Month: February 2015

Contrafact & Controversy

I would like to share my perspective on music-related things as I see them now, as I am experiencing them now, or as I have experienced them in the past, but I have to admit that I am fighting an urge to start my “jazz blogging” with a full disclaimer about my relative inexperience discussing this complex musical form. I won’t bore you with my issues about sharing my opinions in public, however, I will say that if I am not aware of the full-story on a particular subject, I am open to hearing the perspectives of others. From the outset, I freely admit that I do not know a thimble-full of the history and theory that other jazz musicians and music scholars have spent their lives acquiring. I wish there was a way I could go back in time, to have made more informed choices about my musical studies – but just like everything else in real-time, in real-life, there are no “do-overs”. So, if I am lucky, I will just be able to take …

Keeping Notebooks

While contemplating my life, with a focus on things I do everyday, I decided to write about a tool that has become very important to me – a simple notebook.  (I prefer the 5″ x 8″ lined 80-page spiral-bound style as this fits easily into my bag.)  It is my personal “external hard-drive” and helps me keep track of my day-to-day activities, as well as providing quick storage of creative ideas and prompts.  I carry one with me every day; it’s always available for use, unlike the internet. My system for TASKS Over 20 years ago I worked with a woman who told me about how she kept track of tasks she needed to do.  I tried her system and it immediately helped me get organized at the office. I modified the idea a little and have used it ever since to make sure I get things done in all aspects of my life. Basically my system works this way: If I am in a meeting and I am asked to take action on something, or if I am on the bus and something I need …

Poems for Billy Strayhorn (I)

This poem is the first I am posting here from my series of poems inspired by specific compositions by Billy Strayhorn. As you read my words, I encourage you to listen to the Alessandro Vaccari Quartet* performing a lovely version of Strayhorn’s Isfahan that I discovered recently on YouTube. My Isfahan ©2009 Laurie Early Poets speak your name and sigh, ink in quill, for calligraphic lace, my love, cannot hold you still. A mystical poem can’t ever enclose, the fragrance of such a rose, your gardens harbor those, my Isfahan. Jasmine in the wind ‘neath saffron-colored skies. Tea served near the square, with Persian lullabies. Your tranquil flowing streams and mosaics gleam… turquoise, gold, and green, my Isfahan. You are half the world, my Isfahan.   Another poem in this series is:  (II) Chelsea Bridge *Alessandro Vaccari Quartet 17 giugno 2011 – PER LA RASSEGNA “EFFETTO JAZZ” 2011 Alessandro Vaccari – ten sax Emiliano Pintori – keyboards Roberto Beneventi – double bass Vittorio Sicbaldi – drums Località: Barchessoni di San Martino Spino, Mirandola, Modena, ITALY

If I Had a Dog

I am not really a “dog-person”. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs, I just never owned one myself. As a child we had a dog in the house, but he belonged to my brother and I never really bonded to him (the dog that is, my brother was cool). But, if I could have a dog, if I lived somewhere that had a large yard, or place for a dog to play and generally live a happy life, then I would choose a Bull Terrier. Yes, that would be the one I would get, because to me they are the most wonderful dogs on the planet. Everyone in my family is aware of this affection I have for the breed, and when we pass a Bull Terrier on the street, or see one on television, someone always says: “Look! There’s your dog!” I think my yearning for a Bull Terrier is due to a couple of factors: 1. when I was about 4 or 5 years old I spent the day with a Brooklyn family that had a …