2015 ~ Year of the Sax

Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you. ~ Charlie Parker

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I’m looking forward to a music filled year. I am playing in a concert band, running a big band, and nursing my favorite sax x-tet (where x = the number of sax players) along. I have been subbing for a number of bands, the pay is nice.

Now retired almost a year, I have been listening to more music. I have doubled my time practicing the sax and the clarinet. I replaced my Yanagisawa b-991 with a b-992. And I’m starting to make my way through libraries of music that need filing. It should be a wonderful 2015.

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Bothell Crows

We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit. ~ Tom Brown, Jr.

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Shortly after moving to Bothell, WA, we saw the world-famous murder of the Bothell crows.

From fall to late spring, more than 10,000 crows call the UW Bothell campus home.

While no one on the UW Bothell campus at dusk could miss the swooping, perching, and cawing of the crows overhead, many do not realize how intelligent and interesting these animals actually are. In many ways, “crows are very similar to humans,” says Professor John Marzluff, from the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. ~ Crows on Campus

It is an amazing thing to watch and hear. Here are videos:

There is even a Facebook page for this phenomenon: https://www.facebook.com/BothellCrows

imageThe flock of crows that descends on Bothell every evening is a striking site. The more than 10,000 crows in the group, or murder, come from as far as downtown Seattle and Sultan and Gold Bar to spend the night roosting in the safe deciduous vegetation of the University of Washington Bothell campus.

Crows behave like humans in many ways, said John Marzluff, a UW professor who has studied crows and similar birds like magpies and ravens for most of his career.

“They’re very smart animals and very successful,” Marzluff said. “They are, just like us, trying to survive in this environment.”

Some crows eat fast food, scavenging from the garbage bins of KFC. Crows also smoke and drink, Marzluff said — they drink coffee, beer, wine and soda, and they pick up cigarettes, although they don’t actually smoke them. When it’s sunny, crows sunbathe. ~ Crows see food and shelter

At our bird feeders in the backyard we see Stellar Jays, hummingbirds, grosbeaks, red-wing black birds, etc. Rarely do we see a lot of crows although we have some regulars. Along with our squirrels (Fred and Ginger), there is always a lot happening back there. But I couldn’t image what we would do if 10,000 crows stopped for a visit!

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Composition of Love and Family

Nothing goes by luck in composition. It allows of no tricks. The best you can write will be the best you are. ~ Henry David Thoreau

imageJust before my senior year in high school, my dad was relocated to Minneapolis for his job with Sears. Suddenly I was going to have to start all over at a new school, and in my senior year no less. I was devastated, how could my parents do this to me!

We rented a house and my room was a refurbished garage that had a piano in it that was too large to ever leave the room. It had been brush painted a rustic red and had faded in time both in color and in tonality. But I was thrilled and spend many an hour plunking away on the piano with my skills from the three months I had lessons in first grade.

That year at 17 years of age, I purchased an easy to play book and note by note sussed out some of my favorite popular tunes. At some point that year, the year before I left for college, the year I met my wife Suzy, I created a song that I liked. Just from noodling around, I composed a song that spoke to me on a couple of levels.

Speed ahead a number of years, Suzy and I were married with two lovely children both of which were fascinated with the piano and my song. Both of them learned it just by watching me. We still play it sometimes today. Even I do on occasion although I never pursued playing piano in any serious way.

For this festive holiday season my son Aaron captured my first and last composition and put it on paper. He even named it for us. So I thought I’d share it with the family.

AllegroAndVivace1  AllegroAndVivace2

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Here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/n4prdls4y13e5kg/Allegro%20and%20Vivace.mp3?dl=0 is a link to the audio of my son playing it. Happy holidays folks.

Posted in Family, Hobbies, Music, My World | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Composer Thomas Newman

American-Beauty-american-beauty-67906_1024_768Just sitting here enjoying the work of composer Thomas Newman. Newman has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, and has won two BAFTAs, six Grammys and an Emmy Award. Newman was honored with the Richard Kirk award at the 2000 BMI Film and TV Awards. The award is given annually to a composer who has made significant contributions to film and television music. Read more…

Here are some of this charts that I really like:

Maybe I’ll get our band director to select one of these for a future concert. 

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Seasonal Concerts started last night

There’s something about a holiday that isn’t all about how much money you spend. ~ Hilarie Burton

The opening night of this year’s “In the Mood” theater production has come and gone. There were a lot of great moments and some things (like the sound glitch to open the second half) that need to be tweaked. I took one picture last night and hope to get some more tonight. The photo bomb by Andy was just a bonus.

holiday2014 Here’s hoping I see some family and friends peeking in to join in the fun. The songs this year are so much more fun than last year. (Thanks for the charts Bill Sheehan.)

No matter what you are doing this year, if you are a musician, this is me hoping you get some time on your instrument and that you are surrounded by some cool and funny people, like I was last night.

And remember, smile to the audience. They came to the show to escape the drudgery of everyday life.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas’ Mad Magazine #52 Jan 1960

treeTwas the night before Christmas,and all through the pad,
Not a hipster was swinging, not even old Dad;

The chimney was hung in the stocking routine,
In hopes that “The Fat Man” would soon make the scene;
The moon and the snow were, like, faking together,
Which made the scene rock in the Day People weather,

When, what to these peepers should come on real queer,
But a real crazy sleigh, and eight swinging reindeer,
As sidemen in combos pick up as they stomp,
When they swing with the beat of a Dixieland romp,

So up to the top of my bandstand they flew,
With the sleigh full of loot, and St. Nicholas, too.
His lids-Man, they sizzled! His dimples were smiles!
His cheeks were like “Dizzy’s,” his break was like “Miles!”
His puckered-up mouth was, like, blowing flat E,
And his chin hid behind a real crazy goatee!

He blew not a sound, but skipped right to his gig,
And stashed all the stockings, then came on real big,
And flashing a sign, like that old “Schnozzle” bit,
And playing it hip, up the chimney he split;
And then, in a quick riff, I dug on the roof,

The jumpin’ and jivin’ of each swinging hoof.
As I pulled in my noggin, and turned around fast,
Down the chimney came Nick like a hot trumpet blast.

The tip of a butt he had snagged in his choppers,
And he took a few drags just like all cool be-boppers;
He had a weird face, and a solid reet middle
That bounced when he cracked, like a gutbucket fiddle!

He was wrapped up to kill, Man, a real kookie dresser!
And his rags were, like, way out! Pops! He was a gasser!
A sack full of goodies hung down to his tail,
And he looked like a postman with “Basie’s” fan mail.

He was shaking with meat, meaning he was no square,
And I flipped, ‘cause I’d always thought he was “longhair!”
But the glint in his eye and the beat in his touch
Soon gave me the message this cat was “too much!”

He flew to his skids, to his group blew a lick,
And they cut out real cool, on a wild frenzied kick.
But I heard him sound off, with a razz-a-ma-tazz:
“A cool Christmas to all, and, like all of that jazz!”

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“In the Mood” 2014 (theater)

As this show’s opening approaches, the band it really clicking so far. Our drummer had to walk out on us because he was over extended and it was causing health issues. But two subs peeked in. The actors are learning their lines and getting their songs down.

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This show done in the style of a 40’s USO show features music, singing, comedy, and skits. Running two weekends, you can get tickets at the door for 8 PM on 5, 6 Dec or 3 PM on 7 Dec at the Everett Historic Theater. Or you can attend on 12, 13 Dec at 8 PM or 2 PM on 14 Dec at the Junction in Monroe. Come prepared to sing, hum, and tap your toes to some vintage Big Band music.

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If you are able to attend, do take the time during the break to peek in the pit and say hi. I do love to talk to my peeps. Hope to see you there!

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