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EXCELLENCE SHINES ~ DM on the Grammy Awards 

The other day Christopher Orr [dreading this year's Oscars] wrote, "Even amid cosmic injustice we must be afforded glimmers of hope."

So true!

Here's a glimmer from 1998 which still gleams:

12 years ago today our Recording Academy awarded the Grammy for best jazz instrumental solo to trumpeters Nick Payton & Doc Cheatham, two of my favorite artists, for their tasty rendering of Hoagy Carmichael's masterpiece "Stardust."

It was one of those rare moments that occurs all too seldom in life, when excellence shines through and the universe nods in accord. Amazingly, the mind-numbing pop culture-drunk music industry briefly woke up, remembered its calling, and cast a collective vote for quality.

For a short while that year, music behaved like the meritocracy we all wish it could be.


We all voted for this record, but whenever I listen to it, I secretly believe it was created just for me.

Mine
, like my big wheel or my slice of Key Lime Pie!


Photo by Hal Leonard

This entire album is a keeper, but I especially dig their treatments of "Stardust," "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" and "Jeepers Creepers."

Hear it and get yours on
iTunes or Amazon.

AN ALTERNATE VIEW, FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE 



“It was horrendous. You went to work at 9pm and you played six forty-five minute sets for a room half full of people who were maybe paying attention, but more often not. You did this five or six nights a week. You left the joint at 3:00 a.m. with a few dollars in your pocket and a greasy dinner in your stomach. No, I wouldn’t want to return to those days. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed playing the music, but it was a constant hustle it would have been better to avoid.”


~Roy Haynes on the mid-century "golden age" of jazz

BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL by Pablo Neruda 



I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

THE EXPERTS AGREE 


"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones
knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."
~Mary Oliver

"Absorb what is useful.
Discard what is not.
Add what is uniquely your own."
~Bruce Lee

"You gotta put down the ducky
if you want to play the saxophone."
~Ernie

ODE by Arthur O'Shaughnessy 



1   We are the music makers,
2   And we are the dreamers of dreams,
3   Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
4   And sitting by desolate streams; --
5   World-losers and world-forsakers,
6   On whom the pale moon gleams:
7   Yet we are the movers and shakers
8   Of the world for ever, it seems.

9    With wonderful deathless ditties
10   We build up the world's great cities,
11   And out of a fabulous story
12   We fashion an empire's glory:
13   One man with a dream, at pleasure,
14   Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
15   And three with a new song's measure
16   Can trample a kingdom down.

17   We, in the ages lying,
18   In the buried past of the earth,
19   Built Nineveh with our sighing,
20   And Babel itself in our mirth;
21   And o'erthrew them with prophesying
22   To the old of the new world's worth;
23   For each age is a dream that is dying,
24   Or one that is coming to birth.

25  A breath of our inspiration
26  Is the life of each generation;
27   A wondrous thing of our dreaming
28   Unearthly, impossible seeming --
29   The soldier, the king, and the peasant
30   Are working together in one,
31   Till our dream shall become their present,
32   And their work in the world be done.

33   They had no vision amazing
34   Of the goodly house they are raising;
35   They had no divine foreshowing
36   Of the land to which they are going:
37   But on one man's soul it hath broken,
38   A light that doth not depart;
39   And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
40   Wrought flame in another man's heart.

41   And therefore to-day is thrilling
42   With a past day's late fulfilling;
43   And the multitudes are enlisted
44   In the faith that their fathers resisted,
45   And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
46   Are bringing to pass, as they may,
47   In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
48   The dream that was scorned yesterday.

49   But we, with our dreaming and singing,
50   Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
51   The glory about us clinging
52   Of the glorious futures we see,
53   Our souls with high music ringing:
54   O men! it must ever be
55   That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
56   A little apart from ye.

57   For we are afar with the dawning
58   And the suns that are not yet high,
59   And out of the infinite morning
60   Intrepid you hear us cry --
61   How, spite of your human scorning,
62   Once more God's future draws nigh,
63   And already goes forth the warning
64   That ye of the past must die.

65   Great hail! we cry to the comers
66   From the dazzling unknown shore;
67   Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
68   And renew our world as of yore;
69   You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
70   And things that we dreamed not before:
71   Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
72   And a singer who sings no more.

HALF MOON, SMALL CLOUD by John Updike 



Caught out in daylight, a rabbit’s
transparent pallor, the moon
is paired with a cloud of equal weight:

the heavenly congruence startles.

For what is the moon, that it haunts us,

this impudent companion immigrated
from the system’s less fortunate margins,
the realm of dust collected in orbs?

We grow up as children with it, a nursemaid

of a bonneted sort, round-faced and kind,

not burning too close like parents, or too far

to spare even a glance, like movie stars.

No star but in the zodiac of stars,

a stranger there, too big, it begs for love
(the man in it) and yet is diaphanous,
its thereness as mysterious as ours.



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