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Friday Free Write ~ Jazz Improv Flash Notes on Getting to Know Who You Are featuring David Benoit’s “Human Nature”

Romare Bearden Odyssey - a trip of self discovery
Romare Bearden Odyssey – a trip of self discovery
“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat.” ― Ralph EllisonInvisible Man

Our experiences shape and make us into the people we are today.  But that does not clarify who we really are or for that matter what we are passionate about or what we want from life or what our purpose is.

We develop beliefs and values albeit good and not so good from our environment.  The pressure from society to conform plays the biggest role in how these virtues are developed.

When I was younger, I thought academic achievement and fitting in defined my self-worth.

The sunrise cast a warm glow through my picture window early on that early Monday morning in February, 1965.  Dad is sitting at the piano in our living room making last-minute notations on the songs for rehearsal later today.  He is my five a.m. wake up call. I would hear dulcet tones sending a breath of notes across my mind to the beat of my existence.  It was a series of riffs and changes with a syncopated harmonic intent.  It had a rhythm that majestically brought a sense of devotion to each note.  The sound of him hitting each piano key gave the house a mystery, transforming life and setting our house apart from the rest of the houses on Wilton Place….

…Growing up, I was the “native” daughter of a 60s Jazz arranger/conductor where the reining tradition was parents (‘rents) had the final word.  I slump down in my seat staring out the window trying to recover.  I feel betrayed.   Deep down inside I always felt like I was a visitor especially when it came to expressing my feelings and even more so in the world.  To me being mixed race or checking the “Other” box is a perfect witness to my life.  My father was a very complicated man of contradictions.  So reading and writing poems became my escape.    It liberated me from the labyrinths of insuperable gender and race biases that tend to dissipate little girls like me.

I would hole up in my room for hours overhearing myself admit difficult truths that I could not hide from.  It welcomed creative inspirations into my sensory consciousness.    It gave me the chance to explore and discover the province of sound and words.   I found my rhythm. Mom taught me how to read when I was 3.  I was eleven years old when I had fallen in love with sound, art and most of all words.  Dad throughout all the civil rights Tsunami did not faze him because he was driven to do the best on all levels for the upcoming Festival.  I followed suit in my own little way.  I survived by living in disguise. Since I was very young, the sanctity of my bedroom provided a canvas where I hoped, dreamed, set my own values and aspirations.  When I left my room I had to leave them behind like my books and other treasures tucked away on a shelf nestled in the opposite corner of the room.  I knew that Dad loved me, not without surrendering and bartering my own thoughts and feelings when he told me what I was supposed to want.  Dad repeatedly drummed into me that …being a doctor is where it’s at.  My foray into the jazz world began when I could feel my father’s intensity and determination given to each note; I mirrored that sensation into words at my desk.  I discovered and accepted the gifts and talents that Grandpa used to tell me… were gifts God gave me.  I let go of my family “persona”  free to let my imagination come alive and tap into my personal sense of purpose and who I really am.  Early mornings I would lie in bed hearing the music climb the stairs, it had a purpose, it had an intent – it was harmonic, it had a rhythm that grabbed my heart and rendered the beats to prepare me to go to my desk open my curtains and let the burst of the morning gently touch my face.  Jazz was transformative.  I was paralyzed by the feeling of losing my father’s love if I chose to follow my star.  I needed for him to tell me things would be okay.  That he would help me, encourage me, teach me the way things are in the world I was living.  How did he do it?  Every time I tried to step out of the role he created in the song he wrote for me, he would resist.  So I would withdraw and try to convince myself that he knows what’s best for me.  I was so conflicted when he would teach me how to sight sing from sheet music, take me to his rehearsals and ask what instrument I wanted to learn how to play?  There were definitely rules of conduct and engagement with others in the Jazz world.  There were two distinct behaviors, one associated with our home and private life and the one associated with our public life.  I spent most of the time in my room.  There the only rule was to be myself.

So here are suggested secret habits of Jazz Living that I learned that have helped me to find myself:

  • You do not have to prove or define your worth.

It is not up for debate.  You cannot change your circumstance by saying If I do everything my parents or loved one wants then I will be accepted or loved.  Not only is that self-deprecating and destructive it places your value outside of who you really are…worthy of love, respect, and compassion.

  • Take 5 to explore different things to find the things you enjoy.

Begin by having a mindfulness meditation on what things you would do if you were stranded on an island or in the country or even a big city and see what you would like to do and need.  Would you need a guitar, books, art supplies, a camera or would you run or dance in place or create a movie?  Explore what makes you feel comforted, and what comes naturally to you.  You can sign up for classes in dance, guitar lessons, listen to a different music to find out what resonates with you.

  • Let go of expectationsBe yourself!

Stop worrying about what the outcome will be.  Others have always tried to help me to find myself and granted that was wonderful but what I learned from the musicians when I went to their rehearsals was you have to discovers what makes you tick.  What gives you joy and what gives you pause.  Let your inner soul free to fly or sail to where ever it may lead you.

  • Take care of yourself.

Follow your gut.  If something doesn’t feel right, listen to yourself.  Give yourself a break at least, well in my case, a hundred times a day.  If something isn’t going the way I want it to, step back and see what it is you really want from the situation.

  • Fitting in is not the name of the game.

“The real treasure is not reaching your destination; it’s getting the most out of the journey.”

When you are living in the moment and being yourself you will attract authentic and lasting friendships into your life.  People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Your life is not set in stone.  You are the creator of your life and the choices you make.  You are Awesome and if someone tells you otherwise, tell them Haters Not Allowed.  Peace and Love Out!  JBC  😎 & ❤

Symbol 4 Inner Peace & Strength
Symbol 4 Inner Peace & Strength

© Copyright  2011-2016 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All Rights Reserved.

This material is and has been copyrighted.  Feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, and please provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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The Sound I Felt ~ Rumors that “Jazz is becoming Extinct” have been Greatly Exaggerated! Featuring “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” by Erroll Garner

“I love Fifty Shades enough to become vulnerable”  Dakota Johnson Fifty Shades of Grey

102_23.11.2008 Tony Malaby and Mario Pavone Double Tenor 5tet,Geneva by JC Hernandez amr geneva
102_23.11.2008 Tony Malaby and Mario Pavone Double Tenor 5tet,Geneva by JC Hernandez amr geneva

JazzLine News wrote an article on March 9th, 2015 entitled “Jazz Has Become The Least-Popular Genre In The U.S.”  I totally disagree because you cannot quantify culture or art or anything that involves bringing beauty and joy to our lives!  It is like trying to grab a hold of air.   Besides I know a lot of jazz cats and chicks living and dead who would beg to differ with Mr. La Rosa and would challenge him by asking whether he truly loves jazz  and how his love can convey the hope and promise that Jazz has maintained from its inception.  Jazz has been scrutinized, vilified and has downright taken a beating with respect to criticism and evaluating its worth in American Life.  So, I defer to Gerald Early’s take on Jazz which reflects a lotta folks when he wrote “I think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization the Constitution, jazz music, and baseball.

Jazz dropped into the scene as an American form of musical expression at the beginning of the 20th Century.  Jazz gave life dimension to become expansive, universal, and prolific by capturing color, timbre and reflected the shades of life experiences through sound.   Jazz provided the most influential approach to music for all time.  It is and has always been open to folks from all walks of life.  Jazz applies improvisational self expressions and the hot rhythms of life infused with harmonic manipulations through solo and group performances. It is a breath of freedom that is giving birth to contemporary life and is constantly recreating exciting new soulful sounds that examines and redefines the old and familiar music. Jazz spans the spectrum — from soothing background music to an art form where sounds challenge and require unwavering attention.  It is a beautiful thing to hear deep emotion as conveyed in John Coltrane’s Alabama or Duke Ellington’s Come Sunday.  Louis Armstrong’s Stardust was sheer momentousness. Fresh Sounds Records rated Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea as “One of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time. This release -released here with its instantly recognizable original cover includes the complete classic album that was recorded in a former church on the coastline at Carmel, California.”  Give a listen and check out the video snap of Mr. Garner doing his thing.

Finding jazz in everyday life is what gives me the fuzzies and comforts me like meditation and prayer.  I would rather look for the beauty in life and what brings grace to my life then try and quantify my life.  When it comes time for me to die, I want to be like all the men and women Jazz Legends when standing at the Pearly Gates of Heaven to be welcomed because they made a contribution to life not by the number of albums they sold but because they did what God asks all of us to do, spread the Word!  Where were you and what comes to mind when you listen, was it at home, in school, or watching a Woody Allen movie or even Birdman?  Peace & Love Out!  😎 & ❤

live life to the fullest quotes (2)

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is and has been copyrighted.  eel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, and please provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

 

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Is Fear a Factor that is Running Your Life? 10 Riff Changes 2 Get Ur Groove Back feat, “Jazz Odyssey” by New Age Jazz with a 10 Min Guided Meditation

facing Fear

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt You Learn by Living

I don’t know about you, but with all the things that are happening in our world, culture and lives are riddled with fear, and for the most part takes center stage in our lives, grabbing us by the throat and suffocating us in our decision-making process. The irony of it is that most of the time we don’t even realize it. This is partly true because of the media and the learned behavior from our culture tends to stylize “fear” as a socially acceptable form of “stress.” And stress—stress is considered a trophy of success!

In the 60s “fear is for sissies or chumps”. It is a sign of weakness.  It was confused with shame and courage and it was something that we needed to hide from others and deal with it in secret.   In literature it was called “The Dark Night of the Soul”.  NOT!  I have lived long enough to know that FEAR and COURAGE cannot share the same couch.  It became a truth especially when I was paralyzed in 1990 and when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Here is how the scenario ran for me, when I was diagnosed both times it was a Game Changer.  My life was never going to be the same.  The fear of not being able to walk was Huge!  The doctors could not find out what was causing it and it was slowly climbing up my legs and Thank God it stopped when it affected my gag reflex.  The doctors finally came up with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.  Angela who became a dear friend who was diagnosed two years before me had to walk with a cane and had to cross the street in NYC at the slide which is where folks in wheelchairs were able to navigate the street and sidewalk curbs.  Others in my support group were not so lucky, some died, some were put on a respirator for the rest of their lives.  Being an active thirty something year old who played Varsity Tennis.  I was devastated.  What made matters worse was that my father did not believe it was a real illness.  There is nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head, you need to snap out of it and get a job!  Fear became a permanent resident in my heart.

Fear is sneaky, and it shows up in all kinds of disguises, but until you see it for what it is, it’s hard to come into right relationship with fear.  So, I decided I had had enough.  Fear was now something that I had to stop somatizing!  I decided to face it and embrace it as a part of my life.  Here are the riff changes I used to get my life back.  Who knew that I would once again re-enter my life in 2000 with my diagnosis of Breast Cancer.

  1. You are unique – Perfection is the conduit to Fear of Failure

If you become afraid of criticism, failure, or rejection, you are setting yourself up to the illusion of being perfect.  Growing up with jazz and the musicians who improvise and create their own style of living which is facing fear and adversity; I learned that trusting and accepting that God’s grace allows us to recover and heal us because we weren’t made perfect —facing fear is the portal to real intimacy, to be known, loved, and accepted for our true self.

  1. Don’t settle.

Taking risks is a major part of living.  If you become afraid to take risks, challenge conformity, and go for what you really want you have let fear and your ego convince you that you are not good enough.  Then you feel that all of your relationships, your job, and your Life is as good as it gets.   You have forgotten how to dream. That childhood curiosity and imagination are lost.  Settling is not an option.   When you choose to face and get past your fear, hope is reawakened in your heart.  That choice speaks to creating the future where you will not stand for anything less than joy, vitality, even miracles.  Mindfulness meditation and improvisation helps to focus on what you want and where your values are.

  1. Say yes to the Stress.

Being afraid that you will disappoint people or get rejected if you don’t say yes, you have given the power to others and what is outside of yourself.   When you choose, make that choice because it will benefit everyone.  Friends are not really friends if they do not respect your choices.  Only you know what is good for you!

  1. No means No.

You cannot fear something that you know in your heart is the right choice.  If you fear you’re your friends or loved ones will not like you or they want to go in a different direction as you and you don’t want to go in that direction and are afraid of losing them, then I have found that they were not really my friends.  You have to risk it to get the biscuit!  No keeps life honest.  It requires thought and consideration and if you decide that No is right for you, go with it now matter what.  It’s healthy.

  1. There is no escaping fear.

Fear can cause a lot of inner pain, a kind of soul sickness that manifests as depression, anxiety, restlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, frustration, sadness, loneliness, and fatigue. We live in a society that there is a Pill for everything.  The best medicine is to confront and face the discomfort to triumph over feeling the inner pain and void that all of us face one time or another in life.  Drinking or drugging is just another panacea that eludes us into believing that we can control our pain and fear.  It does just the opposite.  It will affect you in so many negative ways that it could take you down a path that you may not be able to recover from.  Fear is transformative because if you use mindfulness mediation and then improvise using your experience and style it is a way better high than any drug or drink can give you.  It will also build your repertoire that will last a lifetime.  You will develop the chops to do the deep transformative work that leads you to freedom.  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best…Discipline of mind and body is one of the most difficult things one has to acquire, but in the long run it is a valuable ingredient of education and a tremendous bulwark in time of trouble. Certainly, it is essential in meeting defeats and recovering from disaster.

  1. Why put off tomorrow what you can do today.

That speaks to the everyday choices you make that will keep you in your groove.  Procrastination is good when you prioritize it in terms of staying in the moment.  It is very helpful to me when I look at the situation or the task and decide that I will not worry about that now, I will worry about that at 6 o’clock this evening when I am able to focus and meditate the best plan of action.  Scheduling specific times to worry, fear, etc. is the best way of living in the moment.

  1. Don’t Freeze UP.

It is harmful to practice avoiding to make a decision or take an action that you know you must make. It’s a good thing to trust your gut or intuition will tell you that it’s time to leave a toxic relationship or to go a different way. It is critical to set boundaries with your loved ones, friends and people in general. Be impeccable with your words and speak up when your integrity is breached at work or in your daily life.

     8.  You are responsible to control You and no one else.

The only thing we can truly control in our lives is breathing, walking, and sustain ourselves.  So leave the micromanaging and manipulating control to God or the Universe.  When I realized that being right, or manipulating a situation is so WRONG and not in my control I found that life is so joyous and liberating.  I know that my parental unit was deemed with that control thing when I was a child.  However, the flip side would be to empower me with the skills and swagger to act in the world on the foundation of  values and beliefs that benefit everyone and not just myself.  Letting go is powerful in that it resonates with harmony and brings about miracles.

  1. Sometimes we should use the Right to Remain Silent.

There is nothing worse in this world than a person who is full of unsolicited Advice.  When folks come up to me, whether they are friends, family or coworkers, the best thing I have learned to do is listen.  Not go into some diatribe about how it happened to me and what happened and just taking over the conversation.  Yes it is true, I is not about you all the time!

  1. When Fear has its way.

Fear isn’t just an uncomfortable feeling that holds you back from following your dreams, connecting with your true tribe, and serving out your life’s purpose.   It can serve as a trigger for stress responses in the body that can morph into disease and prevent the body’s ability to heal itself. Fear has had its way with me when I was just a little chick.  It played a major role in my paralysis and living with breast cancer.  Facing fear is what keeps my thrivin’ and most of all alive.

A Positive Magazine Meditation Relaxation Inspiration

10 Minute Guided Meditation to ease Anxiety, Worry, and Urgency | Soothing | instant Calm | POWERFUL!  Calm relaxing mediation 10 minute guided meditation video to help ease Anxiety, worry and the sense of urgency.

live life to the fullest quotes (2)

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is and has been copyrighted.  eel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, and please provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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Running Riff Changes on A Religious Canvas ~ “Jazz is My Religion” by Ted Joans featuring Tom Deegan – Jazz Is My Religion – Original Mix

Handmade Museum Quality_Jazz Oil Paintings
Handmade Museum Quality_Jazz Oil Paintings

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper unnamed feelings which from the substratum of our being to which we rarely penetrate for our lives are mostly constant. ~ T.S. Eliot

According to Wikipedia Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.   For a Chick of a Certain Age that speaks to Who I really am.  Folks who are different oftentimes create a separate world that is different from the world they actually live in to protect themselves.  What I have come to understand that religion is an integral part of culture.  American culture is an aggregation of different cultures and language.  Jazz has weathered the storms of racism and chauvinism for over a quarter of a century.  Religion and faith is what help one to survive through the roughest times.  I started reading “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse when I as eight years old, it awakened something in me that showed me that Words, spoken, sung or written and jazz are the loves of my life.  Peace  & Love Out Out!  JBC 😎 & ❤

live life to the fullest quotes (2)

Jazz Is My Religion

by Ted Joans

JAZZ is my religion and it alone do I dig the jazz

clubs are my houses of worship and sometimes the concert halls

but some
holy places are too commercial (like churches) so I
don’t dig the
sermons there I buy jazz sides to dig in solitude Like
man/Harlem,
Harlem U.S.A. used used to be a jazz heaven where most of
the jazz
sermons were preached but now-a-days due to chacha
cha and
rotten rock ‘n’roll alotta good jazzmen have sold their
souls but jazz
is still my religion because I know and feel the message
it brings
like reverend Dizzy Gillespie/Brother Bird and
Basie/Uncle
Armstrong/Minister Monk/ Deacon Miles Davis/ Rector
Rollins/
Priest Ellington/ His funkness Horace Silver/ and the great
Pope
John, John COLTRANE and Cecil Taylor They
Preach A Sermon
That Always Swings!!

Yeah jazz is MY religion Jazz
is my story
it was my mom’s and pop’s and their moms and pops
from the days of Buddy Bolton who swung them blues to Charlie
Parker and
Ornette Coleman‘s extension of Bebop Yeah jazz is my
religion
Jazz is unique musical religion the sermons spread
happiness and
joy to be able to dig and swing inside what a
wonderful feeling

jazz is/YEAH BOY!! JAZZ is my religion and dig this:
it wasn’t for
us to choose because they created it for a damn good
reason as a
weapon to battle our blues!JAZZ is my religion and its
international all the way JAZZ is just an Afro-American
music
and like us its here to stay So remember that JAZZ is
my religion
but it can be your religion too but JAZZ is a truth that is
always
black and blue Hallelujah I love JAZZ so Hallelujah I
dig JAZZ so
Yeah JAZZ IS MY RELIGION…….

live laugh and love

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is and has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, and please provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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A Taste 4 Jazz ~ Remembering The Watts Riots ~ A Patch of Blue~Something Sweet~The Mack “Raw Vegan Pecan Pie” featuring Gil Fuller & Monterey Jazz Festival – A Patch Of Blue – Feat. James Moody

rose sepia

“Music at its best…is the grand archeology into and transfiguration of our guttural cry, the great human effort to grasp in time our deepest passions and yearnings as prisoners of time. Profound music leads us–beyond language–to the dark roots of our scream and the celestial heights of our silence. ” ― Cornel WestThe Cornel West Reader

Prelude… 

A Patch of Blue was the first movie I went to and I felt every single emotion a child of 11 could feel.  I was changed.  It was the quiet before the storm.  It was a classic 1965 American drama film directed by Guy Green about the relationship between a black man, Gordon (played by Sidney Poitier), and a blind white female teenager, Selina (Elizabeth Hartman), and the problems that plague their relationship when they fall in love in a racially divided America. Made in 1965 against the backdrop of the growing civil rights movement, the film explores racism from the perspective of love is blind.  It was the first time I felt what love must be like for an eleven year old mixed little chick.  I selected a jazz song with Classical overtones because it reminds me of how I felt when I watch A Patch of Blue and listen to my father’s arrangement

The Watts Riots that dropped into American Life has many characteristics of the changes and call and response of jazz in the streets.  It was a very frightening time.  My heart felt as though  the flame from a candle was too hot. It flickered and danced over-a warm breeze, offering no respite from the heat. The soft gossamer wings of grace notes fluttered to and fro in the darkness, sprinkling dusty syncopated flurry of the notes become a circle of light. I struggled to resist, but still I was drawn in. And then there was a brightness with the heat becoming so intensified because now I had flown too close to the sun.  I became dazzled by the light, fried and melted from the heat and weary of my endeavors to stay airborne.  The heat … was stifling and overpowering.  The song was over and awaked me. I open my eyes, and I’m draped with a tremendous sense of hope and yet I feared it would never happen in my life time.  But like love and life we must feel pain and sorrow to unmask the joy that the universe has to give.  The saxophone is the riff of racial identity filled with licks and syncopation.  The French horns respond by filling the air with a sense of freedom and liberty.  It is a mood stirring redition as the point/counterpoint of American life is shadowed by the ever present hope that compassion will replace hate and violence against those that are different.  The sound and harmony breathes hope in the fact that the theme and melody speaks directly to our hearts.

So, I want to end on a decadently sweet and healthy note…. Peace & Love Out!  JBC 8-)* & ❤

Raw, Vegan Pecan Pie by Gena Hamshaw

Author Notes: An easy, forgiving, and absolutely delicious vegan spin on pecan pie. Creamy medjool dates and coconut oil perfectly approximate the flavor and richness of a traditional filling.

Gena's Pecan-Pie- Courtesy of Food52.com
Gena’s Pecan-Pie- Courtesy of Food52.com

Serves 8 to 10

For the crust

  • 3/4cups raw pecans
  • 3/4cups raw walnuts
  • 1/4teaspoon sea sat
  • 1/4cup shredded coconut
  • 1cup pitted medjool dates, packed

For the pie filling

  • 1 1/4cup medjool dates, tightly packed, pitted, and soaked in warm water for at least an hour
  • 1/2cup plus 3/4 cup raw pecans, divided
  • 1/4cup melted coconut oil
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4teaspoon nutmeg
  • Big pinch sea salt
  1. To make the crust: Place the walnuts and pecans, sea salt, and coconut in a food processor and grind roughly. Add the dates and process until the mixture is thoroughly broken down and sticks together when you squeeze a bit in the palm of your hand. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of a pie plate (alternately, you can press it into a 9″ springform pan).
  2. Drain the dates, reserving the soak liquid. Transfer the dates to a high speed blender or powerful food processor. Add the 1/2 cup pecans, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and about 1/4 cup of the date-soaking water. Blend until the mixture is totally smooth.
  3. Pour the filling into the crust. Smooth the top over with an inverted spatula. Place in the fridge for at least four hours to set. Decorate the top with the 3/4 cup pecans, and continue to chill till ready to serve.

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is and has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, and please provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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The Sound I felt ~ RiffShots of 3 EZ PZ Ways to Finding Your Happy Place through Jazz Improv featuring Gil Fuller & Monterey Jazz Festival – Big Sur – 2007 – Remaster

Big Sur is My Happy Place Courtesy of cheezeburgerdotcom
Big Sur is My Happy Place Courtesy of cheezeburgerdotcom

Here are three mindfulness improvisation tips to self care that will leave bad habits in the dust and shed light into your life bringing you to your very special happy place.

Here is one of my Happiest Sounds from my childhood…

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time. ~ Joseph Campbell

Mindfulness is your portal to being present in your daily life. For me jazz improv is my way of living creatively and not emotionally. When we live in the present it allows us to let go of the pain of the past and the worries or expectations of the future so we can focus on what we have now. It is not a matter of denial or I will be happy with a million bucks or all of my bills are paid because the price for living is that bills will always be there.  There will always be an expense for living.  Finding gratitude for the things we do, even the smallest thing gives me a sense of peace.  Worry over being able to meet our daily lives takes us out of ourselves and life then seems like an uphill battle and we lose sight of the present moment.  We get caught up and eventually will disappear from our lives.  Mindfulness gives you the choice of what to focus on and redirects the mind to stop letting the past shape and distort the future and loose the present moment.  You no longer dwell on things you cannot change and rely and react emotionally to them which can be quite exhausting. One of the biggest perks of mindfulness is that you can minimize anxiety and stress. Living in the moment and creatively brings more joy, clarity, wellness and energy.

 The best way to cultivate mindfulness is through meditation   So how can you do this?  Jazz improv allows you to  meditate so that you can be detached, a witness or an observer and releases you to explore ways that work for you.  Now it takes a whole lot of practice and finding a different perspective to help you to find your happy quiet space between those thoughts. You quiet your ego driven obsessive thinking, and start responding instinctively. Meditation allows you to relax and to listen to your inner spirit that will allow your thoughts to detach and flow. This is the Happy Place where you begin awakening and manifesting your dreams.  You are now in touch with who you really are; with what matters most to you as well as becomes your way of improvising on life  so you face adversity and the challenges in your daily routine imparting your own style.

Here are three mindfulness improvisation tips to self care that will leave bad habits in the dust and shed light into your life bringing you to your very special happy place.

#1 Improvise this: . Begin with fifteen minutes meditation twice a day. It’s great first thing in the morning and then again in the evening at the end of your day.   Here is one of my favorites.

Mindfulness Meditation – Quick 15 Min Stress Relief Version

If you want to fold it into your daily routine begin with eating a healthy, balanced diet that would include fresh organic food.  Or how about a walking meditation or yoga class to help you to connect with your body that helps you to center yourself, and find balance?   The benefits are a good night sleep that will rejuvenate and detoxify your mind and body.

#2 Improvise this: Taking Care of Yourself

Your objective would be to connect with those things that truly make you happy. Target that thing, place, or activity that creates space every day.  This is not negotiable and a top priority.  A total Ah Ha! Moment!

Block out time in your day—it is up to you whether it is five minutes or an hour.  Do something you love. Listen to music, read a good book, sit in silence by the water or a fire, or even try dancing in your bare feet in the living room. Give yourself a star on your calendar every time you do it. Believe me you will feel more inspired and creative.

#3 Improvise this: Get an Attitude of Gratitude

You can start by counting your blessings!  This lets you realize how good your life truly is and connects you with the abundance in your life.  I have found that it attracts more prosperity and is way more rewarding.. Surround yourself with what you think is beautiful, and be grateful for it in your home, your work space, your clothes, I think you get the picture.

 I love to take this time and combine it with my nightly 15 minute mindfulness meditation routine just before bed.  It is a perfect way to open your heart and to dream beautiful dreams.  Mind you, I am no spring chicken and that it does not happen overnight.  I am also a late bloomer so some folks get right away and then there are folks like me that work at it until it takes hold and opens your heart and life to the wonders and joy of life’s possibility.  Give it a go.  Peace and love out!  JBC 😎  & ❤

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© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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The Sound I felt ~ RiffShot of a Jazz Portrait of Monk Who Demonstrated the Bliss of Being Who He Truly Was…featuring Thelonious Monk – Epistrophy

American Jazz Pianist Thelonious Monk on TIME MAGAZINE Cover
American Jazz Pianist Thelonious Monk on TIME MAGAZINE Cover

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”  Joseph Campbell

Jazz dropped a distinctive musical expression into American culture at the turn of the 20th Century.  The presence of jazz became expansive, universal, and prolific. It became the most influential approach to music for all time.  Jazz blends diverse contexts by capturing sounds and rhythms transforming them into spontaneous and synchronistic styles that infuse harmonic manipulations and maelstrom rhythms that are featured in solo and group performances.  Jazz is an acoustic metaphor of life’s challenges or riffs.  Our emotions  love, fear, anger, sorrow and joy create a canvas upon which we live.  Life’s challenges (riffs) are:  abandonment, arrogance, inferiority, rejection and shame.  Personal transformation allows us to overcome these riffs.  Jazz is a way of dealing with life’s challenges especially through featured solo performances.  The formula for a good life is harmony; being able to maintain and live truthfully; showing up and sharing a sense of well-being and interconnectedness with others.  Finally having faith and trusting that these riffs are merely a part of living.  My biggest riff has always been abandonment beginning when I was just a little chick.  It filled the spectrum of being alone, judged and dependent upon everything and one outside of me.  Jazz taught me what being in the world and not of it truly means.  Joseph Campbell wrote: “The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are”.  Growing up in a jazz filled environment enabled me to see life from a different perspective.  I initially saw and felt it when dad was composing and arranging songs.  I also witnessed it at rehearsals and live performances on stage.  I discovered that I experienced it when I am reading and writing prose and making collages.  I had to keep it as a secret because the fear that dad would abandon me became overwhelming.  It took many years for me to develop the courage to be me.

So now let’s take a closer look at jazz as an acoustic metaphor of life.  The jazz ensemble/orchestra is an acoustic canvas of what I would describe as the ‘good life’. The difference between an ensemble and a classical symphony orchestra is that jazz ensemble/orchestras feature a solo performance that imparts their own style of imagination and creativity and still maintains the harmonic integrity and rhythm of the original melody.   Through receptive sensitivity the soloist features their self-expressive performances to the audience. The complex harmony is only possible through playing from a collective score that inspires free musical expression and interacting with one another.  The musicians are playing without obstacles or conflict creating a sense of harmony and free style that benefits the greater good of the whole.  There is a sense of self-actualization through a loss of self in the song. The achievement in this case, the song, acts as an internal and interactive transformation between the musicians and the audience.

Jazz Portrait of Thelonious Monk

Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy“, “‘Round Midnight“, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t“. Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer wrote about 70. His compositions and improvisations are full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk’s unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations. Since this was not a style universally appreciated poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin dismissed Monk as ‘the elephant on the keyboard’. Monk’s manner was idiosyncratic. Visually, he was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats and sunglasses. At times, Monk while the other musicians in the band continued playing, would stop, stand up from the keyboard and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano. Notably, Monk was one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time.

David Thomson from the Los Angeles Times proclaimed Geoff Dyer. who wrote “But Beautiful:  A Book About JazzMay be the best book ever written about jazz”,  wrote a passage on Monk that I must say gave me a little insight into what it was like living with my father and living in the jazz world.  But like jazz, it speaks more about the man as an individual, their idiosyncrasies, their uniqueness.  Here is an excerpt from his book that gives a good example of Monk.  Mr. Dyer wrote:

“He kept all his music very close to him, didn’t like other people seeing it, he kept everything close to him.  When he went out he liked to be wrapped up in a coat—winter was his time—and he preferred not to stray too far.  At the studio he’d have his music in a little book, reluctant to let other people see it….”

Here is a video of Monk performing “Epistrophy” so you can get a feel for his portrait.

This is one example of jazz as metaphor and the meaning of the ‘good life’ where the privilege of a lifetime is indeed to be who you are. How about you!  What shade is your life? How do you express yourself?  As always, I promise to give more…Peace & Love Out!  JBC 😎 & >3

live laugh and love

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

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A Taste of Jazz ~ The Mack Vegan Ratatouille featuring The Jazz In Paris Project – Tu Es

Moïse Kisling, Pâquerette, Picasso and behind them Marie Vassilieff at the café La Rotonde, August 1916
Moïse Kisling, Pâquerette, Picasso and behind them Marie Vassilieff at the café La Rotonde, August 1916

Hey JazzFoodie Fans, I just finished a fabulous read entitled, Harlem in Montmartre by William Shack.  Shack gives a fascinating look at this extraordinary cultural moment when African American musicians left the discrimination and racism they experienced in American culture to pursue a life and their art in bohemian Europe.  This was a dynamic community of African American jazz musicians and artists who were free to create a vibrant musical scene introducing jazz to the French. The Harlem Renaissance was thriving across the Atlantic however the entertainers in Montmartre became the epicenter of the Parisian scene.  It made a fascinating contribution to jazz culture that thrived for two decades until the occupation of the city by German troops on June 18, 1940.   Shack features and highlights some of the principal players that shaped the jazz scene in Montmartre folks like Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, and Bricktop. Shack, an anthropologist took a closer look at the musicians’ experiences, the settings in which they performed, and the response of French audiences.

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 “Jazz is like a banana—it has to be consumed on the spot,”  ~ Sartre

With that theme in mind, I absolutely love this recipe of Ratatouille and the video is a fun way to present it along with the recipe.  Peace & Love Out!  JBC Bon Appétit!

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 Piperade Sauce:

1 Onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 stalks of celery chopped

1 Tbs. butter and olive oil

1 Tbs. garlic minced

1 ea. yellow, red Fabiano peppers seeded and veins removed and chopped

2 chili peppers chopped

20 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 Tsp. Italian seasoning (if want totally French way Herbs de Provence)

6 leaves of fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sliced vegetables for Topping:

2 Yellow squash

2  zucchini

Japanese eggplant

6 Roma tomatoes

I use a Mandolin to ensure that all of the veggies are evenly sliced (1/16”) with the exception of the Roma tomatoes I slice them with a serrated knife.

Seasoning Oil

2-4 Tbs. Olive Oil with thyme leaves, crushed garlic (1 tbs.) and salt and pepper

Drizzle on top as seen in the video

 

♪     ♪     ♪

live laugh and love

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

 

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The Sound I Felt ~ A Jazz Contemplation on Selma50 featuring Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln – “Freedom Day”

“Jazz speaks for life,” King said. “The blues tell the story of life’s difficulties — and, if you think for a moment, you realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.”

U Can't Turn This Around
U Can’t Turn This Around

Jazz reflects American pop music style and it’s Culture that radiates throughout the world. Jazz culture has dropped into every aspect of our lives.  It represents more than its origin, it represents a sense of freedom in choice and style that touches all of our sensibilities and humanness.  In recognition of Selma50 and Civil and Human Rights, consider this have you ever had someone say something so hurtful and untrue or given you a look of disgust or hatred because of who you are that you wanted to throw?  I was five years old when my father moved our family from our loft apartment on Riverside Drive with a doorman on the Upper West Side of New York City to an eleven room palacious home in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles.  It was a culture shock to say the least, however, I didn’t know the first thing about race or colorism or Light Girls.  The folks that came all dressed to the nines, women wearing in their casual chic jeans and bejeweled tops to sleek classic cuts and make up like pancake and red lips; and the men in their cool slacks and turtleneck sweaters looked crisp and clean on the buzzing streets of New York City.  Los Angeles was spread out and the clothes although had the same style imparted a Western laid back flare of Miles’ Cool jazz and sultry garden parties and barbeques.

Facing Freedom-politics-heroines-of-civil-rights-movement-Joann-Gibson-Robinson-vivian-malone-jones-Ella-Baker
Facing Freedom-politics-heroines-of-civil-rights-movement-Joann-Gibson-Robinson-vivian-malone-jones-Ella-Baker

My consciousness raising came about in all places elementary school.  Where I was approached and asked: Where I lived?  What my parents did? And oh yeah, the big one What are you?  I had light brown hair with a lot of blonde highlights and my complexion was what was called “Olive”.  I always thought olives were green or black.  You see, when I would go with my father to rehearsals and recording sessions it was like the United Nations.  In the jazz world everyone was welcome.  But then the rumblings began.  Starting off as slight rumbling and the question turned into a loud roar.  Skin color symbolized who and what you were.  Interracial slurs were swirling about.  The air became suffocating.  Now when I look at today and remember back then, only the words have changed…for the worse.  Racism, Women’s issues, Gender Issues, there is always some kind of issue.  Bottom line I want to change the channel.  The cultural insecurities and identities have been called into question and are returning back to the cultural rage that haunted us back then.  We need to Feung Shui the cultural situation and seek a consciousness of We Are Who We Are.  God and the Universe made us that way.  No more trying to bleach or excise what we cannot change.  It is time to look back and learn from our past mistakes and stop reinventing issues that tear us and our lives apart.

Folks that were regular faces in our living room in Los Angeles were Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, Lonetta McKee, Denise Nicholas and her father was a close friend of my father, Lena Horne, Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, but one of our most frequent guests were Abby Lincoln and Max Roach you couln’t have a better cast of characters.  I selected Max Roach – Freedom Day because this brings back such fond memories of getting to know them as extraordinary common folks who love to laugh, and enjoy life irrespective of what was going on in the streets and the marches.  They embodied what freedom meant and for a mixed little girl like me it made it even harder to go to school and keep that momentum going because of what was going on in the hearts and minds of those that feared our gathering to enjoy each other’s company was a threat to American Life.  What do you hear?  What sounds do you feel?  Peace & Love Out!  JBC 😎 & ❤

live laugh and love

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.

The Sounds I felt ~Riff Shots, Licks, Mimesis and Acoustic & Video Snaps from The Village Vanguard, Me, My Father and Ahmad Jamal circa 1969 Accompanied by Ahmad Jamal – “Frank’s Tune”

NewYork_VillageVanguard_Courtesyof singyoursongthemovie_dot_com
NewYork_VillageVanguard_Courtesyof singyoursongthemovie_dot_com

My family and I moved back to New York in the Fall of 1969.  We lived in Jamaica Estates in Queens.  My mother said that the one thing she loved about living in New York City was the change of Seasons.  LA was was a stark contrast and a culture shock for me.  I remembered living on Riverside Drive and going to the park with all the other children and their mom’s or nanny’s.  Night life was a whole different world.  There was no comparison, the opening of the Los Angeles Music Center (an upcoming post) was a gala event in 1967.  Limousines and everyone all glammed up ~ tux’s and evening gowns that stole the show from the stars that shone that night in the sky.  Bling everywhere!  Night life in the New York Jazz scene had its own magic.  Everybody was a superstar.  The subways meant you travelled in style.  You didn’t need a limo.  Besides everyone had the chance to sit next to Dizzy or Miles or Byrd and if you knew that you were in their presence, you smiled and cocked your head to greet them.  There was no standing on ceremony.  The only ceremony was in the club.  There is something majestic about New York, snow, traffic, subways, the hot dog and pretzels stands, and I can’t forget the pervasive smell of chestnuts that were roasting signaling the holiday season was near.  We took the F train in and got out on 14th Street in the Village.

Village-Vanguard-interior
Village-Vanguard-interior

I saw the red awning blanketed with snow that glistened in the evening lights, I felt my heart skip a beat.  The Village Vangard’s grand opening on February 22, 1935, by Max Gordon. At first, it featured many forms of music  and poetry~ folk music and beat poetry, but it switched to an all-jazz format in 1957. The Village Vanguard, is a small underground club nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village and to the best of my recollection one of the hottest places in the world to hear the best jazz,  We made our way down stairs to a table that was right next to the piano.  My father ordered Jambalaya and Shrimp Étouffée with Dirty Rice.  A spotlight shown on the piano that was tucked into a corner.  I will always wonder how the heck they got this Steinway Grand Piano down a narrow flight of stairs, so narrow mind you, you have to turn sideways to descend them.  The clapping began to fill the air and  Ahmad walked out smiling and bowing as he made his way to the piano.  He gave my father a warm hug  and bowed to our table then sat down to play Snowfall, and Frank’s Tune.  These were songs my father told me they worked together on. My father said that Ahmad was like Errol Garner and Joe Henderson who had a way with the ivory that Count Basie and Duke would applaud.  What a treat to be caught up in the mindfulness and sacredness of Jazz in a well established club in the Village.  That night was so unique and as perfect  as an individual snow flake  Tom MoonNPR musical correspondent put it like this, Ahmad Jamal is one of the great Zen masters of jazz piano. He plays just what is needed and nothing more… every phrase is perfect.”  Peace Out!  JBC 😎  ❤  Happy Nu Year!  Here is a snap of M. Jamal playing at the Alhambra so you can get a feel of what it was like at the Village Vanguard back in 1969.  I hope you enjoy it.  Peace and Love Out!  JBC 😎 & ❤

Happy Holidaze 2 U from the Pacific Northwest.

hope faith & love

© Copyright  2011-2015 by Jazzybeatchick/JazZenista/Jannat Marie. All rights reserved.

This material is has been copyrighted,  feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks and added to websites; please do not change the content, provide credit by including the author’s name @ http://jazzybeatchick.com and your readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance.