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Travel photos to and from Milford May 13, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Photography, Travel.
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As previously noted, I took many photos while traveling with my dad Bill to and from Milford, Connecticut, for this year’s Smooth Jazz Scholars (recaps here and here), enough to get their own post. I was dissatisfied with the quality of the photos I took with my DSLR camera the week before while Kelly and I drove back from St. James. So, I decided to use my phone’s camera this time. Its image stabilization handles driving motion better than the vibration reduction on the DSLR lens.

Let’s hit the road.

Friday, April 29

Southern State Parkway west:

Cross Island Parkway north:

I-678 north, starting on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge:

Hutchinson River Parkway north:

I-95 north in New York:

…and Connecticut:

Hampton Inn Milford, as seen from the Plains Road intersection and parking lot:

I photographed judiciously on the way to Milford, but compulsively on the way back.

Sunday, May 1

Plains Road:

I-95 south in Connecticut, where I finally realized my phone had 2x optical zoom:

…and New York:

Hutchinson River Parkway south:

I-678 south into Queens:

Cross Island Parkway south:

Long Island Expressway (I-495) east:

…and last but not least, the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135):

The loose ends from my trip are now all tied up. Thanks for reading any or all of my three posts from that three-day period.

Instrumental Invasion, 5/11/22 May 12, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV, Video.
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The May 11 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days: the first hour on March 21, the first segment of the second hour on the 22nd, and the last two on the 23rd. Pickups were recorded on April 22 and May 2, the latter of which incorporated a new liner by WCWP/LIU Post alumnus Travis Demers.

The playlist was created on March 20 with annotations and the talk break script draft on the 21st.

For the second time in three weeks, speed compression was involved. The last talk break was sped up to 98% (except for the pickup) to keep the segment as close to 18 minutes as possible. This was after removing extemporaneous tidbits, which I also had to do for the last talk break of the first hour.

One tidbit I removed was about the music video for “Mornin’” by Al Jarreau, billed only as Jarreau:

In the show’s last talk break, while back-selling “Shandling” by Ken Navarro, I referenced “This is the Theme to Garry’s Show,” the theme song for It’s Garry Shandling’s Show:

My talk-up for the short “Funky Song (SC-55)” by Anders Enger Jensen ended in rhyme: “This is Anders Enger Jensen with ‘Funky Song.’ It isn’t very long.” That was a reference to this moment on Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza:

I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment for an extra 2017 to present, something I haven’t done since December 29, as four new albums came my way before working on this show.

Guitarist Wayne Bruce’s appearance on “95 North” by Kim Waters allowed me to make up for my oversight last June 23. Coincidentally, tomorrow’s blog post has photos taken on I-95 north in New York and Connecticut. Kim had the Maryland portion of the interstate highway in mind for “95 North.”

I didn’t mention on-air that May 11 marked 28 years since my first “radio show” with my cousin Chris. He held a Talkboy cassette voice recorder and I held a Panasonic microcassette voice recorder. 11 years after that – May 11, 2005The Mike Chimeri Show returned to WebRadio WCWP, six days after ending the original The Instrumental Invasion on WGBB. He’ll be introducing me at the 2020-21 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony exactly one month from last night, on June 11.

Click here to download the May 11, 2022, aircheck MP3 or listen below:

SJFS 2022 Night 2 recap May 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Weather.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 22018 Night 12018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2, 2022 Night 1

Updated with videos on 5/15.

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars (benefiting the Milford Public Schools music department) continued Saturday night with the second of two shows. Saturday’s headliners were Jeff Kashiwa (who made a surprise appearance late Friday), Alex Bugnon, and in his debut, Marcus Anderson. Alex appeared in place of Brian Simpson, who had to back out at some point after my promotional blog post in February. SJFS attendees last saw Alex on the first night in 2013.

Photos and the set list are on the way, but we start with the preamble.

I found it hard to sleep in my Hampton Inn hotel room on Friday night. Not only did I have photo editing on my mind, but intermittent trucks and motorcycles (or muscle cars) on I-95 made it hard to relax and drift into sleep. I didn’t mention this in the Friday recap, but I brought two pairs of foam ear plugs to wear on both nights. I got in the habit of wearing them or safety earmuffs at home to drown out loud or unsettling noises, like fireworks (sadly, not just on the Fourth of July) or high wind gusts that slam rain into my south and east-facing windows during coastal storms. I figured I should start wearing them at concerts; if only I had thought of that sooner. When I wore ear plugs at bedtime, I would lie on my back with a sleep mask on, attempting to sleep, or at least relax. That’s what I did Friday night into Saturday morning. There comes a point on sleepless nights where I give up and start my day. That point came around 5AM.

I’m a Mets fan, so I checked the MLB app on my phone (via Hilton Honors Wi-Fi) to see how they did while I was pre-occupied with SJFS. What?! A no-hitter against the Phillies?! That’s only the second one in team history! And a combined no-hitter, at that! Click here to read all about it (and watch videos).

I lifted weights in the fitness center, then went back in my room to do push-ups and whittle down the amount of photos from Friday night. I showered, got dressed, and brought my laptop and phone to the lobby for breakfast and potential mingling with fans or musicians. I didn’t see any musicians, but John and Theresa Monteverde were there, followed later by Mark and Phyllis Abrams, and Billy and Sandy Okumu. Diane and Richard Roth were there, but we had forgotten about each other and didn’t reacquaint ourselves until Sunday morning.

For breakfast, I had two plates of French toast sticks with syrup, and two cups of apple juice to wash them down, followed later by two cups of hot chocolate. I mainly edited the road sign photos, but was able to start on photos from the show.

I went back to my room around 11AM and spent the next four hours editing the rest of Friday night’s photos and picking which ones to publicize. All the while, I listened to a few 2021 episodes of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. (Sadly, Gilbert died last month.)

I’m also a fan (and Patreon supporter) of the YouTube channel Technology Connections. Alec, the creator, recently posted the third of three (and a half) videos on heat pumps. Part three included a segment on the PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner) and their use in hotels. This was the PTAC in my room:

My PTAC

It was set to cool when I checked in on Friday, but I switched to heat. I switched back to cool Saturday afternoon as the unfiltered sun warmed up the room. That’s when I realized the thin curtain in front of the light-blocking thick one is supposed to filter the sun rays.

My girlfriend Kelly, dad Bill, and I had dinner at Gusto Trattoria, half a block from the hotel. It was there that self-doubt and performance anxiety set in. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to function at the auditorium because of my lack of sleep and that I’d compulsively end up taking as many photos as Friday night (around 400 before whittling). Somewhere in between, I managed to eat a piece of bread and bowl of Rigatoni Bolognese. Upon returning to my room after dinner, I lied down and took deep breaths. By 7PM (about an hour after dinner), I felt calm enough to get out of bed and go with Kelly to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at Parsons Complex. Obviously, the sound check was over before we arrived because we saw attendees filing in.

I took an establishing shot of the auditorium with my phone before going in:

The second of my 2020 tickets was honored upon entrance and I went back to the same spot in the orchestra pit as Friday night to set up. I comprised with fellow photographers Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox to situate my camcorder (which recorded flawlessly on this night) (5/15 UPDATE: four videos are posted below) in a spot further back so the two of them had more room to maneuver during the show. I only had to move it out during a solo on the penultimate song of the night (one of the videos below). Fun fact (as Alec would say): this month marks ten years since I entered the world of DSLR cameras after Katherine recommended I switch to one.

While waiting, Jay Dobbins introduced me to someone I had met on Facebook through Jay Rowe’s weekly Tito Tuesday livestreams on Facebook (here’s one of the last streams to date). It was Robin Morin Stewart. After a pleasant conversation, Jay D. took our picture:

I also recognized Judy Raphael and spoke to her, but forgot to get a picture.

And of course, I saw the rest of my friends that I had seen Friday night and/or Saturday morning in the hotel dining area.

At some point before showtime, I got my second wind. I didn’t feel the least bit overtired or overwhelmed.

Saturday’s set began at 8PM with another enthusiastic introduction by Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions:

Music director Jay Rowe led the house band on keyboards:

Andy Abel on guitar:

Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

…and percussion by Tony Cintron:

The headliners were Jeff Kashiwa on tenor sax and NuRAD (seen on tenor):

Alex Bugnon on keyboards:

…and Marcus Anderson on alto sax and flute (seen on alto):

SET LIST
1. I’ll Love You Later (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musician: Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. There She Goes (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Andy Abel (guitar)

3. Starlight Kisses (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

4. Slow Turn (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Sunrise (2021)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (NuRAD/tenor sax), Andy Abel (guitar)
The NuRAD is an EWI (electronic wind instrument) that can be paired with a phone or tablet. Jeff paired his with his phone. 5/9 UPDATE: Jeff said in a Facebook post sharing one of my photos that it was “triggering [his] iPhone with the Korg iMono/Poly Patchman library.”

5. The Night is Young (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Sunrise (2021)
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

6. The Pecan Tree (Joe Sample cover) (Alex Bugnon)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)
Jay didn’t play on any of Alex’s songs. Coincidentally, I played the original Joe Sample version of “The Pecan Tree” on last Wednesday’s Instrumental Invasion.

7. Harlem on My Mind (Alex Bugnon)
Originally heard on: Tales from the Bright Side (1995)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)

8. Will Power (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Limited Edition (2017)
Featured musician: Marcus Anderson (alto sax/flute at the end)

9. Soul Ties (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Reverse (2022)
Featured musician: Marcus Anderson (alto sax)

10. Jay Rowe/Alex Bugnon duet: Poinciana/107 Degrees in the Shade
Originally heard on: 107 Degrees in the Shade (1991) (second song only)
Jay and Alex played the same medley in their 2013 duet. “Poinciana” is a jazz standard popularized by Ahmad Jamal on his album of the same name.

11. Night Groove (Alex Bugnon)
Originally heard on: Soul Purpose (2001)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)

12. Understanding (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Limited Edition (2017)
Featured musicians: Marcus Anderson (alto sax), Jay Rowe (keyboards), Andy Abel (guitar)

13. Let It Ride (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Let It Ride (2012)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), Dave Livolsi (bass), Tony Cintron (percussion), Jay Rowe (keyboards)
Jeff noted that Let It Ride was inspired by 1960s and ’70s music, and the performance of the title track here exemplified the ’70s part. Dave’s solo was based (no pun intended) on “For the Love of Money” by The O’Jays (1973), while Jay based his on “People Make the World Go Round” by The Stylistics (1972) and “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors (1971). The ’70s influence carried into the finale.

14 (Finale). Love and Happiness (Al Green cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Alex Bugnon
Trever Somerville and Tony Cintron traded places on drums and percussion midway through, and Trever even sang vocals! He left the percussion kit behind at the end (I neglected to take photos) and just sang next to Tony. These were the only surprises of the show, which went quicker than Friday night.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Jeff Kashiwa on tenor sax:

Jeff on NuRAD for “Slow Turn”:

Alex Bugnon:

Marcus Anderson on alto sax:

Marcus on flute at the end of “Will Power”:

Jay Rowe:

Andy Abel:

Dave Livolsi:

Trever Somerville:

Tony Cintron:

Marcus and Andy:

Marcus and Dave:

Marcus and Jay:

Jeff and Jay:

The last note of “Let It Ride”:

Jay and Alex’s duet:

The finale: “Love and Happiness”:

All that remained was meeting and greeting, starting with me and Alex Bugnon:

Me and Marcus Anderson:

Jeff Kashiwa with my photography buddies Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox:

Just the three of us:

Back in the lobby, Marcus Anderson with Steve Lewis:

Johnnie “Butch” Brooks and Dolly Moye, whose birthday was on Sunday:

…and finally, me and Dolly:

Thanks to Jay Dobbins and Steve Lewis for taking photos of me. Jay also took this selfie with me:

Friday night, Kelly and I left for the hotel at 11:30, but Saturday, the departure time was 10:45. After transferring the photos and video to my laptop via a handy USB 3.0 SD card reader, I took melatonin and went to sleep. After five hours of successful sleep early Sunday morning, I noticed daylight peaking through the edge of the curtains and opted to wake up for the day. (The Mets lost Saturday’s game, but won on Sunday night while I was getting ten hours of sleep.)

I didn’t lift weights until I got home, but I did do push-ups in my room Sunday morning before going to the lobby for breakfast. All my rowdy friends, to paraphrase Hank Williams Jr., were there, including Jay Rowe. French toast sticks weren’t available, so I ate four sausages and two blueberry muffins with two lemon-lime seltzer cans that I brought and stored in my room’s mini fridge. Before returning to the room to pack up and leave, I got a selfie with the Monteverde, Abrams, and Okumu couples:

John Monteverde, me, Phyllis Abrams, Theresa Monteverde, Mark Abrams, Sandy and Billy Okumu

I saved photo editing for Monday and Tuesday, followed by drafting this post and the one before it on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Dad and I checked out around 10:30 and got home by 12:25. I took tons of photos on the road to and from Milford, but those will get their own post next week. Until then, thank you for reading the recaps of both nights of the 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars. As Jay Rowe noted, next year will be the 20th anniversary, but 19th annual. I hope to be there. Thank you to Jay and everyone involved in putting SJFS together each year.

SJFS 2022 Night 1 recap May 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Health, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 22018 Night 12018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2, 2022 Night 2

Updated with videos on 5/15.

After a two-year absence due to COVID-19, keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars (benefiting the Milford Public Schools music department) finally happened!

It’s a good thing I didn’t throw away my 2020 tickets because they were honored on both nights.

As noted in my promotion back in February, this was the first SJFS without Rohn Lawrence on guitar in the house band and Nick Colionne as a potential headliner. We lost Rohn to COVID on December 30 and Nick on January 1. This year’s SJFS was dedicated to their memory.

The first night’s headliners were Peter White, Nelson Rangell, and Marion Meadows, plus three surprise guests! More on them later in the recap. Now, the preamble:

I had been in the habit of going to sleep early and waking up early, but last week, I tried to train my body to stay up and wake up later so I could not only chronicle both nights of SJFS, but attend the WCWP station dinner on Thursday night.

I awoke Friday morning after only six hours of sleep and carried out my typical morning activities: exercise, cereal for breakfast, and treadmill running (and showering after, of course). Nowadays, I watch streaming content on my phone while I run rather than listen to music or audiobooks. With this run, I totaled 180 miles in a month for only the third time (July 2018, April 2020)!

Next on the agenda, packing up for the trip to Milford, Connecticut (“a small city with a big heart“), with my dad Bill. I had an hour or so left until our 12:30 departure, so I edited the photos from the station dinner and posted them to Facebook. I finished just in time, then checked to make sure I packed everything I wanted to.

It took about two hours to reach Milford’s Hampton Inn, the official hotel of this year’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars, as it has been most of the time. I photographed road signs on the way, but I’m saving those photos and the ones from the return trip for a later post.

Upon arrival, Dad and I went back out to Big Y World Class Market a block southeast of the hotel to replace expired shampoo and mouthwash, and buy snacks to make up for the ones I forgot to pack at home. We were briefly back at Hampton Inn before going to dinner (and dessert for me) at Applebee’s up Boston Post Road in neighboring Orange. Marion Meadows was checking in as I walked through the lobby, so we spoke briefly. I returned one more time before the show to relax and wait for my girlfriend Kelly to pick me up at 6:30. On the way out this time, I saw members of the LIU Sharks baseball team! I’ve been at the hotel with college athletic teams before, but not a team from my alma mater! They were in town for a three-game series against the Sacred Heart Pioneers (ironically, LIU Post’s team name before the One LIU unification). Sacred Heart won the first two games, but LIU avoided the sweep Sunday. I would see players in the lobby again on Saturday and Sunday mornings, letting some know on Saturday that I was an alum and had a weekly radio show.

Okay, we’re almost up to the first night of SJFS.

Kelly and I waited in her SUV until we saw the line of attendees file in to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Parsons Complex. The line began to move at 7:15, so in we went.

After having my ticket checked, I set up my equipment in the orchestra pit and mingled with my fellow photographers Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox, Jay Dobbins, Dolly Moye, Estella Greene, Billy and Sandy Okumu, Ron’s wife Nydia, and Jay Rowe’s mother Mia DiStasi. I was elated to see all of them in person after so long. I only wish photographer KT Jones was still with us. (He succumbed to cancer in late February.)

The auditorium interior underwent an upgrade between 2019 and 2022. Monitors were set up throughout the lobby. Most cycled through a slideshow of images from past Smooth Jazz for Scholars, including pictures with Rohn Lawrence, Nick Colionne, or both of them. Two monitors had an overhead view of the stage. The sound system, lighting, and seating were all improved.

Friday night’s set began at 8:15, an hour after the auditorium doors opened. Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions enthusiastically welcomed us back:

I simultaneously recorded the show (mostly for private use) (5/15 UPDATE: exceptions below) with my recently-acquired professional 4K camcorder (and detachable handle unit). Four minutes into Kevin’s spiel, a system error occurred and I had to turn the camcorder off and back on. After that, no problems. It recorded two hours and 32 minutes continuously; no starting a new file every 20 minutes like my previous camcorder.

As for the photos, I have the same DSLR camera but with a superzoom lens I bought last year. No more switching between 18-140 mm (18-55 before that) and 55-300 mm. I have one lens to rule them all.

Here are the photos! The house band was led by Jay Rowe on keyboards:

Andy Abel on electric and acoustic guitar (seen on electric):

Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

…and percussion by Tony Cintron:

(If you’re wondering, Steve Scales is alive and well.)

The headliners were Peter White on acoustic guitar and harmonica (seen on guitar):

Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

…and Nelson Rangell on alto sax, flute, piccolo, whistling, and vocal percussion (seen on alto):

SET LIST
1. East Coast West Coast (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot & Smooth (2006)
Featured musician: Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Peter White (guitar)

3. Promenade/Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (The Spinners cover) (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Promenade (1993)/Reflections (1994)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), surprise guest Vincent Ingala! (tenor sax) (watch him surprise the audience)
Peter introduced “Promenade” with the “-naid” pronunciation, not “-nahd,” as I’ve been saying all these years.

4. Here We Go (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Here We Go (2012)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)
I’d been dreaming about this collaboration ever since I heard David Sanborn on the original.

5. Vonetta (Earl Klugh cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Soul to Souls (2006)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Andy Abel (guitar)

6. Body Rhythm (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Body Rhythm (1995)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
As usual, Marion began this song in the audience, working his way to the stage.

7. Treasures (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: In Deep (2002)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Andy Abel (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboards)
Andy channeled the spirit of Rohn Lawrence on his solo.

8. Caravan of Dreams (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Caravan of Dreams (1996)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

9. Peaceful (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Music for STARLUX Airlines (2019)
Featured musicians: Peter White (guitar/harmonica), Vincent Ingala (tenor sax)

10. Marcosinho (Dave Grusin composition for flautist Dave Valentin) (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Whisper (2013)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
A harmonica-like filter was applied to Marion’s sax for his solo intro.

11. Suede (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Player’s Club (2004)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Andy Abel (guitar)

12. Geopolitics (Nelson Rangell)
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

13. Sonora (Hampton Hawes cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995) (alto sax), My American Songbook, Vol. 1 (2005)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling/piccolo/vocal percussion), Peter White (guitar)

14. Muff (John Tropea cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), surprise guest Jeff Kashiwa! (tenor sax)
Jeff headlined Saturday’s set, but he played on “Muff” and the finale.

15 (Finale). I Wish (Stevie Wonder cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone
Arti Dixson sat in for Trever Somerville on drums.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Peter White:

Marion Meadows:

Nelson Rangell on alto sax (during “Geopolitics”):

Nelson on flute for “Vonetta”:

…and “Sonora”: whistling, piccolo, whistling with the piccolo in his hand, vocal percussion:

Surprise guest Vincent Ingala:

Surprise guest Jeff Kashiwa:

Jay Rowe (during “Treasures”):

Andy Abel:

Dave Livolsi:

Trever Somerville:

Tony Cintron:

Peter and Jay:

Peter and Nelson on “Here We Go”:

Peter and Vincent:

A wide shot during “Geopolitics”:

…and “Vonetta”:

Nelson and Jeff:

The finale: “I Wish”: