Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Gift of Good Samiritanism

Most musicians on their birthday, find pleasantries in sharing moments with family, friends, loved ones and perhaps, enjoying live music. 

Dinner and Carvel ice cream cake or a dance party with a live band. Or maybe drinks with friends. Maybe a day of fasting with your loved ones. Not such bad ideas as ways of celebrating life. But for saxophonist Alvin Rogers, his day of celebrating life became more of a day of good samaritanism. 

Nobody likes losing their personal belongings; especially when it is a wallet stuffed with dollars, expensive train tickets, credit cards and other important items.  That's what happened to Martin Luettgersheiden on the morning of February 28th, 2015. 

Luettgersheiden is a data scientist who came to New York City from Germany and has been living in Harlem for the past seven months. He never thought that of all days, what could have been one of the worse days of his life became "his lucky day."

While walking along Frederick Douglass, Luettgersheiden unknowingly dropped his wallet. Rogers, a Harlem native, on his way to his first scheduled meeting at Jazz Mobile discovered it. What do you do when finding money on the street? Do you spend it? Not Rogers; he picked it up and called him within minutes. 

"I wouldn't even have realized I lost it" said Luettgersheiden. With his wife being pregnant with their first baby on the way, who could afford to come into misfortune at a time like this? 

With good samaritans in New York City like Rogers, it makes you feel good about society. What is better than a birthday gift to receive joy from someone else because of what you were able to do for them? Great to know that there are truly decent individuals in the big apple who are "glad to do whatever they can to put a smile on somebody else's face." 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Undrunken 2014 Love

It is not an unusual thing to decide to commit to something new when a new year dawns. For me, it was giving up alcohol.

When you take a person who has been a lush all her many years of her life, to not drinking at all, it is a big deal. But, exactly one year ago today, on December 31, 2013, I took my last drink. 

I gathered all the alcohol I had in my house, emptied each container into my cup and downed it until there was no more. It was not a sad goodbye because we parted on a good note. And since then, temptation does not augment my decision, whether I'm at a bar or with friends and or family who are drinking while I'm around. I even turn down drinks that people put in my hand. 

Let's see how 2015 will be as I say goodbye to yet another thing that is really unnecessary for my life, even if it is enjoyable. (Not sure what yet but . . .) 

Thank you Mamkat for the inspiration to write this post. To all currently reading this post, happy new year to you and yours and thank you for being a part of my world.

Peace be the journey. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eddie Jefferson Concert

Two months ago, I learned about the late, great Eddie Jefferson. 

What a singer? He is known as the father of vocalese. He could take any instrumental tune and imitate the sounds of the instruments with words or scatting. Listening to him sing is an earful. He definitely has an interestingly, different sound worth listening to. And so, I have been listening. I also enjoy viewing performances and am excited to be watching one of his performances on DVD.

What is interesting about this concert is that it was recorded exactly six months after I was born which was also his last performance before his tragic death only two days later. The performance was recorded at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in Chicago in 1979 and featured Richie Cole on saxophone, John Campbell on piano, Kelly Sill on bass, Joel Spencer on drums and Jefferson on vocals. 

I am enjoying watching how he graces the stage while interacting with his musicians and audience. He is so free with the words he sings and has a wonderful approach. Though it is almost 36years after this concert was performed, it is still relevant and just in time for someone like me who just recently started singing jazz more frequently and am always seeking direction and inspiration. Jefferson is a great singer to listen to and learn from. This would definitely be a great gift for that songbird in your life. 

Disclaimer: I am not a distributor or seller of this product. I will not be given compensation for discussing this program. I am a music enthusiast and am sharing the information for others who might be interested in obtaining it for their own personal viewing. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First Tuesdays at Rustik Tavern in Brooklyn, NY

I love how jazz music is not just about listening but the singing, dancing and appreciating. 

This is a visual of what Eric Frazier's jazz jam looks like. Music, singing, tap dancing, great food and more. Such a great night of energy.  

You can experience it for yourself every first Tuesday of the month at Rustik Tavern located at 471 Dekalb Avenue in Brooklyn, NY 11205.  

Every first Tuesday from 7pm to 11pm. All are welcome.   

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Singer/Songwriter Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas is a singer and songwriter from the Brooklyn, NY area who is about to release a video for his song entitled, "Can't We Try to Live."  I had the opportunity to sit down with the independent artist today and here are some of the things we discussed about his life and his music.

MCSJ: What is the song "Can't We Try To Live" about?
Thomas: It is about relationships. Basically, the ups and downs of love. It is about a couple who is still together but wanting to start life over again to make things better. 

MCSJ: Wow! Sounds interesting and very real. That is a situation that many listeners will be able to relate to. How long have you been writing?
Thomas: I've been writing since I was in high school. I think it was about 25 years ago in 1989. 

MCSJ: Where do you get the inspiration for the songs you write?
Thomas: From everyday life that people live. From the things that we see in life and from the relationships we tend to attach ourselves to.

MCSJ: Are there any artist or genres that you love to sing or listen to the most?
Thomas: I love all types of music. And it's funny; I grew up in a household where my father sang when he was alive and my sister sings all day long around the house. I went to High School of Music in Harlem on 135th Street and Convent Avenue. I was a member of the Brooklyn Boys Chorus where I've sung opera in Italian and French all over the world including in Italy, Venice and at the world renowned Carnegie Hall and with artists like Leonard Bernstein, Andre Watts and the Philharmonic Orchestra. I also love jazz music. But out of all the genres, I listen to R&B the most. Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross and Earth Wind & Fire inspire me very much.

MCSJ: You have a lot under your belt I must say. That's impressive. So I know the ladies are dying to know; is there a Mrs Thomas?
Thomas: No. I am single, in my forties and have no kids.

MCSJ: Alright single ladies. Here is a strong-minded and available man without baby mama drama who is going places. Stay tuned for more. Video coming soon! 

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!!!