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David Benoit, “Conversation” May 29, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
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Album cover from Benoit.com

The winning streak continues!  Jazz pianist and conductor David Benoit’s Conversation album was released today.

Here are the tracks:
1. Napa Crossroads Overture (3:46) – David and guitarist/vocalist David Pack (previously with the band Ambrosia) wrote this tune two years ago and it finally found a home on Conversation.  Pack is featured on guitars with a little help from Pat Kelley.
2. Feelin’ It (3:57)
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (3:07) – This is the theme from the movie of the same name, composed and originally performed by Theodore Shapiro.  It featuers a wild guitar solo by Jeff Golub and violin from David’s daughter June.
4. Kei’s Song Redux (4:49) – The title is self-explanatory: it’s a new version of “Kei’s Song,” originally recorded for Freedom at Midnight 25 years ago, but it isn’t exactly a carbon copy.
5. Sunrise On Mansion Row (4:10)
6. You’re Amazing (3:21) – A tribute to David’s friend and site webmaster Jean Wang.  In addition to playing flute and piccolo, Tim Weisberg also gave David Lee Roth-esque “shoutouts” like “well, all right!” and “come on!”
7. Q’s Motif (3:11) – “Q” is for Quincy Jones; based on a boogie-woogie motif he wrote.  This is my favorite song on the album so far, not just because of the synthesizer solo, but the piano, as well.
8. Let’s Get Ready (4:47)
9. Conversation (From Music For Two Trios) (4:55) – Another self-explanatory title.  It’s a musical conversation between pianist Robert Theis, violinist Yun Tang, and cellist Cathy Biagini; and David, bassist David Hughes, and drummer Jamey Tate.  The former performed in the classical style while the latter performed in jazz.  Will the two trios converge?  Listen and find out.

In addition to the musicians mentioned above, you’ll also hear Brad Dutz on percussion, David Sills on tenor and soprano saxophone, and the following classical musicians:

  • Violinists: Yun Tang, Michelle Wood, Eleanor Dunbar
  • Violaists: Xiang Wang, Ilona Geller

I highly recommend Conversation.  You won’t regret your purchase.  And if you’re a diehard jazz fan like me, you’ll be listening again and again and again!


Shilts at Houndstooth Pub recap 2 May 14, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Hockey, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Previous Shilts recap: June 2011

Two nights ago, for the second Saturday in a row, I saw saxophonist Paul “Shilts” Weimar perform.  Last week, Shilts was part of keyboardist Jay Rowe’s tenth annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert.  This time, he played solo at the Houndstooth Pub, a few blocks north of Penn Station.  It was a busy night in that area.  In addition to Shilts, there was the Bolder & Fresher Tour (Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller) show at the Town Hall six blocks north (and two east) of Houndstooth, and Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals was taking place at Madison Square Garden.  The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals alternated wins and losses in the first six games and the winner would face the New Jersey Devils in the conference final beginning two nights later.  Both floors of Houndstooth had TVs tuned to the NBC Sports Network where Rangers and Caps fans alike that could get into MSG watched.

Before we get to Shilts’ performance, I have a few pictures to share from my train ride in to Penn on the LIRR.

Forest Hills station:

BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway):

A view of Manhattan from Long Island City:

I thought one of those buildings was One World Trade Center, but that’s to the south, and I was in a north-facing seat.

Long Island City rail yard:

Not only was this a concert, but it was also a release party for Shilts’ upcoming album, All Grown Up.  Copies were available, but sold out fast, just as tickets for the show did.

I got a premium seating ticket back in March and ended up right next to the stage!

Shilts was joined by Abdul Zuhri on guitar:

Ken Stacks Richardson on keyboards:

Thomas Gooding on bass:

And Eric Brown on drums:


1. See What Happens
2. Lambeth Strut
3. Good Evans
4. Seeing Things Clearly
5. Sugar
6. Look What’s Happened

(NOTE: I left between sets, but saw the set list printout from my seat.  If I made any mistakes, let me know in the comment thread.)

7. All Grown Up
8. 2 Pesos For Bud
9. Soul Eyes
10. Eyes Down
11. Blues
12. Back On The Hudson

Neal Newman, audio engineer, assisted by his son Dale (not pictured):

Eric Brown’s “Sugar” drum solo:

I left between sets, but not before getting my copy of All Grown Up signed by Shilts and grabbing a picture with him:

Cheers to Shilts, Abdul, Ken, Thomas, and Eric for another great show.

I’ll conclude this recap on the topic of the Rangers.

Just as I approached 34th Street, I heard wild cheers coming from the top floor of Lucy’s Cantina Royale.  The Rangers had held on to beat the Capitals 2-1 and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils.

Here are the happy Rangers fans leaving Madison Square Garden to head home:

Game 1 of the EC Finals is tonight.

5/25, 11:17 PM UPDATE: Unfortunately for Rangers fans, like myself, the Rangers lost to the Devils in six games.  They took a 2-1 series lead and then lost three straight.  The Devils will face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The New MikeChimeri.com! May 14, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Technology.
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The Mike Chimeri Blog is now the new MikeChimeri.com.  This change was two months in the making.  Resources from the old MikeChimeri.com were moved here, the domain was transferred to a different host, and the nameservers were transferred to WordPress.  It’s the old MikeChimeri.com pages and files combined with The Mike Chimeri Blog pages, posts, and files.

But don’t worry.  You can still reach this site from the old mikechimeriblog.com domain.  You’ll just be redirected.


SJFS 2012 recap May 7, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Film, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Video.
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Jay Rowe‘s tenth annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars began with:
Hit the Bricks
Featured musicians: Foran High School Jazz Band

Jay came out at the end of the song.  Hidden from view was Dave Anderson on bass, seen here one song later:

Rounding out Jay’s band was his Special EFX bandmate Lionel Cordew on drums:

And Steve Scales (left) on percussion:

It was an overcast evening outside the Parsons Complex Auditorium in Milford, Connecticut.  But inside, the sun was shining.  This year’s show featured guitarists Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence, Nick Colionne, and Chieli Minucci; and saxophonists Paul “Shilts” Weimar, Paul Taylor, and Nelson Rangell.

After we “Hit the Bricks,” Kevin McCabe and keyboardist Jay Rowe introduced the rest of the show:

Then back to the music:
Rosemary’s Tune (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: “Live at Daniel Street,” 2011
Featured musician: Rohn Lawrence (guitar)


3. Lambeth Strut (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “Going Underground,” 2010
Featured musicians: Shilts (tenor saxophone), Nick Colionne (guitar)

4. Seeing Things Clearly (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “Going Underground,” 2010
Featured musician: Shilts

At the 2010 SJFS, someone in the audience requested “Rainy Night in Georgia” for Nick Colionne.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t on the set list that night, but on this night, the audience got their wish:
Rainy Night in Georgia (Nick Colionne; Brook Benton cover)
Originally heard on: “It’s My Turn,” 1994; “Keepin’ It Cool,” 2006
Featured musician: Nick Colionne (vocals/guitar)

6. Pleasure Seeker (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: “Pleasure Seeker,” 1997
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor (soprano sax), Chieli Minucci (guitar)

7. Uptown East (Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Slice of Life,” 1986
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci, Paul Taylor

8. Exotica (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: “On the Horn,” 1995
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor, Chieli Minucci

9. Mystical (Chieli Minucci & Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Sweet Surrender,” 2007
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci, Shilts, Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

10. Good Evans (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “HeadBoppin,” 2006
Featured musician: Shilts

“Good Evans” began with solo piano from Jay:

With a little help from Steve Scales:

Then, Shilts and the rest of the band joined in:

11. Free as the Wind (Nelson Rangell; The Crusaders cover)
Originally heard on: “Soul to Souls,” 2006
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell

Nelson originally performed this song on tenor sax, but he went with soprano here:

Jay had a wild piano solo:

Nelson also had a very involved solo:


12. The Warmth of the Sun (Jay Rowe; The Beach Boys cover)
Originally heard on: “Jay Walking,” 1997
Featured musicians: Foran High School Select Ensemble Chorus (Director: Theresa Voss), Nelson Rangell, Rohn Lawrence

In a move many didn’t see coming, at least not me…

Marion Meadows made a surprise appearance!

13. Suede (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: “Player’s Club,” 2004
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows, Rohn Lawrence

14. Funky Broadway (Wilson Pickett cover)
Featured musicians: Rohn Lawrence (vocals/guitar), Paul Taylor (alto sax), Shilts, Nelson Rangell

Paul switched to alto sax for the rest of the show:

15. The Night is Ours (Chieli Minucci & Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Without You,” 2010
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci

Another Jay solo:

And one from Chieli:

Nelson Rangell introduced the next song this way:

This next tune that we’re gonna do for you is something that I wrote.  And the title is not for the new movie that’s out, but it’ll do.  This is called “A New Avenger.”

16. A New Avenger (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: “Soul to Souls,” 2006
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell

“A New Avenger” featured solos by Lionel Cordew, Steve Scales, and Dave Anderson.

Lionel went first:

Steve was next:

And then, it was Dave’s turn:

Getting back to Nelson:

(NOTE: Pictures from the next two songs, and some from the finale, are screencaps, which I cropped, sharpened, and magnified in Adobe Photoshop 7.0.)

17. Sonora (Nelson Rangell; Hampton Hawes cover)
Originally heard on: “Destiny,” 1995 (alto sax); “My American Songbook, Vol. 1,” 2005 (whistling and piccolo)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell, Chieli Minucci

It wouldn’t be a Nelson Rangell show without whistling:

Dave Anderson switched acoustic bass for this song:

Nelson switched to piccolo (below) after Chieli’s solo (above):

After a quick applause, Nelson whistled solo for about a minute before the band rejoined him.

He took a bow as he got another round of applause:


18. Prime Time (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: “Prime Time,” 2011
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor, Shilts, Nelson Rangell

19. Some Funky (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: “Feel the Heat,” 2011
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne, Rohn Lawrence

Nick’s guitar solo:

20 (Finale). Godfather J (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: “No Limits,” 2008
Featured musicians: Everyone (Nick – vocals)

“Godfather J” is a tribute to James Brown.  Nick channeled the Godfather of Soul throughout the song.

Nick took to the audience:

Back on stage, Chieli played lying down for a while:

Kevin McCabe came out to drape Nick’s jacket on him:

Jay briefly left his keyboards to “play” Chieli’s guitar:

That’s it!

This was the wildest Smooth Jazz for Scholars I’ve ever attended!  Who knows what next year’s show (or shows?) will bring?  Here’s to ten more years, and many more after that!

Read the manual! May 1, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Commentary, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Video.
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As I noted in my previous post, I was at WCWP’s first annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony Thursday night at LIU Post.

What I didn’t tell you was I brought my recently purchased JVC Everio GZ-HM320 HD camcorder to record the ceremony, which lasted about an hour, in addition to candid chatter before and afterward.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the camcorder’s manual when I bought it in October.  After a few successful, short test recordings in October and November, I didn’t use it until Thursday night.  I was able to get two minutes of chatter and the first nine minutes of the ceremony, but then, the memory card stopped working.  Everything recorded after LIU Post Provost Dr. Paul Forestell talked about when he first met WCWP station manager Dan Cox was corrupted and could not be viewed or recovered.  At least I had the pictures I shot on my digital camera.

My first reaction the following day when I learned of the file corruption was to look for a better camcorder with internal memory of at least 32 GB (gigabytes).  But tonight, it finally dawned on me that it wasn’t the camcorder that was the problem.  It was the memory card: a Kingston Class 4 SDHC 32 GB card.  Before I considered buying a SanDisk card of the same class and size, I looked at my camcorder’s manual.

In the middle of page 9, it said “operations are confirmed on … Panasonic, TOSHIBA, SanDisk [and] ATP” cards.  For video, “Class 4 or higher compatible SDHC card (4 GB to 32 GB).”  And then, the money quote: “Using cards other than those specified above may result in recording failure or data loss.”  Bingo!

So, I went ahead and bought that SanDisk card to replace the Kingston.  If I get uninterrupted video for more than ten minutes the next I record an event like the WCWP Hall of Fame ceremony, I’ll know I made the right decision.  And I’ll save a ton of money.

The moral is simple: Read the manual!

5/3 UPDATE: The SanDisk card arrived this afternoon.  Putting it in did the trick!  My camcorder successfully recorded about an hour and a half of video while I went to and from Sunrise Mall (Westfield Sunrise) in East Massapequa.  There was no corruption; all files (3.89 GB at a time) played and could be scrolled through in Windows Media Player.
I also tested my Tascam DR-03 audio recorder while I was out.  It recorded the same length of time as the camcorder successfully with a SanDisk 16 GB microSDHC card.