Quotes I've pondering

"In life, there are conquerors and the conquered; I most prefer to be among the first." - Adolphe Sax

the opening stanza of Voltaire's LA BÉGUEULE (the Begger)

In his writings an Italian sage

says that the best is the enemy of good;

Not that we can not increase in prudence,

In goodness of soul, in talents, in science;

Let's try the best on these chapters;

Everywhere else let us avoid the chimera.

In his happy state that can please himself,

live in his place, and keep what he has!

Music for the future?

What's New - Teo Macero and Billy Prince (1956) Columbia

This is the best 45 minutes I have spent listening to music in a long time. There is so much going on here I wanted to share.

Teo Macero and Billy Prince team up to make a fantastic album.

Teo Macero, the legendary producer for Columbia Records also happens to be an incredible saxophonist and composer.

This thoughtfully challenging statement was pushing music forward of its time, so far ahead that listening to it now I ask myself am I still hearing music written for a future audience?

1956! are you kidding me!? This is what people were writing 62 years ago? This album is 2 years before Ornette Colman releasing his debut album (Something Else!!!) and 3 years after Charles Mingus Octet records Blue Tide (Debut) in which Teo takes one of my favorite solos. Side note: Teo released his first album Explorations on Debut Records.

Billy Prince is special as well. Till recently I’ve only known him as the arranger and conductor for one of my go-to albums Desmond Blue with Paul Desmond (1962)

Prince is someone totally worth digging into. His compositions are lush and expansive. I’ve found some clips of his work with choreographer Jerome Robbins. I'll be delving into Billy Prince more soon.

All of this music makes a strong case for where today’s music coming from and where it is going. I personally hear this collection of sounds and feel the irresistible urge to learn about music more than ever before. Never to be mistaken as someone who thinks that the best music has already been written. However, all the life-changing sounds that have been documented are here for us to admire, be inspired by, and learn from. I love where music is today and am excited about what music will be written tomorrow. I plan on making sure I’m part of that future and encourage you to do the same.

P.S.
Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll elaborate more on Debut Records and its importance to me later this year.

Stand Firm

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

— Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)

As someone who is constantly developing my craft, I look for ways to create around every corner. One of my biggest obstacles is having the dedication to learn from others, yet be able to deliver my own original ideas. Harnessing the freedom of expressing the unknown.

I recently read “Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Fantastic read.
I found myself superimposing my artistic ideas into the questions of this world and the notion of the multiverse.

Tyson says: “We do not simply live in the universe. The universe lives within us.”

“Today, how easy is it to presume that one universe is all there is. Yet emerging theories in modern cosmology, as well as the continually reaffirmed improbability that anything is unique, require that we remain open to the latest assault on our plea for distinctiveness: the multiverse.”

Let’s stand firm and be ourselves.

Mentioned on the Jazz Station Blog

I’ve always enjoy following Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s blog - Jazz Station this was nice to see him mention me for his best of 2018 tenor saxophone from a project I’m very proud to be part of Richard X Bennett’s Experiments with Truth

Also super proud to see my good friend Reggie Watkins at the #1 spot for Trombonist on this 2018 list. Reggie was featured on saxophonist Richie Cole newest album “Cannonball”. Two great records to check out for sure.

Paying mind to our minds

Write down what you want to accomplish, Big and small.

I've found keeping my goals in front of me helps the most.

Think of it like this, we are our home computer, our brains are our hard drive. Our ideas are the files that we want to save onto our drive. The bigger the idea, the larger the file size. I'm sure you have seen these images or something similar.

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If you don't back up your computer and keep adding content to your drive, it will stop working correctly. The mouse starts lagging, windows don't open as quickly. Till eventually, the computer freezes or even worse it will crash. Our brain is much more complicated than a computer, but if we get in the habit of backing up our ideas offline, this will free up space for more active thinking.

We go through each day thinking away with no regulations at all. Paying mind to our minds is a must if we hope to accomplish the big tasks in our life.

Writing down goals is the most significant step and sometimes the hardest step to make in fulfilling our purpose.

MLK Day 2019

Recently I learned about this beautiful project by Duke Ellington. After reading James Baldwin’s “Letter to My Nephew on the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation” I was driven to research things happening in music around 1963. I was excited to learn Ellington was invited to create a musical revue titled “My People” for an event called the “Century of Negro Progress Exposition” that took place that same year. After looking a little deeper, I found that they recorded this collection of music. The show is also home to what Ellington proclaims is the first published song that sang Martin Luther King’s praises.

Ellington, outraged by the actions of Bull Connor and the police in Birmingham, Ala., in April 1963, re-imagined King as the protagonist of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” writing a mighty, forward-looking salute not only to King but to Birmingham’s courageous black residents as well.

King himself heard it rehearsed, appreciate it so much that he, allegedly, wept—an anecdote recounted in Harvey G. Cohen’s magnificent 2011 cultural biography Duke Ellington’s America, which has a comprehensive chapter on My People.

Discipline

I think of discipline as the continual everyday process of helping a child learn self-discipline.

- Mr. Rodgers (Fred Rodgers)

This statement is useful in my adult life.
I am not disciplined; therefore I need to work on it every day.

I find it beneficial to acknowledge the things I have learned over time. Even the most complicated tasks can become second nature to someone who works hard at them. Whenever I have lost sight of the hard work it takes to learn a new habit, I find my self-discipline being challenged the most.

A New Year / 13 Subjects

A few weeks ago I read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. At the end of his book, he shares something I find wonderful. He calls it his 13 virtues, and he attributes the study of these virtues as the biggest key to his success he had in life.

In short, he found that by studying each habit one week at a time the benefits were higher than if one attempted studying multiple subjects at one time. In this system, you go through this 13 weeks cycle 4 times in the 52-week calendar year.

For 2019 I'm going to implement this in my life. I have taken many of Mr. Franklin's virtues for myself while also switching out some for things that I need a better handle on.

How about making a list of your own using Franklin's virtues as a launching off point. It costs you nothing and could be a massive benefit.

Benjamin Franklins 13 Virtues

1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

I hope you enjoy this process, I'll be sure to check back on my progress. Have a great New Year

Understanding and Appreciating Beauty

I've been drawn to the beauty of jazz for more than half my life. Still, I feel like an outsider to this beautiful art form. Something I have come to comprehend is that to truly understand art means you must look at all of the dimensions in which it was created. In regards to jazz music or more appropriately defined as Black American Music. I have found that you can't just listen to the music if you wish to really see the beauty within it. The American experience must be examined from as many perspectives as possible to get an honest picture. Today, as I listen to a collection of compositions written by Miles Davis from the box set, Miles Davis - Chronicle: The Complete Prestige Recordings (1951-1956) I am left pondering would any other artform have allowed a young black man in the 1950s to attract and hold the attention of so many people from all over the world.

BYNK Records releases new ablum from Reggie Watkins

Trombonist Reggie Watkins has released his newest album and brought Matt Parker on board to produce the album with him. The CD, Avid Admirer: The Jimmy Knepper Project, will be released on Matt Parker's BYNK Records on July 13.

This album features
Reggie Watkins - trombone
Matt Parker - soprano and tenor saxophone
Orrin Evan - piano
Tuomo Uusitalo - piano
Steve Whipple - bass
Reggie Quinerly - drums