Monday, July 21, 2014

The Liver Chronicles...3%

It is after 1:00 a.m. and sleep alludes me. Today I am hoping to find out what my treatment options and status are in regards to the hepatocellular carcinoma attacking my liver. I have to admit I am scared but the last 24 hours have been the worst as I am not one known for patience.

I am a big fan of irony...There have been a select few that have attempted to pass misplaced judgment on myself and my condition. Allow me to briefly address this as most people are unaware that there are numerous forms of liver disease not related to alcohol consumption. There are also people dying of lung cancer that have never smoked.

I may be the first critic to publicly state that passing judgment is something best left to our legal system. As my condition has worsened, my perspective has improved.

4:30 a.m. and sleep is coming in 2 hour increments. A young female saxophonist made a donation to my fund after hearing of my illness. She said, "I see your reviews and quotes everywhere, you must be so proud." If I said it wasn't nice I would be lying but it is an ego stroke I don't need.

I don't have a great many friends in the "real world" as I moved around constantly when young. When I changed jobs then I moved on and moved forward. What I am most proud of as an example is that a friend from college (literally my "big brother") just heard of my condition and he made a donation. To be thought of and remembered and cared about after not hearing from this person for thirty years is deeply moving. This feeling goes for all the donations, kind thoughts and prayers. The timing of his donation this evening was like being tossed a life raft for my spirit.

In a few hours the phone will ring...I know what is coming. I'll continue to fight. Hepatocellular carcinoma is literally a 97% death sentence. All I need is that 3% chance.

Thank you isn't enough...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Flock Heaven Bound Cleopatra 2014

The lost album from The Flock holds the secrets of what might have been!
Brent Black /
Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears were and are still considered the pioneers of the jazz / fusion movement. News flash...toss a horn section in a rock band and that doesn't make it jazz. Moving on...The Flock were an eclectic mix of improvisational adventure that included strings, pedal steel, and a saxophone. Violin wizard Jerry Goodman later left to join Mahavishnu Orchestra. The band reformed yet the natural evolution of the band did not seem to fully materialize.
Heaven Bound would have been their fourth release but has sat quietly on the shelf gathering dust as time, careers and musical tastes changed at perhaps the most turbulent and creative point in America's artistic history. Tight harmonies, classic rock guitar and the same improvisational spirit keeps The Flock alive and allows Heaven Bound to be a great addition to any library.
4 Stars

Missing Children In Nigeria...

Well...been three months and all of Obama's efforts seem to have been in vain.

If memory serves me this was about the time another crisis was looming in his administration or his poll numbers had dropped to something below his shoe size.

Here it what bothers me...

We have missing and exploited children in this country that we do not seem to even mention much less put in the amount of time and effort to find as the young girls tragically taken in Nigeria. Didn't Obama say we were not the policemen of the world?

We put boots on the ground and professionals in harms way to find kids that are probably buried deep in the ground or in another country.

When will the administration make a concerted effort to help our children? Feed our hungry? House our homeless?

Hope and Change? Yes We Can!

You better hope things change the next time we go to the polls. Let's take care of our children FIRST!

Gene Segal Mental Images Steeple Chase / Look Out 2014

Gene Segal's Mental Images is an intriguing lyrical conversation that pushes harmonic boundaries. An innovative voice for modern jazz guitar!

Brent Black /

Gene Segal is an innovator, not content with the status quo there is an unbridled freedom to his lyrical movement. Mental Images is an approach that embraces complex rhythms and textured harmonics that would have some music theory teachers and students perched on the nearest ledge. The approach to these compositions draws inspiration from the great French organist and composer Olivier Messiaen. There is an unpredictable yet mathematically precise fashion that this collective approaches translating the compositions of Segal into an oddly accessible yet complex mosaic of sound.

The band includes alto saxophone star Jon Irabagon along with wind phenom Sam Sadigursky. The rhythm section is rounded off with bassist Sean Conly and Jaimeo Brown behind the kit. Opening with the contemporary syncopated funk of "Healing Feeling" there is a dramatic shift to the more organic exploratory of "Minds Eye." The quintet operates as one as opposed to the stereotypical guitarist and four after thoughts. All of the musical co-conspirators are given ample room for their own individual statements. The more introspective "The Bearded Lady" is an exquisette number that carries an ambient feel of movement. Mental Images is a cerebral work where Gene Segal has managed to transform what many would consider "jazz" into what is truly improvisational music.

Genre? Not here...At best one might refer to this as the harmonic happy place between hard bop and the more avant garde but that comparison means little unless you listen. There are hundreds of good guitarists in New York, Gene Segal has the potential to become great.

Tracks: Mental Images
Healing Feeling; Allegory Of The Cave; Minds Eye; Irrational Drive.
Circus Music
The Bearded Lady; Trapeze Act; The Ringmaster; Elephants.
Personnel: Gene Segal: Guitar; Jon Irabago: Alto Saxophone; Sam Sidgursky: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet; Sean Conly: Bass; Jaimeo Brown: Drums.


News From Critically Acclaimed Drummer Billie Davies


Award Winning, Belgium Born Jazz Drummer Leaves Career in California for a Career in New Orleans!

Billie Davies (born Billie Goegebeur, December 10, 1955 in Bruges) is an American female jazz drummer and composer best known for her Avant-garde jazz compositions, as well as her improvisational drumming techniques which she has performed in Europe and in the US since the mid-nineties.

BILLIE DAVIES Ensemble, from L to R, Billie Davies, Pete Olynciw and Shan
Billie and her, recording/producer husband, Mike, moved to New Orleans this last March to achieve her dream of being a New Orleans based musician.  She has been working with local, like-minded sidemen, Shan Kenner on guitar and Pete Olynciw on upright bass to form her New Orleans Ensemble.  They have created a suite of new music entitled Downman Road.

The Billie Davies Trio - all about Love.
Her 2012 release of “all about Love” solidified her position as a professional jazz musician.  This recording of standards and original music, charted #1 in CMJ Jazz College Radio Charts for ‘top jazz add’ in new albums and went on to stay there for 4 weeks.  “all about Love”  was also very well received in Canada where the album ended up in the Top 10 on three different !Earshot Jazz charts.

In October, 2013 Billie released “12 VOLT” which also garnered national and international attention. CJ Bond, JAZZ MUSIC (an online jazz journal), wrote the following… “12 VOLT” features exclusively original compositions of Billie Davies, revealing yet another formidable creative talent in Davies' impressive artistic arsenal; making this an important CD for Davies, since it adds the crucial tyne of 'composer/arranger' to her sterling artistic fork, augmenting fearless innovation, and superlative drumming technique as well.

In September of 2013, Billie Davies was nominated for the top Jazz Artist award from the 23rd Annual Los Angeles Music Awards; she received the award on November 14.  Five months later she moved to New Orleans and is now ready to present her show to the New Orleans audience.

Her guitar player on “12 VOLT,” Daniel Goffeng, describes Billie as …bringing something radically new to the idiom of modern jazz in various ways which, in its purest essence, incorporates everything in its collective subconscious amalgam that has come before. Billie Davies' music is unapologetically moving in the direction of “true art” and plays with colors, moods, movements, feelings and interactions, a paradoxically more advanced concept of expression...
S. Victor Aaron tells us that "Davies is not countering the modern jazz movement so much but rather stripping it down to its essence. When listening to Davies play, it’s easier to think of her not as a drummer but a tonal painter who swipes brushstrokes with her drumsticks."
We are looking for any and all opportunities to help promote her New Orleans debut and to officially introduce her to New Orleans’ music scene.

For more information about Billie Davies, her music, and more reviews, please check out the following link for Billie Davies Website. 

PayPal pulls the plug on an attempt to help...

Rules are not made to be broken...

There is an accepted principal of law which states that what is considered as "right" or "correct" is legal. Do you honor a "stay out of the water" sign as you watch someone drown? Of course not, you violate the order in an attempt to "do the right thing."

I first want to publicly thank EarCandy Cabinets in an attempt to help me raise funds for my medical issues.

PayPal was used as a vehicle to distribute the money to me which was generated as people would purchase a chance to win a rather spiffy cab. Evidently there is a rule that Pay Pal will not participate in a raffle of any kind. I can appreciate that but...are they participating or simply acting as a monetary transfer agent? You can go to my Pay Pal link on this home page and donate directly to my medical fund - there is technically no real difference. So...are they correct? I am not an attorney and have far too many worries on my plate to pursue the issue.

PayPal is a fine company but have they been over zealous in this case? I think so...Had they cited some legal precedent that confirmed this may have somehow violated a law in some state then I would have been the first one to pull the plug. They did not...This is not much different than being put in FaceBook time out for attempting to make too many friends which seems to be the point of social media or am I missing something?

EarCandy Cabinets is a fine company. I would hope you would find them on social media and "like them" and support all their efforts. I do...

If you would like to help me then click on my funding widget on the home page. I am debating on whether or not I will keep the PayPal link up. I don't normally support a business that does not support me.