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
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.
January 21-22 snowstorm pictures January 26, 2014Posted by Mike C. in News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
I said in my previous snow-related post that I expected more snow this season, and if there was another big storm, I’d have pictures to share. It only took ten days from that post, nearly three weeks since the blizzard, for that to happen.
I was not expecting a snowstorm anytime soon, but the specter of such a storm was dropped into my lap on the morning of Monday, January 20, when I saw that a winter storm watch had been issued for Long Island. Four to eight inches of snow was expected. By mid-afternoon, that was upgraded to a winter storm warning and the snowfall amount prediction increased to six to ten inches. By evening, it went up again to eight to twelve inches (one foot). Then, I vowed not to check the weather again until the following morning. I checked and the amount prediction grew a third time: ten to fourteen inches. On top of that, the snow started earlier than expected. This meant I would have a very busy Wednesday shoveling all that snow up.
The difference between this snowstorm (winter storm) and the blizzard at the beginning of January is weaker wind. It was still gusty, but not as strong as with the blizzard.
My sister took these pictures from the front porch.
40 minutes later, I felt the need to re-shovel the area I shoveled earlier. I brought a standard ruler outside with me and stuck it where I hadn’t shoveled. The snow only covered 6 1/2 inches, much less than I was expecting. Like earlier, I was only outside for 20 minutes. Back at my computer, I checked The Weather Channel desktop app and saw snow dissipating on recent radar echoes. Perhaps, I thought, we wouldn’t be getting much more snow.
I woke up at 8:30 Wednesday morning as skies were in the process of clearing.
30 minutes later, I got dressed for what I expected to be another three hours of shoveling.
Next, I took a final measurement in the driveway: still 6 1/2 inches. Meanwhile, a trained spotter for the National Weather Service recorded 9.2 inches for Wantagh close to midnight. Either there was less snow where I was or there was drifting in my driveway.
I was finished shoveling in only two hours. I shoveled the driveway, curb, a path around the house, the sidewalk, and a path from the driveway to the sidewalk. The air temperature barely cracked the teens while I was outside. I wore two layers of shirts and pants in addition to the coat, hat, scarf, and gloves.
I was back inside within 20 minutes, the same length as my Tuesday night shoveling shifts.
The temperature climbed through the teens on Friday night and reached the low 30s by Saturday afternoon. Temps fell back into the 20s as a band of moderate to heavy snow came through. Only an inch fell, but I still had to shovel it, which I did at around 7PM. I shoveled all the spots I shoveled on Wednesday and Thursday, retracing the paths I created to the sidewalk and backyard.
Until the next major storm, thanks for reading.
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.
January 2-3 blizzard pictures January 11, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Health, News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
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***This is my 300th post!!!***
2014 had barely begun and already a major winter storm was headed my way. The snowfall wasn’t as great as last February’s blizzard, but Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island were under a blizzard warning, nonetheless. This was due to blowing snow from wind gusts above 35 miles per hour. The bulk of the snow came overnight Thursday, January 2, into the morning of Friday, January 3. I shot this picture before I went to bed:
Before I started shoveling, I measured the powdery snow in driveway with a standard 12-inch ruler. I measured about 8 1/2 inches of snowfall, which was 4.4 more than the National Weather Service’s official total for Wantagh, courtesy of a trained spotter. Perhaps that was taken south of my section of Wantagh. NWS totals for nearby North Merrick (10.6″) and North Massapequa (10.3″) were relatively close to my measurement.
Three hours later, I was finished. I shoveled the front porch, driveway, curb, and a path around the house through the front yard, right side, backyard, and left side. I was hoping that neighbors would offer to help with their snow blowers, but I ended doing everything myself. I didn’t have the energy to shovel the deck in the backyard, opting to save that for Saturday. Here are the after pictures:
Unfortunately, the snow was followed by polar vortex temperatures, which were at their worst Friday night into Saturday morning. Low temperatures reached the single digits, but moderated back to the 20s by Saturday afternoon. After returning from a haircut and grocery shopping, I did some touch-up shoveling in the driveway…
The result of three hours of shoveling on Friday was pain in my left foot and right arm, but the pain gradually went away.
Above freezing temperatures and rain helped to melt much of the snow on Sunday and Monday, but what was left froze overnight Monday as the next round of polar vortex air moved in. I had to dress in layers Tuesday morning just to bring back empty garbage pails from the curb following pickup earlier that morning. I was only outside for five minutes. The next time I ventured outside was Wednesday evening en route to dinner with friends. Luckily, temperatures won’t be that cold again anytime soon. In fact, the snow that hadn’t fully melted by Monday should melt today and tomorrow thanks to more rain and more above freezing temperatures. I expect more snow before winter ends, and if there’s another big storm, I’ll have pictures to share.
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.