A Weekly Jazzonian Newsletter
January 22, 2018

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


I must admit that the past few months, on a personal level, have been, collectively, a whirlwind of ambiguity. Although not fatal, my personal health has been questionable, which is the sine qua non of everybody’s life, but as I am the sole purveyor of this weekly newsletter, focus on my organic condition has affected its content. The jazz scene is growing within about a 150-mile radius, the center point of which is my hometown of Columbus, Georgia, but along with the growth of jazz—that has at its epicenter an improvisational eclectic diversity—is a matching cultural shift in our nation’s (and possibly the world’s) political scene, which is also a reaction against the stifling status quo. Fortunately, the status quo in the political scene is coming to a happy conclusion with a biblical shift in power wherein the ostracized finishers of last place shall come in first; likewise, the shift in contemporary musical ennui is a renaissance in music to which one must actively listen; Jazz and Classical are satisfying alternatives for an audience tired of cookie-cutter composition with pitch-correcting technology, alternatives for a community of music lovers that now favors euphonious knowledge expressed through human emotion by singing, playing a musical instrument with virtuosity, or by composing complex scores, tasks that are simply unavailable to the average… to anyone whose main talent is simply to express an opinion even when the agency by which she communicates her opinion is, at best, mediocre. This will bring in a golden age of appreciation for the Arts. I will then be allowed to forego vitriolic commentary about megalomaniacal usurpers of feigned power and can concentrate once again on auricular thaumaturgy.

By the way, and this isn’t related to jazz per se, but it is part of my personal musical journey: next Friday Ted McVay and I will be singing Ted’s original folk/rock style songs in Equality, Alabama. We’re going to see if we can perform while recording live using the appropriate facebook application. If any of you readers are interested and who know how to use the
aforementioned application, and you want to volunteer your services, would you mind helping Ted and me spread our music inter-galactically as the binary representation of our music spreads radially at the speed of light into the vast regions of the Universe wherein a million years from now a space alien will fall in love with our musical spirit? Regardless, we’ll figure it out and try to broadcast our set to those of you who can’t make the gig.

Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Tuesday, January 23 – Columbus State University's Schwob Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Kevin Whalen will perform their program for GMEA at 7:30 pm EDT in Studio Theathre as the Schwob Jazz Orchestra. SJO is the flagship big band orchestra for the CSU Jazz Studies program.
  • Saturday, February 3 – The Afro Cuban All Stars at The Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, the Afro-Cuban All Stars band begins at 8 pm EDT. Afro-Cuban All Stars is a Cuban band led by Juan de Marcos González. Their music is a mix of all the styles of Cuban music, including bolero, chachachá, salsa, son montuno, timba, guajira, danzón, rumba and abakua. To visit their website, click here.
  • Friday, February 9 – Diana Krall - Turn Up The Quiet World Tour At Atlanta Symphony Hall.
  • Sunday, February 18 at 4 PM – West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30310 presents Sunday Live A Jazz Experience. Join us for an amazing Sunday afternoon of Jazz with Special Tributes to Roberta Flack & Phyllis Hyman. Featured artists are Wilson “JJ” Miller, Jr; Yvette Moore, Lynette Powers & The Edwin Williams Experience featuring Terry Dukes, Nicole Pringle & Toye. 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.
This Week at The Loft
Chris Helms and Extended Family return to The Loft’s stage this Friday, January 26 from 7-9 pm for the venue’s weekly jazz concert, and he's got an allstar lineup playing with him:La'Roy Bodiford (sax), Coleman Woodson III (keys), Taylor Pierce (guitar), Jason De Blanc (bass), AJ Maestro Hebrew (drums), and, of course, Chris Helms (sax). Not only is Chris a very talented saxophonist, but you may recall that he sat in at the keyboards when Snakebite Six last played for The Loft’s weekly jazz concert, and he played wonderfully… Dixieland jazz… with especial emotive acuity. Don’t tell anybody, but I nearly jumped out of my wheelchair to dance, which would’ve blown my thirty-one year old alibi to commit a future crime. You may also remember that Chris Helms accompanied my singing last month for a gig at Eighth and Rail in Opelika. All I’m saying is that Chris is a special musician for whom I have great respect. He’s also a groovy human being, so if you want to experience tangible positive energy, check out Chris and his incredible musician friends; I guarantee that you will avail any emotional malaise that may be encumbering your peace of mine. Fo’ real… fo’ damn real.
Last Week at The Loft
OK. I’ve already confessed that I spent a few days last week recovering from a minor renal surgery, so I was in a pharmaceutical stupor with fervidly soporific Rip Van Winkle somnolence and had no idea who was playing for The Loft’s weekly jazz concert in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia; although, when I found out that Lloyd Buchanan was playing, I drank a fifty-five gallon drum of a popular energy drink along with snorting a few pop rocks and orally consuming a twenty-pound lemon gummy bear; I then headed out to hear one of my favorite entertainers of all time.

I wasn’t disappointed. Lloyd is a master entertainer with the musical prowess of a Beethoven symphony, the improvisational mastery of a Charlie Parker solo, the singing purity of Stevie Wonder, and the comic genius of George Carlin. He makes every faction within my personal quintessence smile with hypoallergenic accuracy… and, no, I have no idea what that means but it is intended to be panegyric. If you are fortunate enough to experience Lloyd Buchanan live on stage, do it, even if it causes minor familial friction. I’m not saying that you should miss your grandmother’s funereal, but you might want to consider and reconsider possibly missing your third cousin’s fourth wedding. I mean… really!
I Need A Favor... Please
The next time you go see a live musical group, check out the stage. Does it have a wheelchair ramp leading from the audience to the stage or are their steps? Is there a wheelchair ramp backstage? Is there handicapped parking where the performers load and unload? Chances are that the venue doesn’t provide these accommodations. It’s like this: my biggest challenge as a quadriplegic jazz vocalist is finding accessible stages on which to perform. I was once raised up to a five-foot high stage using a forklift and a wooden palette because the stage was not wheelchair accessible. Fortunately, I didn’t die. Point is that there are few wheelchair accessible stages; otherwise, I’d sing much more often.

It’s easy to see why this isn’t a mainstream problem: there are few “physically challenged” performers, but that’s merely an excuse encouraged by indifference. We handicapped performers exist and are eager to share our dreams with fans who dig what we do. But why are we unconsciously ignored? That’s easy: Being unable to perform even the most rudimentary acts of daily living is a major downer; the wheelchair, quite frankly, is a symbol of lost hope. Let’s face it; it’s a marketing problem, and this is where you come in to save the day.

Physical handicaps are wrapped in lugubrious imagery, but not every moment of life in a wheelchair is steeped in mournful decay. Believe it or not, I laugh every day… some days more than others, but if life were perfect, I, for one, would take a bite of forbidden fruit to find some excitement from the decay of entropy (the hypothetical tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity). What I’m trying so desperately to connote here is the fact that having a physical challenge can, at times, be fun and inspirational. What we need is positive imagery, and here’s where I ask for a favor from you, dear reader, and it has to do with social media, more specifically, using the ubiquitous #hashtag: will you help by coming up with a #hashtag meme that has positive connotations for the handicapped and send it to me. This could be fun. Maybe I can come up with prizes for creative contributions. Regardless, this could be the beginning of a social movement that witnesses an outcry of creative energy by talented people who have difficulty overcoming the obstacles that are hidden from people who can hop out of bed running full tilt. By the way, I’ve come up with a possible #hashtag meme that might work: #FantastAbility. What do you think?

The gauntlet has been dropped. Do you accept the challenge? Please reply to this email with as many suggestions as you want, and challenge your friends as well. Let’s see if we can extend this conversation internationally. (Actually, when you send in your suggestions, include the name of your hometown city. We’ll see how far this request goes.) Let’s make the wheelchair a symbol of fun… or grace… or intelligence… or, dare I say it? Let’s make the wheelchair Sexy!

Jazz Poetry

Jazz Fan Looks Back
Jayne Cortez, 1934 - 2012

I crisscrossed with Monk
Wailed with Bud
Counted every star with Stitt
Sang “Don’t Blame Me” with Sarah
Wore a flower like Billie
Screamed in the range of Dinah
& scatted “How High the Moon” with Ella Fitzgerald
as she blew roof off the Shrine Auditorium
          Jazz at the Philharmonic

I cut my hair into a permanent tam
Made my feet rebellious metronomes 
Embedded record needles in paint on paper
Talked bopology talk
Laughed in high-pitched saxophone phrases
Became keeper of every Bird riff
every Lester lick
as Hawk melodicized my ear of infatuated tongues
& Blakey drummed militant messages in
soul of my applauding teeth 
& Ray hit bass notes to the last love seat in my bones
I moved in triple time with Max
Grooved high with Diz
Perdidoed with Pettiford
Flew home with Hamp
Shuffled in Dexter’s Deck
Squatty-rooed with Peterson
Dreamed a “52nd Street Theme” with Fats
& scatted “Lady Be Good” with Ella Fitzgerald
as she blew roof off the Shrine Auditorium
          Jazz at the Philharmonic
I look back at the society of the United States during the cultural-shifting span of the 1960s and early 70s, and I marvel at the youth of the time. They were actively passionate for cultural diversity and peace while the patriarchal puissance that guided our national politics controlled the machination of governmental influence to build ever more destructive weapons of mass destruction against exaggerated soviet aggression, the hostile and assertive indulgent preferential expedition of corporate largess that fortified the coffers of the corporate elite who egoistically created a social divide between penury and Sardanapalian excess that has grown hitherto ever more abysmally. 

I am strongly encouraged to witness a similar growth of diverse spirituality in the youth of today; the biggest difference between now and then is the inclusion of many more disenfranchised subcultures that make the current progressive movement much more powerful: the LGBT community, the Latino community, and, most notably, female voices are becoming vastly more overt, especially women of color who are quickly negating the penis-massaging cult of male dominance that has dominated recorded civilization and is in the process of reversing the traditional, pasty-white, corpulent, male-dominating, militant, testosterone turgid hostility of war as an economic path toward austere luxury and replacing it with a much more empathetic nurturing of communal growth that still provides the indomitable maternal instinct to protect a mother’s family herself instead of sending someone else’s daughter to protect one’s wealth. The blue tsunami is barely discernible in the offing but its initial pulse of energy has been absorbed by eager potential, and the anticipated towering emerald wall of progressive change insidiously amasses in the distance. 

As the high volume and intensity of the growing minority swells into dominance, greater expectations for the amelioration of the excessive and hubristic preservation of masculine dominance simultaneously increases, and this growing cultural revolution terrorizes the status quo who is concerned that their pussy-grabbing, Big Mac-consuming, tighty-whity adorning, Forbes magazine spanking, porn star paying, adulterous, domineering narcissism is destined to expire… suddenly… and irrevocably… yet without the bombast of dubiety that trumps existing pomposity. The philosophy of Bob Dylan infiltrates the aristocratic austerity that has been the cornerstone of political puissance for far too long; the patronized and prejudiced belief in male superiority hangs from the clouds that ineffectively camouflage a gloomy, gray flannel realization in the end of inequitable circumstance: “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,” and the answer is that “the times are a-changing.”

Peace Through Music
Jazz and Democracy
In last week’s newsletter (or was it the week before), I wrote a little essay about a few similarities between Jazz and Democracy. (You may revisit the essay by clicking here.) World musician (for the band Mynta), traveler, poet, philosopher, and my friend Dallas Smith responded:

Congrats on another great jazz blog! I especially like the Jazz and Democracy section. I love the comparisons you draw. I might add a few words: When we improvise, we make it up as we go along, supported by the traditions and repertoire that we have learned our whole lives. Working in government is similar. Politicians make it up on the fly, hopefully supported by a proper understanding of the Constitution. Coltrane broke the rules and traditions of jazz and opened the art form to innovation from other artists that continues today. Stravinsky did the same for classical music. Politicians did the same when they championed civil rights, gay rights, and legal marijuana. We honor those politicians willing to open our world to greater rights and all the forces for peace.

Peace Through Music
Weekly Area Jams
Eighth and Rail
Every Tuesday 7 - 10 pm CT
The Eighth and Rail in historical downtown Opelika, Alabama is the venue for a wildly groovy weekly jazz jam as hosted by the Jane Drake Jazz Band. It's a cozy celebration of life that has become a buzzing collection of jazz-loving fanatics gathered together in a coterie of peaceful, fun-loving positive energy. I am downright proud as a peacock with enhanced LED-flashing feathers to participate in the jam on a regular basis, and I really love it! Proprietor Mike Patterson makes the wonderful sushi and Miss Tiffany keeps the affable atmosphere at a lovely level of emotive satisfaction. Plus... they serve an awesome cheesecake that'll make you wanna slap yourself so hard as to tell horrific knock-knock jokes to mimes. No lie. We have really talented musicians come in from the bi-state area: Auburn, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Columbus, LaGrange, Fort Valley, et al. The jam begins at 7 pm and ends at 10 pm CT. Hopefully, I'll see you there.

Eighth and Rail
Venkman's Jazz Jam
Every Tuesday starting at 8 pm ET
Venkman's is a nightclub in Atlanta, a venue that Joe Gransden uses for his weekly jazz jam. This is where the Who's Who of the Atlanta Jazz Scene come together to dazzle us mortals. It's free and starts at 8 pm ET. Fo' mo' info, click link below. I've participated in this jam a couple of times, and I love it as well. Joe Gransden always welcomes me with a smile that will melt antarctic glaciers in the middle of winter, which, oddly enough, is during June through August... when it's so hot and humid in middle Georgia that my toenails sweat. Nevertheless, Joe's band often includes keyboardist Kenny Banks (sometimes Kevin Bales), drummer Chris Burroughs and bassist Craig Shaw, and these cats kick it. When I find the transportation, I'm going.

Red Light Cafe Jazz Jam
Every Wed at 8 pm ET

I have not been to the weekly jazz jam at Red Light Cafe, but it is hosted by the Gordon Vernick Quartet, and I am a huge fan of Gordon's, so I'm planning to go soon, and when I do... Ha! I'm very likely to get excited. Fo' mo' info, click here.
Apache Cafe in Atlanta
Every Wed at 9:00 ET

Al Smith's Midtown Jam Session @Apache Cafe!  Contemporary Jazz , Soul, R&B vocalists jam Session. Featuring live band led by keyboardist Al Smith! Vocalists are invited to sign the list and jam with the band, musicians can sit in too... a must attend! Different Dj spinning on the back patio each week! SPECIAL GUEST HOST EVERY WEEK! Doors open at 9pm and list-sign up is at 9pm. Event admission, the day of, at the door, is CASH. Fo' mo' info, click here.
Brin's Wings in Montgomery
Every Wed from 6 to 9:00 CT

Brins Wings in Montgomery presents Coleman Woodson Jr. Jazz Jam from 6-9 CDT. No cover. Fo' mo' info, click here.
La Salle Bleu Piano Bar in Montgomery
Every Wed from 6 to 9:00 CT

Jazz jam La Salle Bleu Piano Bar, 9 until, no cover. Fo' mo' info, click here.
The Suite in Columbus, GA
Every Thursday at 9:00-11:30 ET

Thursday, January 11 from 9-11:30 p, EDT Live Jazz - Big Saxy Thursday, The Chemistry Project Band starting at 9 pm at The Suite Bar and Grill.
Irish Bred Pub in Montgomery
Every Sun at 9:30-12:30 CT

Third Thursday jazz jam session at the Irish Bred Pub Montgomery, 78 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, Alabama 36104, Corner of Dexter Ave and Perry St, 3 blocks from Capitol. Fo' mo' info, click here.
1048 Club in Montgomery
Every Sun at 9:30-12:30 CT

The 1048 Cafe is in Montgomery, AL. The weekly Jazz Jam led by Sam Williams, 9 pm CDT, $5 cover. I don't really know that much about it, but the 1048 has a jazz jam every Sunday from 9ish 'til whenever. Apparently the jam draws some incredible musicians. Fo' mo' info, click here.
The Suite in Columbus, GA
Every Sun from 6:00-11:30 ET

Michael Johnson and the Silent Threat Band plays at The Suite in Columbus, GA from 6-11:30 pm ET at The Suite Bar & Grill, 5300 Sidney Simons Blvd. Fo' mo' info 'bout the band, click here.
Piccolo's Lounge, Auburn

It's not a jam, but the Piccolo lounge offers a comfortable, clubby environment. Leather club chairs, a cozy fireplace and comfy banquettes serve as a relaxing getaway. Enjoy a single malt scotch and relax and unwind from a hectic day or meet friends to hear live jazz every Friday and Saturday night, of non-home football game weekends. Fo' mo' info, click here.
A Little Lunch Music at Jule Collins Smith Museum, Auburn University
On Thursdays at Noon, make a lunch date with our region’s finest musicians. A Little Lunch Music is an informal, come-and-go performance presented by JCSM and coordinated by musician Patrick McCurry. You can sit in and listen to the entire performance, dine in the Museum Cafe from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT, browse the Museum Shop or explore the galleries.
When the lunch program resumes, I'll let you know.

"Body and Soul" was written in New York City for the British actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, who introduced it to London audiences. Published in England, it was first performed in the United States by Libby Holman in the 1930 Broadway revue Three's a Crowd. In Britain, the orchestras of Jack Hylton and Ambrose recorded the ballad first in the same week in February 1930. In the United States, the tune grew quickly in popularity, and by the end of 1930 at least 11 American bands had recorded it. Louis Armstrong was the first jazz musician to record "Body and Soul" in October 1930, but it was Paul Whiteman and Jack Fulton who popularized it in United States.

"Body and Soul" remains a jazz standard, with hundreds of versions performed and recorded by dozens of artists. Classic vocal recordings include those of Ella Fitzgerald, Annette Hanshaw, Billie Holiday, Billy Eckstine, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan (for the 1957 album Swingin' Easy and the 1978 album How Long Has This Been Going On?) and Frank Sinatra, and such musicians as Benny Goodman, Lee Konitz, Bill Evans, Russell Garcia (on his 1958 album The Johnny Ever Greens, starring John Williams on piano and Don Fagerquist on trumpet), John Coltrane, (on his 1964 album, Coltrane's Sound,) Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Royce Campbell, Steve Rochinski, Lester Young and Gerry Mulligan contributed notable instrumental recordings. The Manhattan Transfer sang it on their album Extensions in 1979, with lyrics honoring both Hawkins and Eddie Jefferson. Guitar legend Wes Montgomery recorded it four times.

Body and Soul

My days have grown so lonely
For you I cry, for you dear only
Why haven't you seen it
I'm all for you body and soul

I spend my days in longin'
I'm wondering why it's me you're wronging
I tell you I mean it
I'm all for you body and soul

I can't believe it
It's hard to conceive it
That you'd throw away romance
Are you pretending
It looks like the ending
Unless I can have one more chance to prove, dear

My life a hell you're making
You know I'm yours for just the taking
I'd gladly surrender
Myself to you body and soul

What lies before me
A future that's stormy
A winter that's gray and cold
Unless there's magic the end will be tragic
And echo a tale that's been told so often

My life revolves about you
What earthly good am I without you
Oh I tell you I mean it
I'm all for you body and soul
Video of the Week

Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 - July 17, 1959) was an american jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Billie Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.
Jazz Association of Macon
We Promote Jazz in Macon
and Middle Georgia
Our purpose is to:
Encourage and support creation, presentation, and preservation of jazz music.
Support the creation of new audiences for jazz music.
Provide education and information about jazz.
Encourage young musicians to learn and appreciate jazz.
Develop a network among local and regional jazz advocates.
Increase awareness of jazz events and musicians in our community.

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

If you can, cop a buzz and muse on the following:

Capitalism is Exploitation.

The days I have remaining within the boundaries of the abating space-time continuum that has thus far dominated redoubtable influence over my personal terrestrial reality are less than the amount of secular time I have left until my final earthbound suspiration, and as the once distant finish line of my sublunary existence encroaches increasingly more overtly towards its conclusion, the farcical blameworthy desire for specious treasures coveted by my vernal resource-exploiting Capitalistic aspirations morphs insidiously towards a more sedate pursuit of spiritual awareness as I guffaw at the incongruity of hording baubles even when it so outrageously contradicts the incipient quest of my life’s epic journey: to find the path to an eternal, intangible post-terrestrial Elysium. It’s a shame that I’ve been so busy worshiping the golden calf instead of consciously exploring spiritual retribution for each ineffably endowed moment for which I have been granted an opportunity by ineffable puissance beyond my comprehension.

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