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TRIBUTE TO SAMMY NESTICO

THE BOB NOVAL ORCHESTRA

SHELLEY BURNS ~ ACCENTUATE

TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY MERCER

Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams

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Barbara Cook On Piano Jazz

This week's Piano Jazz from 1998 remembers lyric soprano Barbara Cook, a Broadway star, staple of the New York cabaret scene and favorite of audiences around the world.

Meet The Mysteriously Chill (And Weird) Natural Yogurt Band

Two English musicians, with a strange backstory, mine "library music" to create a fuzzy, endlessly vibing sound.

Nellie McKay's Smoldering Voice Takes On Standards Like 'My Romance'

Nellie McKay sings melancholy standards about love on her new album: Sister Orchid. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with McKay about her music that she performs alone.

Harry 'Sweets' Edison On Piano Jazz

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1999, broadcast just months before Edison died, the legendary jazz trumpeter joins Marian McPartland for a few classics and an original.

Joshua Redman, 'Still Dreaming,' Pays Emotional Tribute To His Father

The revered saxophonist leads an agile post-bop group with Ron Miles on cornet, Scott Colley on bass and Brian Blade on drums.

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Trust.

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Dear Reader, before I go any further... this post is not about Black-Jewish or, Black-White relations or, anti-semitism (per se.) Nevertheless... I'm very intrigued at Mr. Barker's advice to the Xavier students: “You trust them with caution.”

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As Louis Armstrong might say: (Hmp!)

Trust someone with caution. Well Danny, I've never thought about it that way before. Can these two ideas exist in coordination? They do everyday. Effectively? Well... it's true – I agree with Danny: It's beyond me! (for now.)

Peace & Pops,
Esquizito
Maison Musique, New Orleans
esquizito.com
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P.s. And there is at least a fifty-fifty chance that Danny got that gag from a Jew.

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Comment by Esquizito on December 15, 2009 at 1:21pm
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So... I moved to New York in 1985. I had meet and known Jews in my age group from the time of Junior High School. Nevertheless, I had never encountered the "bigger picture" until my life in New York. I am grateful to say that I was adopted into a Jewish family. The Florshiem's/Ornstien's were a fictitious tribe of Jew/Christian heathen/heretic seekers. Our Matriarch, Stephanie Mauer - aka Rose Florshiem. I was Jeffrey Ornstien (the Sephardic branch of cousins.)

Steph died a few years back of stomach cancer. Aunt Rose offers me many loving memories. May God rest her soul...

Let Your Light Shine.
E.
Comment by Esquizito on December 15, 2009 at 12:35pm
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No Hell Bringer is safe from the swift and fiery tongue of Old Danny! Close your eyes and watch...!

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For Peace,
E.
Comment by Esquizito on December 15, 2009 at 12:20pm
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As we have heard previously, Danny didn't encounter "Jewish people" until his arrival to New York in 1930. He soon became aware of the significant number of Jewish men in the music and entertainment industry. (Here in New Orleans, it was all run by Italians.) Danny no doubt saw the good and bad. He states that, "I have many Jewish friends... they like the way I think."

Danny Barker had respect for the education and socialization that the Jewish identity offers a man, "You go to school to learn how to be a Jew!" Daniel Moses Barker is the only one who has ever pointed out to me, "You will not see no barrooms on the corners in Jewish neighborhoods!"

Shalom,
E.
Comment by Esquizito on December 15, 2009 at 9:42am
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Whom can you trust? Anyone... I suppose. Nevertheless... I have spiritual input from, The One & Only Father Jerome Ledoux, SVD. to offer you.

December 14, 2009

REFLECTIONS ON LIFE

MANY ARE OUR BELLS OF SILVER AND GOLD

Passing a large grazing area at a Midwest farm any fine day, you will notice two
look-alike horses browsing side by side. However, upon closer inspection you will see that they don’t look alike at all. In fact, one horse with dead eyes is quite obviously blind.

Moving closer, you hear a bell traceable to the neck of the sighted horse. As he moves, the blind horse moves in unison with him, while he checks often to see where his blind friend is and whether he is all right. Whatever choice forage the sighted horse finds is gleefully shared by the blind one. Thus, the two walk and eat in unison all the day.

Just before the sun begins to set, the sighted horse starts a casual trek back to the barn while his companion alertly follows his every move. From time to time, the sighted horse glances back to make sure his buddy is hot on his trail en route back to the barn. Once there, the two settle down for a restful night of peaceful sleep and regeneration.

Could anyone doubt that the blind horse is grateful beyond description for having such a considerate, ever-watchful companion who guarantees him safety and security amid dangerous obstacles, pitfalls and quagmires? Further, he is guaranteed the best pastures available, frequent quaffs of fresh water, and, at the end of the day, safe passage home.

On the other hand, it is a delightful curiosity that the sighted horse finds an immense rush and delight in taking charge of the care of his companion. It did not take long for him to notice the helplessness of the blind horse and his consequent dependence on him as the sighted one. Without hesitation, he instinctively began to lead, guide and protect.

This wonderful story started when the horses’ owner refused to euthanize his horse when the animal went blind. Instead, he had so much love and compassion for his horse that he tied a guiding bell around the neck of the other horse which he designated as the eyes, everyday guide, companion, forager and protector of the blind horse.

It is heartwarming how this singular animal behavior was triggered by the love and compassion of the horse owner and so readily executed by the sighted horse. The cost of a bell and the gesture of love was slight, but the impact was powerful beyond words.

A similar thing happens in the lives of us all. Our investments in compassion, love, generosity and consideration are always minimal compared to the huge benefits that accrue to us when we reap the fulfillment and spiritual enrichment from aiding others.
This is a clear-cut example of the Jesus arithmetic: We divide our sorrows and pains when we share them with others. We multiply our joys when we share them with others.

His arithmetic is a surprising reversal of how we perceive our reaction to pain and joy.

People who are physically blind rely on guide dogs and us, the sighted, as much as the blind horse relied on the sighted one. One of the best ways we can give thanks to God for our ability to see is to guide, protect and find forage for the blind as the sighted horse did.

At such moments, we are the bell horse sporting the comforting sound of presence and security along with the assurance of food, water and shelter. It is a serious charge thrust upon us by physical circumstances of time and place, and ultimately of God’s plan. Both Testaments warn against booby-trapping the blind, but urge us to be their guiding bell.

Blind people hear many more bells and whistles than the sighted do, because they compensate for their blindness by paying close attention to every movement and sound.

Like the blind horse, they stay as close to us as they can, hoping for guidance, security, forage and shelter. While helping them, we should learn from their heightened attention.

The motley assortment of people who are bells in our lives softly calls us to veer away from dangers seen and at times unseen, to bypass pitfalls, quicksand and other physical threats. These bells can be angels or people used by God as angels/messengers. I, for one, can give numerous testimonies of such intervention in my own and the lives of others.

On the flipside, though physically sighted, we sometimes have the misfortune of being spiritually blind. When we come to our senses, we will marvel at all the little bells and whistles we hear as we journey through life. But for those bells and whistles, we would have lost our way many times. Again, the people with those bells are our guardian angels.

Some of those bells also call out to our conscience and spirit, urging us to spurn offers of money, power, pleasure or prestige in return for selling or compromising our birthright and principles. They alert us to the Evil One who strains to claim and damn our souls.

Comparing ourselves to the two horses, it is a curious phenomenon that sometimes we play the role of the sighted horse, and at other times we play the part of the blind horse. We are alternately guides and the guided, protectors and the protected, shelters and the sheltered, feeders and the fed, so that we have no cause to boast about what we are.

We literally ring bells for one another according to our own needs and those of others as our daily lot changes from day to day, from hour to hour. Do you hear the bells around you, and do you make the sound of a warning bell available to the unsighted near you?

Just as the compassionate horse owner who put his blind horse under the care of the sighted one, doesn’t this sound like the compassionate Shepherd in Psalm 23 where we praise the Lord for being our Shepherd, guiding us, sheltering us and finding the best forage? The Good Shepherd also puts secondary shepherds in our lives to care for us.

Our dear relatives and friends are sometimes very creative in assisting us with their own versions of bells and whistles. Although we are usually aware of their loving support and warning signals, there are times when their bells are almost subliminal to our senses.

I hear many, many bells every day. Do you? It is not just at the time of the formal Christmas season that we hear “Silver bells!” Rather, it is all through the year, every day of the year that we hear, “The Bells of St. Mary’s” and all the beautiful individual bells calling home and abroad, “the young love, the true love that comes from the sea!”
--
"God is love, and all who abide in love abide in God and God in them." (1 John 4:16)

Who can deny?

Peace,
E.

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