Marian McPartland and Cedar Walton passed away this week. This is a huge loss to the music world. Both these pianists were pioneers and masters of the world of jazz. We will miss them deeply. Watch for tributes in the coming weeks. There are so many wonderful recordings of both of them.
Several rainy days in a row here have made me somber and thoughtful. I don't know if I could survive living in Seattle or someplace where it rains all the time. I love sleeping on rainy days, but in general I don't enjoy them.
One of my former students dropped by today. He has a chronic health condition and I asked how he was doing on his meds. He said he is responding well, but he can't afford the latest round of pills, so can't make a doctor's appointment to get his latest injection. Our health care system is criminal. I'm totally behind Obama's health care bill.
My take on the VP debate is that Biden was by far the stronger of the two. Ryan made some hits on Libya, and he had some "Look" stuff cribbed from Romney, but Biden hit every Democrat point with power, and debunked a lot of Ryan's. The old man looked good, and he made Ryan nervous.
Prepping my office for a possible hit by tropical force winds and rain. We should be feeling Hurricane Isaac by late this evening. RNC first day has been cancelled, so they think it is going to be nasty. There will certainly be some flooding in low places, and some high tides.
The Florida Orchestra has had to line up a stable of guest conductors to fill the hiatus created by Stefan Sanderling's early departure. Instread of conducting a diet of Masterworks Concerts up through the 2013-2014 sesason, he will be doing only one program per season.
I remember breaking down in tears in theaters only twice--once in "Piaf" as the supper club falls silent when Marlene Dietrich approaches Piaf's table to tell the seriously ill chanteuse how much she loves her singing; and again, years before in "Coal Miner's Daughter" as the young Loretta Lynn waits for the train with her father, played eloquently by Levon Helm.
She tells her "Daddy" that she will be back,
and he says he he doesn't think so.
Tonight, as I listen to Levon singing that Arkansas harmony with his daughter on their 2007 album "Dirt Farmer," I remember how he moved us forty years ago, singing "Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train......."
I'm enjoying my Nook app on the iPhone. I'm surprised at how much I read on the go--in waiting rooms, restaurants, on the patio, during any down time when I don't have anything to do. Currently, I'm reading The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, a new discovery. George Clooney is apparently making the movie!
Also reading Robert Reich and Ahmed Rashid. Other books I have enjoyed on Nook are Michaels Connelly's The Drop,and Karin Slaughter's The Fallen.
Your day is going nicely--early doctor's appointment, and home for a nap. Neighbor wakes you up to take baby owl to the Humane Society. On the drive there you are in a collision that totals your car and sends you to the hospital for x-rays of the leg. A perfectly good day ruined in an instant.
The good news is that the baby owl was taken by a bystander, who said she knew where the Humane Society was. I was able to play a clarinet quartet concert at 5:30 and conduct an orchestra rehearsal, but the soreness was enormous. Teaching today, but I plan to rest hugely this weekend. At least I'm above ground!
Anthony Shadid, a prize-winning journalist, was reporting inside Syria when he suffered a fatal asthma attack.
Mr. Shadid, 43, had been reporting inside Syria for a week, gathering information on the Free Syrian Army and other armed elements of the resistance to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose military forces have been engaged in a harsh repression of the political opposition in a conflict that is now nearly a year old.
The Syrian government, which tightly controls foreign journalists’ activities in the country, had not been informed of his assignment by The Times.
Visit Slate to read the outstanding Dahlia Lithwick essay on how the mainstream media refuse to look into the very real issues being raised by Occupy Wall Street: "Mark your calendars: The corporate media died when it announced it was too sophisticated to understand simple declarative sentences. While the mainstream media expresses puzzlement and fear at these incomprehensible 'protestors' with their oddly-worded 'signs,' the rest of us see our own concerns reflected back at us and understand perfectly."
"A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere." ...Groucho Marx
Our fraudster governor now wants to discourage students from studying liberal arts in Florida universities. Could it be that if students study the liberal arts they will be able to think, analyze, and write; and they will understand that Rick Scott is guilty of Medicare fraud, and is doing his Koch level best to destroy the great accomplishments of Governors such as Rueben Askew, Lawton Chiles, and Bob Graham? Is he afraid that students would see through his corporatist agenda?
"Throw the bums out" has never felt more appropriate than it does with this man's administration.
It now seems obvious that this movement has struck a chord with a huge number of people in this country. In spite of the media doing their best to ingnore it in order to please their owners, the Wall Street protesters have gained support daily. "Too Big To Fail" is a fact, and if you read The Report of the Financial Crisis Commission you will understand why. The facts are undeniable--they crashed our economy and haven't paid a price for it. As a matter of fact, they have been handsomely rewarded for it.
Watch this short discussion between Keith Olbermann and Matt Taibbi about the impending crisis Friday morning between Mayor Bloomberg and OWS. Taibbi is one of the heroes in the unveiling of the secrets of the Wall Street crooks.
I'm in the middle of The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin, and I'm very happy I bought it. Rubin is insightful, honest, clear, and refreshing in her lack of didacticism. The simplicity of a lot of her suggestions is attractive.
Bob Graham was one of the finest governors and senators this state has ever had. Last week in an op-ed in the St. Petersburg Times he explained how the policies of the current Republican Legislature and Governor endanger the progress made in Florida for decades in the areas of education and environment.
Last Tuesday evening 22 February 2011 Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a fund raising concert for the Jazz Foundation in Dizzy's Club Coca Cola. The concert was in memory of my brother Dennis Irwin.
The Jazz Foundation paid medical bills for Dennis when he became ill. His stage four cancer was discovered when he went for an MRI at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey, which is centerpiece of the work done by The Jazz Foundation. This annual fund raiser is in memory of Dennis, and the Dennis Irwin fund is dedicated to cancer screenings for jazz musicians.
Here is a slide show by Frederic S. Sater of some of the highlights of the amazing evening of music making. I'm grateful to Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Adrian Ellis, Todd Barkan, and Wendy Oxenhorn for arranging this special evening; and to all the master musicians who gave of their time and talent to help their brothers and sisters in the jazz profession in need of medical assistance. Playing Our Parts is an annual event given by Jazz at Lincoln Center.
One of the most important people in setting up this event is Todd Barkan, currently in the hospital recovering from a serious auto accident. We all send Todd our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
The Washington Post reports that an equal number of people believe the Republicans and Obama would be responsible for a shutdown of government. This is simply a reflection of the huge amount of money the Citizens United Supreme Court decision has allowed corporations to pour into Republican PR coffers. We are well on our way to Plutocracy.
Our New Horizons Band at Eckerd College is busy. We are in our third week of winter semester, and we have had two great rehearsals and a nice outdoor gig. We performed two sets for the Gulfport Art Walk this past Friday night. It was a beautiful evening, with a nice audience and lots of pedestrian traffic.
We will be performing for International Night at Sanderlin Elementary next Thursday night 10 February. The International Baccalaureate PTA is sponsoring the evening.
On Saturday afternoon 12 March we will host one of New Horizons Southeastern tour stops, with a 2:00 pm reading session followed by a dinner with participants at Billy's Stone Crab in Tierra Verde. That should be a great day.
I hosted a lovely clarinet, viola, and piano recital Friday night. The visiting artists at St. Pete College's Music Center were Mark Gallagher, Frank Corliss, and Ken Kwo.
The program included music by Cahuzac, Kovacs, Mozart, Poulenc, and Bruch. They all played with artistry and sensitivity. Some of the finest chamber playing I have heard in a couple of years. Mark Gallagher teaches at Frostberg State, Frank Corliss at Bard College, and Ken Kwo is a member of the Florida Orchestra.
Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is the most insightful book I have read in years. Highly recommended.
Oddly enough, what she describes as having taken place in countries such as Chile and Poland is happening now in the US. It is happening at the federal level with the blind push for privatization, but it is happening at the state level because of the huge budget shortfalls caused by the Bush War Recession. It is Chicago School Economics taking place in states like Florida. Look out folks. We are the new banana republics.