overtly raucous with his approval when clapping after a riveting solo during a live jazz performance.

My heart sank.

I initially wrote the Jazz Etiquette commentary when The Loft (in downtown Columbus, Georgia) first sponsored the weekly jazz concert that has become very popular. At the time, the jazz concert was followed by a really good blues singer of whom I am an encomiastic fan; I truly dig her style; however, a nearly insignificant number of her fans, unworthy of mentioning except with retribution for misdemeanor crudity, the people I call faux fans, who are in my opinion smug, ignorant people indifferent or antagonistic to artistic and cultural values. These few faux fans weren’t there to enjoy the music or to promulgate the blues singer’s passion for the blues; they were there to be a part of the spectacle, to be seen… and heard. They were loud and crass, unruly and obnoxious. The blues singer in question was so good and popular that she commanded a cover charge. She filled the seats. However, some of the blues singer’s fans would come in early—during the latter part of our jazz concert—to avoid paying the cover charge, and, as so effectively delineated in the previous paragraph, these folks were loud and crass.

As you know, jazz is a complex musical passion for which active listening enriches the experience. Improvisation is a key fundamental skill within the jazzonian experience; soloing is spontaneous composition; it is a conversation that involves the musicians and the audience, and as such, it has ebbs and flows; it employs shouts and whispers; it demands concentration. Too often, I had to turn to a group of obnoxious patrons and shout for them to shut the farque up! Here’s a clue: if you’re louder than the band, then you are too loud. It ain’t that hard.

And another thing…

Do not bring a group of people to celebrate someone’s birthday where a live band is pouring their emotions from the stage. That, too, is rude as farque! The band is not there to help somebody they don’t know celebrate the fact that she’s lived one more year since the last time she celebrated her otherwise unworthy life. Ain’t nobody that important, and since she ain’t an authoritarian who commands the use of weapons of mass destruction, nobody else has to feign the celebration of superfluity. Jazz etiquette is really a simple matter of common sense. Show your approval whenever you feel the need to acknowledge a particularly moving musical riff as long as you don’t distract attention away from the musicians… and celebrate your friend’s birthday in private!

Peace Through Music

Bad Joke of the Week

Two muffins are baking in an oven. The first muffin says, "Wow, it's really getting hot in here." The second muffin says, "Wow... a talking muffin ! "
Tweet of the Week

The really disappointing truth about the approval of Donald J. Trump by people whom I previously admired is that they enthusiastically celebrate mediocrity.


Wouldn’t it be beyond justifiably poetic that if during this year’s hurricane season a hurricane be named Daniels… and that the storm totally destroys only Mar-a-Largo... that Trump would continue to pay his staff with the insurance money while his opulent resort gets renovated, Trump makes a profit through the kind of manipulation that may not be legal but that doesn't offend his supporters... and no one gets physically hurt?
Schwob Jazz Orchestra

The award-winning Schwob Jazz Orchestra (SJO) is the flagship ensemble of the Jazz Studies Program. Under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen, this 18-piece large jazz ensemble focuses on presenting the best in contemporary and classic big band music. The band is comprised of many of the finest musicians at the CSU Schwob School of Music, and an audition is required entry into the ensemble. The group actively performs for diverse audiences in Columbus and throughout the southern United States. In January 2018, the Schwob Jazz Orchestra will perform as the featured college jazz ensemble at the Georgia Music Educators Conference Annual In-Service Conference in Athens, Georgia.
Georgia State Jazz

The Georgia State University Jazz Studies Program is dedicated to providing practical career preparation for today’s professional musician. The Georgia State University Jazz Bands and Combos are open to all University students regardless of class standing or area of study. The Jazz Studies Program has been able to bring jazz artists of regional, na­tional, and international stature to Georgia State to perform and give master classes and clinics. Among these notable artists are Kenny Garrett, Marcus Roberts, Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, Slide Hampton, Nick Payton, Kenny Werner, Dave Douglas, Chris Potter, Jerry Bergonzi, Tim Hagans, Dick Oatts, Bobby Shew, Jimmy Heath, Clare Fischer, Joe Lovano and many others.
KSU School of Music

Our jazz majors and faculty are active in the Metro Atlanta and the southeast region jazz scene and mix university experience with real-world performing opportunities and training. The KSU Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Combos develop general jazz performance and improvisational skills, giving students the exibility to meet the varying demands of today’s musical world. Recent performances have included programs of Brazilian and Latin jazz, swing concerts, music from musical theatre, jazz rock, and retrospectives of such composers as Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, and others.

Auburn Knights

Today, over seven decades after inception, the Auburn Knights Orchestra is still going strong as an Auburn tradition, composed entirely of a select group of student age musicians from the Auburn community. The future of this organization is great since popularity is returning to big bands and the Swing era is experiencing a rebirth. With such hardworking and dedicated students, the Auburn Knights Orchestra will continue to swing crowds for many years to come.
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Saturday, April 7 – The Atlanta Jazz Festival presents Christian Sands from 8 - 10 PM at Rich Theatre - Reserved Seating. $35 (incl tax) + $6 per ticket service fee. Fo' mo' info, click here. With his Mack Avenue records debut CD, due for a Spring 2017 release, this young Steinway Artist and three-time Grammy Nominee takes his place as a leader and an emerging jazz force. He brings a fresh look at the entire language of jazz. A deeply rich and soulful feeling can be heard in Christian’s music, characterized by his infectious energy and spirit. That same spirit is what caught the attention of Grammy award winning bassist, Christian McBride, with whom he has toured throughout the world’s finest venues for more than six years! An exciting and creative talent, touring with the new music he has composed for his Mack Avenue debut will truly be an event to see and hear…! “When I first met Christian in 2009, it marked a seminal moment in my career as a bandleader. He was the FIRST young musician I’d met who had the drive, passion and skill of my peers like Roy Hargrove, Eric Reed, Greg Hutchinson and Antonio Hart. He’s only worried about being the best musician he can possibly be. He’s the ultimate professional” — Christian McBride
  • Saturday, April 14, 2018 – 2:00 PM 6:00 PM – Jazz Matters, Inc. will be holding auditions for Emerging Jazz Artists in elementary, middle and high school, to perform as opening acts during our summer Jazz Matters at The Wren's Nest, Experiencing Jazz Summer Concert Series. This outdoor series is held the 3rd Friday of June - September at The Wren's Nest in Atlanta's Historic West End. Audition details will be posted early 2018. For more information, feel free to call 404-474-1211.
  • Sunday, April 15 starting at 12:30 pm Eastern Time at Venkman's in Atlanta, Bob Bakert Quartet. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Friday, April 20 at Rialto Center for Arts in Atlanta, Rene Marie sings starting at 8 pm ET with Gordon Vernick. In a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless stage performances, vocalist René Marie has cemented her reputation as not only a singer but also a composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other leading ladies of past generations, she borrows various elements of folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. Her body of work is musical, but it’s more than just music. It’s an exploration of the bright and dark corners of the human experience, and an affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Marie brings her wide-ranging, highly-adaptive jazz artistry to a special evening with the Georgia State University Jazz Band led by trumpeter Dr. Gordon Vernick. Fo' mo' info, click here. Free parking is available at the 100 Peachtree Garage for this Rialto Series event.
  • Friday, June 1, 7:00 PM doors / 8:00 PM show ET – An Evening with Leo Kottke at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Leo Kottke (born September 11, 1945) is an acoustic guitarist. He is known for a fingerpicking style that draws on blues, jazz, and folk music, and for syncopated, polyphonic melodies. He overcame a series of personal obstacles, including partial loss of hearing and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon damage in his right hand, to emerge as a widely recognized master of his instrument. He currently resides in the Minneapolis area with his family. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Friday, June 15, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Experiencing Jazz - Jazz, Blues & BBQ. Style. Relax, relate, release, as we open up our 3rd Annual Jazz Matters at The Wren's Nest Concert Series. T. C. Carson, singer/actor, best known for his portrayal of Kyle Barker on the hit sitcom "Living Single" will open up our series, along with performances by The TuTuff Band, The Edwin Williams Experience & Emerging Jazz Artists and more. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
  • Friday, July 20, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Experiencing Jazz: With a Little Soul, Funk & A Whole Lotta Jazz. Artist not yet available. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
  • Friday, August 17, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Artist not yet available. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
  • Friday, September 21, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Artist not yet available. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
This Week at The Loft
Columbus [GA's] Home For Jazz Music
Nick Johnson has quickly become a fixture of the area jazzonian music scene. His playing inspires. If you’ve heard him, you already know that my vocabulary is ineffective in conveying the magic of Nick’s musical soul. It just is. Now, I don’t know who will be accompanying him on stage this Friday, April 6 from 7-9 pm EST, but I’ll bet at least a trillion units of positive energy that, if Nick chose, the musician will be creatively passionate and sincere. I can’t wait to hear what kind of music truly makes Nick tick. Barring some weird circumstance, I’ll see you at The Loft this Friday. I reckon that it’s obvious: I give this concert my highest recommendation.

Upcoming schedule:
  • March 30, Bill Perry Quartet
  • April 6. Common Minds, This is Nick Johnson's quartet from Valdosta State Univ.
  • April 13. CSU Combos, Under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen
  • April 20. Greg Robbins. He is a jazz vocalist headliner from Atlanta. Kevin Bales is his pianist.
  • April. 27. The Schwob Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen
Make Concert Stages Accessible
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 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
It's A Quad Thing...
You Might Not Understand

Unexpected Hypocrisy
By Rusty Taylor

I am an emotional dude, and I have many stories that I can tell to delineate this point, but the most embarrassing lachrymal moment I ever experienced happened during the Christmas season of the first year I worked for corporate America as a computer programmer.

We programmers were a relatively young and eager group of professionals making more money than we deserved, housed in a drab gray, two-storied rectangular building—with all the warmth and gaiety of an igloo on the windswept tundra—a nondescript building on the corner of 10 th Street and the then-named 4 th Avenue (which was renamed Veterans Parkway when Columbus, Georgia hosted the international softball competition during the 1996 Summer Olympics). There were few windows save the fenestration in the offices that lined the circumambient border of the building’s interior, which means that only the hierarchy could see sunlight during working hours. We programmers were relegated to the bright haze of fluorescent lighting in an endless maze of adjacent office cubes that seemed to stretch the horizon to a point beyond human vision between the edge of the planet and the boundary of space in an eternal, dreary, depressingly dismal mockery of ergonomic productivity at the cost of humane compassion or the necessary emotional salubrity of a voluntarily incarcerated workforce desperate for personal space.

Gracefully slaloming between us soi-disant programmers and the sartorially affluent upper-echeloned company officers—who hid within their palatial, sun-drenched fenestrated offices in troglodytic indifference—meandered the domestic engineers (or insert whatever euphemistic term for the under-appreciated cheap labor who are exploited to accept minimum wages (legalized slavery) in an economic deception that is hubristically justified by a conservative-exploiting aristocracy beneficently rewarded by the status quo).

Betty was the cleaning lady for our corporate periphery, a short, squatty black woman with solid life experience and a nearly edentulous smile that could warm the heart of Satan. She lacked formal education but possessed an old spirit and primeval wisdom that, for the most part, was ignored. She cleaned and sang and rarely complained that she was taken for granted. Everyone loved her but ignored the glaring injustice that subtly required the professional workforce to clandestinely revile her lack of refinement.

As an unconscious recognition of our less than urbane intolerance towards Betty’s penury, the programmers secretly contributed to a fund to give the domestic “help” a little Christmas money. On the day we presented the cash money to Betty, an announcement was made over the public address intercom system that ran throughout the building, and everyone gathered at the front desk.

So there we were: a chest-expanding, smugly purring, morally erect group of perfectly dentulous hypocrisy, about thirty of us, convened in a mass of supercilious pomposity, so desperate to show one another (and God herself) just how Christian we were, the paragons of altruistic largess that errantly justified the cupidity of “trickle-down” legerdemain, prepared to make amends for generations of… well, let’s not think about that.

Betty was clueless about what was fixin’ to happen; she stood away from everyone, smiling nervously, wondering why she was there amongst the apotheosized gentry of corporate nimiety when she was shepherded into the middle of us gathered together in the asphyxiating black hole of self-indulgence. The supervisor proudly presented Betty an envelope, which she opened hesitantly.

Wide-eyed! Agape! Astonished! Betty screamed… then slowly... slumped to her knees. Those nearest to her steadied her as tears welled up and overflowed the reddened rims of her lower eyelids. Introspectively eviscerated, she couldn’t speak; soft gurgles bubbled from her emotions. Her reaction was so genuine, so unexpected, so overwhelming that I turned back into my cubicle and cried with so much diluvial intensity that my shoulders shook. Fortunately, my friend Susie saw my lachrymal reaction, and she came up behind me to shield my emotional display so that others wouldn’t witness it.

I care about people. I’d love it if everyone could get along together in a diverse world wherein we all have access to healthcare, a world in which those of us who want to live moderate lives of pursuing knowledge and wisdom through arts and science… and those of you who want to horde shiny trinkets and debate the superfluity of Kardashian intrigue… can do so with impunity. But we don’t live in a perfect society… yet!

So, yes! I’m an emotional dude… and it bothers me in the most remote regions of my visceral theater that we have a mean-spirited bully as president of our once emulous country. Forget the politics or his apparent lack of mental acuity. @RealDonaldTrump is a bully who talks coarsely; a man who oft confabs incoherently; a man who has publicly denigrated more women than I’ve been in love with; a man who is responsible for separating squawking children from their heart-wrenched mothers; a man who berates Mexican immigrants as rapists; a man who belittles his supplicants with humiliating nicknames; a man who fires another man two days before his retirement in a puerile attempt to strip him from his pension; a septuagenarian who grabs women by their pudenda and kisses them even if they don’t want to be kissed; a man who, as “owner” of a beauty pageant, would walk in unannounced on scantily clad beauty contestants to leer at their nubile bodies; a man who paraded his second wife before the New York jet set while he was still married to his first wife; a man who has married thrice; a man who has numerous lawsuits against him for sexual harassment; a man who bedded a porn star while his third wife was giving birth and then cheated on her with a Playboy model; a man who openly mocked the handicapped. Donald Trump incessantly lies. In my opinion, Donald Trump is a disgrace to the male gender; he is the paragon of what I would teach my son NOT to become, the poster child of the most vile man in history, the farcical caricature of incompetent buffoonery and just plain dickishness.

So, yes! I’m an emotional dude… and it saddens me that I am unable to post—on my personal social media—vituperative opinions of a non-emulous man without the backlash of people, especially the kith and kin I once respected who shamefully respond availing the kind of vulgar vitriol for which I rebuke Donald Trump… as if this kind of negative response will magically change my mind? Really?
—@SSTJazzVocalist dedicated to @frangelaDuo

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. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • 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. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • 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 CandiceDyer
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.
For more info, click here.

  • February 15 - pianist Vadim Sarabryany
  • February 22 - TBA
  • March 01 - guitarist Luther Enloe
  • March 08 - soprano Patty Holley
  • March 15 - no concert - Spring Break
  • March 22 - pianist Lawrence Quinnett
  • March 29 - Wolf and Clover
  • April 05 - soprano Noemi de Silva with pianist Beibeilin
  • April 12 - mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins
  • April 19 - David Banks Gospel Jazz Experience
  • April 26 - Duo Echo
  • May 03 - TBA
  • May 10 - TBA
  • May17 - euphonium artist Marie Robertson
Video of the Week

I just love this video. John McGlaughlin jams with Doc Severinsen on "Cherokee." His soloing is phenom.
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 ( 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

I flaked, and I have no excuse for not writing the newsletter a couple weeks, except…

Cambridge Analytica… that’s all I’ll say about that!

The multiple bombings in Texas by alleged white right-wing terrorists… that’s all I’ll say about that!

During the beginning of the week in question, I spent a few days writing a seven-page letter that I sent to each of my three congressmen, a letter concerning my brother that is quite possibly the best prose I’ve ever written. It involves a long story, but I will post the letter on my personal social media if I get no satisfaction, and considering that all three representatives are members of the Republican Party and are all male, I estimate that my grievance will be in the public domain by the beginning of the summer season.

I also met with my lawyer, a wonderfully compassionate and intelligent man. My brother and I are dealing with a charlatan contractor whose incompetence is threatening the house that my brother is building that will ultimately shelter my brother’s family (including four of his five sons), me (a 32-year survivor of quadriplegia who needs expensive adaptive equipment like ramps; a roll-in shower; a tracking system in the ceiling for transferring my fat ass to and from my shower, my bed, my wheelchair; etc.), my brother’s wife’s aging parents, and my brother’s (and mine) aging parents. Our meeting with our mitigator, too, involves a long story that may take a while to play out but suffice it to say that if I get no satisfaction, I will rhetorically lambaste the contracting rube in such a humiliating manner that he will have to move into the badlands of South Dakota to spend his dying days breathing in the miasmatic sulfur that eerily suspires into the atmosphere from deep subterranean geothermal rock formations, a toxic effluvium that will adequately prepare him for eternity in Hell.

And to top it all, I have been receiving new information practically every hour for the last few weeks that corroborates the fact that the current usurper of the presidency is chronically stupid but believes himself infallible and that he is drawing our nation closer and closer towards Armageddon.

I am emotionally drained. Writing, for me, is therapeutic, yet my writing ultimately encourages cogitation to the incredibly apprehensive state of our union, which, cyclically, aggrieves my tender sensibilities. Point is: I did write for that lost week’s newsletter… I simply did not write enough. For instance, I wrote the following paragraph, but it emotionally drained me to the point wherein I needed to free my mind from the emotional malaise it engendered, and I found refuge in the brightly hued Cartoon Network watching "We Bare Bares":

I am not quite ready to die, to suddenly abruptly pop into a totally new, ineffable, environmental entelechy like when I suddenly awaken from a sentient dream to find that my previous sensorial reality has been a chimerical illusion. I no longer fear emigrating from my current terrene milieu; I no longer fear that my ethereal essence will invariably evanesce into the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns. Right now and each appended moment is special. I feel it my duty to expect the sudden end to come, and this realization is liberating. My singing and my writing, both of which have garnered fans, are gifts that I savor more than when I was younger and disinterested in cogitating life’s temporality. Still and all, this self-realization (evolution?) has increased my passion for the life I have remaining, and this passion is felt by people who read my rhetoric or who enjoy my singing.

You may have noticed that I’ve recently added a new section to this newsletter called It’s A Quad Thing in which I write stories that highlight the lighter side of paralysis or stories about my personal quest as a quadriplegic vocalist trying to perform publicly in a world that has few accessible stages. I was able to complete the essay for last week’s missed edition (which you can read in this issue), but it was so emotional that it made me cry while I was writing it.

You may now, hopefully, understand why I needed a little break from the emotional turmoil that contemporary life enkindles. This is why I couldn’t muster enough moxie to publish the lost week’s newsletter. I can’t promise that I’ll never miss another week; Trump is still president, and the threat of another very preventable (and another possibly illegal) war still threatens the only life of which I am certain… but I will try to overcome this madness to write about the jazz music that is the source of my ember-breathing passion, which enables me to ameliorate the negative forces that Donald J. Trump and his ilk are sewing into our national fabric.

I am not a jazzonian genius... by a long shot. In fact, I practice hard to sing the way I do, but I could never call it work; I enjoy singing even when I’m alone. Everything I know about music is innate… is auricular, but it is my hope that the passion I possess for Jazz will inspire someone… anyone… to love it as much as I do… to learn it… to master it… and to inspire someone else to disseminate jazzonian passion so that it may inspire future generations to strive for complex musicology to which one must actively listen.

Peace Through Music

If you can afford it, and you think this newsletter worthy, please send a $5, $10, or $20 check or money order to:

The Jazzinian FUN’d Drive
962 Washington Road
Hamilton, Georgia 31811

It ain’t that I’m a Luddite, it’s just that I don’t know how to add a donate button that auto-magically-electronically transfers funds into my banking account. Besides, “the man” always seems to have his too-large-to-fail hand reaching out, palm upwards, in anticipation of remuneration he doesn’t deserve, fees he assesses for banking services rendered electronically via a computer application written by an underpaid intern. I guess, in a sense, I am more like Ned Ludd, the English laborer who was supposed to have destroyed weaving machinery around 1779 because he felt that technology would destroy employment for the laborer, except that I won’t physically destroy anything… other than, perhaps, the practice of usury; I merely want the practice of charging interest on loans to die of entropy. So, I reckon that I am a Luddite in that I believe in moderation and that humanity thrives when the mind and body are engaged instead of when one uses her wit to absquatulate with unjustified and excessive wealth, especially when she’s done nothing to earn it.

I currently pay out $20/month to use Constant Contact to publish this weekly newsletter. Well, it’ll be $20/month after the $10/month introductory offer expires… soon. If I could, I’d earn the money by singing, but my options are limited to accessible stages, which are not very common at all, and there aren’t many stages exclusively for jazz. Jazz is only granted a small piece of the pie… but it’s my passion. Seems like my only concert options are The Loft in Columbus, GA and Eighth and Rail in Opelika, AL; although, in Opelika I use a portable ramp to get onstage; one does what one has to do. When I sing at Venkman’s jazz jam, the soundman brings the microphone to my table, but I’d love to be on stage. How else can I perfect my secondary ambition to be a standup comedian. Incidentally, I currently take a sleeping pill because one of the side effects is somnambulation, but I’m still waiting to awaken ambulating.

I also have ambitions to sing onstage with my friend Ted McVay whom I’ve known forty years. We have a unique sound that, I believe, can and will be appreciated by a wider audience. We harmonize really well together, and the songs he writes are creative, witty, poignant, and fun to sing. Once we get a bit o’ steam, we’re bound to be a formidable, creative musical energy, positive, peaceful, loving. I will then, hopefully, make enough dough to overpay the people I need to assist me in acts of daily living. My family has already done so much for me and need a break. Thirty-one years is an awful long burden… thirty-two this April 18. ‘Til then, if you are able to comfortably part ways with a few bucks, I sure could use it.
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.

#Wheelchairistacracy #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