Think all female vocalists are the same? Here’s a lady that has both sax and vocal chops. Her album features a voice that is as lovely as a Johnny Hodges solo, and her horn work works well on a swinging team that includes pianist Donald Vega. Read my review on the enclosed link and get a load of a winning session
Match the artists on this page with the listed shows in the “Heads Up” section!
SING A SONG OF THANKSGIVING!
Does it surprise you that we in America have songs for just about every holiday except Thanksgiving? I mean COME ON! From “What Are You Doing New Years Eve” to tons on Valentines Day to patriotic themes for the Presidents and veterans, both alive and fallen. 4th of July has George M Cohan, and even good old Halloween has songs from It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Why is it that we don’t have a national song thanking God for all He’s given us?
And don’t give me that garbage about “separation of church and turkey”! If you’ve ever read the history of Thanksgiving, you’d know that William Bradford, our first historian, wrote in his journal that the original pilgrims thanked God for giving them the ability to establish a Christian country. It was NOT for “religious freedom”-they had that in Holland, from which they set sail. They wanted to create a true nation under God. Got a problem with that, buddy? Go move to Albania!
I grew up Greek Orthodox, and when I visited a Baptist church (in Inglewood-where it’s so tough that they insert the bullet manually. Budda bop!) I was pleasantly surprised to see people singing songs out loud. There was no choir, THEY were the choir. One of the songs I loved to sing was one that had the refrain:
“Count Your Many Blessings
Count Your Many Blessings
Yes, it sounds hokey. But you know what? We NEED hokey! To this day, I spend one morning each week just going over all the things that happened during the previous 7 days, just taking inventory of all of the major and minor events, and thanking God for each one of them. I give Him the day “off” just to thank him for all the good that happened, all of the bad that DIDN’T happen, and how He got me through the bad that DID happen.
I’m absolutely convinced that most of our problems in life are because we’re not thankful enough for what we already have. I understand. I’ve been there. It wasn’t until I overlanded through Europe, the Middle East and Africa that I learned the importance of living a life of thankfulness.
Towards the end of my trip, I got real sick in Mali, and was abandoned by my guide. I was left for dead for 5 days until someone found me. While waiting there o die, I realized that everything I’d ever done had been for selfish reasons, and (like Ebeneezer Scrooge) if He gave me another chance, I’d live a life of thankfulness to Him. So, here I am telling you to see ever day as a gift.
What does this have to do with music? DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO ASK THIS?!? First,the first time music is recorded in history is when the Hebrews gave thanks to God for rescuing them from Pharoah and the Red Sea. Hmmm. a relationship between music and thankfulness. Second, if you play an instrument, you know that YOU didn’t create your talent, God gave it to you. So, you should practice your craft to make your gift worthy of being received. Third, someone taught you how to play. When was the last time you thanked your music teacher? Are any of the artists that inspired you still alive? Send them a letter or an email, or even call them, and give them a word of thanks for who they are and how they influenced you.
As a teenager, I sent a letter to Chick Corea thanking him for making such good music, and you know what? He wrote me back a real nice letter! Since then, as an adult, I’ve written dozens of letters to musicians, both famous and obscure, for their work, and I’ve gotten some of the warmest responses. Studio guys that did sax solos for old R&B tunes, or aging giants from the big band era are always grateful for some acknowledgement. I once took my family to Disneyland, and in New Orleans Square there was a traditional jazz band. After the set the leader introduced all of the musicians, and the tenor sax player was Jack McVea, who had a moment of fame with his solo on the hit “Open the Door Richard” and stole the show at the very first Jazz at the Phil concert in 1944 as he wailed with Nat King Cole and Illinois Jacquet on “Blues,” “Lester Leaps In “ and “Tea For Two.” When I went up to him and introduced my daughters to him as a star of the swing era, his eyes lit up and he bust up his buttons in pride. He was rejuvenated by someone being thankful and appreciative of his artistry.
Next time you go to a show, walk up and thank the musicians. If you’re a musician, go into the aisles and thank the customers. Thank the waitress and bartender. Thank the parking attendant. See how many times a “thank you” can come from your mouth. Don’t forget to thank God that you woke up today. It was an honor denied some people.
A thankful musician, fan, customer, parent, child, teacher, parking lot owner, politician (let’s not get carried away!), doctor and teacher is a happier one. Be thankful for what you have, and remember “from whom all blessing flow.”
Please contact us-here are some recent emails…
Hi George ! I miss those fall leaves going to CT November 1st hope a few are left. I sent your beautiful review to some dear friends including Chick Corea. I have been talking to the president of the record label and I am considering re-visiting the Charlie Parker with Strings album because of your review like I did on the Clifford Brown with strings another album I wore out when I was a kid. The fact that you picked up on the romantic side of Bird which is what I was trying to get across really moved me. You are right that seems to get overlooked and as you know the string album was his favorite work so that side was obviously very important to him. Sincerely, Glenn Zottola
Dear Mr. Harris -- Appreciated your nice review of the new Idiot Fish CD...naturally, I totally agree with your comments. Am a jazz musician myself down in San Diego via Detroit and still play in venues around town here. Also enjoyed reading your article about Boston: I echo all your thoughts! And your musical fall selections were spot on. Regards, Gap Costantini - bari player
Hello Mr. Harris: Knowing your very busy schedule I would like to take a second of your time to thank you for your review of my CD ....LYNNIE GODFREY: DOING IT HER WAY...It was written so eloquently and has a recipient of your words I am humbled. I look forward to submitting future works for your opinions...which I value...... Thank you so much for your time and thoughts.... Love You Madly, LYNNIE GODFREY
George, Thanks so much for the lovely comments and sensitive listening to my Sense of Place CD.
Hello George! Thank you very much for your interesting review of SST we will post it on SST-homepage as well on SST-facebook, Best regards, Aija