My trip up Super Bowl Boulevard February 14, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Broadway, Football, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Last Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Seattle Seahawks resoundingly defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII by the score of 43-8. It was the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.
Two days before the Big Game, I headed to nearby Manhattan to walk the NFL’s Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC. The “Boulevard” spanned Broadway between West 34th and West 47th Streets. It was open to the public between Wednesday, January 29, and Saturday, February 1, the day after I was there. I had my Nikon D5100 (and two lenses) along for the walk to take pictures with.
The pictures in this post were taken outside the remote studios of ESPN, NFL Network, and FOX Sports; inside the Xbox One tent; by the Super Bowl Toboggan Run; by Extra Points, where fans could kick footballs through a goalpost; and a few other landmarks along the way.
On the second floor, there was a massive array of tubes that contained milk chocolate, peanut, peanut butter, and pretzel M&Ms in a variety of colors. Two of the tubes had milk chocolate M&Ms in the team colors of the Seahawks and Broncos. I filled a bag of all kinds of M&Ms in all colors; 2.87 pounds worth. It took me three days to eat it all.
Once inside, I bought a Super Bowl XLVIII polo shirt, cap (second from the left above), full size football with the Seahawks and Broncos logos on it, and program.
Despite the massive crowds and back stiffness that set in after an hour and a half, I had a great time walking Super Bowl Boulevard.
Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on winning Super Bowl XLVIII two nights later.
Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at The Cutting Room January 21, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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For the second time in three nights, I was in the New York City borough of Manhattan for a concert. Thursday, it was pianist Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. On Saturday, it was guitarist Chieli Minucci and his band Special EFX at The Cutting Room. Thursday was acoustic. Saturday was electronic. But each were exciting and entertaining, not to mention my first time at each venue.
The Cutting Room was one block south and five blocks east of where I exited Penn Station’s LIRR Terminal. Once there, I was directed to a room set back on the left. It was dark with most of the light coming from the stage. Most tables on facing the left side and center of the stage were full, but my girlfriend Kelly and I found an empty table close to the right end of the stage. But whatever side of the stage we were facing, we were going to be treated to great music from a legendary band, celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2014.
Jay Rowe on keyboards:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t see much more of Jerry and Lionel from my seat. I probably could have taken shots from the right side of the stage behind the column that blocked my view, but I didn’t want to risk getting reprimanded. To make up for the lack of pictures, I’m dipping into the archives with pics of them from Special EFX’s appearance at the Long Beach Jazz Festival in September 2012.
Back on Saturday night, the band played eight songs:
Originally heard on: “Just Like Magic,” 1990
2. Courageous Cats
Originally heard on: “Jewels,” 1995 (Chieli solo album)
3. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers
Originally heard on: “Renaissance,” 1996 (Chieli solo album)
4. Crazy Eights
Originally heard on: “Genesis,” 2013
5. Till the End of Time (preceded by Jay’s intro)
Originally heard on: “Genesis,” 2013
6. Kickin’ It Hard/Spain
“Kickin’ It Hard” originally heard on: “Night Grooves,” 2003 (Chieli solo album); “Spain” is a Return to Forever cover
7. Speak to Me (preceded by Chieli’s intro)
Originally heard on: “Masterpiece,” 1999
8. Bodybeat (preceded by Chieli and Jerry’s intro duet)
Originally heard on: “Body Language,” 1995
#6 and 7 featured occasional vocalization from Chieli.
As I wrote earlier, it was another night of great music from the legendary Chieli Minucci and Special EFX. I hope to see them again soon.
Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall January 17, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Football, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
Previous Lisa Hilton recap: June 2011
Last night marked the second time I saw jazz pianist Lisa Hilton perform. The first time was about 2 1/2 years ago in Greenwich Village (see link above). This time, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall‘s Weill Recital Hall. It was my first time ever at Carnegie.
My journey began at around 4PM, when I left home to walk to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station for a 4:27 Penn Station-bound train. I would have taken a later train, but I wanted to be safe in case any delays popped during my walk to the station. That’s what happened the day before when I had to take a train to Rockville Centre. But even though there were delays earlier in the day, there were none when I arrived. My trip to Penn Station was smooth sailing. No one sat near me after Freeport. It was a peaceful journey as I took in the sights while listening to my iPod, not a noisy one where I’m surrounded by chatter from people of varying ages. (The ride back was somewhat crowded, but not too noisy. And it helps to have studio headphones.)
I was in a railcar near the back of the train, which meant I needed to walk a little extra from the train to the LIRR Terminal. Once there, I had dinner at TGI Friday’s. Then, I walked up to the subway terminal and took the E train uptown to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street. The second I emerged from the seemingly endless flights of stairs, I saw the Ed Sullivan Theater, home to the CBS late night talk show, The Late Show with David Letterman. I whipped out my Nikon D5100 and took a picture:
I was fortunate enough to attend a taping with my father back in December 2004, but that’s another story.
Thinking that the time when the doors to the hall are opened was the time to go inside, I waited outside the Weill Recital Hall entrance for 15 minutes. Two couples went inside while I was waiting. Finally, I opened the door and asked if I was allowed to come in. Of course, I was. I got my ticket, went up to the lounge adjacent to the hall, and waited for the hall doors to open.
According to my watch, I took my seat at 7:42. The Weill Recital Hall was not what I was expecting. It was an intimate hall with one row of orchestra seats, where I sat, and a balcony behind them. There were three chandeliers on the ceiling; my seat was between two of them.
The hall was completely acoustic. There were no speakers, no engineer, no amplification, nothing of the kind. I was in for a unique experience.
Lisa entered at 8:06, joined by Ben Street on upright acoustic bass and Billy Hart on drums. Lisa played a Steinway & Sons piano.
The set primarily featured music from her upcoming album, Kaleidoscope. Here’s what the set looked like:
2. Whispered Confessions – This one was my favorite.
3. Midnight Mania
4. Bach/Basie/Bird: Boogie Blues Bop
5. Sunny Side Up
6. Blue Horizon
7. Stepping Into Paradise – This was a solo piano piece. Ben and Billy left the stage and took a break. They returned for the rest of the set.
8. Getaway – This was another favorite.
10. When It Rains
11. Evening Song
12. So This Is Love
“Getaway” and “Evening Song” are from Getaway (2013). “Subway” and “When It Rains” are from American Impressions (2012). “So This Is Love” is from My Favorite Things (2005).
“Getaway” was first performed in a slightly slower tempo on In the Mood for Jazz (2003). “Stepping Into Paradise” originated on Getaway.
My original plan for returning to Penn Station involving taking the M7 MTA New York City Bus back to 34th Street and walking to the LIRR Terminal from there. But when I got to the bus stop, I had a clear view of Times Square. I could see the Jumbotron, which still had up the “2014″ sign, complete with the New Year’s ball frozen in place above it. Forget the bus, I thought. I’m walking back and taking pictures. And I did:
I initially boarded the wrong train: an express that didn’t stop at Wantagh. Luckily, I was able to grab all my belongings quickly and exit the train (thanks to the doors not closing right away). I quickly found the right train on a different track and barely boarded that one in time. I was bound for home, capping a memorable night. I opened my eyes and ears to a new experience and I enjoyed it. Thank you, Lisa, Ben, and Billy.
2013 in review December 31, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Art, Audio, Commentary, Film, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, Weather.
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The following is an excerpt of an end-of-year post WordPress created for MikeChimeri.com. Scroll down for my editorial.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
2013 was the first full year for the WordPress version of MikeChimeri.com. April was a transformative month that saw my upgrade from a Nikon D3100 camera to a D5100, and finally join iPhone nation. I upgraded from an LG enV3 to an Apple iPhone 5. (I ended up giving my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 to someone very special.) A week after those two upgrades, I documented the 2013 WCWP Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. A week after that, I was in Milford, Connecticut, for the first two-night Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert series. April also marked five years since The Mike Chimeri Blog was launched; MikeChimeri.com launched in May 2005, seven years before merging with the blog.
In addition to some new contemporary jazz releases, I broadened my musical horizons by adding Return to Forever, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and various Christmas compilations to my collection. I posted more expressway and parkway pictures. I spent most of the summer scanning old 35mm pictures and recording cassettes and microcassettes to one of my hard drives. I returned to LIU Post and WCWP in October for my annual Homecoming Weekend Show and Homecoming itself. I attended Charlie Fillizola’s art exhibit at Wantagh Public Library. And besides SJFS, I attended concerts in August, October, and November.
I didn’t mention this in any post, but there was one dark spot in 2013: the loss of my paternal grandmother, Marilyn “Mazz” Chimeri (née Garing), in early July. She was the last of my grandparents remaining after I lost my maternal grandparents, Lennie and Arthur Rose, in June and November 2010, and my paternal grandfather, Carmen Chimeri, in December 2011. I miss them dearly, but feel lucky to have known them for as long as I did. I love you all.
I hope for the best in 2014, not only for myself, but for each and every one of you visiting this site. Have a happy and healthy new year.
Expanding my Christmas album collection December 11, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Christmas, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, Personal.
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For over 25 years, the holiday season is my favorite time of year. One reason for that is the music; sans vocals.
In my formative years, The Weather Channel would replace their regular Local Forecast (later, Local on the 8s) playlist for most of December with instrumental Christmas songs. Over the years, viewers heard excerpts from Christmas albums by David Benoit (Christmastime, Remembering Christmas), Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel (The Gift), Mannheim Steamroller (Christmas), Chet Atkins (East Tennessee Christmas), Vince Guaraldi (the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas), and compilations put together by Narada (The Narada Christmas Collection, … Volume 2) and GRP (A GRP Christmas Collection, GRP Christmas Collection II, …Collection III).
Between 2002 and 2009, I bought those albums and compiled them onto personal CDs to play at Christmas parties and at my house on Christmas Day. I even bought albums with music not played on The Weather Channel. Those include Russ Freeman (Holiday), Craig Chaquico (also Holiday), Kim Waters (Home for Christmas), Peter White (Songs of the Season, Peter White Christmas [with Rick Braun and Mindi Abair]), Ken Navarro (Christmas Cheer), Nelson Rangell (All I Hope for Christmas), Bob James and Hilary James (Christmas Eyes), Plan 9 (The 9 Days of Christmas), Fourplay (Snowbound), and Spyro Gyra (A Night Before Christmas).
Last year, I took a big digital step and made an iTunes playlist for my iPod, which took the place of the CDs at future parties and Christmas Days. Last week, I decided to take another big step and expand my Christmas album collection even further. I bought four Windham Hill albums (The Carols of Christmas, A Windham Hill Christmas, …Christmas II, …The Night Before Christmas), two Boney James albums (Boney’s Funky Christmas, Christmas Present), another GRP album (Making Spirits Bright: A Smooth Jazz Christmas), and one by John Boswell (Festival of the Heart). My favorite song so far on those albums is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by saxophonist Richard Elliot. I’ve heard many arrangements of that tune, but never with the Jeff Lorber sound. Jeff arranged Richard’s rendition with Steven Dubin. (12/20 UPDATE: Inspired by Music Choice’s smooth jazz channel, I made one more purchase: Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm’s The Very Best of Christmas. My favorites thus far are U-Nam’s rendition of “This Christmas,” and Gregg Karukas’ cover of “The Christmas Song.”) (12/21 UPDATE: Further inspired by a post on Smooth Jazz Magazine’s Facebook page, I bought an MP3 album: the instrumental version of Peggy Duquesnel’s All I Ask for Christmas.)
‘Tis the season for great music, great joy, and gratefulness. With the purchase of eight additional albums, I have more music to share with my friends and family every year.
2013 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming, 2014 Hall of Fame Announcement October 22, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology.
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Later in this recap, I share airchecks from Homecoming Weekend show and behind-the-scenes pictures from the pre-record.
I was at LIU Post on Saturday for their annual Homecoming celebration. I was there primarily for WCWP’s barbecue and announcement of 2014 inductees to their Hall of Fame.
I arrived on campus shortly at around 2:30. After getting situated I decided to head to Hickox Field for a little while:
Jeff Kroll described the above picture this way when I posted it to the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group (account links removed):
We’re on the lower level of the press box…..hard to see clearly, but on the far right side, that’s Pat Kroll, sitting next to her is Dan Cox, standing next to Dan with the red shirt on (glad I had red on that day for identifying purposes) Jeff Kroll, and Neil A. Marks is standing next to me. Sat 10/19/13. Post 58 Pace 0. Pat was coordinating with Joel Feltman (down on the sidelines) for field interviews. (sign still says CW Post Campus!)
He later added:
If you look at the upper level of the press box, toward the left side, the third person in….that person is operating the scoreboard from what used to be the WCWP booth until the 2000′s. THAT was really home!
11/10 UPDATE: Jeff had one more thing to say about this picture tonight:
I received this note from Dan Cox today:
“I saw Bryan Collins today at the Field Hockey final. He told me the grandstand demolition begins next Monday. Looks like new press box by next fall. I hope!” If that happens, the press box goes with the entire grandstand. And this great shot will be a timely memory for those of us who have spent so many fall afternoons there. Thanks Mike Chimeri! Great timing to have taken that picture last month!
I’m honored to have taken it.
As Jeff noted, the LIU Post Pioneers dominated the Pace Setters (get it?) 58-0. I was at the field in time to catch the Pioneers’ second-to-last touchdown.
The extra point is good.
Satisfied, I walked back to WCWP. The Pioneers’ last touchdown came during my walk back. I could faintly hear the public address announcer declaring, “touchdowwwwwwwwn!”
The Hall of Fame plaque, introduced at this year’s ceremony:
The inductees are Rita Sands, Frank D’Elia, Bill Epperhart, and Ted David. Bernie interviewed Ted over the phone.
The announcement and interview with Ted can be heard here:
2014 WCWP Hall of Fame Announcement
Thanks to Zach Parker for taking those pictures during the interview.
Here is that pre-recorded interview, which was later edited by me, but my edit isn’t the one that aired:
Interview with Mike Chimeri & Jay Mirabile
I had a wonderful time at Homecoming this year. It was great catching up with my fellow alumni, and meeting some in person for the first time.
The rest of this album is devoted to my Homecoming Weekend show – CJazzPlus with Mike Chimeri – which aired at 3AM on Sunday, hours after I left campus.
I made sure to mention whatever notes I wrote down, but unfortunately, I had to edit some out for time. Each pre-recorded hour had to be exactly 59 minutes long.
Here are all of the airchecks from the 2013 edition of CJazzPlus with Mike Chimeri:
The file is downloadable here.
It’s mostly from the console when I pre-recorded the show, but I mixed in elements from WCWP’s stream as the show aired.
WCWP Homecoming Weekend show to air October 20 October 7, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Phone, Radio.
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I was at WCWP (at LIU Post) on Friday to record my annual Homecoming Weekend radio show. CJazzPlus with Mike Chimeri will air very early on Sunday, October 20, at 3AM Eastern (midnight Pacific) on 88.1 FM WCWP.
If you are outside of the signal range, you can listen here or browse for it on the TuneIn mobile app.
In the two hours of CJazzPlus, I’ll be playing Chuck Loeb, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Spyro Gyra, Steve Cole, and much more. The show took 2 1/2 hours to record and an hour and 15 minutes to edit. There was also an additional 15 minutes of editing (and one minute of re-recording) for hour 1 at home on Saturday and another 10 minutes of editing for hour 2 yesterday.
I’ll be on campus hours earlier – on Saturday, October 19 – for Post and WCWP’s Homecoming festivities, the latter of which includes the announcement of 2014 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame.
Busy mid-to-late summer for album releases September 23, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal.
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Between July 30 and September 17, seven albums were released by my favorite contemporary jazz musicians.
Needless to say, I bought them all. They vary in style, but were all satisfying.
In order of release date, they were:
- Earl Klugh, HandPicked (July 30) - Mostly covers with a pair of original compositions, and a remake of “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” which he first covered on Magic in Your Eyes (1978); duets with Bill Frisell, Jake Shimabukuro, and Vince Gill (who also sang one verse)
- Chuck Loeb, Silhouette (August 13) – A series of tracks recorded with various bands backing up depending on the track; his wife, Carmen Cuesta, and their two daughters, Christina and Lizzy, are also featured
- The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Hacienda (August 27) - The third album since the Fusion were reborn in 2010; surprisingly, the album lacks remakes of original Fusion songs, but it doesn’t matter because every song is a thrilling adventure; “King Kong,” a Frank Zappa cover, features violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, who originally covered the song on King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1970)
- Pieces Of A Dream, In The Moment (August 27) – Has the signature Pieces style that I know and love; guitarist Rohn Lawrence featured prominently
- Jessy J, Second Chances (September 10) - Features Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Johnny Britt, and Norman Brown; album title and its title track refer to never giving up on the first try, if at first you don’t succeed, etc.; the running joke in my head is the album should technically be Fourth Chances, since it’s Jessy’s fourth album
- Steve Cole, Pulse (September 17) – Collaborative effort with David Mann (co-producer, co-engineer, writer or co-writer, backing saxes and flute); “With You All the Way” is based in part on “All ‘n All,” David’s composition for Nelson Rangell on Far Away Day (2000)
- Oli Silk, Razor Sharp Brit (September 17) – Features Elan Trotman, Chuck Loeb, and Paul Brown (no relation to Norman); I was amazed how Oli was able to write (and perform) in Chuck’s style on “The Prestige,” the song featuring him
Besides these magnificent seven, I also finally bought Quartette Humaine by Bob James and David Sanborn, their follow-up to Double Vision (1986). It’s a straight-ahead, acoustic album, which initially drew me away when it was released in May, but I made the right decision in buying it last month.
Tomorrow, Spyro Gyra’s The Rhinebeck Sessions album comes out. Based on the previews I heard on Amazon, I’m in for a treat with that one.
Scanning pictures and transferring audio tapes September 1, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Media, Personal, Photography.
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The evening of July 12 marked the beginning of seven weeks (though not nonstop) of photo and audio archival, scanning and transferring media – 35 millimeter prints, cassettes, and microcassettes – to my external hard drives.
The first task was scanning pictures from photo albums that I didn’t scan back in December 2008 and January 2009. At that time, I scanned at 300 DPI (dots per inch). This time, I opted for 400 DPI. And unlike the previous period of scanning, I didn’t mindlessly adjust contrast, levels, and color in each picture. I made a picture-by-picture decision.
I also tried my best to clone stamp out dust, scuffs, and scratches, but it was very hard. For some of the early scans around July 12, I gave up and left them in. I also settled for the vertical banding (red, green, and blue streaks) that was present when I used an Epson Perfection V33 scanner. For subsequent scans, I switched to a Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II and there wasn’t any banding.
The albums contained pictures from the 1940s through the early 2000s, including shots of me as a kid. Two albums were of special days: my high school senior prom, my sister Lauren’s Bat Mitzvah reception and my Bar Mitzvah reception. The latter was the last album I scanned.
After completing the albums, I moved on to an album-less bin of pictures that were mostly from high school and college. I was scared to look at them until now.
In the process of scanning the albums, and the pictures in that bin, I was reminded how much I miss those that are no longer alive and I wished I could reconnect with those still living that I haven’t seen in years.
The point of scanning all of those pictures was to archive them digitally to go along with all that I’ve shot on digital cameras since 2004. Unfortunately, a fraction of the prints have become blurry over time. Sharpening can’t save them, but I archived those nonetheless. If it was in an album or in that bin, it had to be scanned.
Picture scanning took just over a month, completing on August 17. The next day, I took the next big plunge and began transferring cassettes and microcassettes to one of my external drives as WAVE files. Both cassette types contained personal recordings from me, my sister Lauren, and my cousin Chris. Like the pictures from school, I was scared to listen because I didn’t like how I spoke back then. I commonly began sentences by saying “okay, now, we’re…”, “um,” “uh,” and “right now, we’re going to have…” There was even one recording of me in June 1994 where I had an embarrassing lilt. But by 1998, my speech was improved, and more so by 2000.
I transferred my 36 microcassettes between August 18, my father’s birthday, and August 24. The 40 cassettes were transferred between August 19 and August 31 (yesterday).
Editing the microcassettes involved speeding up or slowing down either parts of a side or an entire side. Editing for both formats (cassette and microcassette) involved normalizing the audio, which was sometimes loaded with valleys (low levels). The peaks came when whatever recorder was used turning on or from clicks and hits while holding and moving the recorder around. In the normalization process, I had to work around those peaks. It wasn’t easy.
There are a few pictures left to scan and cassettes left to transfer, but the bulk of my work is complete. It’s a great relief.
Whose Line picked up for another season! August 2, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Theatre, TV.
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After only three weeks on the CW, the reboot of Whose Line is it Anyway? has been renewed for another season! This one will be 24 episodes long. Jonathan Mangum tweeted the great news on Monday (one day before the airing of an episode he performed in):
When news broke of Whose Line‘s return back in March, I said this:
It’s a 10-episode run, but could be more if renewed or less if canceled. Based on the failures of the Green Screen Show, Improv-A-Ganza, and Trust Us With Your Life, I’d say the latter is more likely. But as usual, I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
Consider me pleasantly surprised. Best wishes to Whose Line, which is thus far thriving in its second life.