The Jazzonian
Jazz is Diversity; Jazz is Democracy


From the demented mind of Rusty Taylor
Jester and Vocalist for jazz band
Southern Standard Time
A Weekly Newsletter
March 26, 2018 A.D.

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


Greetings everybody. Sorry I missed last week's edition. I just flaked. No excuses. Just flaked. But spring is here, and the FREE Atlanta Jazz Festival is coming up, so keep your eyes peeled. Check out my latest story in the section 'It's A Quad Thing.' I think you'll enjoy it.

We have some really groovy jazz concerts this upcoming month that includes Bill Perry, Kevin Bales, and Schwob Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen. The music heats up as Spring overpowers the harsh solitude of Winter, so get out and enjoy some live music.

I hope you noticed my latest hashtag: #Wheelchairistocracy. Hopefully this will draw attention to make all concert stages wheelchair accessible. Remember to check out live music when you can. Jazz is Diversity. Jazz is Democracy.

Peace Through Music
Bad Joke of the Week

A ship carrying a cargo of red paint collided with a ship carrying a cargo of purple paint. Both crews were marooned.
Tweet of the Week

Today we march. Then we vote.
Schwob Jazz Orchestra

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

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

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

Auburn Knights

Today, over seven decades after inception, the Auburn Knights Orchestra is still going strong as an Auburn tradition, composed entirely of a select group of student age musicians from the Auburn community. The future of this organization is great since popularity is returning to big bands and the Swing era is experiencing a rebirth. With such hardworking and dedicated students, the Auburn Knights Orchestra will continue to swing crowds for many years to come.
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Variety Playhouse presents BÉLA FLECK & ABIGAIL WASHBURN - Thursday, March 29, 7:00 PM doors / 8:00 PM show. All Ages. Price $38. Fo' mo' info, click here. 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, Be´la 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 Be´la, 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 Be´la 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 Be´la. “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 7 – The Atlanta Jazz Festival presents Christian Sands from 8 - 10 PM at Rich Theatre - Reserved Seating. $35 (incl tax) + $6 per ticket service fee. Fo' mo' info, click here. With his Mack Avenue records debut CD, due for a Spring 2017 release, this young Steinway Artist and three-time Grammy Nominee takes his place as a leader and an emerging jazz force. He brings a fresh look at the entire language of jazz. A deeply rich and soulful feeling can be heard in Christian’s music, characterized by his infectious energy and spirit. That same spirit is what caught the attention of Grammy award winning bassist, Christian McBride, with whom he has toured throughout the world’s finest venues for more than six years! An exciting and creative talent, touring with the new music he has composed for his Mack Avenue debut will truly be an event to see and hear…! “When I first met Christian in 2009, it marked a seminal moment in my career as a bandleader. He was the FIRST young musician I’d met who had the drive, passion and skill of my peers like Roy Hargrove, Eric Reed, Greg Hutchinson and Antonio Hart. He’s only worried about being the best musician he can possibly be. He’s the ultimate professional” — Christian McBride
  • Saturday, April 14, 2018 – 2:00 PM 6:00 PM – Jazz Matters, Inc. will be holding auditions for Emerging Jazz Artists in elementary, middle and high school, to perform as opening acts during our summer Jazz Matters at The Wren's Nest, Experiencing Jazz Summer Concert Series. This outdoor series is held the 3rd Friday of June - September at The Wren's Nest in Atlanta's Historic West End. Audition details will be posted early 2018. For more information, feel free to call 404-474-1211.
  • Sunday, April 15 starting at 12:30 pm Eastern Time at Venkman's in Atlanta, Bob Bakert Quartet. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Friday, April 20 at Rialto Center for Arts in Atlanta, Rene Marie sings starting at 8 pm ET with Gordon Vernick. In a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless stage performances, vocalist René Marie has cemented her reputation as not only a singer but also a composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other leading ladies of past generations, she borrows various elements of folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. Her body of work is musical, but it’s more than just music. It’s an exploration of the bright and dark corners of the human experience, and an affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Marie brings her wide-ranging, highly-adaptive jazz artistry to a special evening with the Georgia State University Jazz Band led by trumpeter Dr. Gordon Vernick. Fo' mo' info, click here. Free parking is available at the 100 Peachtree Garage for this Rialto Series event.
  • Friday, June 1, 7:00 PM doors / 8:00 PM show ET – An Evening with Leo Kottke at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Leo Kottke (born September 11, 1945) is an acoustic guitarist. He is known for a fingerpicking style that draws on blues, jazz, and folk music, and for syncopated, polyphonic melodies. He overcame a series of personal obstacles, including partial loss of hearing and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon damage in his right hand, to emerge as a widely recognized master of his instrument. He currently resides in the Minneapolis area with his family. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Friday, June 15, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Experiencing Jazz - Jazz, Blues & BBQ. Style. Relax, relate, release, as we open up our 3rd Annual Jazz Matters at The Wren's Nest Concert Series. T. C. Carson, singer/actor, best known for his portrayal of Kyle Barker on the hit sitcom "Living Single" will open up our series, along with performances by The TuTuff Band, The Edwin Williams Experience & Emerging Jazz Artists and more. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
  • Friday, July 20, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Experiencing Jazz: With a Little Soul, Funk & A Whole Lotta Jazz. Artist not yet available. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
  • Friday, August 17, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Artist not yet available. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
  • Friday, September 21, 2018 - 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM. The Wren's Nest. Artist not yet available. Tickets Available Online: For More Info, call 404-474-1211.
This Week at The Loft
Columbus [GA's] Home For Jazz Music
The Bill Perry Quartet is returning to The Loft this Friday, March 30 from 7-9 pm EST. I love this guy. His keyboard playing is sublime and he's such a simply adorable presence on stage. He makes me smile during his entire time on stage, and my contentment lasts for days beyond. I highly recommend this performance. I always here some very creative classical influence in his soloing that allows my mind to muse about hw Bach would improvise, and I like that. Should be a great night of music, so come and check it out. I promise that it'll be inspiring.

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
My apologies, but I missed last week's live jazz concert at The Loft, and here's the truth: it was strictly for personal reasons. I had to get up early Saturday morning, and I'm talking about Hot A'mighty o'clock in the morning early. Why? Well, because my friend Ted McVay and I tried our hand at busking during the Market Days on Broadway event in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia. Fortunately, friend and fellow jazz enthusiast Steve Scott happened by, and he pulled out his... phone... and he videoed our singing “Maybe,” which you can experience by clicking here . Thanks, Steve. It may not be jazz, but it's original and creative, and there's a bit of improvisation. Plus, I enjoy singing with Ted. Any comments are welcome, but play nicely.

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

by Theodore Maynard (1890–1956)

The band began its music, and I saw
  A hundred people in the cabaret
  Stand up in couples meekly to obey
The arbitrary and remorseless law
Of custom. And I wondered what could draw
  Their weary wills to this fulfillment. Gay
  They were not. They embraced without dismay,
Lovers who showed an awful lack of awe.

Then, as I sat and drank my wine apart,
  I pondered on this new religion, which
  Lay heavily on the face of the rich,
Who, occupied with ritual, never smiled—
Because I heard, within my quiet heart,
Happiness laughing like a little child.
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

On January 6, 1992, I, a twenty-seven year-old, retro, pot-smokin', diversity-embracin', peace-lovin' hippie-jester, entered the white collar business world of terrestrial indifference, knowingly leaping feet first into a growl-snarling planet-destroying corporate fraternity of pasty white corpulent middle-aged men bent on outrageous wealth acquisition at the cost of human dignity and nature's beauty, a speciously nefarious environment that I, a child of the ecologically empowered 70s envisioned as the evil enemy of Smokey the Bear, Woodsy the Owl, and the crying Native American Indian, all of whom encouraged Universal harmony through moderation.

Anxiously, my delving into corporate America was the most ambivalent thing I've ever done, although supernumerary pathos-evoking questions darted through my cranial gray matter like a sporadic flock of avian interest collectively sputter-jerking in frenetic synchronized fury against a greasy-pallid gray evening sky, the hazy winking sun silently squinting and seeping through dread-leaden mist, morphing into a deliquescent flaming ball churning in horrific heated turmoil, innocuous in its distance—a fuzzy-oval golden tear straining through ominously slashed orange watercolors and splash-spraying radial rays of Life to pierce through wide single brush strokes of an evermore subtle-somber indigo hue. 1 Was corporate life to be a polished, poisoned apple?

On one hand, I had been given an opportunity (probably because I'm white) to earn decent money (much more than I'm worth) and enough free time to pursue my dreams of singing, writing, and reading. This is good... positive, but I also witnessed the nefarious side of corporate life, a life that screams from corpulent board members and blissfully blind international watch-dogs an unreasonably high and completely impossible standard of morality unconscionably dressed in expensive Italian suits, riding beaming automobiles, living in gated neighborhoods that conceal luxurious castles with manicured lawns meticulously caressed by undeserving minorities, and gluttonous consumption of calories from imported beef priced hundreds of dollars per pound; a specious set of standards that is even now superfluously recognized as the paradigm of success based on feigned moral achievement merely because it is represented by annual salaries boasting an unseemly amount of significant digits, unimaginable wealth accumulation by glabrous-pated, middle-aged, Caucasian, hypocritically ludicrous cupidity.

Granted, not everyone in corporate America is caught up in the belief that spending lavishly on oneself will help the economy remain strong and vibrant, but it's a temptation nearly impossible to overcome, especially when it's supplemented with an unfailing belief that one's wealth is a direct measure of one's spiritual worth, that we aristocrats deserve ludicrous riches because of our high moralistic values, our Christian conservatism, our Jesus said that there will ALWAYS be poor so my indifference makes no difference attitude that somehow allows us to justify having two Cadillac Escalades in our three-car garages while only blocks away families huddle around impoverished cupboards, dreaming of fresh bread.

Yes, I was (and still am), at times, ashamed that I made so much money and did so little in return. The question that ran (and still runs) through my mind is why have I so much? I am one of the richest men on the planet. I am upper-middle class, and I've done nothing morally relevant to deserve it... then nor now, and yes, I realize that I've been dealt this hand by forces beyond my understanding and that I'm probably doing the best I can, especially considering my current inability to survive on my own... but it seems that I could do more, and this is my personal struggle.

From the beginning of my self-imposed Capitalistic incarceration, I had, in all likelihood, pushed my paralysis to the very limits of corporate, and possibly civil, tolerance. For the first eight years of my employment with TSYS, I worked in the Annex building on the south side of 10th Street between Fifth Avenue and Veteran's Parkway (formerly Fourth Avenue), 2 It really was an abattoir, but instead of a daily bloody massacre of organic meat, this slaughterhouse insidiously seeped away each life that shuffled through its doors, day after day ad nauseam. Maybe that's why we were always pretty punchy.

In all seriousness, the Annex was a sarcophagus. The only windows were in the offices that lined the inside perimeter of the bland, stucco-white rectangular building; the sunless barren corporate hinterland remained, and that's where some sad genius constructed an endless maze for humans. There were only three exits, and the maze stretched to the horizon, which hung below the din glow of florescent lighting. Although easy to solve, the maze presented so many unique problems and obstacles that it generally took a human specimen eight or nine hours, sometimes more, to overcome the barriers that prevented escape. Then the drained employee might leave the maze, but she always seemed to return the following morning. Mostly without fail. Again, no wonder we were all punchy.

The main entrance into the Annex hinterland was the lobby, and, as information area to the greater corporate network, TSYS always hired someone to humanize the post. This position saw a high turnover rate, but that's because TSYS is a fairly exclusive opportunity for employment in the city, and once these cats got their foot in the door, they would apply to other areas of interest within the company as soon as reasonably possible, so the person hired to maintain the building's integrity generally started as a temporary position. One such temp was Maria Shantu.

Maria was a very interesting person; she was actually training for the Olympics. Archery. She was probably five-two, slim, attractive; she had Marlo Thomas curly black hair and enchanting brown eyes. She was in the lobby, and the lobby, as stated before, opened up into the never-ending maze of human chattel, corralled into individual, miniature pens and typing lifelessly on keyboards as their ruminating faces glowed green from mainframe monitors. The lobby emptied into a short hall, ten steps, until you entered the Zombie Zone. I was third cube on the right, just across from Linda Miller's office, mindin' my own business, busy doing my work as Maria was being bombarded with a crash-course, don't-worry-you'll-get-a-hold-of-it-soon, everybody-goes-through-this encouragement of an ol' pro teachin' a puppy to play dead. After her mentor left her, I wheeled up to Maria and asked her to page John Muellor to my cube.

John Muellor was deaf.

Maria had been warned that I might do something like this because I had tried before with other temps but failed; however, Maria had just been overwhelmed by forty-five minutes of lawnmower shouting, rapid-fire banter from a mindless pedagogue; she was brain-warped by an incessant stream of twisted oral rhetoric. John Muellor's name, like the smoky runes from Lewis Carol's hookah-smoking caterpillar, softly floated inches below the ceiling before mockingly seeping into the vast Universe that militantly charged away from the total silence of the building as everyone within collectively questioned whether or not laughter was appropriate, all the while fighting back the humorously decadent audacity to react at what was, in fact, not only really creative but very funny as well. Besides, John wouldn't have known unless somebody told him. Who's the bad guy now?

It wasn't the first time I've worked up anxiety within the the consciousnesses of carbon-based, well-intentioned yet highly misguided social-puppets who become frustrated through such confusion, but I think it was the most effective to date. The beauty of it was that I didn't get in trouble, corporate trouble, that is, the kind of trouble from which one never recovers if one's goals lie in the Corporate Office, the leather chairs, the impressive portrait, the Rolex. That's when I first garnered a little bit of a reputation for intolerance of euphemistic expression, and I learned that, as a cripple, I could get away with a few more things that I would not have gotten away with otherwise. I also garnered a reputation for wit, and with that comes a different set of challenges.

Lewis Darylson was the kind of guy everyone seemed to pick on, but he brought it upon himself very often. When I first started working, Lewis would often walk up to me and say something snide in an effort to get a laugh out of whomever was around, but I always rebutted with a more interesting and often more scathing wit. Every time. Sometimes he'd stumble away from my injurious rhetoric, get a few feet down the hall, then he'd quickly turn around in a delayed verbal counterattack to announce his sadly attempted assault only to be taken down again. I don't know why, but it happened without fail, and there would always be a small crowd around to witness his verbal lashing. This lasted for about three months before he realized how badly he was losing, then he'd only assault me every other week; then every other month; then he moved away.

One day we were sitting next to Juanita Kennedy's cube (she was an administrative secretary for one of the big wigs), and I casually mentioned that my leg itched. Lewis bent over and asked if he could scratch it for me, which he did. “ wait...over...left...LEFT...Ah! Right there.”

I can't feel my legs.

I thought everyone knew. Incidentally, I thought that Lewis was just playing along when he scratched my legs, but the peal of laughter from Juanita told me fairly clearly that I had, once again, although unintentionally, gotten the better of Lewis.

I've already documented the culinary legend of Lieutenant's world famous scrambled dog, and, as you can imagine, every so often someone within the campus invariable suggests a lunch at Dinglewood Pharmacy. One day a group of us went. As you might expect, Lewis's order varied greatly from the traditional “I'll have a scrambled dog, double-wienie, double cheese, extra onions, please.” (And don't forget the vanilla coke that totally refreshes after all the Tabasco with which you've dowsed the dog.) For whatever reason (I wasn't put here to judge), Lewis ordered a scrambled dog without the dog. When Earnestine brought our order over to the table, she asked, “Which of you is Mr. No-wienie?”

Lewis's hand shot up as eagerly as a third-grader's request to go pottie.

One of Life's most important lessons that I've learned is a lesson I first learned when I worked at Muscogee Manor Nursing Home: befriend the men who work in the Maintenance Department. These cats are, without fail, some of the most wonderful people in corporate America; they're real and always willing to help someone in need then treat them to a beer after they've solved the problem.

I used a division of my city's public transportation department to get to work: Dial-A-Ride, which was, and still is, the city's para-transit unit, a small herd of small buses used to transport the physically- and mentally-handicapped citizenry of our city to and from their respective appointments. There are times, quite often in fact, when I ride with other passengers; during the time that this story takes place, I was riding with Leroy.

Leroy was retarded, but he was a joy, and he always wore a smile and laughed too loudly. Always. One morning, as I was loading onto the bus, John, the bus-driver, noticed that I had a flat in one of my wheelchair tires. I thanked him and started trying to figure out how I was going to manage this minor crisis. On the way to work, however, John pulled into a Chevron station and jumped out. It didn't take me long to figure out what he was doing because he sent the air-hose through the window above me. Then with the eagerness of a child at Christmas, Leroy jumped up from his seat in the front of the van, reached for the hose that John was feeding through the window above me, and immediately applied the air hose to my tire. Within seconds the tire exploded, a loud, ear-ringing shattering of silence that frightened both of us almost to death, the blast echoing in our ears, a dull, high-pitched ringing that seemed to liquefy the ear wax that slowly trickled from our Eustachian Tubes. After the initial shock, Leroy busted out laughing, and we heard the story a dozen times or more before I got to work ten minutes later, each time ending with a guffaw as intense as a manatee's grace.

Of course, once I got to work, the secretary helped me call the Maintenance Department, and they were at my side within minutes. In the interim, I called Gene, the wonderful man who worked on my wheelchair, and he delivered a new inner-tube directly to my work area. After considering a few options, the maintenance men decided to borrow a small hydraulic car-lift, jack up the right side of my chair (with me still in it), replace the wheel, pump it up, and have my wheelchair in operational order practically before I could sign-on to my computer. If you work anywhere in corporate America, get to know the men in your maintenance department; they're always good men.

Good men are good. But even a bad Woman is better.

I have found strength in women that just does not exist in men. Whether or not conscious of it, all men sense the primeval, fecund power that all women, especially older women, possess. Women have so much more power than man that he sometimes deceives, hovering in a wavy cobra-hooded dance, ignorantly portraying violence over the feminine force that frightens him. I think that it's this feminine power that makes some men fear the homosexual male. Seeing some of this latent feminine power assumed in a male is impossible for some men to tolerate, so they strike out against it; although, most of this ignorant aggression stems from a fear born of acknowledging the feminine power, from whatever source, that might be stronger than anything any male might possess. If latent feminine power in a man can confuse a myopically misguided misogynistic mind, then the true feminine power must be all that more powerful. For this reason, I tend to find comfort in nesting with the females at work.

I don't know why, but girls seem to trust me. So much so, that they'll share with me subjects not ordinarily shared with anybody else who might even look like he could possibly be harboring a Y-chromosome deep within the microcosm of his DNA. One day, one of the girls told me in detail about a recent appointment with her gynecologist. This, to me, doesn't seem like regular conversation between a man and a woman who are not intimate, but this subject is comparably mild to some of the other subjects women have shared with me.

The most memorable distaff confabulation occurred when three of us sat together at lunch: Angelina, Buffy, and I sat at a table in the break room, which was otherwise empty of people, and both Angelina and Buffy talked about their “trouble births,” their respective pregnancies wherein something went awry and the outcome was perilously uncertain for both mother and child. I just listened... and marveled. Believe me, I had never felt the strength of estrogen before, but these two women put out enough to squash any earthly rebellion. And yes, my eyes teared rather freely at the sheer power of it, and in return, both sets of distaff eyes discharged electrical surges of passionate, life-affirming energy as they solemnly told their respective stories. Each overcoming death to produce another filament for the web of live. It was, in a word, incredible . If every woman shared more openly her birth-tales, I can't imagine a man strong enough to repress her, abuse her, distrust her, abhor her, or even show her the least amount of disrespect.

Although corporate life brought me down a bit (probably because I didn't deserve the riches I had gathered from its bounty), I tried to remember that my ultimate path was what I did when I got home from work, the hobbies that surviving Corporate America allowed me: singing, writing, or reading. It, Corporate America, also allowed me the wonderful opportunity to act like a fool. Yes, I am an actor, and nowhere else on this planet am I more on stage then when I read to the children of Downtown Elementary, a school that is, quite conveniently, across the street from the campus where I had worked, a school that TSYS adopted as a Partner-In-Education, a school TSYS encouraged its employees to support. Of course, the TSYS campus is built on an impressive five to ten acre plot of riverside land, so it took me ten to fifteen minutes to get to the school by wheelchair... unless, of course, a summer thunderstorm quickened.

I read to Ms. Jones' third grade class, and the children's wide-eyed innocence was an especial gift that should be bottled and marketed to prevent suicides and War. That much divine power needs to be nurtured... and shared. One of the stories I read was Willie Wonka. If you don't know the story, Charlie Bucket lives in a dilapidated house with his parents and both sets of grandparents. This means that I got to try to do, at least, seven different voices, which was funny because I'd often mess up, using a Gabby Hayes kind of California Goal-mining crazy-man voice for a line that was spoken by Grandma Josephina. I'd just stop suddenly and say, “Oops! Wrong one. That's supposed to be grandma's voice.” This'd get a smile out of the class as well as Ms. Jones.

That, my friend, is more priceless than anything imaginable. And I never had to pay a late fee. These were the rewards afforded by the Corporate World. I suppose it may take me the rest of my life to determine weather the rewards justified the disinterest in pursuing a more economic equilibrium or a more socially tolerant benevolence.

Peace Through Music

1 Either I'm stoned, or that's the most impressive opening sentence I have ever written. (...yeah, I'm stoned!)
2 In 1996 when Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, Columbus received an opportunity to host the softball competition. As a result, the city's board convened to rename Fourth Avenue, and, for obvious reasons, they wanted to name it Olympic Road; however, they found out that nobody could legally use the word Olympic under penalty of law. So, instead of leaving well enough alone, the board decided to change the name of the road to Veteran's Parkway and not return the name Fourth Avenue to the street between Third and Fifth Avenues.

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

“Four” is a jazz standard most commonly played in Eb. Four is an example of tune with dubious authorship; though it has been attributed to Miles Davis, it may be that alto saxophonist Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson actually wrote the tune, as well as the jazz standard “Tune Up“, which is also traditionally attributed to Miles. Incidentally, “Solar“, “Blue in Green,” “Dig,” and “Donna Lee” are also tunes of dubious authorship. All are sometimes attributed to Miles Davis, who may not have written any of them.

It was first release in 1956 on Mile’s album “Blue Haze.” Lyrics were later written by Jon Hendricks making it a well known tune for vocalists as well as instrumentalists. This is a very classic standard that lots of musicians play so it is a great one to know!


Of the wonderful things that you get out of life there are four
And they may not be many but nobody needs any more
Of the many facts making the list of life
Truth takes the lead
And to relax knowing the gist of life
It's truth you need

Then the second is honor and happiness makes number three
When you put them together you know what the last one must be
Baby so truth, honor and happiness
And one thing more
Meaning only wonderful, wonderful love that'll make four

lyrics by Jon Hendricks
Video of the Week
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

That about does it for this week's newsletter. Please send any comments directly to me. I promise to respond. Remember: Look both ways before you cross the street.


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