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2013 in review December 31, 2013

Posted 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.

Click here to see the complete report.

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 seriesApril 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.

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Expanding my Christmas album collection December 11, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Christmas, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, Personal.
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Christmas Night in 2010

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.) (12/21/14 UPDATE: This year’s additions to my collection were A Smooth Jazz Holiday compiled by Nu Groove; Grover Washington, Jr.’s Breath of Heaven: A Holiday Collection, and A Soulful Christmas from Brian Culbertson. Tracks from those three albums, plus additional tracks from albums I already had, increase the duration of my iTunes playlist to 13 hours and 34 minutes!)

‘Tis the season for great music, great joy, and gratefulness.  With the purchase of eight additional albums (plus five since this was originally posted), I have more music to share with my friends and family every year.