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.

Jazz 4 the Holidaze! BackBeat ~ Creating a Counter Melody of Life ~ “Nothing More” (feat. Lily Costner) by the Alternate Routes


My father and me at a MJFO rehearsal 1965
My father and me at a MJFO rehearsal 1965

“The essentials of Jazz are: melodic improvisation, melodic invention, swing & instrumental personality.”  Mose Allison

This is an excerpt from my memoir The Sound I Felt in the Prelude section  entltled “HiStory” that captures a conversation I had with my father.  I always wondered  how he managed to use the Hindemith mathematical model to create the sound he created.  He decided to take a break from composing at the piano in our living room and motioned for me to come and sit next to him on the bench in the Spring of 1965.  I asked him how he started and turning toward me he said…

“Music has always been in my blood.  I began writing and arranging music when I was fourteen with the Barons of Rhythm.  I taught myself how to read, write and sight sing music charts.  I went to the library and found the Paul Hindemith method of music theory.   This theory was very complex and was based on the mathematical use of harmonic tones from one center to another using all 12 notes freely or randomly instead of the conventional style of  composing music that relied upon the music scale as a subset of the notes.

I would take an idea, melody or sound and have a rough idea ≈ the plan that focuses on the bottom notes and now becomes the counter melody of the sound or idea.

One day I decided that I wanted to go and see one of the greatest band leaders of my time  His name was Les Hite.  Les and his orchestra were performing in New York City @ 52nd Street, at the tender age of fourteen I knew I’d have to find a way to get in to see the band perform and to meet him in person.

It was Friday, May, 24th, 1944, 6:00 pm and it was now time for me to get dressed for my trip to 52nd Street Club.  I chose my favorite shirt that was made of beautiful brown silk with gold vertical stripes my mother made for my 13th birthday.  Smiling wryly he whispered… My mom chose it because it brought out my sultry almond shaped eyes and warm smile. I was popular with the boys and girls alike.  Although I excelled academically, my music class and teacher Miss Davenport inspired me the most.  You know, I formed my own band with guys from my neighborhood when I was 14.  The guys performed with me throughout my music career.  Frank Sinatra was doing his thing in North Newark; Sara was singing in the choir, a lot of great talent came out of New Jersey back in my day.  Back to the story− at that time, all I could dream and think about was meeting and talking to Les Hite.

So I gathered up train fare and headed to Union Station located on Market Street that was in to the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ which was predominately a Portuguese neighborhood.  Across from the train station was Market Street which had many open venders peddling their wares, fresh and ripe red delicious apples, bright marigold colored oranges; sunny yellow bananas; papayas; pineapples; mangos, it was so bright and festive that it looked like a garden of fruits and vegetables.  There was a seafood market and a meat market that sold the best and freshest cuts.  The street was of white cobble stone.  That gave it a very ethnic and unique feeling, like being on a street in the countryside of Portugal.  Union Station was a beautiful gold domed  building that stood out from the architecture of row houses on the surrounding narrow streets lined with Poplar trees shading the homes and the sidewalks.  Union Train Station was the second most popular cosmopolitan place where travelers from New York and around the world would pass through with the exception of Grand Central Station in New York City.  The station had a semi-circle driveway to the entrance made of cobblestone that matched the streets that surrounded the building creating an island in the center of a close knit neighborhood.

I arrived at the train station and had bought a fresh mango and an orange for dinner.   I walked up to the ticket window; the ticket agent was dressed in a dark blue outfit with gold epaulets and a hat.

Well young man what can I do for you?

I said with a smile, I would like a round trip ticket to New York City,.

The ticket clerk slid the ticket under the half moon shaped glass and I slid the $1.75 in return.

Over the loud speaker the clerk announced, “The 6:48 pm train to Manhattan now boarding on Track 14”.

I sprung to my feet and began running; I was so excited my feet barely touched the marble floor.  People were milling around toting luggage and carry-on’s the women were dressed in coats made of wool and cashmere with tams and hats on shoulder length waved hair.   They held little hands of children with warm coats and gloves with hats that tied under their chins.  The children quietly followed their folks, the girls with dolls and the boys carrying trucks.  I made it to Track 14 and saw the conductor toward the middle of the train.  I sprinted weaving in and out of the crowd reaching the center car where the conductor stood.  All Aboard! He motioned for me to board the train.  I hopped on and found an empty seat next to a group of young musicians dressed in dress pants and white shirts, one guy was placing a suitcase that held the charts for that evening’s performance in the storage above the seat.

52nd Street_New York 1948 Courtesy of wikipediadotorg
52nd Street_New York 1948 Courtesy of wikipediadotorg

I asked, can I sit with you guys?  They looked up and smiled and said Sure Man.  I introduced myself and we chatted about the gig and sight sang some of the charts that they were going to perform that night.  I was shocked to find out that it just so happened that they were band members of Les Hite’s Band.  They invited me to join them backstage.  I was so ecstatic I could hardly breathe.  We arrived at the Savoy and entered through the stage door entrance.  Stage hands were carrying the music stands and microphones to the stage.  Les Hite was in his dressing room talking with his road manager.  Les was cleaning his saxophone in his lap, a page for the manager sounded over the loud speaker.  The manager, dressed in casual slacks and a cashmere turtleneck green sweater stood up and started heading to the door and passed me on the way to the stage.  I took a deep breath, then I knocked on the door.

Les shouted Come In!

I tentatively entered; Les looked up and said Hi kid, what’s up! 

I have followed you and your band and I wanted to know how you do it, how you get that sound?

Les looked at him and laughed and said, it’s easy– you put the highs with the highs and the lows with the lows.  Les broke into laughter as he got up to head to the stage.

I was annoyed.  I couldn’t figure out why he did not take me seriously.  Turning, I said, I can do that, how about letting me be one of your copyists?  I am very good!

Les stopped, took a long, long look at me, okay Kid, you must have something going for you if  you could just walk up to me and ask for a copyist gig.  Come to my office tomorrow at 3 pm and Cal our head copyist will get you squared away.  Good Luck kid.   I shook Les’ hand and walked with him to the stage entrance where Les introduced me to Charlie his Road Manager. Les told Charlie, look out for him, he’s one of our new copyists.  I was on Cloud 9.  That was my ticket into the exciting world of Jazz.  I was now living my personal dream.  So, I joined the band and ran away from home at age 14 and I never looked back.  I knew I was on my way, ‘cause God, fate, or destiny wouldn’t allow me to fail now….”

Wishing you Happy Holidaze with a jazz back beat that is the prelude to the life that has been waiting for me.  It is what makes the sounds of my life come true and are so filled with the blessings and grace that God has given to all of us.  It is Nothing more….Peace & Love Out!  JBC 😎 & <3.


Symbol of Love
Symbol of Love

© 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.


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.



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
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
Armstrong/Minister Monk/ Deacon Miles Davis/ Rector
Priest Ellington/ His funkness Horace Silver/ and the great
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
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
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
black and blue Hallelujah I love JAZZ so Hallelujah I
dig JAZZ so

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.


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


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.


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.


The Sound I felt ~ A Terror is More Certain . . .by Bob Kaufman featuring Gil Fuller & Monterey Jazz Festival – Angel City Blues – Feat. Dizzy Gillespie

Watts Riots
Watts Riots

Forty years ago today, large sections of South Los Angeles went up in flames. The violence and looting came to be known as the Watts riots. The chaos was a precursor to the urban unrest other cities would soon experience. In a few moments, we’ll hear from a man who continues to activism that sprang from the 1965 riots, but, first, some history. ~ Adolfo Guzman Lopez, Reporter for KPCC

It has been fifty years when the first time I felt terror in August of 1965 when the Watts riots broke out and the Tsunami of hate, violence, fear which through the veil of animosity lay the remains of life.  The 19” television in our family room seemed to have drowned out the music and replaced it with noise.  Bob Kaufman’s A Terror is More Certain… and Angel City Blues acoustically recounts the story, beginning light and deliberate to an absolute terror filled frenzy of destruction and loss.  What do you feel and hear?  Peace & Out!  JBC 😎 & ❤

A Terror is More Certain . . .

By Bob Kaufman

A terror is more certain than all the rare desirable popular songs I
know, than even now when all of my myths have become . . . , & walk
around in black shiny galoshes & carry dirty laundry to & fro, & read
great books & don’t know criminals intimately, & publish fat books of
the month & have wifeys that are lousy in bed & never realize how
bad my writing is because i am poor & symbolize myself.

A certain desirable is more terror to me than all that’s rare. How
come they don’t give an academic award to all the movie stars that
die? they’re still acting, ain’t they? even if they are dead, it should
not be held against them, after all they still have the public on their
side, how would you like to be a dead movie star & have people sit-
ting on your grave?

A rare me is more certain than desirable, that’s all the terror, there
are too many basketball players in this world & too much progress
in the burial industry, lets have old fashioned funerals & stand
around & forgive & borrow wet handkerchiefs, & sneak out for
drinks & help load the guy into the wagon, & feel sad & make a
date with the widow & believe we don’t see all of the people sink-
ing into the subways going to basketball games & designing baby
sitters at Madison Square Garden.

A certain me is desirable, what is so rare as air in a Poem, why can’t
i write a foreign movie like all the other boys my age, I confess to all
the crimes committed during the month of April, but not to save
my own neck, which is adjustable, & telescopes into any size noose,
I’m doing it to save Gertrude Stein’s reputation, who is secretly
flying model airplanes for the underground railroad stern gang of
oz, & is the favorite in all the bouts . . . not officially opened yet
Holland tunnel is the one who writes untrue phone numbers.

A desirable poem is more rare than rare, & terror is certain, who
wants to be a poet & work a twenty four hour shift, they never ask
you first, who wants to listen to the radiator play string quartets all
night. I want to be allowed not to be, suppose a man wants to
swing on the kiddie swings, should people be allowed to stab him
with queer looks & drag him off to bed & its no fun on top of a
lady when her hair is full of shiny little machines & your a**
reflected in that television screen, who wants to be a poet if you
f**k on t.v. & all those cowboys watching.

Bob Kaufman, “A Terror is More Certain . . .” from Cranial Guitar. Copyright © 1996 by Eileen Kaufman. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. http://www.coffeehousepress.org

Source: Cranial Guitar (Coffee House Press, 1996)

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.


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.

♪     ♪     ♪

 “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!

♪     ♪     ♪

 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.



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.


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.