Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. " - H.H. The Dalai Lama

I've been thinking about this quote a lot over the past few days.

Most will probably have heard about the tragedy in Knoxville this past Sunday.  If not, here is a link to one of many stories covering the events.  Now, it is probably safe to say that there are incidences of gun-related violence every day, but this one hits me a bit closer to home.  I attend and am very active in my local UU Church.  I have found a home there where I am free to explore and develop a personal theology while being in a caring and supportive community that cares about many of the same issues that I do.  

Yes, it is true that I am a Liberal.  I wear the term proudly.  Most of my friends are Liberals and the Church I attend supports many Liberal causes.  I have always valued discussion and discourse with those whose viewpoints differ from my own, but the level of discourse has been steadily declining and I believe that this decline is one of the many things that contributed to this tragedy.  

Discussions decline into defensiveness.  Defensiveness declines into shouting.  Shouting declines to silence.  Silence declines to anger.  Anger declines to irrational rage.  Rage...well, we can see where that leads.

In that light, I will not use this space to bring an indictment to any of the icons that one could blame.  In fact I won't even list them; we all probably have a long list of both individuals and institutions that we feel are responsible.  Instead I will offer these words which have been serving as a mantra of sorts for me in the past few days.



After my initial shock and rush of feelings, compassion was the strongest emotion I felt. Compassion for the victims, families, community, and even for the shooter.  I can't imagine the series of events and circumstances that would lead a human being to the conclusion that this was not only a rational act, but that it was the best course of action. 

I feel compassion for the community of Knoxville.  And, of course, for the congregates of TVUU. I hope with all my heart that you will be able to feel safe again.

I also hope that as we process, grieve, and discuss this horrible tragedy that we can remember tolerance.  If we allow our discourse, discussion, thinking, speaking and action to decline to the level of irrationality, we will loose much of what we as Liberals - religious and otherwise - strive for.

Suffering, I have learned, is a fact of life.  I am angry.  I'm sure many of my friends are angry. But it is not an anger that consumes me.  I see it, acknowledge it, allow it to pass over over me, and come back to my "baseline" of compassion and tolerance.  When a being allows anger and rage to replace compassion and love, the consequences become more and more unthinkable. 

Please, keep the city of Knoxville in your thoughts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

If I knew you were coming I'd have tidied up a bit...

At 2:03 today there was a hit on this site from the US Senate Sgt. at Arms.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The date would help...

Yeah, I forgot....

Roy Muth Big Band
Thursday July 24th
8-10 pm
Enrico's in Norfolk

Once more into the swing, dear friends....

It has been a light summer with regards to gigs for me, but there is this:

Roy Muth Big Band
4012 Colley Ave.
Norfolk VA 

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Links

In an new feature, we at "The Ear of the Mind headquarters" are passing on interesting links to video, music etc.  We'll be doing this on Sundays, allowing for more substantive writing throughout the week.

This week, some very interesting interviews with John Coltrane.  I had never heard these before.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nick Hornby, please sign in...

Inspired by this, I thought this might be fun.  

What are your top-ten tracks by a given artist?  Every so often, I'll post my 10 for whatever artist catches my fancy and I hope you'll chime in with yours.  There is no rank ordering, any track is just as good as any other...

We start at the top:

John Coltrane:

Moment's Notice (Blue Trane)
Liberia (Coltrane's Sound)
Wise One (Crescent)
Crescent (Crescent)
After The Rain (Dear Old Stockholm)
Giant Steps (Giant Steps)
I Want to Talk About You (Live at Birdland)
One Down, One Up (One Down, One Up)
Welcome (Transition)
Evidence (Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall)

This list is subject to change at any time...

Please add yours!

Monday, July 14, 2008

This one time, at band camp...

First things first:  I had every intention of blogging from Jamey-land but as far as "madness" goes IJAE had nothing on Jamey's camp!  

I first went to this workshop about 20 years ago - give or take - when I was a high school student and the experience I had this time was very different.  I got to work with David Baker very closely for the week and the man is a bona-fide National Treasure.  His depth of knowledge, sense of history, and commitment to pedagogy is like no one I have ever worked with before.  The man is a walking history, harmony, composition and improvisation textbook. It is safe to say that I had a very meaningful experience and got a huge dose of inspiration.

Some other high points for me were:

Tim Armacost...Very deep player with a refreshingly organic approach to practicing and vocabulary development.

Ralph Bowen...Some very tangible processes for development of technique and amazing harmonic language

Marty Nau...Marty wasn't a faculty member (he should be!!).  He and I were in the same combo. If there is someone in the US with a deeper knowledge and command of  Phil Woods' conception I have never heard him/her.

I was really inspired by the range of ages and abilities here.  There was no vibe at all, everyone was very open and giving with their time and knowledge.  If you have ever considered this workshop...go!  It is worth EVERY penny.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th

A thought for today...

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."
-Benjamin Franklin

Here is my favorite editorial page today...

Watch this space as I will be blogging my experiences from Jamey Aebersold's Summer Jazz Workshop beginning Sunday...