I just heard an album by this Italian guitarist Dario Chiazzolino called “Paint Your Life.” Check out my review at http://www.jazzweekly.com/2015/02/dario-chiazzolino-paint-your-life/. His band includes all stars Taylor Eigsti on piano and Willie Jones III on drums, and his compositions will make you think Pat Metheny got a hold of his pen. He’s got a tone that’s as clear as a bell from a basilica, and chops that will make you swoon. Guitar fans should swarm to this, but anyone with post bop tastes will find a friend here. 


In case you didn’t know, there are different calendars that Western Civilization refers to: the Julian Calender which was initiated by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, and the Gregorian Calendar which was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Then, you’ve also got the Hebrew Calendar which still goes by the 12 month lunar cycle. The reason this is important is that while Americans  have the exact same holidays (such as Presidents Day, Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday) Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish festivals have their celebrations at different days and months of the year, literally depending on the moon and sun.

Why is this important? Well, we all have special days that we all remember, such as weddings, birthdays and graduations. But other major events aren’t marked by a date, but by an event. In the Bible, there is a famous verse that says “In the year King Uzziah died I saw the Lord…” The major event in his life was marked by an epoch.  One of my favorite lines of Casablanca is when Humphrey Bogart tells Ingrid Bergman how he remembers when the Nazi’s invaded Paris, “The Germans wore gray; you wore blue.”

This is the fascinating part of our lives. This month we celebrate our Presidents (which is a joke, done to make room for Martin Luther King Day. It was like “I’ll trade you my Washington and Lincoln for your Martin Luther King and a holiday to be named later) in general, but our first and 16th in particular. In February we also celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent (which is a 40 day preparation for Easter) as well as Valentine’s Day, named after St. Valentino who was martyred Feb 14th for either refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods or marrying Christian couples against the Roman edict. Some things never change!

Such is life with us jazz fans. Some of us know the seasons of the year because they’re divided by a) Cruises b) festivals c) tours d) concert series’ instead of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. I know people who center their vacations around when certain summer festivals take place, and head out to Colorado, Italy and even Idaho to take in these treats. LA has a number of festivals that you can count on as well. Then, you also expect a release by a favorite artist after a certain amount of time. You also realized that certain years seem to be more productive artistically others. 1959 comes to mind, with Take Five, Kind of Blue, Mingus Ah Um and Giant Steps. There is a certain pattern to life that needs to be embraced.

This is an important issue for all of us who live in the modern age of electronics which tries to strip us of our certain rhythms and cycles of life. Religious festivals such as Ash Wednesday, Easter, Passover and St. Valentine’s Day, and American high points such as Washington and Lincoln Days, need to be remembered. They make us look back, which always helps us look forward with more certainty. We were created to need sign posts in life to refer to. As GK Chesterton wrote, “to compare the present and the past is like comparing a drop of water and the sea.” In other words we need to understand WHY these special days are so special; they put our lives in perspective.

Also, the seasons and holidays (“holy” meaning “set apart”-it’s a “special” day!) make us realize that there are certain rhythms to life. We need to inhale and exhale. Most of the days we just drive forward and exhale in the process. But, we need to stop, look around and inhale. Music needs this as well; music without breathing, looking forward and looking back, loses its life and simply turns into sounds being put together. Remind  you of any musicians, whom we shall not name at this time?

So, when these “holy” days come around, learn about them and embrace them. They will make you a richer person, musician and music fan. They are set apart for a reason, and so are you!


Here’s the latest…

Hi George-

Thank you so much for your wonderful review in hope to see you real soon. Take care and be well,

Julian Lage

Dear Mr.  Harris,

I was at the show that night and I totally agree with your review written about the Ruben Reza performance.

The guitar work and band performed magnificent with real nice tones and dynamics.  At times the audience were dancing on their feet and while sitting down.The entire show was exciting!  Thank you

Joe Candelario

Hi George,

Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and review my new CD! Beautifully written George! I just posted it on my Facebook fan page and will share it with all my fans in an email newsletter as well.
Chris Lomheim
Yo George,
Great to hear. Now I can say it directly: Thanks mucho for your insightful, kind, supportive words.
I definitely will check out more of your stuff. You are one of those keeping the flame alive.
Be well, keep wailing,
Zan Stewart