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Brian Simpson concert recap 3 (7PM show) February 17, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
2 comments

Previous Brian Simpson recaps: April 2011, September 2012

I was at Houndstooth Pub on Valentine’s Day to see keyboardist Brian Simpson perform. As with Lisa Hilton last month, this was the third time I had seen Brian live. Also like Lisa’s show, Brian debuted material from an upcoming album. Out of a Dream was released today.

There always seems to be an active weather pattern when I go to see Brian Simpson. The first time, there was a nor’easter. The second time, a severe thunderstorm threatened Manhattan, but weakened considerably by the time it crossed the Hudson River. This time, a clipper brought light snow to the area, but it was forecast to reform and intensify offshore at night, dumping heavier snow and strong gusty winds in the process.

I took this shot before I left with my girlfriend Kelly for the Wantagh LIRR station:
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I considered it a before picture, expecting to take an after picture when we got home that would show a few inches on the ground with more to come overnight. Luckily, the forecast models changed dramatically while Kelly and I were out. The worst of the snow stayed to the south. The same coating you see above awaited us when we got back to Wantagh. An additional coating fell overnight.

Unfortunately, the wind forecast didn’t change. Gusts over 50 miles per hour began after 2AM and continued for about 12 more hours. From there, gusts were as high as 45 mph and occurred less and less until they were gone altogether by Monday afternoon.

But enough about the weather.

There were two shows that night: 7:00 and 9:15. Kelly and I got tickets to the 7:00.

Brian Simpson played keyboard:
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…and keytar:
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Dave Anderson was on bass:
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Les Cleveland on drums:
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…and on seven songs in the set, Art Sherrod Jr. on saxophone:
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The engineer was Neal Newman:
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As I noted at the top, the show featured songs from Brian’s latest album, Out of a Dream. Here’s the full set list:
1.
South Beach* – keyboard/keytar
2. It Could Happen* – keytar/keyboard
3. Just One Wish^
4. When I Say Your Name*^
5. Blues in G*
6. Sky Watcher^ – keytar
7. Can’t Tell You Why
8. Let’s Get Close – keytar
9. Just What You Need – keytar
10. Juicy* – keytar/keyboard
11. Saturday Cool*
12 (Encore). It’s All Good*
* Art Sherrod Jr., sax
^ From Out of a Dream

Now, for a series of pictures of Brian on keytar. First, pictures from “Let’s Get Close”:
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One of the audience members he got close to – in the musical sense – was Kelly:
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She’s been a fan of Brian for a long time. In fact, she first learned of me through my website after I posted my Mike Chimeri Show interview with him nine years ago. (That interview and more can be found here.) It would be another four years before she finally got in touch with me on Facebook.

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For “Saturday Cool,” he went beyond the stage and into the audience, passing by Ron and Nydia along the way:
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Back on stage, here are pictures from Dave Anderson and Les Cleveland’s “Saturday Cool” solos. Dave first:
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Les Cleveland:
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Wide shots:
“Saturday Cool”:
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The encore: “It’s All Good”:
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The last note:
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Art Sherrod Jr.: “Once again, Mr. Brian Simpson, everyone”:
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Brian greeted us when we arrived beforehand and we spoke to him again afterward. Then, we posed for a pic:
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The red Sharpie in his hand isn’t what he signed my copy of Out of a Dream with. He went with a black one instead.

I’ve used this term before, but the set was wild! I can only imagine what it was like for the later crowd. Thanks to Brian, Dave, Les, and Art.

February 1-2 winter storm pictures February 3, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Personal, Sports, Weather.
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In my last storm-related post, I hoped for a near miss on Super Bowl Sunday night into Groundhog Day. Hope lost to increasing consensus in ensemble computer models.

The storm I didn’t want, the first of what may be many this February, arrived late Sunday night, following the Super Bowl I want to forget. A few inches of snow fell before changing over to sleet and freezing rain, and then rain, after sunrise.

This aspect of the storm eased my stress. I figured I would only have to shovel one time and that would be it. That one time began at 8:15 AM. About 70 minutes later, I had finished shoveling what was Slurpee-grade slush. Rain fell the entire time outside and I got soaked. A job well done, I thought. I moved the slush out of the way just in time for the change back to sleet and freezing rain.

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The changeover occurred after the above picture. As you’ll see in the next one, any slush and puddles flash froze.

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The driveway looked like a skating rink. All it needed was a couple of nets.

I had enough energy left to run 6.3 miles on the treadmill in my basement. But as I was running, the sleet and freezing rain changed back to snow.

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And it didn’t just leave a coating. We ended up with a burst of snow that dumped four inches in two hours.

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I tried to shovel as the heavy snow fell, but it was a futile effort:
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I waited another half hour before trying again. This time was the charm. I was enraged early on in the shoveling process because I didn’t expect significant snow on the change back. Had I known it was coming, I would have stayed off the treadmill.

This round of shoveling also took about an hour. At least the snow was lightweight.

I shot this after I came back inside:
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As hard as I felt it was to shovel twice in one day, nothing compares to those that have to plow streets during storms like this. They work nonstop from the first snowflake to the last. It puts a mere driveway shoveling in perspective.

Until the next storm.

Five days of scanning January 30, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Bowling, Education, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology.
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As snow fell outside Monday afternoon, I was going through a drawer in my room where I keep some personal mementos. Then, I was struck with inspiration. I had been using my Epson WF-3520 All-in-One Printer in the guest room to copy a few documents this month, via the printer’s sheet feeder. Why not use that sheet feeder to scan any personal mementos that were on letter-size paper? That’s what I did all this week.

I started with bowling scorecards between 1998 and 2006, plus a handful more between September 2007 and September 2014. Then, I moved on to my final college transcript, a paper I wrote for Introduction to Journalism, an e-mail reply from Tom Snyder, two e-mail replies from voice over talent Dan Chandler, a flyer promoting my Mike Chimeri Show interview with Colin Mochrie, and radio show and Live365 radio station playlists. I scanned anything that wasn’t letter-size on the traditional scanner platen. This included dot matrix score sheets from AMF Wantagh Lanes and two desk calendar pages that were dated September 11, 2001. Playlists that were handwritten on letter-size legal paper had to be scanned on my Canon CanoScan LiDE210 in my room. Since what I wrote on the other side could be seen, I had to scan in black and white – not grayscale – giving the scans an old photocopy or fax look.

The radio show playlists spanned my career to date: The Mike Chimeri Show, The Instrumental Invasion, MCJN (Live365 station), a few demos, the night I filled in for Martin Phillips on the defunct Thursday Night Jazz show, Evening Jazz, CJazzPlus (Live365 station), and all my homecoming weekend shows.

In addition to the copy of my Intro to Journalism paper, I also saved papers by two of my classmates. The paper had us write a profile of a few of our classmates, based on press conference-style interviews our professor, Bernard Bard, previously a reporter for the New York Post, had arranged one week in mid-semester. I remember little about my presser, but there was one quote each of the classmates that wrote about me used:

Broadcasting is my thing, my calling. I belong in that field.

This was in March 2001. Seven months later, I began at WCWP. While I may have had volunteer success, I’m still waiting and hoping for professional success. If “my thing, my calling” doesn’t pan out, at least I have photo and document scanning to make a career of.

January 26-27 blizzard pictures January 28, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
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The first major storm of this winter hit Long Island from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon. It was shaping up to be a catastrophic blizzard with snowfall amounts near three feet. But Nassau County was spared the worst, with amounts averaging to a foot and a half on the east side of the county and less than a foot on the west side. Like with the February 2013 blizzard, Suffolk County got more snow, especially on the East End. New England got what I feared we would get: two to three feet of snow. It makes me feel bad that my area was spared the worst.

What follows is a photographic timeline from the first of the storm’s effects to the last of them.

January 26:
9:23 AM:
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12:26 PM:
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3:56 PM:
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7:02 PM:
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About a half hour later, I went outside to shovel what had fallen so far. I only shoveled the front end of the driveway. At the time, I assumed I would have another two feet to shovel the next day.

8:03 PM:
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11:16 PM:
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As the night progressed, computer forecast models pushed the storm further and further east, which meant less snow by us.

January 27:
9:38 AM:
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Judging by the snowfall total for nearby Seaford (16.6 inches) and Massapequa (17.8 inches), I figure there was about 15 inches in Wantagh.

10:26 AM:
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12:20 PM:
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2:37 PM, after about 85 minutes of shoveling:
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The shoveling was a team effort between me and my parents. We shoveled the driveway, including the curb, and I shoveled a path to the oil tank cap on the side of the house. I thought about shoveling the sidewalk, but my dad talked me out of that. I saved that for the next day.

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January 28:
1:53 PM:
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I kept my word and shoveled the sidewalk, but only as far as the property line. My neighbor took care of his side.

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A clipper is set to drop a quick inch or less tomorrow night. We may or may not have another winter storm Super Bowl Sunday night into Monday. If you don’t see a recap titled “February 1-2 winter storm/blizzard,” then the storm missed us to the south, as is currently forecast. I hope that’s the case.

2/3 UPDATE: It wasn’t the case. We got it.

Dharma All Stars recap 8 January 19, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Weather.
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Previous Dharma All Stars recaps: July 2008, September 2008, June 2009, July 2009, April 2010, August 2010, September 2011

For me, last week began with Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. The week ended closer to home – at Suite 1828 in Merrick – for another favorite of mine: John Favicchia‘s Dharma All Stars.

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2011 marked the first time I saw Lisa Hilton, but it was the last time until last Friday that I had seen Dharma All Stars. I first saw them live a decade ago in Rockville Centre. I interviewed guitarist Chieli Minucci for my WCWP radio show – all interviews can be found here – and after we finished recording, he invited me to Dharma’s show, which was two weeks later, where he would be on guitar. I’m so glad I did. The People I’ve Met page includes pictures from some of the Dharma gigs I attended between July 2005 and March 2007. (Yes, I was much heavier back then.)

On Friday night, Dharma All Stars was led by John Favicchia on drums:
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Steve Briody (“BRY-dee”) on guitar:
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Brad Mason on trumpet…:
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…and flugelhorn:
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Coincidentally, Brad was at the first Dharma gig I attended.

Misha Tsiganov on keyboard:
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…and Nick Lazarev on bass:
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My interviews with John and Steve can also be found at the interviews page I linked to earlier.

The set list featured all my favorites:
1. Horizons
2. Coincidence
3. Sing a Song of Song (Kenny Garrett cover)
4. Black (Cedar Walton cover)
5. April Fools
6. Kukuc

John’s “Kukuc” solo:
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When “Kukuc” ended, the crowd at the Suite stood up and cheered. Another spectacular show was in the books.

Afterward, my girlfriend Kelly took this picture of the Dharma All Stars along with Jeff Krasner and me:
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Dharma will be back at Suite 1828 on Friday, March 13.

New header January 17, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal.
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Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall again January 13, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather.
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Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011, January 2014

I was back at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Sunday to see jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in concert. As you can tell by the previous recaps above, this was the third time I saw her live.

Four weeks ago yesterday, a postcard from Lisa arrived in the mail. Four upcoming shows were on that postcard and the Carnegie show was at the top. I immediately went to the Carnegie Hall website to purchase a ticket. I ended up buying one in front row center. As it turns out, there was only one other person in the front row at the show.

I got a ride to the Wantagh LIRR station at around noon. After getting a round trip off peak ticket to Penn Station, I waited on the platform for the 12:19 westbound train. I sat in the westernmost railcar and had a quiet ride. Once at Penn Station, I took the E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street, walking to Carnegie from there.

I arrived at about 1:30.
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Last year’s show was on a Thursday at 8PM. This year’s show was at 2PM on Sunday. The trip to Penn and the show itself allowed me to sequester myself from knowing what was going on in the Packers-Cowboys NFC Divisional Playoff Game. I’m not a fan of the Cowboys and was aggravated that they came back to win their Wild Card game against the Lions. Luckily, I learned back at Penn around 4:00 that the Packers won.

Weill Recital Hall is small and intimate, so much so that a sound system wasn’t even in place. The hall’s acoustics were the sound system.

It turns out you can take pictures before a performance, so I did just that:
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I would have taken more, but my camera’s shutter was really loud in the hall.

1/17 UPDATE: Kudos to professional photographer Enid Farber on her wonderful shots during the show.

2/5 UPDATE: Enid has allowed me to post two of her pictures:
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Thank you very much.

At 2:00 on the dot, the show began. Lisa Hilton played piano, Ben Street was on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. They were joined two songs in by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. I had seen Lisa, Ben, and J.D. before, but not Rudy and Ingrid. They were a superb quintet.

Lisa has a new album coming out on March 7 called Horizons. This was the first time tunes from the album were played live. Here’s what the set looked like (quintet except where noted):
1. Vapors and Shadows (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
2. Sunset and the Mocking Bird (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
3. Nocturnal
4. The Sky and the Ocean
5. Lazy Moon
6. Moon River
7. When It Rains (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
8. Currents (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
9. Seduction^ (Lisa only)
10. Dolphins
11. Surfer Blues
12. So This is Love^
13. Slow Down^
14. Waterfall^ (encore) (Lisa only)

^”Seduction” is originally from Seduction (1997), and redone on Cocktails at Eight (2000), My Favorite Things (2005) and The New York Sessions (2007). “So This is Love” is originally from My Favorite Things and played again on Sunny Day Theory (2008) and Nuance (2010). “When It Rains” originated on American Impressions (2012). “Slow Down” is from Getaway (2013). “Waterfall” is also from Seduction and Cocktails at Eight.

Lisa previously covered “Moon River” on Cocktails at Eight, Midnight in Manhattan (2006), and Twilight & Blues (2009).

The set lasted about an hour and a half. Each song was an instrumental landscape and each musician had a brush. Of the material from Horizons, my favorites were:
“Vapors and Shadows” – I was enamored by the fast tempo and staccato notes. They were like Morse code.
“Nocturnal” – This had a danceable melody and rhythm.
“Dolphins” – This was a relaxing composition, evoking images of dolphins frolicking offshore.
Of the material not on the album, I’ve always liked “Seduction” and “So This is Love,” so it was great to hear them. I had a “so, this is love” epiphany myself a few years ago.

I caught up with Lisa afterward in the lobby and she insisted we take a picture. I was more than happy to oblige:
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I also bought a CD copy of Horizons in the lobby. I told Lisa I was hoping to hear her cover of “Gold on the Ceiling” during the show. Of course, I didn’t know it was a cover because I know very little about modern pop music. When I heard the 30-second preview of the song on Amazon prior to Sunday, I liked its energy, as I did with “Vapors and Shadows.” It reminded me of Horace Silver. And the title had me thinking of old prospectors chopping gold off a ceiling with their pickaxes. While sharing that visualization with Lisa, she told me the song was originally by the Black Keys. A check of the liner notes when I got home later confirmed that. So, this goes on record as another instrumental cover of a pop song that I prefer over the original. In this case, I don’t plan on listening to the original “Gold on the Ceiling” anytime soon. As for my visualization, Lisa interpreted the song title as gold representing a sunset and the ceiling representing the sky. I told her I liked that – a sunset in the sky.

Going back to Penn Station, I had planned on taking the Q train back to Herald Square and walking to Penn from there. Instead, I walked down 7th Avenue, through Times Square, and took the 1 train from 42nd Street Station to Penn. While in Times Square, I took this picture:
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Like last year, the ball is frozen in time after dropping on New Year’s Eve.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall is becoming an annual tradition for me. I’m already looking forward to next time. Thank you, Lisa, Ben, Rudy, J.D., and Ingrid.

2014 in review December 31, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Commentary, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio.
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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 2014 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 9,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Despite seven more posts than last year, 2014 was more for reflecting than recapping. Only six posts recapped jazz concerts, two recapped WCWP events, and one was a recap of my day at New York Comic Con. A lot of work went into those posts, however. You can find them in the archives (screen left) for January, February, April, June, and October.

As for reflection, I reflected one year with an iPhone, one year of running with the help of the Nike Running app, ten years since my college commencement, and twenty since the infamous O.J. Simpson car chase. You can find those posts in the archives for May and June.

I always hope the best when a new year approaches and this time is no different. I hope you, the reader, I, the writer, and everyone we know have a happy, healthy, and gainful 2015.

Smooth Jazz for Scholars 2015 dates/lineup December 10, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
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Keyboardist Jay Rowe’s 13th Smooth Jazz for Scholars is four months away. It’s the third year as a two-night event, but the first year where I can only go to one night. More on that later.

Jay has full details at his website:

The upcoming Smooth Jazz For Scholars concerts will be held on 4/24/15 and 4/25/15. The line-up on 4/24 is Peter WhiteMarion Meadows and Vincent Ingala. The line-up on 4/25 is Marc Antoine, Chieli Minucci, Nelson Rangell and Jackiem Joyner. Reserved seating is available and tickets can be purchased by sending a check or money order payable to Smooth Jazz For Scholars Inc. at P.O. Box 3723 Milford, CT. 06460. Tickets are $40 each for 1 night and $70 for both nights. Call at (203) 415-8878 for additional info and assistance if needed.

For years, I had dreamed of Peter White playing at Smooth Jazz for Scholars. The dream comes true on April 24. As for April 25, I can’t make that one. The 2015 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony is that afternoon at LIU Post. I had feared a personal scheduling conflict would arise one year. This is the year. To those that are going that night, you’re in for a great show. Let me know what Nelson’s whistle song was this time. I always love them.

Friday, April 24
Peter White
Marion Meadows
Vincent Ingala

Saturday, April 25
Marc Antoine
Chieli Minucci
Nelson Rangell
Jackiem Joyner

Tickets: $40 for one night, $70 for two nights

Tickets can be purchased by check or money order payable to:
Smooth Jazz for Scholars
P.O. Box 3723
Milford, CT 06460

For more information, call: (203) 415-8878

Here are recaps of the 12th annual SJFS first night and second night.

Audiobooking December 2, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Basketball, Broadway, Comedy, Commentary, Film, Health, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, Theatre, TV.
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While I may have indefinitely suspended photo album picture scanning, one constant since June has been audiobooks. What I’ve usually done is listen to a whole chapter while working out in the morning or on my portable elliptical machine in the afternoon. I only buy nonfiction and prefer that they are read by the author. I want to hear their words in their voice, not someone else’s, even if the author’s delivery is subpar.

This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to audiobooks. That goes back to a road trip with my parents and sister in January 1997, as we drove back from Florida. To show you how long ago that was, the audiobook was on cassettes. That book, The Hobbit, was the only time I’ve listened to fiction. It’s been all nonfiction since.

Between December 1997 – when I listened to The Big Show: A Tribute to ESPN’s SportsCenter – and June 2014, I would get an audiobook here and there, but I wasn’t a regular buyer. I didn’t exercise in the morning, either. That began in late March. It’s always best to get tough tasks out of the way early because your willpower drops as the day progresses. It helps to have something interesting to listen to while you’re working out, not something aggravating like politics and sports debate and discussion.

With all that in mind, I’ve listened to the following audiobooks, on CD or through Audible, since June:

  • President Me: The America That’s In My Head by Adam Carolla (via CD) – an outline of all the things Adam would do to improve the United States if he were president
  • Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie (via Audible) – improvised stories based on the first and last lines of select novels and poems
  • I’ll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir by Pat O’Brien (via Audible) – Pat’s memoir chronicled his early life, television career, and struggle with addiction. Knock on wood, Pat has been sober for six years and counting.
  • Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (via CD) – This is the latest in Bill and Martin’s “Killing” series that factually recounts the events of historical figures leading up to their tragic deaths. Their previous books focused on Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus of Nazareth, respectively.
  • Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? by Billy Crystal (via Audible) – Billy’s memoir ran the gamut of emotions, from funny to heartbreaking, recalling major events in each decade of his life as of publication last year. I learned things I never knew and recalled fond memories of what I already knew. The only downside to the book is that Billy peppered his liberal ideology throughout it, outlining his liberal points of view and maligning right-leaning personalities and media. I’m not a lockstep conservative, but I do tend to take criticism of or jokes about people, places, and things that I like personally. But I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience.
  • Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large by William Shatner with Chris Regan (via CD) – When I was searching for the next audiobook to listen to, as Still Foolin’ ‘Em was winding down, I recalled William Shatner had a memoir out called Up Till Now: The Autobiography. But then I noticed that Shatner Rules had come out later than Up Till Now. So, I opted for Shatner Rules instead. The big message I took from the book was to say “yes” to as many things as possible. “‘No’ closes doors,” William said. “‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” Shatner briefly drifted into politics, too, but the environmental kind. His doomsday scenarios were frightening. I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience. (ding) Rule: I highly recommend Shatner Rules as either the written book or spoken audiobook.
  • Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (via Audible) – It was here that I did let politics completely ruin the listening experience. This is not a memoir. It is a compilation of Dick’s columns at The New York Times’ Opiniator blog. That structure is similar to that for Things That Matter, a compilation of Charles Krauthammer’s columns over his 30-year career to date. Charles is Dick’s polar opposite. But I didn’t know any of that until my second day of listening. And it was this rant of a column that Dick read for Brief Encounters - combined with frustration that the book was not what I expected – that led me to request a refund from Audible. Thankfully, they granted it. I did learn a few things, though, about Dick’s days writing for The Tonight Show. I also learned that Arthur Godfrey preferred to address only one member of the listening or viewing audience (“you”), not the entire audience (“everybody”).
  • Scribe: My Life in Sports by Bob Ryan (via Audible) – I bought this in place of Brief Encounters. I’ve been listening for nearly a week and I’m enjoying it.

There will be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead as I continue to try to keep myself in shape.

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