The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: Dad (Page 1 of 4)

Memorial Day 2020

Please Honor Memorial Day

Find the cost of freedom,
Buried in the ground.
Mother earth will swallow you,
Lay your body down.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Memorial

I humbly believe this tribute does not take away from the honoring of our Veterans – My Dad, 2 Uncles and Father-in-Law served in WWII, hubby & 2 cousins during Vietnam and various nephews served during and since the Gulf War. My Sister-in-Law, 5 cousins and a niece are essential health-care providers during this war against COVID-19 – thankfully our family has not suffered any casualties.

NYT-front-page-05-24-20-COVID-19

G Squared: Gregory & Gavin

– continuing with the musical pokes and prods – re: “…David Olney lead to Gregory Alan Isakov who lead to Gavin Luke” –

After a trip down snowy Raton Pass memories, my musical (re)search landed me at the merging of a folk/classical piece performed by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with contemporary folk-pop artist, Gregory Alan Isakov. Thus introducing me to a new-to-me younger generation of folkies.

Note: the YouTube featured here is the only media readily available on-line with the CSO/GAI arrangement-performance of this piece. That said, watching it isn’t as important as just listening to this IMHO.

Isakov’s The Stable Song, as performed with the CSO is the type of musical collaboration that excites me as a musician.

Performing in and composing for mixed ensembles has been and continues to be one of my deepest passions as a working musician. Back in the day, it was more unusual for instrumentalists of differing genres to play together in performance or to hear ensembles of unlikely instrumentation in concert outside the University music department recital setting.

It appears these types of cross-over collaborations are becoming more mainstream* – to the delight of musicians and audiences alike.
But that has always been my bent. And upon my life’s reflection, I’m thinking I was perhaps even born into it.

My Dad as a professional jazzman on sax and clarinet was always up for a jam session with me, his daughter, on 12-string acoustic and/or classical guitar. For awhile there we even made the rounds in small performance circles as 3D: Dad Daughter Duo. Our set list comprised of standards, show tunes, contemporary pop, Latin, country, classical repertoire – you name it – with my classical guitar solos and/or 12-string acoustic folkie riffs alternating with his show stopping improvised tenor sax and/or clarinet solos dancing rings around my chordal vamps…Yeah I was born into this.

Finding that sweet-spot key where the natural intonation of disparate instruments sound good while playing together is a greatly rewarding endeavor.
I find it deeply satisfying, stretching the sonic boundaries via unconventional instrumentation and encountering others who explore that same territory in myriad ways.

Included with that exploration is my fascination with anything related to ‘prepared’ instruments. A technique I first encountered during my music school days, John Cage‘s forays into this altered soundscape has since given birth to a wide range of instrument manipulation in the name of New Music. Again, there is cutting edge and then there is what is palatable for mainstream.

Enter Gavin Luke, composer. More of a New Age pianist/composer, I stumbled onto his piece, In Search of Home, while perusing a composer website. The main theme of his piece is compelling, but what I found most interesting was the simple use of felt sheets in his ‘prepared’ piano as central to his composition.

Note: the YouTube featured here is a short 2.5 minutes long in which Gavin demonstrates his process in the creation of this piece.


While I appreciate the creative process as shared by compadre (he)artists regardless of genres, the take-away for me in this case was a surprising appearance of my poetic muse…

to be shared at another time
😎

*In order to keep this post shorter and to my intended points, I did not go into depth on the well-known, well-received and highly successful collaborations between unlikely genres & musicians over the years such as The Beatles & orchestral musicians/eastern instruments just to name one example.

Ice Cream and Remembering Dad

So, this evening, after a fine dinner of Lemon Baked Spicy Salmon, rice, beets and peppers, I indulged in the last of the Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream.

After my second helping – there was just a little bit left in the carton – I thought at first my prolonged craving was induced by the Chardonnay that accompanied the previously mentioned fine dinner.

But a nagging suspicion that there was more to it than that persisted.

Of course.

Today marks the third anniversary of Dad’s passing.

He loved ice cream.

Stories & family jokes abound about his doling out tiny ‘balls’ of the stuff for others while heaping mounds of frozen lusciousness into his own bowl…

Plus, when he was thrust into the role of widower and had nothing much to eat in the house – he always had a freezer full of ice cream. He prided himself in eating his milk in the morning via a bowl of ice cream for breakfast.

I miss you, Dad.

just popping Up to say Happy Day

On the road to healing with Minions, music and happy day bouquets!

On the road to healing with Minions, music and happy day bouquets!


What a fantastic way to send flowers long distance! I received this ‘Bouquet in a Book’ in the snail mail a few days after my foot surgery from my blogger sista & co-honorary Manc bud, L.Marie.
Totally unexpected. Thoughtful. And fun.
Just like she is 🙂
I’m sharing my ‘adult’ pop-up book bouquet with all of you because it just might help to make your day a happy day, too – along with Stuart Minion (UKE ready to play), my jazzman Dad in spirit (represented by the statuette), my Ma’s outrageous lilies (one in a series of color studies), and a framed color copy of an art postcard I bought long ago of William H. Johnson’s Blind Singer (which has an interesting story behind it for another time).
Saw the Doc the other day to get my stitches out (ick, but whew, glad that’s done) and I’m on the next leg of my foot surgery recovery. Yep, that was an awkward pun 🙁
In three weeks I’ll be out of the Boot and closer to getting back into my ‘normal’ shoes – which implies getting back to my more ‘normal’ exercise routines. We’ll see. Until then, I discovered a fantastic YouTube Video by a youthful exercise coach on exercises that can be done while serving time in the Boot.
Caroline Jordan’s, Hurt Foot 30 minute Total Body Workout was filmed entirely while in the Boot during her own ‘hurt foot’ recovery. Already, I’ve kept up for about 15 minutes at a time in different sections of the 30 minute routine…not bad for a lady of ‘Sixty Pho’! HA! If nothing else, I should develop wicked upper arm strength (and possible sculpting), even if those glutes are neglected due to circumstances beyond my control.
Now excuse me while I do the last of three sets of TOE exercises my Doc ‘prescribed’ for me to do on a 3x’s daily basis…

Sixty Pho' part two

Back to that postcard…not only did the poster quote aspect of the card resonate with my style sensibilities but it triggered a punny approach in recounting a recent milestone event in my life (as reflected in the post title). Can you guess, yet, what that might be? Hint: keep in mind the correct pronunciation of the word pho’ as the phrase Sixty Pho’ is spoken out loud.
To clarify the timeline, Joe visited Vietnam the beginning of October for about 33 days and I received the Make Pho’ Not War postcard the beginning of December – textbook status quo for overseas snail mail delivery.
By then, we had already seen our son in Chicago two days after he got back to Denver from Vietnam in early November.

Say what?

Yes, it is weird to get ‘after the fact’ stuff in the snail mail.

Now, on with the Sixty Pho’ story…

64 mugs and Alchemy Coffee Beans

‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?’


It’s no secret to close family and friends that this is hubby’s and mine 64th birthday year (oh dear, the bunny’s out of the bag and into the blogosphere for sure now). I’ve always wanted to have a Beatles “When I’m 64” birthday celebration when the time came and the time is – AHEM – now. I turned that fateful age in October and hubby will catch up with me after Christmas in December.
I had always thought by now we’d be in our own home again. You know, a place big enough to throw one of our famous family/friend bashes, in this case a 64th Beatles birthday bash.
Joe's birthday July 2018

Joe’s birthday, July 2018 (Michelle, me, Joe)


That was not to be, as finding home is still an elusive yet hopeful work in progress. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, hubby secretly strategized with the kiddos on how to make that bash happen regardless. So, while we all met in Colorado for Joe’s birthday during our time of getting the folks’ house ready to be put on the market (yeah, we find ways to meet regardless of the miles that separate us) a solution broke forth.
Why not meet in Chicago?
Middle child Michelle is only a few hours away in Michigan from Chicago, so she and David could easily meet us there for a weekend jaunt as a break from her PhD thesis presentation prep. (BTW: she is now an official PhD candidate as her thesis was accepted! Yippee!)
Why not meet in Chicago? Hubby and I certainly don’t mind the road trip from South Carolina to anywhere. The mileage all goes towards the goal of reaching 400K at least*, if not all the way back from the Moon at 477,800 miles!
The location seemed logical as many members of the Family still live in the Chicago area, though several of us cousins and the remaining oldsters have moved away for various reasons. Chicago is the origination point of our Family after immigrating into the US from Calabria, Italia in the early 20th century. Hence, us cousins and our respective parental siblings were born and raised there. Indeed, Chicago is still a central hub to most of us.
Planning for our Chicago destination-as-solution to the 64th birthday bash blasted off in earnest. One Chicago cousin helped in finding a great Italian place central to all locals to hold the bash, I nailed the details with the restaurant, Michelle sent out e-vites, and the boys (son and son-in-law) got on with arranging the star set-piece, “When I’m 64,” for tenor sax and oboe.
Those of us who were able to come to the party.

Those of us who were able to come to the party. Except for the end persons, the five of us in the front row are the attending cousins – I’m the only one of them who likes pictures taken, so I’m lucky to have this. (L-R: Pat, Joanne, Dennis, me, Bob)


Anyway all that to say, many of us met up in Chicago – Michelle and David from MI, Joe right after getting back from his trip to Vietnam, and a handful of Chicago cousins and cousin-in-laws for a shared 64th Beatles b-day bash – and – as an excuse to mangia together in early November before the holidays got going full blast. Of course, not everyone could make it, (mostly the lawyers in the Family who had on-going cases in session, out-of-towners, and the oldsters who couldn’t travel the distance) but it was fun.
Joe and David playing the star set-piece

Joe and David playing the star set-piece


 
Gotta make those milestones FUN or else they become more like millstones!
As mentioned before, in keeping with my wishes and the traditions of our slice of the Family**, Joe and David played the star set-piece as opener for the mangia party (would love to post their performance video sometime, but licensing issues especially with high profile ‘covers’ can be legal nightmares – most non-musicians don’t realize this is a real problem – so that’s not happening in today’s post).
 
Instead, this vid will just have to do:
(click here)

As for me and mine, the answer to that question: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four?” is a resounding YES! How about for you and yours?

*Odometer alert: as of this writing, we are at 397,963. 🙂

One of many places Dad played back in the day.

The Green Mill in Chicago, one of many places Dad played back in the day.


**As in our musical roots

 
 
 
 
 
 
Michelle, Joe, me, hubby in front of the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago, taking in a show.

Michelle, Joe, me, hubby in front of the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago, taking in a show.


PS – We took in a show at the Green Mill the night before our 64th bash

Oh Happy Day – It's a Done Deal!

On Monday, September 17th, my bro and I signed over our folks’ house to a buyer who said, “I fell in love with this house the minute I set foot into it.”
In celebration of this event, I bring you a jam session of a favorite gospel tune, Oh Happy Day, in the spirit of my JazzMan Dad
(jump to 3:05 if you’re not a musician interested in the creative process)

Context of this piece is as follows:

Original youth group recording

This is track 5 from the 1968 album “Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord”. Lead by Dorothy Morrison-Combs Written by Philip Doddridge Arranged by Edwin Hawkins. Edwin Hawkins was a pianist at Ephesian Church of God in Christ in Berkeley, California when he came up with the popular Latin/Soul version of the song “Oh Happy Day” in 1968. In an October 23, 2009 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he explained that “Oh Happy Day” was one of eight arrangements he put together for the Northern California State Youth Choir, which was made up of 46 singers ages 17 to 25, and the plan was to sell an album of the songs to finance a trip to a church youth conference in Washington, D.C. The tracks were quickly recorded live in church on a two-track tape machine (industry standard at the time was eight-track), but the records weren’t pressed in time for the trip. They did attend the conference, and the choir placed second in a singing competition, where they performed 2 of Hawkins’ arrangements, but not “Oh Happy Day,” which Hawkins said was “Not our favorite song.”

Me: the bassline beginning at 2:40 through to the end is fantastic! – this is a stellar example of the vibrancy of live performances regardless of the limitations of available recording equipment…wow!

And the performance you might be more familiar with:


Me: this one is a vocal improv that is relatable to the Jam.

Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
He washed my sins away (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)

He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray
And live rejoicing every, everyday

Oh happy day…

Two years ago on the 17th, I was scheduled to fly back to SC after a Summer of Dad visit. He, instead, changed my plans the day before by having a mini stroke. Hubby quickly cancelled that flight and rescheduled for another flight for the following week.

Dad passed away Sept 22…

September 17th, 2018 we closed on Ma & Dad’s house. Two nights before that, hubby and I slept in Ma & Dad’s empty house for the last time on our faithful air mattress.

A different sort of closing…

40 years and counting

Terry’s take on these 40 years…

June 17, 1978 – June 17, 2018

Many months ago I was rooting around on the internet looking into some music. I happened to come across a young jazz saxophonist named Grace Kelly and was watching her Livestream studio session. I started watching the video and really enjoyed her enthusiasm and music. I thought of our son Joe who is a jazz saxophonist also, but I decided not to send him a link to it as he was off touring New Zealand/Fiji/Australia at that time and wasn’t sure how good his internet was. I also thought of my late father-in-law who had died less than a year and a half before. He also was a jazz saxophonist who played with Benny Goodman and other greats in Chicago and who up to nearly the time that he died was always looking for new trends/music.
On the third song of the Livestream, Grace started explaining how she had come to write the song she was about to play. What she said, and more importantly what she played and sang touched a chord in me. I knew then that the song she wrote was a song that described how I felt about Laura and that that song was going to be our 40th anniversary theme song (not just our 40th but our lifelong song). Our anniversary was still many months away, so I tucked this song away so I could share it with Laura during our anniversary.
I started researching Grace Kelly a little more and it turned out that she was going to be playing in Las Cruces, New Mexico on May 27th. It just so happened that I lived in Las Cruces during high school, went off to serve in the Navy and after the Navy came back to Las Cruces to go to college.  While in college on a co-op assignment for NOAA in Boulder, Colorado I met and married Laura and we moved back to Cruces to finish my college education before moving on.
We were planning a trip to Colorado to take care of business in early May and I wanted to go to New Mexico to both see Grace Kelly and to visit my parents’ graves. The timing seemed to be aligning to be able to spring on Laura this song at a Grace Kelly concert. Las Cruces is not a tremendously large town so I even hoped to run into Grace somewhere around town so that I could request that she play the song for Laura (not like trying to find Mr. T on Mulholland Drive or in Bel-Air or Hollywood – inside family story).
Unfortunately, our plans changed and we needed to go to Texas for business purposes before we went to Colorado which meant that we would end up in Las Cruces weeks before Grace Kelly was going to play. Knowing this I sat down with Laura before we left, told her that what she was going to see was the way I felt about her and that it was our anniversary song. I put the Livestream on our TV and jumped to 19:03 for the beginning of the story and the song.  We sat there and watched the song (multiple times) trying to hold back the tears of our love for each other.
There are some songs that have a special meaning to me about Laura, like Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” and now Grace Kelly’s “Feels Like Home”.
Our anniversary this year falls on Father’s day and I can’t think of a better Father’s day gift than sharing this song which beautifully expresses the way I feel about Laura.
Laura shortly after found the song (sans Grace’s explanation) which is shown below. The full video is here, start at 19:03 for story before song.
Thank you Grace for this beautiful song and thank you Laura for a lifetime of “Feels Like Home”.

Shout Out: "Just a Rose" by Colin Chappell

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad's Garden 2016

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad’s Garden 2016


When I first heard this poem, my mind immediately flashed on a photo I took during my Summer of Dad – that of a lone rose thriving in the midst of Ma & Dad’s overgrown and neglected garden.

“…for my blooms have served a purpose…”

 
From Just Thinking a collection of “little writings which may produce some little thoughts” here is Colin Chappell reading his poem, Just a Rose.

Note: All proceeds from book sales will be directed to Colin’s daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007. She is still fighting, but the treatment programs have taken their toll and she is unable to hold down a paying job for a variety of reasons. She is therefore dependent on benefits from her disability provider…She uses her time to volunteer for non-profit organizations, and has been involved in giving some dignity to the women who are living on the streets in Vancouver’s downtown East-side…She has also written a number of poems, two of which are included in the book!

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