The Jazzonian

From the demented mind of Rusty Taylor
Jester and Vocalist for jazz band
Southern Standard Time
A Weekly Newsletter
February 19, 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 jester-singer for the vocal jazz band Southern Standard Time


Well, we did it, and it seems like it was pretty successful. “What the Hell is this boy rambling about?” you might be asking yourself right now, but if you are… shame on you! Would you be addressing me with such condescension if I were standing before you? Well… actually, that’s not a fair question. Truth is, if I could stand, I’d be somewhere else trying to find a lover instead of wasting whatever time allotted my walking to be wasting it trying to defend my false sense of honor, so let me just get to the point.

Last Tuesday, we streamed the weekly jazz jam at Eighth and Rail using facebook Live! Even now, the images and sounds of the Jane Drake Band are pulsing through the void of space at the speed of light, omni-directionally, so that many millions of light-years from now, a prepubescent alien will download the jam onto her handheld devise and wonder what she’s looking at.

The following morning, which was Wednesday (I’ve confirmed it with a calendar), I checked out the video, and it wasn’t that bad. Sound quality was decent, not perfect, but I got a sense of the groovy atmosphere. The video reminds me that there are times of torpor during a jazz jam, like when deciding what song to play, and the breaks in-between sets seems interminable, but, overall, it was a successful first try. I think that a host would make the experience much more enjoyable for any viewers, an aesthetic hostess or host who is knowledgeable about jazz, someone who is funny, and someone who can win over the loyalty of viewers who might not necessarily think of jazz as a viable form of musical entertainment. Does Auburn have a degree in video correspondence? Is there such a thing? CSU? KSU? Alabama State? If you are traveling through space at the speed of light and you turn on the headlights, would anything happen? These are important questions that must be asked. 

If any of you intrepid readers have any suggestions about how to make this streaming more viewer-friendly, please share them. Thanks, and remember that nothing beats being at Eighth and Rail every Tuesday for its weekly jazz jam. It really is a groovy atmosphere with groovy people groovin’ on groovy music… groovily.

Peace Through Music
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.
GSU 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
  • Sun, March 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm ET - Matthew Kaminski Trio plays at Venkman's in Atlanta. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • March 11, 2018 starting at 7 pm ET - Earth, Wind, and Fire will perform in Macon, GA Macon City Auditorium @ The Macon Centreplex, Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Sat, March 17, 2018 starting at 7:30 pm ET at Spivey Hall in Morrow, GA - Terell Stafford Quintet. Terell Stafford is a professional jazz trumpet player and current Director of Jazz Studies at the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University. Terell Stafford was born in Miami, Florida, and raised in both Chicago, Illinois, and Silver Spring, Maryland. He went on to get a degree in music education from University of Maryland in 1988 and a degree in classical trumpet performance from Rutgers University in 1993. Originally a classical trumpet player, Stafford soon branched out to jazz with the University of Maryland jazz band. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 7:00 PM ET - Atlanta Blues Festival featuring Sir Charles Jones, TK Soul, Pokey Bear, Tucka, Nellie Tiger Travis and J'Wonn. The Atlanta Blues Festival will be at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Sunday, March 25 – Legendary bassist Stanley Clark will start playing at the Atlanta City Winery. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Thursday, March 29 – Victor Wooton Trio at The Alys Stephens Center, Birmingham, Al., 7:00 pm CDT, Tickets $40. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Thursday, March 29 – Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn. 7:00 PM ET doors / 8:00 PM ET show. With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America’s rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s second album Echo in the Valley is simultaneously familiar and wildly innovative. “Some of the most interesting things in the world come together in strange and unique ways and show our diversity,” reflects Béla, a fifteen-time Grammy award winner who is often considered the world’s premier banjo player. “The banjo is just one of those things. It’s a great example of how the world can combine things and create surprising hybrids,” a reference to the ancestral African roots of the banjo combining with Scotch-Irish music in Appalachia. Echo in the Valley is the follow up to Béla and Abigail’s acclaimed, self-titled debut that earned the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. This time around, the mission was to take their double banjo combination of three finger and clawhammer styles “to the next level and find things to do together that we had not done before,” says Béla. “We’re expressing different emotions through past techniques and going to deeper places.” The results are fascinating, especially considering their strict rules for recording: all sounds must be created by the two of them, the only instruments used are banjos (they have seven between them, ranging from a ukulele to an upright bass banjo), and they must be able to perform every recorded song live.
  • Sunday, April 1 starting at 1 pm Eastern Time at Venkman's in Atlanta, the Coley High Trio. Coley High Trio plays a wide variety of acoustic music for all occasions. Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop, Reggae, Blues, Funk, Blue Grass, you name it - we got it. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • 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
This Friday, March 2, Neil Lucas and Six String Theory return to the stage at The Loft in uptown Columbus, Georgia. Six String Theory is an experiment in blues guitar, played by Neal Lucas, wherein the blues meets jazz in the form of Impressions. The band Impressions is Tommy Embrich - drums, Nick Johnson - sax, Yair Ophir -bass and Donald Tipton on keyboards.

The Loft is Columbus, Georgia's home for live jazz music. It is the grooviest venue in the Fountain City with a full bar and menu, a great staff, and the best live music around. Each week, The Loft features a different area jazz band, including bands from Atlanta, Montgomery, Opelika, Tuskegee, and Auburn. Each concert provides moments of auricular enchantment that you just don't want to miss. Make plans to join us. It's always a blast.
Last Week at The Loft
Columbus [GA's] Home For Jazz Music
Last week at The Loft featured the Reggie Sampson Quartet with Reggie Sampson on sax. I really enjoyed Reggie's playing, and his rhythm section was awesome. I apologize that I didn't get their names 'cause they need to be lauded. Hopefully, they'll return soon with their complete ensemble... their guitarist had to drop out at the last moment, and Don Tipton stepped in to save the day.

Reggie and his rhythm section are members of MCoE Band--the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band. For over 50 years, the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Band (283rd Army Band) has taken great pride in entertaining the Soldiers, military families, and civilians of the Fort Benning, Columbus, and Phenix City communities. The MCoE Band's frequent performances promote esprit de corps among Soldiers and veterans, as well as patriotic spirit within the civilian community.

Because of a last minute cancellation that may not have involved Russian collusion, Don Tipton sat in on keyboard, so if you're wondering why Don is so ubiquitous, he does step in when needed. Unfortunately, we have limited number of area jazz pianist, especially locally, but we've got Mark Young in Hamilton (one of my favorites), along with Chris Helms out of Smiths Station (his main instrument is the sax, but he plays keys for Snakebite Six), then there's Kenny Banks, Kevin Bales, Tyrone Jackson, Etsuko Tomeda, Matthew Kaminski out of Atlanta, and Coleman Woodson III out of Montgomery, but they've got a bit o' distance to travel, and, of course, there's Lloyd Buchanan. The Loft prides itself in finding different area jazz bands with different styles. This is why Friday Evening Jazz at The Loft is so popular... why I dig it so much.
The Columbus, Georgia Jazz Scene 1940 - 1985
Memories of Jazz
The History of Swing and Jazz in the Columbus, Georgia Area From 1940 – 1980... Who played... Where they played
by Gene Kocian

[NOTE: I found this book at Judybug's Books, a quaint bookstore on the 1000 block of Broadway in downtown Columbus, Georgia. It's a book about the jazz history of Columbus, Georgia from the 1940s to the 1980s. It is my intention to highlight interesting passages from the book in my weekly jazzonian newsletter. Since this book's publishing date, Columbus, Georgia and surrounding area has seen a slow and steady increase in the interest of jazz, beginning with the establishment of the Jazz Studies curriculum at Columbus State University (formerly Columbus College) under the direction of Dr. Paul Vander Gheynst to the creation of the Columbus Jazz Society in the mid-1980s-CSU's Schwob Jazz Orchestra and combos are currently under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen and they are garnering national recognition. The Loft, in downtown Columbus, Georgia, sponsors a weekly jazz concert, and there are a few area jazz jams sprinkled throughout the Chattahoochee Valley and beyond. Jazz influence is experiencing a renaissance. This book, however, is a small, personal jazz reflection from the experiences of Gene Kocian who wrote that, for young jazz enthusiasts, his words are a "heretofore unrecognized facet of Columbus' musical culture... [our] roots!" Enjoy]

Warren Clayton

Warren Clayton is the first area musician memorialized in Memories of Jazz . He started his musical journey with a blind band leader and pianist named Edgar White. After a brief stint with Edgar's band, Warren left and joined the larger Suzie Freeman Band, one of the more popular bands in the area. Warren started playing the banjo but later switched to guitar on which he became an artist. He also was a vocalist with the band.

Warren's musical career was interrupted in the early forties because of an evil little man who was hellbent to create a perfect human society by eliminating humans who failed to fulfill his ridiculous requirements. On page 19, Kocian:

During the early forties, Warren's musical career was interrupted by World War II and the draft. Warren finally ended up in North Africa and because of his musical background, was solicited for the unit band. He taught himself to play and mastered baritone sax , which he played in the military band as well as the jazz band that was part of the unit.

After the war, Warren returned to Columbus, Georgia and ended up with the Jimmy Fuller Band. He also played with the Dean Hudson Band where he met with John Best, one of the main trumpeters for the Glenn Miller Band. Best also played with the bands of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Bob Crosby.

Peace Through Music
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 Poetry

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers. 

by Langston Hughes
shown below around 1919 or 1920

According to wikipedia: According to Hughes, the poem was written while he was 17 and on a train crossing the Mississippi River on the way to visit his father in Mexico in 1920. Twenty years after its publication, Hughes suggested the poem be turned into a Hollywood film, but the project never went forward.
It's A Quad Thing...
You Might Not Understand
On April 18, 1986, I was involved in an automobile accident, the results of which left me a SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) at the fourth cervical vertebrae. (I received the Last Rites sacrament.) I instantly morphed into a gelatinous blob of inert carbon from an active and healthy young man able to bench-press around three hundred pounds (which I maxed on only one occasion), a slightly arrogant bundle of potential misguided energy, a quirky smile, a nearly obscene ability to find humor in the most inappropriate situations, a goofy intern of Life ready to grab the world by its testicles (presumably near the Floridian panhandle). Instantly, I became a quadriplegic unable to perform even the most rudimentary acts of daily living. It should be obvious to anybody with basic skills in mathematics that I’ve spent the last thirty-one years totally dependent on somebody else’s kindness to remain alive… anybody else’s kindness. 

I am vulnerable.

Still I persisted (with apologies to Elizabeth Warren who had to endure the testudinal hubris of Mitch McConnell).

Since that distant Spring morning, I have completed a three-month Independent Living Program from the Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (1986); earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Computer Programming from Mercer University (1991); became gainfully employed for sixteen years as a computer programmer/analyst for an international credit card transaction corporation (1992); was awarded Handicapped Employee of the Year for the city of Columbus, Georgia, presented by mayor Bobby Peters (1996); was wrongfully fired from my job (2008… for which I am eternally grateful); recorded a CD of jazz vocals entitled Southern Standard Time (2011); recorded backup vocals for singer/songwriter Ted McVay’s CD of original songs entitled Voices in my Head; began writing The Jazzonian, the quirky e-newsletter that you are currently reading; went into renal sepsis and nearly died… for the second time (2017); and have spent as much time as I can singing, dancing, and telling really bad jokes on stage in an attempt to show Donald Trump and his ilk (who believe it acceptable to mock the physically handicapped) that #WheelChairistocracy—people with physical and mental handicaps—can live more emulously than the ovine automatons who are blindly herded into religious, political, or familial cults that never interrogate questionable motives even when they approach the absurd. 
Because of my paralysis, I am unable to process sensorial information. Simply put: I can’t “feel” my body just below my shoulders, not even my arms or fingers. I don’t “feel” my genitalia or the chronic urgency they coerce from people who can “feel” the urges to so willingly acquiesce to the stimulation of copulation, from people who prefer mechanical acquiescence for procreation regardless of its superfluity, for the “sex for the sake of having sex” or the “she/he let me do it” mentality. 

As a youngster I remember how easily I relaxed my moral obligations when a woman would simply allow my carnal explorations of her more erogenous corporeality. There is no way I would have ever imagined that those carnal actions were not volitional; they were simply uncritical responses to the chemical, magnetic, or electrical impulses that my corporeality manufactured. We’ve all heard the ubiquitous “The Devil made me do it.” How convenient that we can so easily blame our traipses into immorality on such superficiality instead of on our own indifference to adhering to an uncompromising moral code. Billy Joel stated it correctly: “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.” Besides, it is easier to ask forgiveness than to beg for permission.

I have spent the majority of my adulthood observing life from areola level in a body unaffected by the importunate yet cheerful alacrity to experience the thrilling temporal ejaculation of hormonal ecstasy. I have been given an especial gift by ineffable puissance to observe terrestrial activity with an unclouded vision unavailable to many other sublunar sensibilities. In this new section of The Jazzonian, I will take this opportunity to tell stories about unintentional prejudices and discriminations that have been so obvious and prevalent in the past generations that enforced racial biases through cross-burning hatred by hooded indifference but still exist in the holier-than-thou ignorance that shields pomposity from the illuminating light of self-critical analysis. 

First of all, allow me to shine some unexpected light. TSYS took a chance and hired me in 1992 to devote my professional career toward the programming and maintaining of their massive computers that produced millions of dollars of financial information for institutions that provided credit cards and other financial services to their customers. I did have to take an extensive test to even get into the workforce, a test that lost its rigorousness in ensuing years because it rejected too many who were unable to satisfactorily answer the questions. I was later told that my testing impressed a few of the hierarchy, but that seems highly unlikely to me; I only include it because it makes me look good.

Many of you are now wondering if I’m really mentally acute or if I merely tell a good story, but that is exactly what I am trying to convey: Life is complicated. Does a quadriplegic (or any other minority) deserve the benefit of the doubt or does one instance of ambiguity justify generalizations that become stereotypes then clichés? Life isn’t always what it seems. I worked for sixteen years in a corporation that increasingly lost its sense of “family” by rejecting its once family-oriented philosophy in favor of Corporate Idolatry that went from caring about a quadriplegic to orally stimulating the metaphoric clitoris of corporate desires. The company took a chance on hiring me for which I am grateful; however, only a small handful of people saw that diurnal struggles I endured simply to get to work everyday… like waking up at OMG o’clock so that my attendant can wash me, dress me, feed me, brush my long hair, feed me, and make sure I’m ready to catch my bus into work. 

The same goes with my singing. Within the confines of this weekly e-newsletter, The Jazzonian, is a section that decries the lack of accessible staging. Many of you have read it and probably acknowledge that it is unfair but then immediately tossed the subject into the bit bucket of life. That is why I’ve added this section. It is my intention to tell stories about how my paralysis sometimes makes it easier to disregard discrimination simply because I make quadriplegia look easy. Fact is it ain’t. If it weren’t for kith and kin—who love me despite my idiosyncrasies—I would be much less pleasant. My secret weapon, which ain’t so subtle, is that I’m funny, which makes some of the madness by which we are all surrounded much more palatable. 

January 6, 1992. Orientation Day. A group of about twenty-five or so new employees gather together in a large room. Before us is one of the higher ups, a woman named Mary, in her forties, thin, animated, ready to show us all the benefits of working for the company. I am sitting in the back with Barbara, whom I just met. Before us are about five rows of desks with computers, sparsely occupied by other neophytes. Mary’s arms are flailing about as she talks and walks, distractedly, between the desks when she steps into an empty plastic trashcan. Without missing a syllable, Mary proceeds with her animated discussion of whatever it is she’s attempting to convey to us, her hands still flailing while she’s trying to kick the plastic trashcan off of her foot. Finally. She’s escaped, returns to the front of the room, and asks us to stand up, introduce ourselves, and tell everyone our interests, hobbies, etc.

And so it begins. It is finally my turn, so I pause… attempting to simulate the time it would take for me to stand up. (I am a stickler for details, and Mary did ask us to stand up.)

“Hello, everyone. My name is Rusty Taylor. In 1986, I broke my neck in a speed reading accident.”

I pause but no reaction.

“My hobbies include surfing and playing basketball.”

Only Barbara laughed; I had apprised her of my comic intentions beforehand. 

Admittedly, not every quadriplegic finds humor in his inability to pick boogers out of his mustache. Not every quad is as funny as I; there are some ass-holes in wheelchairs as well. Again, Life is complicated. Sure it may be awkward finding another quad as acceptable as I am to the obvious humor in quadriplegia, but isn’t the rush one gets out of meeting someone new the possibility of rejection… or attraction? Isn’t uncertainty the stimulation one experiences when finding a potential mate? Sure, you may get cussed out because someone takes offense to your inquisitiveness, but if you never take chances, you’ll never learn the really important lessons in life that actually rip your heart to threads. What’s the sense in living if you don’t experience as much as you can within the limited time we each have allotted within this terrestrial experience. Just because someone may be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life doesn’t mean she’s not a bitch. Find out. At least you can walk away if she offends you.

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 write 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

Miles Davis' "Freddie the Freeloader" has lyrics.

There's this cat
His name is freddie
This cat's a bartender
Well known by anyone hip
And he can mix the kind of drinks
That you won't forget
One sip and you'll flip
And for chasers
Freddie's got some stuff for hip lips
Groovy stuff for your cup
Let the flow go
Get down and drink it up
I swear he made it up himself
And it'll hypnotize an elf
Them drinks that freddie mix
Ain't no ail that they won't fix
For each emotion
Freddie got a potion
He's known to have you toxified
Before you know you're even dry
Just mention his name
All the cats know freddie
He serves one
So freddie deserves one
Cause tendin' bar the way that freddie does
He tends to unnerve one
So all day
He juices all day, freddie
But all that bread
Don't reach the till
Though i 'ain't sayin' freddie stealin'
If you know him at all
Then it's a cinch that you know he will
Ever-ready freddie
With a paw so steady
I seen him sink one drink
Before the next half was ready
He's got a style that's all i know
Freddie's on time the juice is on tap
It's all his own
The one to meet is freddie
He'll make your drink, he's ready
Go see fred, you know where
He's your man, he'll be there
With shooters and bottles
He'd love to get you drunk
And you all know fred 'cause you need him
You sure would love to meet him
Straight flyin' he's steady
Freddie's got your substance
Free dues, free booze
That's freddie
He isn't good looking
Yet handsome
You want some credit?
He can spare some
'cause serving drinks is what he does
Groovier than most men
He's readyin' them up in case you come in
'cause freddie really loves that thing called be-bop
Let the cats drink every drop
While he digs on it nonstop
Cause cats have no doubt that he's fine
Your throat's dry
Knowing that that's the place
That freddie gets down and gets ya high
Without ever worryin' 'bout payment
Freddie has a handle on
All the things about this place
So you never have to even think about it
Just have him hold on to some drinks and
Your tab's all paid
Let the good times roll
And pour me anoher drink as a toast to old freddie
The cat that's hip and where it was
And where it's at
He used to be such a solid old fella of the church
He used to be so good boy
He had his religion
But now as the devil's moved in and had his way
You'll find that he can be tempted
With even the tiniest smidgen
So drink up all this style
Have a breakdown when he's around
And now my cat's you know that
He'll fix somethin' up for you
Soon as he gets back around the bar
It's such a brew
You need another one to help you see it through
I heard him say that
Speakin' of fred he's got the
Ugly kind of face
That only a mom could love
And i know
Freddie don't play that
The one to meet is freddie
He'll make your drink he's ready
Go see fred, you know where
He's my man he'll be there
With shooters, and bottles
He'd love to get you drunk
And you all know fred 'cause you need him
You sure would love to meet him
Straight flyin' he's steady
Freddie's got your substance
Free booze, free blues
That's freddie
Free booze, free dues
That's freddie
Free dues, free blues
That's fred
Video of the Week

I typed "Best jazz video of all time," and a link came up listing the best jazz songs of all time. This was first. Any comments?
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


Peace Through Music
Social Media Experiment

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

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

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