Monday, October 27, 2014

Dishing Out A Plate of Sandy: 2 Years Later

Two years ago today I was getting myself together to go on my very first cruise. 

It was supposed to be on the Carnival Cruise line going to Puerto Rico, Barbados and Turks & Caicos and leaving from New York City. Our boat was scheduled to leave on October 29th but because of the approaching storm, the date of departure was changed to the 28th to try to beat Sandy. I hadn't even packed my bags yet and had a late night gig at Plate of Soul in Queens with 19 South Band the night before. 

That Saturday was spent rushing to get the last minute things I needed as well as getting my nails and feet done. I only had a short period of time to get myself together plus to be at Plate of Soul for my singing engagement. 

While I was sitting at the venue. as I am in the picture above, I received notice that my trip was cancelled; the next few days was history. 

Sandy! New York! State of emergency! Destruction. Thank God we got insurance on the trip and were able to get our money back. 

What a blessing to say that two years later, I'm still here. Could've been worst I guess but I still hope one day to go on a cruise and enjoy it!!! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Smile, it's Friday!!!

It's Friday. The first Friday of October, 2014. And a great day to share a smile. Not simply because today is Friday; thank God. But because it's world smile day. 

Share a smile with someone today. It takes more effort to frown than to smile. You never know who's day you can brighten. Smiling is contagious. 

Happy Friday and happy world smile day!!!!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Year of Jazzy Strong Arms Around Louis

Mama Kat is always inspiring some cool blogs as she did this one. What was I writing about a year ago?

2013 Reincarnated

A year ago around this time, I was taking jazz classes with hopes to learn how to scat. I came across a great jazz improvisationalist named Marion Cowings and he gave me guidance on the art of jazz crooning; though I have found that jazzmusic is still one of the most difficult genres of music to grasp. After listening to his CD and heard his cover of the Flintstones, I wrote a blogpost about his song and his class, among other things.

A year ago, I was writing about songs that have been reincarnated and my blogpost started with an image of Louis Armstrong. Check out the old post here, written on September 29, 2013: The Sounds of Reincarnated Music.

To look back and see where you were is interesting when you look at the here and now at what has occurred since then. For one, I visited the home of Louis Armstrong, now a museum located in the Corona section of New York.

Louis Louis

It was awesome to see where he lived, how he lived and to learn more about this fascinating jazz musical icon; especially about the song "What a Wonderful World."

The lyrics itself are wonderful. A truly positive message is reverberated through the words and sound. And Louis sang it so beautifully. Louis was a type of person who loved where he lived and he loved his neighbors. The children all around loved him and would call him Uncle Louis. These song was written in honor of them because he loved coming back to Corona and enjoying life and his surroundings; especially the children. Made me find a little bit more respect for the song and made me want to sing it.

And so, I did. Still trying to grasp jazz singing, I am always trying a new song. I learned the lyrics and melody to "What a Wonderful World," and sang it; live. I changed the key to Bflat but, this song has so much meaning to me now that I fell in love with it.

Please check out the live footage of my performance of the cover of "What a Wonderful World" on Youtube. The following is the link:

Thank you for reading my blog post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn is the Perfect Time to Fall Back Into Fitness

It's autumn; the perfect time to fall back into fitness. 

Summer fun is over. Time to start a new way of living. Time to get inching and ready for better health and more feel great days. 

Not as many barbecue grills out anymore. Kind of cold now but nice enough to take a stroll and experience the beauty of the new season. Remember; with just 30 minutes of cardio fitness a day, you can improve your heart health tremendously. Walk, run, jog, kettlebell, Wii sport or whatever; do something to give your engine a pure workout. 

If you aim for fitness at all, do it for the sake of your health. And whatever you do, aim and stay on target until you reach that point. You got the strength!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What About Them Strings?

I always thought of the bass as my favorite instrument because of the energy of the musician playing it and the funk of it. 

The bass always seems like the first thing I hear in any song. The deep bottom that just holds the groove together, in my opinion, makes a song just what it is. 

I was walking through the Flatbush Frolic today that ran across Cortelyou Rd in Brooklyn, NY from Coney Island Avenue to a Ocean Avenue, and saw a table with some very unique guitars. Of the many they had, a custom made bass guitar, once played by John Popper of the Blues Travelers Band. 

It was light in weight. Plucked a pretty nice sound. I could hear the bass thumps reverberating out of the amp as I took a slap at it. Nice!  

What makes this funk machine unique is the many carvings of endangered species that run around it; These are the things that make it one of those instruments you know "be killing the wild sounds."

The instrument show was all part of Bar Chord's display. Bar Chord is a bar and lounge located at 1008 Cortelyou Road between Coney Island Avenue and Stratford Road in Brooklyn, NY. The owner, Johnny, told me that there's live entertainment there every night. And on any night that you make your way there, there are unique guitars for sale above the stage and in the window. 

I think I want to go there just to check out some of the other cool guitars they might have; that is, after I join into the jazz jam session they have on certain nights of the week. 

I'm loving how Kensington just keeps on getting better and better. Now, How do you like them strings? 

Antiquated Rhythms

I don’t know about you, but it seems like things of the past continue to recycle in my life, not always as a memory but sometimes as something as vintage as Lady Mechanika Saloon chic, coming into the here and now moments; and sometimes also with the amnesia of these forgotten moments in time.  

Consider music that never dies or old fashion styles that continue to reinvent themselves in these here moments. For if it were not for the inventors who paved the way and inspired, some would have never found that dose of motivation to begin.  And although some of those reinvented things from the past are what many would consider antiquated, new kids on the block might be seeing these things for the first time and consider them as new.

I remember recently being on stage with the Celebrate Band at the 2014 Jamaica Arts and Music Festival and singing background for our drummer Hakeem Hanton, who was  interpreting a cover of the Force MDs “Tears” and doing a wonderful job hitting all the falsetto notes.  Then all of a sudden,  I was at the COBANYC 2014 Family Day at Six Flags Great Adventures and the Force MDs themselves were right their crooning their tune.  How ironic is that?
With The Force MDs and DJ Denise at Six Flags Great Adventures
In today’s world when we hear new expressions of classical tunes that were originally composed in the 1500s and vocal jazz scatting, you realize that some things just never die. They just remain in hearts and minds and continue to live on. And then we have all the remakes, the polka dot phase resurfacing and the sheer clothing items that folks have been wearing lately.  It was just the other day when I was watching the best of Soul Train on DVD and saw a commercial about Afro Sheen and then today we see so many beauties returning back to the natural hair styles. 

The more things in life change, the more they remain the same.  And the more we get lost in trying to find new things and reach new horizons, the more acculturated we become with who we are.  The key in life is to rise out your seat and to do a song and dance that fits who you are, whether you are wobbling forward or you are doing the running man into doors that only God can open.

Remember to never forget to acknowledge the truth that God, our creator and savior, holds our tomorrow. So today, thank him for, all that he has done, all that he is doing and all that he will do.  And if you think about it, no matter how antiquated old time religion might seem to be, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
And this truth never changes!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Nails Did in Five Minutes

Sometime there's time to do the things you know you want and deserve and then there are times when you just don't get those special moments.

I tell you; there is nothing like sitting in that wonderful massage chair at my nail salon to get my nails and feet done. There's just something about allowing someone to beautify you just a little bit more than you are right now. 

But those times when you don't have an available moment for it, there are always other options. 

For instance! Today, I had to wake up bright and early to drive up to Great Adventures Them Park to sing with the ATM Band. Sound check is early so we had to make sure to be there on time. Disappointedly, I didn't get a chance to get my nails done. But who says I can't have salon quality looking nails? 

I was able to put on my nail dresses by Kiss My Nails on and in less than five minutes, my nails look performance ready. Thank God for my affordable option.