2014 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 12, 2014Posted by Mike C. in DVD, Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video.
Last Saturday, the WCWP Hall of Fame welcomed four new inductees in a ceremony in the Goldsmith Atrium at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s inductees were Rita Sands, Frank D’Elia, Ted David, and the late Bill Epperhart.
You can see videos of the ceremony at the end, but first, the pictures:
Then, reflections of Bill Epperhart began. Dan shared his memories first, then Frank, Bill Mozer, and Jeff joined in.
Ceremony Part 1:
Ceremony Part 2:
As you can see, this year’s WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony ended up running for a little over two hours. Memories were shared and praise was heaped. It was a day I won’t soon forget. Congratulations to Rita Sands, Frank D’Elia, Ted David, and Bill Epperhart.
Winter 2013-2014 recap March 28, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Technology, Weather.
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3/31 UPDATE: Pictures of this morning’s wet snow added at the end of this post.
4/16 UPDATE: Post revised to reflect earlier snow than I previously remembered and a coating early this morning.
The winter of 2013-14 didn’t begin and end at the official times. Winter weather bled into mid-fall and early spring. The first snow came over a month before winter and the last came a month after winter. The first storm to produce an inch or more of snow came two weeks before winter and the last storm to do that came a week and a half after winter.
This post serves as a photo recap of most of the snow to affect my neck of the woods – Western Long Island.
Unlike the previous two winters, there were a handful of storms that left six or more inches of snow. Luckily, February 13 was the last storm of that kind. The rest of the season featured minor storms with little to no accumulation.
As I went outside to shovel, the snow switched to rain and the air temperature approached 50 degrees, about 25 degrees warmer than when snow began.
January 2-3: See separate post
January 21-22: See separate post
January’s snow was powdery and lightweight because temperatures were well below freezing. As you’ll see below, most of February’s snow was wet and heavyweight as temperatures were near or above freezing when it fell.
A couple of inches fell on February 9, but were powdery and light. It was nonetheless hard to shovel because of the frozen slush in the driveway from the previous two storms.
As I noted at the top, this was the last big snowstorm of the season. A smaller storm dropped a couple of inches on February 15, which didn’t stop me from going to Manhattan to see saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa perform.
After this quick coating of snow, we were treated to six days of above normal temperatures; perfect melting weather.
Snow showers came through on the afternoon of February 26, also leaving a coating, which quickly melted in the sun, despite temperatures in the 20s.
March was a month of near misses and close calls. It began with this storm. Nearly a foot of snow was initially forecast, but in the 48 hours leading up to the storm, computer models kept suppressing it further and further south. Thus, the snowfall forecast dropped all the way down to an inch at most. We ended up with less than that, but I still shoveled it.
The next near miss came on March 17. Once again, a lot of snow was expected initially, but that threat went away quicker. Again, up to an inch was the final forecast and we didn’t get a thing. I woke up on St. Patrick’s Day to a dry driveway.
The ultimate near miss came on March 26, a week into spring. This would be a blizzard, like the one on January 2, but with wet snow, like the three storms in February. Up to nine inches was expected for a while, but the storm was suppressed to the south and east, making it a bigger threat for eastern New England and Atlantic Canada. For them, it was a monster with tropical storm-force gusts on land and hurricane-force gusts at sea. For us, only a coating fell, which quickly melted. And wind gusts behind the storm were no higher than 50 miles per hour.
As pretty as snow is when it falls, it is a pain to shovel. So, as of now, I won’t miss winter completely. Luckily, as we move deeper into spring, milder temperatures are ahead.
Before long, the three Hs – hazy, hot, and humid – will return, and the pesky Bermuda High will keep humidity-breaking cold fronts from coming through. By then, cold air and snow will be a refreshing thought.
3/31 UPDATE: Earlier this morning, around sunrise, rain began to mix with sleet and wet snow, and then it changed to all wet snow. About an inch fell over two hours and is already melting, as of 11AM. Here is how it looked:
This should be the last snow of the season. If I don’t post anymore updates, you’ll know it was.
4/16 UPDATE: It wasn’t. A shot of unseasonably cold air behind a cold front turned any precipitation to sleet or wet snow overnight. Temperatures were near freezing at the time. It dropped a quick coating, which I found on my sister’s car and the backyard deck when I woke up after sunrise:
The coating will melt fast in the warm April sun, even though it’s only 35 degrees as I type at 9:30 AM. Since it’s spring, a freeze warning was issued for this morning. Temperatures will return to normal by the weekend.
Ken Navarro, “Ruby Lane” March 10, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, News, Personal.
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Reminiscent of his debut album, The River Flows, Ken wears many instrumental hats on Ruby Lane, playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, and keyboards. And if my instinct is correct, he also handled bass, drums, and percussion under the anagrammed pseudonyms Evan Rorkan and Karen Voran.
1. Can I Make It Last (Or Will It Just Be Over) (5:10) – This is a Boz Scaggs cover. Ken’s piano solo was inspired the late Joachim Young, who played piano on Boz’s original version.
2. Running Toward the Sun (4:54)
3. Kings and Queens (7:08) – Ken dedicated this to Coretta Scott King and Ethel Kennedy, who were left to raise their children on their own. Tragically, their husbands – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy – were assassinated in 1968.
4. Westbound and Rolling (5:31) – This is a guitar extravaganza as Ken played 11 guitar parts all layered together. It brought to mind riding the LIRR westbound to Penn Station.
5. When the Spirit Speaks (6:41) – Features The Scheinbar String Quartet
6. A Gentle Man (5:14)
7. Higher Ground (6:56) – This is the best cover of Stevie Wonder’s song I’ve heard yet.
8. Ruby Lane (5:09) – Ken’s 40th anniversary gift to his wife Kristin
9. Fortunate Son (4:45) – A new take on a song originally recorded for The Labor of Love (1992); it’s Ken’s thank you to his parents
Ruby Lane is another Ken Navarro masterpiece. I like it so much that I’ve heard all tracks at least five times so far; I stopped counting after a while.
I’ll leave you with the Ruby Lane preview video, which contains track excerpts:
The track order differs from the order on the CD I bought.
Jeff Kashiwa at Houndstooth Pub February 19, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
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By night, I was at Houndstooth Pub in Manhattan to see saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa perform. I almost didn’t go because of the snow that had developed late in the afternoon. I was afraid to venture out because I thought we were in for up six inches of snow. Instead, we only got two. So, after much deliberation, including a declaration that I wouldn’t go, I decided I would go.
There was nearly an inch snow on the ground when my mother drove me down to Wantagh LIRR station at 5:15. The station platform looked like a pretzel as it was covered in rock salt. The result was a slushy coating that I trudged through as I walked in the light snow to the far end of the platform where only one person was standing. Everyone else huddled by the stairs and escalator. It was a quiet ride inside my railcar, but sparks flashed outside as the train rode the snow-covered rails. I had 40 minutes to kill before Houndstooth’s lower bar was open, so I stopped at Famous Famiglia two blocks south for a slice of pizza. With five minutes to go, I resumed the walk up to Houndstooth and made my way inside. I ordered chicken fingers and steak fries, then waited for the show to start.
Jay Rowe was on keyboards:
The set list featured six songs, a break, and six more songs:
1. Givin’ In
Originally heard on: “Walk A Mile,” 1997
2. Blue Jeans
Originally heard on: “Play,” 2007
3. Could It Be I’m Falling In Love (The Spinners cover)
Originally heard on: “Remember Catalina,” 1995
4. When It Feels Good
Originally heard on: “Back in the Day,” 2009
5. A Quiet Goodbye (preceded by Jay Rowe’s intro)
Originally heard on: “Simple Truth,” 2002
6. Hot Tin Roof
Originally heard on: “Let It Ride,” 2012
7. Let It Ride
Originally heard on: “Let It Ride,” 2012
Played with multiple loops on Jeff’s iPhone app
8. Well, You Needn’t (Thelonious Monk cover)
9. Once Again
Originally heard on: “Play,” 2007
10. Canon in D (Johann Pachelbel)
Jeff’s iPhone app was used again for an echo effect
11. Movin’ Up
Originally heard on: “Play,” 2007
12. Hyde Park (The “Ah, Oooh” Song)
Originally heard on: “Another Door Opens,” 2000
Jeff played tenor sax on #1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12; alto sax on #3, 4, 5, and 8; and EWI on #10 and part of #11.
The “ah, oooh” part came from the audience, as Jeff’s direction indicates.
…and that was it.
I wasn’t able to catch up with Dave until after the show. I told him that I almost didn’t come to the show, but once I knew that he, Trever, and Jay would be back Jeff up, I had to go. He really appreciated that.
I made the right decision to brave the snow and come to the show. Thank you to Jeff, Jay, Dave, Trever, manager Steve Butler, and father-and-son engineers Neal and Dale Newman for a wonderful night of music.
Smooth Jazz for Scholars 2014 dates/lineup February 18, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
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We are exactly two months away from keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 12th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars, in its second year as a two-night event. SJFS will be held both nights at the Parsons Complex Auditorium in Milford, Connecticut. The concerts benefit the Milford Public School Music Department.
This year’s Smooth Jazz For Scholars shows will be held Friday 4/18/14 and Saturday 4/19/14 . Friday 4/18′s show will feature Jeff Lorber, Kim Waters, Chuck Loeb and Steve Cole. Saturday 4/19 will feature Marion Meadows, Nick Colionne, Chieli Minucci and Nelson Rangell. Doors open at 7p.m. and showtime is 8p.m. on both nights. Tickets are $40 each for 1 night and $70 for both nights. Tickets can be purchased by sending a check or money order payable to Smooth Jazz For Scholars Inc. to P.O. Box 3723 Milford, CT. 06460 or at this website on the “Buy” page at eventbrite.com. Tickets will be mailed immediately upon receipt of payment. Call 203-415-8878 for additional information. Thanks for your support and see you all soon.
I plan on being there for both nights, which would mark my eighth year in attendance.
Friday, April 18
Saturday, April 19
Tickets: $40 for one night, $70 for two nights
Tickets can be purchased by check or money order payable to:
Smooth Jazz for Scholars Inc.
P.O. Box 3723
Milford, CT 06460
Tickets can also be purchased at the Smooth Jazz for Scholars EventBrite page.
For more information, call: 203-415-8878
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.
Matt Marshak at Houndstooth Pub: 2013 edition November 19, 2013Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
For the second year in a row, Matt Marshak performed at Houndstooth Pub on the weekend of my birthday. Last year, the show was on my 31st birthday; this year, it was the night before my 32nd.
Etienne Lytle on keyboards, who was also part of Steve Cole’s band five weeks earlier:
1. Cadillac Kid
2. Down in Delaware
3. A Silent Knowing
4. Time for Takeoff
5. Listen to the Music (The Doobie Brothers cover)
8. I Will Be With You
9. Put It Where You Want It (The Crusaders cover)
10. Feelin’ It
11. Hold the Line (Toto cover; Matt had a more jazzy arrangement than Toto’s original version)
12. I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)
13. Wind Chill Factor
14. You’ve Been Had (Kenny Harris’ song)
15. Kiss (Prince and The Revolution cover)
16. Sleepwalk (Santo & Johnny cover, notably covered by Larry Carlton)
As I’ve started to do in recent show recaps, most of the pictures below are grouped by artist.
The blur was intentional. I wanted to show the rapid movement involved in Carl’s drumming.
I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present than the two hours of music I saw on Saturday night. Thanks to Matt, Kenny, Etienne, Carl, Anastasia, Neal, Dale, and to Steve Butler.