The Jazzonian
Jazz is Diversity. Jazz is Democracy.

#Wheelchairistocracy

From the demented mind of Rusty Taylor
Jester and Vocalist for jazz band
Southern Standard Time
A Weekly Newsletter
April 16, 2018 C.E.

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
Points of Interest
in this week's issue

  • Salutations
  • Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Incredible Area Jazz Musicians
  • April 20: Rene Marie with Kevin Bales and GSU Jazz Band At The Rialto Center For The Arts. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Ma Rainey's Legacy
  • This Week at The Loft
  • Last Week at The Loft
  • It's A Quad Thing (You May Not Understand)
  • Lyrics of the Week
  • Video of the Week
  • Valediction
Salutations

Greetings!...

The beautiful, historic southern city of Columbus, Georgia needs to have an area Hall of Fame for music with an especial emphasis on blues and jazz.

There I said it.

Our fair city, which was settled in 1828 after extirpating Creek aboriginals, has a wonderful musical history that may predate Blind Tom Wiggins (May 25, 1849 – June 14, 1908), who was shamelessly exploited by a Columbus, Georgia, lawyer named General James Neil Bethune. Of course, Ma Rainey is a Columbus, Georgia native, and Fletcher Henderson was born in Cuthbert, Georgia, which is approximately fifty-seven miles southeast of our Fountain City. The Chattahoochee Valley is steeped in musical history, and since the introduction of the Jazz Studies program at Columbus State University, the jazz scene in Columbus, Georgia and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley is insidiously fomenting musical creativity that will ultimately catalyze the Jazzonian Renaissance, and the epicenter for this lustful revolution will be Columbus, Georgia!

I guy can dream, can't he?

This year has been a groovy jazz year, and it's only April. Last week, the Schwob Jazz Octet played wonderfully. They were/are CSU's top players, and they totally blew me away. (More on them anon.) The week before, CommonMind Music played featuring Nick Johnson and his crew from Valdosta State. Actually, we've had really high quality jazz throughout the year. I do realize that I am quick to use encomiastic praise, but I only do so when I am geeked about the musician or performer for whom I take up the Pen Of Lofty Praise. If a musician or ensemble falls short of my expectations, I do tend to overemphasize her strengths and ameliorate the areas that need improvement. Jazz is challenging, and I have no desire to dissuade anyone from trying. Still, I love great jazz, and Columbus, Georgia is gaining a reputation in the south-east. It is my dream to watch the Chattahoochee Valley, the plains of Alabama, and the Piedmont of Georgia nourish a formidable jazzonian force that has international influence.

Peace Through Music  
Abel 2, Inc.

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

Are you a Performing Artist (singer, dancer, musician, actor, comedian, poet, etc.)?
Do you have a disability?  
Do you know anyone who is?  
Abel 2 wants you to promote your talent!

We are in the process of building a database of performing artists with disabilities who reside in the Southeast. Send us the contact name and information on our "Contact Us" page or email us at Abel2Nonprofit@aol.com. Be sure to include your talent, level of experience, head shot, and video of one of your performances. Click on banner for more info.
Bad Joke of the Week

I tried to sue the airport for misplacing my luggage. – I lost my case.

or...

RIP boiling water. You will be mist.
Tweets of the Week

Question: What do you get when you elect a hapless, bankruptcy-exploiting businessman; adulterous, thrice married yet “family values”-embracing idiot; prostitute copulating; Playboy model manipulating; pudenda-grabbing; woman-suppressing; supremacist-grinning; megalomaniac buffoon as president of the United States?
Answer: We’re finding out.
—@SSTJazzVocalist  

Question: What does a sheep think when it discovers that the crass but lovably buffoonish shepherd who has been tending the flock has been incessantly lying and is actually perniciously herding the flock of obsequious ovine toward the abattoir of their destruction?
Answer: We should’ve demanded that he disclose his tax returns.
—@SSTJazzVocalist  
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Friday, April 20, the Atlanta High Museum of Art features pianist Emmanuel “Chops” Smith who has been playing piano since age three. Trained in classical, jazz, and contemporary music, “Chops” has performed in venues throughout the Southeast and with such artists as Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Paquito D’Rivera, Kenny Werner, Randy Brecker, and more. He released his debut jazz album, CHOPS, in November of 2017. To learn more, visit Emmanuel “Chops” Smith’s website.
  • 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.
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm at Venkman's in Atlanta, The Atlanta Latin Jazz Orchestra. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, April 28 at 8 pm, Larry Harlowe's Latin Legends Band will perform at Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta. Larry Harlow's Latin Legends Band will fire up the Rialto stage for our closing night celebration. Larry Harlow completely revolutionized what is known today as Salsa, developing the explosive trumpet/trombone sound that has come to characterize the music. Harlow formed The Latin Legends band with the aim of educating Latino and American youth about the music's heritage and pioneering new ideas. Special guest Oscar Hernandez, bandleader/pianist of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, was greatly influenced by Harlow. Relive the excitement of dance night at New York’s Palladium Ballroom with the Salsa music of Larry Harlow's Latin Legends Band and Oscar Hernandez as we close out the Rialto Series with passion and panache!. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Sunday, April 29 at 12:30 pm at Venkman's in Atlanta, the Trio Deluxe will be playing – smoky American Songbook standards and hot virtuosity from some of the best Athens/Atlanta musicians around: Andrea DeMarcus (Cicada Rhythm), Dan Coy (Bonaventure Quartet), and John Norris (lots of Athens bands). Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Monday, April 30 at 8 pm – City Winery in Atlanta, VA Virginia Schenck & Friends ~ International Jazz Day featuring Virginia Schenck, Kevin Bales, Rodney Jordan, and Marlon Patton. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, May 5 Earl Smith Strand Theater in Marietta, Georgia at 8 pm the Georgia State Jazz Orchestra. Fo' mo' info, click here. An intimate evening with the GSO Jazz combo and a special guest vocalist you’re not going to believe!
  • Sunday, May 6 at 12:30 pm at Venkman's in Atlanta features Shakta Jazz Trio with Chapman and Watters. Fo' mo' infom click here.
  • Monday, May 28 at 8 pm – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s remarkable arrival onto the music scene. Since it’s formation in the early nineties in Ventura, California, the band has toured virtually nonstop, performing on average over 150 shows a year, and has produced a sizable catalog of recorded music, with sales of over 2 million albums to date. Early on, during their legendary residency at the Derby nightclub in Los Angeles, they reminded the world, in the midst of the grunge era no less, that it was still cool to swing. The band, cofounded by singer Scotty Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren, was at the forefront of the swing revival of that time, blending a vibrant fusion of the classic American sounds of jazz, swing, and dixieland, with the energy and spirit of contemporary culture. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • 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 - 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: https://jmatthewrensnest.eventbrite.com. 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: https://jmatthewrensnest.eventbrite.com. 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: https://jmatthewrensnest.eventbrite.com. 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: https://jmatthewrensnest.eventbrite.com. For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
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This Week at The Loft
Columbus [GA's] Home For Jazz Music


This Friday at The Loft features a new vocalist (well, he's new to The Loft) named Greg Robbins. A vocalist! Now that excites me. A quick check on faccebook reveals that Gregg is from Dunwoody and currently resides in Atlanta and that he studied at Berry College. (I wonder if he knows galactically renowned drummer John David?) He's single but in a relationship, and he was born. Don't know much else about him, but I imagine that he's a killer vocalist because Kevin Bales is accompanying him on piano, and I really dig Kevin's playing. I'll have more info about Greg next week but look forward to hearin' him this Friday at The Loft.

Peace Through Music

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
Last Week at The Loft
Columbus [GA's] Home For Jazz Music
Last week at The Loft featured two jazz combos from Columbus State University's Jazz Studies program. The first was the Cannonball Jazz Octet under the direction of Bryan Canonigo. I find it heartwarming to watch the newer students when they play. Of course, the musicians range in age and skill level, but I have the utmost respect for these cats who take the challenge seriously and do their very best to create magic... and they do. Not throughout the performance, but there are moments during a solo, when the musician is exposing her most vulnerable self to the potential soul-crushing harshness of mean-spirited criticism, naked to the Universe, but then her Muse inspires just a pinch of thaumaturgy but that seemingly insignificant nearly imperceptible gossamer of energy creates a tsunamic reaction that ignites hitherto unrealized potential that surges her soul beyond the limits of galactic quantification. And that, my friend, is what jazz is all about. Hats off to the Cannonball Jazz Octet:

  • Hezekiah Rodgers – sax
  • Ian Morrison – bass
  • Allison Kershner – flute, vocals
  • Elizabeth Schlender – violin, vocals
  • Nathan Moore – trumpet
  • Wyatt Detrick – trombone
  • Dan Murray – Drums
  • Dragos Illie – guitar

The second combo featured was the Schwob Jazz Quintet under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen, and these cats smoked. As I fain listened to this group of highly skilled musicians who represent the highest of standards as promulgated by Columbus State University’s Jazz program under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen, ¥ I couldn’t help but think that there aren’t many places on the planet that features such incredible jazz music. And they're international as well, hailing from Brazil, Toronto, Israel, and Illinois. I'm really hoping that The Loft brings back these cats because they make me smile. Life really doesn't get much better. Hats of to the Schwob Jazz Quintet.

  • Bryan Canonigo – alto sax
  • Paolo Siqueira – tenor sax
  • Steven Lukehart – piano
  • Yair Orphir – bass
  • Tommy Embrich – drums 

__________________________
¥ Leave us not forget the legacy left behind by the previous directors from the beginning: Dr. Paul Vander Gheynst, Dr. Shirantha Beddage, and Dr. Alex Pershounin, all of whom advanced the level of excellence that has become the present standard with emphasis on enriching the community.

Ma Rainey's Legacy
From Wikipedia

Gertrude Pridgett “Ma” Rainey (1886-1939) is recognized as the “Mother of the Blues.” She was a major influence on Bessie Smith. From the notes on a Youtube video:

Ma Rainey was already a veteran performer with decades of touring in African-American shows in the U.S. Southern States when she made her first recordings in 1923. Rainey signed with Paramount Records and, between 1923 and 1928, she recorded 100 songs, including the classics "C.C. Rider" (aka "See See Rider") and "Jelly Bean Blues", the humorous "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", and the deep blues "Bo Weavil Blues". In her career, Rainey was backed by such noted jazz musicians as cornet players Louis Armstrong and Tommy Ladnier, pianists Fletcher Henderson and Lovie Austin, saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, and clarinetist Buster Bailey. Rainey recorded two vocal duets with Papa Charlie Jackson in 1928, which proved to be her last recordings; Paramount terminated her contract soon afterwards, claiming that her material had gone out of fashion. 

According to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website... Inductee: Gertrude Pridgett a.k.a. Ma Rainey (born April 26, 1886, died December 22, 1939):

If Bessie Smith is the acknowledged “Queen of the Blues,” then Gertrude “Ma” Rainey is the undisputed “Mother of the Blues.” Ma Rainey was born Gertrude Pridgett on April 26, 1886 in Columbus, Georgia. She was the second of five children of Thomas and Ella (née Allen) Pridgett, from Alabama. She made her performing debut at the age of 14 in a local show called “A Bunch of Blackberries.” In her late teens, she married William Rainey, and both toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels... In 1914 she and her husband began touring as Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. They often spent their winters in New Orleans, and there she met such musicians as Joe “King” Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and Pops Foster... With her broad, toothy smile, multi-directional horsehair wig and necklace of $20 gold coins, Rainey was a sight to behold. “They said she was the ugliest woman in show business,” Alberta Hunter once said. “But Ma Rainey didn’t care, because she pulled in the crowds. Some of us used to laugh at her, because she was so countryfied. But I think her looks were part of her act—just look at some of those kids out there today, those young men with the wild hair and makeup. Are they pretty? No, but people notice them, and they’re making money.”

Ma Rainey was inducted into the Blue Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1990, the same year she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004 “See, See Rider” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

  • Rainey was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • Bob Dylan referred to Rainey in the song "Tombstone Blues" on his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited, pairing her with Beethoven, perhaps as symbols of great art, a compliment to Rainey's stature as an artist ("where Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped their bedroll").
  • In 1981 Sandra Lieb wrote the first full-length book about Rainey, Mother of the Blues: A Study of Ma Rainey.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a 1982 play by August Wilson, is a fictionalized account of the recording of her song of the same title in December 1927.
  • Sterling A. Brown wrote a poem, "Ma Rainey", in 1932, about how "When Ma Rainey / comes to town" people everywhere would hear her sing.
  • In 1994, the U.S. Post Office issued a 29-cent commemorative postage stamp honoring her.
  • In 2004, "See See Rider Blues" (performed in 1924) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was added to the National Recording Registry by the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.
  • Academy Award winner Mo'Nique played Rainey in the 2015 film Bessie.
  • The first annual Ma Rainey Blues Festival will be held in April 2016 in Columbus, Georgia, near the home that Rainey owned and lived in at the time of her death.

Other Notable Regional Musicians
  • Blind Tom Wiggins
  • Fletcher Henderson
  • Robert Cray
  • Dmitri Mathany
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

Toboggan

' A did comply, sir, with his dug before 'a
suck'd it. Thus has he, and many more of the same
breed that I know the drossy age dotes on, only got the
tune of the time, and out of an habit of encounter,
a kind of yesty collection, which carries them
through and through the most profound and winnow'd
opinions, and do but blow them to their trial, the bu-
bbles are out.

Hamlet
V.ii.187-195


As I have opined ad nauseam, I was incarcerated within the voluntary prison of corporate America for sixteen years. I was a computer programmer with a B.A. in English, although I did have a minor in Computer Science. Not surprisingly, many a programmer where I was employed had a college degree, but I’ve learned through many experiences that a college degree does not necessarily connote erudition nor does it always distinguish one intellectually from them who have no degree at all. I am acquainted with too many who demonstrate with quotidian ennui their lack of mental acuity even though they somehow hoodwinked their way towards a piece of sheepskin bearing an impressive collegiate insignia that would have been better used wiping canine excrement from the bottom of their shoes. Grant it, I’m not all that bright myself (even though my father calls me sun); I have no answers to questions that will ultimately guide me to my most worthy post-terrestrial destination.

I do dabble a bit in poetry, but I realize that I’ve a ways to go before I can even consider myself a good poet, but it is great fun and mentally therapeutic. Be that as it may, I have met some people who regard themselves word-smithies on the same literary level as Shakespeare yet who haven’t graduated from what I call pubescent poetry—the kind of rhyming poesy that wreaks of teenaged angst, self-pity, self-love, and banal couplets. At the time of the occasion of which I’m now to disclose, I had been writing sonnets in an effort to better learn the craft and so that I’d have a set of guidelines to keep me from writing ad nauseam, which I still tend to do. Anyway, I hung one of my sonnets on my bulletin board at work, a rough draft of a poem on which I was working. One of my fellow employees, a soi-disant poet, read it and said with the sincerity of a kindergartner’s descanting about the Easter Bunny’s altruism, “That’s pretty good, but your first line is too long.”

Obviously, this boy hadn’t heard of iambic pentameter, and I was forced to respond with the lifeless, “But it’s a sonnet.”

As a computer programmer I met more sycophants to Capitalism than I can count. (Keep in mind that my maximum number in countin’ is ten unless I am barefooted; I can then count to nineteen ‘cause one o’ my toes is missin’.) The luxury-driven corporate-embracing zombies I witnessed would rather dream of a ludicrously fabulous retirement to the exclusion of living their current lives to the fullest, but they’re not the only ilk of corporate citizen. I am also familiar with the hygiene-impaired computer geek who dreams of marrying a supermodel after dazzling her with his binary prowess; the late thirty-year-old ex-high school athlete who reluctantly acquiesces to the insidious pains that accompany decades of life; the once paragon of plastic distaff perfection—a blonde-coiffed, green-eyed seductress with an infuriating lack of wit and vestigial traces of what had once been a drop-dead-gorgeous body but who has failed to notice or even acknowledge her transmogrification into a deliquescent puffy carbon-based water balloon; the fifty-year-old player who still chases, and occasionally catches, recreational pubescent coitus; egocentric dilettantes; lascivious divorcees; autumn-winter romances; winter-spring romances; and sophistic pedagogy. (All this coming from a writer of bombastic superfluity.)

There was a young woman employee where I worked who adored thinking that she had the answer to everything. Leslie Belittle was born in the self-proclaimed academic citadel of Pennsylvania then raised in the fantasy driven utopia of Texas. Through her superior education (that was spearheaded in her youth by transcendent geographic indigenity (in-di-GEN-i-ty), the myopic fantasy that one who was reared north of Mason and Dixon’s line understands everything congenitally more effectively than we who were reared in Southern climes, even though she cannot explain why or how this phenomena exists), she has come to believe that the South is filled with unacceptable atavistic barbarism not only surviving but proliferating because of its general lack of respect or knowledge of Aristocratic European Civilization that she and others of her ilk innately understand. She, of course, has since moved from Georgia and the asphyxiating effluvium of illiteracy spawned by its intrinsic deleterious geographic condition.

I have no qualms with claiming a heritage from the South. My paternal grandparents were Hoosiers, whatever that is, but my maternal grandparents came from South Carolina and my mother’s maternal grandparents were Cherokee Indians. This is the tradition that I firmly grasp. Both my parents graduated from Baker High School in Columbus, Georgia and I would’ve been born in Columbus if my father had not joined the Air Force and married my mom right after they graduated. Of course, this was during the Vietnam conflict (call it what you will) and chances are that he’d have been drafted into the Army had he not joined the Air Force, so Fate had her alabaster hand controlling the Wheel of Fortune by which it was foreordained that I be born in Wurtzburg, Germany. I have nothing against the foreign country, but I can’t recall a single event involving my birth, and it’s by my parents’ word, and a tattered birth certificate, that I must accept that I was even there. All my memories of life seem to begin around 1972, when I was eight, two years after my father was discharged from the military and my family moved back to Columbus, the land with which I share a special affinity—as if I’m a mere gossamer on the web that is the South, gaining strength from it as well as making it stronger. I am a Southern boy.

One day in late November, Leslie Belittle came to me in a rush and asked me, rather anxiously, if I was from the South. I, of course, replied with an affirmative.

“Do you know what a toboggan is?” she asked.

I replied, rather eloquently, “It’s a long flat sled without runners that seats about four or five people with a front that curves up like elves’ shoes.”

She looked at me as if I had somehow grasped the secrets of quantum mechanics and with lugubrious relief almost cried, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” It seemed as if she wanted to pat my head and give me a dog biscuit. “Everyone else I’ve talked to who is from the South seems to think it’s some kind of a hat!”

It didn’t bother me in the least that she might’ve errantly thought for an instant that I was more astute than Sherlock Holmes, but the respect she feigned toward my perspicacity was but a fulgurous lapse into a more liberal milieu with which she was totally uncomfortable. A nanosecond later she, once again, considered me a maleducated product of Georgia’s Educational System that encourages teenagers to have babies out of wedlock, spit like Roberto Alamar, support the KKK and televangelists with equanimity, idolize Confederate poetry of specious spinsters elucidating unregenerate even destructive memories of the Southern antebellum paradise that never existed, obfuscate justice, suppress and oppress non-compliance, drink beer and belch loudly as we ask our barefoot and pregnant wives to retrieve another long neck beer while we smoke marijuana stogies and profane the government.

What I didn’t tell her was that not two weeks before she had asked me the all-important toboggan-defining question, I was having lunch with a friend of mine who was a denizen of our fair state but was originally from Michigan. She told me of her plans to return to her home state for the upcoming holidays and take her nephew on a toboggan ride. I was confused at the time because I was silently wondering what all this had to do with a knitted hat, so I did ask her what a toboggan was; her eyes sparkled as she described the sled and how much fun she envisioned, her face an enchantingly brilliant expression of pure joy with pleasant remembrances from her past. I, of course, missed all the connotations involved with her exciting story because I have never felt of wind stinging my face as I plummet at seemingly unbearable speeds past blurred trees on a flat sled without runners until I finally stop in complete and exhilarating exhaustion at the bottom of a laughing hill of ice.

Another cohort of mine (who is also from north of the Mason-Dixon line but who, although really intelligent, lacks the critical eagerness of Leslie Belittle to overstate the obvious or to become too amorous with superfluous minutia) later said that toboggan is what people from New York do when they want to haggle over a price.

Winters in west-central Georgia are rarely harsh. That’s why every city in the state, including Atlanta, shuts down at the first sign of snow; it isn’t economically feasible to spend a lot of money preparing for something that rarely occurs and that even when it does, it only produces limited financial damage, too insignificant to justify acquisition of expensive snow-managing equipment. The snow doesn’t stay on the ground more than three days before the temperatures climb back into the 70s... at least until the next ice age. I, obviously, will never ride a toboggan, but I hope that I don’t react so incredulously when a group of people are ignorant about a fact that couldn’t possibly be any less interesting to them—not something that is uninteresting, mind you, but something for which they, under no circumstances, could care less about.


Peace Through Music

toboggan - “long, flat-bottomed sled,” 1829, from Canadian Fr. tabagane, from Algonquian (probably Micmac) tobakun “a sled.” The verb is recorded from 1846. As American-English colloquial for a type of long woolen cap, it is recorded from 1929 (earlier toboggan cap, 1928), presumably because one wore such a cap while tobogganing.
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
Lyrics

The Ballad of Blind Tom
by Elton John

Say that boy's a wonderment
No! The kid's a freak
But that kid he don't care none
His black hands resting on the keys
Hoppin' like a big old frog
And hissin' like a train
Entertaining royalty
All points east, west and in-between

General he's a fine old man
Treat him like his own
Boy wouldn't know from money
Just throw old Blind Tom a bone
From the times of King Cotton
May we present to you
All you Jim Crow monkeys
From Harlan County down to Tuscaloo

Play me anything you like
I'll pay it back to you
Be careful what you call me though
Some things cut clear on through
I may be an idiot
I may be a savant
I didn't choose this life for me
But it's something that I want

Cocks that old big head aside
Grunts a word or two
Keeps 'em guessin' every night
Is he really gonna make it through
Faint hearts with their fans out
Starched collars and cigars
He weren't no use for slavin'
"I wouldn't want him in my yard"
Video of the Week

Video The Ballad of Blind Tom by Elton John

Jazz Association of Macon
We Promote Jazz in Macon
and Middle Georgia
Our purpose is to:

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

To read their blog, click here .
Area Musicians
Actually, this is a link to a page of my personal website, but it makes it much easier t maintain. It is a dynamic list of area musicians that will, hopefully, be continually updated until I can no longer do it. If you are a musician who is not listed or you are listed but with invalid info, please let me know, and I'll make the appropriate revisions. Thank you, and click here to visit the link.
High Museum of Art: Atlanta Jazz
Live jazz in the Robinson Atrium at the Atlanta High Museum of Art every 3rd Friday of the month. Fo' mo' info, click here .
On-line Radio
  • WCUG 88.5 Cougar Radio - Columbus State University.
  • KUNR 88.7 Reno, Nevada.
  • KNCJ 89.5 Reno, Nevado.
  • Saturday Night Jazz hosted by Scot Marshall and Dallas Smith (Columbus, GA native) - Scot and Dallas bring their rich musical experiences together in "Saturday Night Jazz" to feature music which ranges from the latest releases to jazz classics and occasional recordings by local artists, as well as announcements of upcoming local jazz events in the Reno-Tahoe area. "Saturday Night Jazz" is supported by the Reno Jazz Orchestra and For the Love of Jazz. Dallas' program airs on KUNR (kunr.org) from 10pm-12am PST/1am-3am EST. The 9pm-1pm EST broadcast is on KNCJ (streaming via the kunr.orgwebsite).
  • WCLK 99.1 Atlanta's Jazz Station, Clark Atlanta University.
  • Adore Jazz - Adore Jazz makes listeners relax, feel, think and smile through listening to the finest vocal jazz.
  • WTSU 88.9 Troy State University - Ray Murray's Jazz Radio Show Saturday nights at 10 pm Central Time.
  • WVAS 90.7 Montgomery - Jazz, Blues, News, and views.
Jazz Matters @ The Wren's Project
Preserving a musical culture, tradition & Art Form
 
Jazz Matters , Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that believes Jazz Matters, because music matters.  Jazz is America's only original art form and this national treasure was created by African Americans.

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

Peace Through Music
Valediction

I am tired. It is late. Forgive any typos.

Peace Through Music
Donate

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