Thanksgiving 2013 & Music Expressing Thanks


 H A P P Y      T H A N K S G I V I N G  

I thought to celebrate this wonderful day of ThanksgivingI’d compile music with lyrics that express thanks in various ways.

Here is my Thanksgiving wish:

Music from these artists (arranged alphabetically):

Louis Armstrong

J. S. Bach

Charles Ives

Led Zeppelin

Bob Marley

Pat Metheny

Charles Mingus

Me’Shell Ndegéocello

Sam & Dave

Hank Williams

The ten (10) THANKFUL recordings (arranged in the listening order I prefer):

Thanks A Million  –  Louis Armstrong

Holidays Symphony – Mvt. IV.  Thanksgiving (Forefathers’ Day) – Charles Ives

Thank You Lord  –  Bob Marley

Everyday I Thank You – Pat Metheny

Thank You  –  Led Zeppelin

I Thank You  –  Sam & Dave

Thank God  –  Hank Williams

Thankful  –  Me’Shell Ndegéocello

Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am – Charles Mingus

Now Thank We All Our God – J. S. Bach

Excerpts of lyrics from six (6) of these songs (corresponding to the listening order above):

“Thanks a million, a million thanks to you, for every thing that love could bring you brought me”  (sung by Louis Armstrong)

“Thank you, Lord, for what you’ve done for me.  Thank you, Lord, for what you’re doing now”  (sung by Bob Marley)

“And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles, thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one”  (sung by Robert Plant)

“You didn’t have to love me like you did, but you did, and I thank you”  (sung by Sam & Dave)

“Thank God for every flower and each tree, thank God for all the mountains and the sea, thank God for giving life to you and me, wherever you may be, thank God” (sung by Hank Williams)

“So much suffering for fancy cars, big houses, everything, I lose my faith sometimes, I lose my faith sometimes, yeah, just want to be happy and thankful”  (sung by Me’Shell Ndegeocello)

 H A P P Y      T H A N K S G I V I N G


My Favorite 9 Minutes of George Duke – Did A Vehicle Did A Vehicle Did A Vehicle



Did a vehicle did a vehicle did a vehicle

Guacamole queen guacamole queen guacamole queen

Was George Duke a vehicle that came from somewhere out there?



Yesterday, August 6, 2013, I learned that George Duke had died.  George Duke, to me, was a mythical character.  I loved so much of his playing and singing, and I couldn’t figure him out because of his great diversity and depth.  He was a great pianist, keyboardist, singer, band leader, sideman, creator, performer, improvisor, persona and, according to so many who knew him, wonderful and kind man.  By “persona,” I am referring to George Duke as an actor, and by “actor” I mean “live musician on stage with Frank Zappa.”  In addition to being a musician in any of Frank Zappa’s bands over the decades, one had to be able to act.  One had a persona and maybe a changing persona over time.

My favorite George Duke performance is his multiple keyboards, keyboard styles, vocals and vocal styles on Frank Zappa’s Inca Roads, from Zappa’s brilliant 1975 album, One Size Fits All.  (This also happens to be my favorite performance of percussionist Ruth Underwood.)  As a bonus, there is the great claymation interspersed with this public TV performance of Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention.

Inca Roads, more than any other performance, is the finest demonstration of every musical aspect of George Duke.  Duke sings a very challenging melody – rhythmically as well as in terms of intervals, melodic range and tempos.  His keyboard playing covers many areas – from playing “spacecraft landing” sounds and sweeps on an analog synthesizer, to jazz and rock, to extensive solos in several styles, and superb unison and harmony playing with others in the band.

My informal guide to this supremely brilliant performance of Inca Roads:


0.00 – 0.35  intro & spaceship landing

0.36 – 0.59  “Did a vehicle come from somewhere out there…”

1.00 – 1.14  “I ain’t never seen nothing like that…”

1.15 – 1.47  “Did a vehicle did a vehicle did a vehicle…”

1.48 – 2.03  mallets, keyboard & flute unison bridge transition to Zappa guitar solo

2.04 – 4.41   Zappa red Gibson SG guitar (my electric guitar) solo over two repeated chords

4.41 – 5.12  wordless harmony vocals over the same two chords

5.13 – 5.30  repeat of mallets, keyboard & flute unison bridge (from 1.48)

5.31 – 5.44  “did a vehicle come from somewhere out there did a vehicle come…” – very fast vocal

5.45 – 6.37  “did a vehicle” melody, now instrumental & embellished

6:38 – 7.16  great George Duke solo mostly on Fender Rhodes

7.17 – 7.55  George Duke solo continued – now synth reenters

7.56 – 8.08  killer mallet solo

8.09 – 8:13  “Did a booger bear….”

8.14 –  8.21  “Guacamole queen guacamole queen guacamole queen…”

8.22 – 8.24  “Chester’s thing, on Ruth!”

8.25 – 8.48  “Did a booger bear….that’s Ruth!”



Two more George Duke performances:

Here is a great piano solo by George Duke from 1983 in Tokyo.  (Note also his personality and affability in this performance.)

This is George Duke and Billy Cobham live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976.

Here is George Duke’s enormous discography.  This multifaceted special human left us with so much music.  We are fortunate to have had George Duke land here.



My friend Mulgrew Miller died today (May 29, 2013)



I have revised this post by adding many more links to recordings, performances and teaching moments found on YouTube, photographs, Wikipedia entries, and links to if one is interested in purchasing Mulgrew Miller’s WORK or Tony Williams’ Angel Street.

I saw this photo on Friday and thought about Mulgrew Miller.  My friend and colleague, Mulgrew Miller, had just suffered a massive stroke.

This photo made me smile.  It is pleasant, it is kind.  It is simple and understandable until you delve deeper, and then it is amazingly complex and the intricacy gets more fascinating.  But one comes back to the photo and the weaving that took place – all of the great work that must have gone into creating something so beautiful and accessible but artistic and layered.  The more I looked at this, the more I thought it was particularly suitable to use in writing about my friend.  It makes me think of Mulgrew.

I started to write this on Friday, hoping, praying and expecting that Mulgrew would recover.  I looked forward to seeing Mulgrew and talking with him soon.


I first heard of Mulgrew Miller from reading an article in the New York Times, probably in 1986 or 1987.  The article was about the present state of jazz in the United States.

The article went on to state that the two (2) finest composers of their generation were MULGREW MILLER and GERI ALLEN.  I jumped for joy when I read the name, Geri Allen, as Geri and I had been good friends and classmates in grad school at the University of Pittsburgh a few years earlier.  Geri always carried around a cassette recorder and was recording her compositions at every moment in between every class.  I did too and the two of us would often play our new compositions for each other and discuss the nuts and bolts of music and the music we were writing.  Geri was an ethnomusicology major – I was a music composition major.  She was “ethno,” along with other friends of mine in the ethnomusicology program, so that they could learn a lot about the arts and cultures, and be in a great grad school doing jazz with Prof. Nathan Davis and other distinguished graduate faculty.

I had seen the name, “Mulgrew Miller,” before but hadn’t heard his music.  The NY Times’ praise meant I would leave my house immediately and go get some of his music.  If he and Geri were the best in jazz, I needed to know his music too.  Simple.

I found his 1986 album, WORK.  If all you got to hear was the first song on the album, “Sublimity,” you’d understand why Mulgrew was a musical force.  He begins with a few spacious chords that have time to breathe, added a brief melody, then more chords.  It is not a “look what I can do statement,” although you hear great technique throughout, but an interesting invitation to lean in and anticipate great stuff to follow.  And then at 0.30, the chords and music become more punctuated and serious, you feel the context is changing, that the band is about to enter, they enter and the music changes shape and evolves – what had been sounding in the solo piano begins to get dispersed between the newcomers –  bass and drums – in a carefully developed manner.

The entire album really hooked me.  I agreed with the NY Times – these were the two best composers of their generation.

I then got to know as much of his music as possible.  I bought all of his solo albums as well as many albums which featured Mulgrew as pianist in a band.  Mulgrew was the pianist with many jazz greats including my favorite drummer, Tony Williams.  (I first learned Tony Williams from the Miles Davis quintet (specifically, Miles’ second great quintet – 1964-68) recordings of the 1960’s and then especially for his music in his fusion group, Lifetime.  I got to see Tony Williams’ Lifetime one century ago at the Jazz Workshop in Boston, a place where I had seen Weather Report and other legends.).

All of Mulgrew’s work with Tony Williams is great.  If you don’t know the music Mulgrew created as a band member, I’d start with Obsession, the last song on Tony Williams’ album, Angel Street.  Obsession is very short especially considering the novel that is jammed into this four-minute work!  Listen to Mulgrew’s chords and comping from the beginning.  One wonders how a piano will fit after the frantic solos one has just heard, and how Mulgrew will spin a solo after all of his great chords played from the beginning.  Well, Mulgrew’s solo is exactly one minute in length and is a book-within-a-book here.  Listen from 2.41 to 3.41.  And then pause and keep studying this four-minute work.  At some point, come up for air and listen to the album from the beginning.


How I got to know Mulgrew was completely by accident.  I lived in New York City at the corner of West 51st and 7th Ave. [the 20th floor of The Executive Plaza] from August – December of 2005 while I taught two courses and was the faculty administrator for a music business program of students from Nashville who would spend their Fall semester in Manhattan.  This was the program’s second year.  My friend, Prof. Steve Marcone, created and ran the music and entertainment industry program at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.  Steve had wanted me to teach a course one evening per week while I was in residence in Manhattan – I took the 197 bus from Gate 233 of the NYC Port Authority every Tuesday afternoon to Wayne, NJ.  Steve picked me up from the bus, brought me to campus, we talked, then I taught for 3 hours, then Steve & I hung out, then I took the bus back to the Port Authority and eventually I would find my back to 150 W. 51st usually after my favorite distractions of Hell’s Kitchen.  The entire two-bus two-hang one-Hell’s Kitchen trip was always wonderful.  As my people say, “wicked cool.”

One day while sitting in Steve’s squished cinderblock office, I noticed the name, “M U L G R E W       M I L L E R” on the door across from (or very close to) his office.  I was shocked and said, “MULGREW MILLER is on your faculty?!?! The famous MULGREW MILLER?”  Steve told me that it was indeed the famous Mulgrew Miller.  At that moment, I took the school even more seriously but I also realized that the school was luckier than it deserved.

Move ahead a couple of years.  I wanted to move north to be closer to my Mom as she was aging and I wanted to be able to help and spend more precious time with her.  A job opening came about at William Paterson, I got hired and moved to New Jersey.  (I was now only 3 hours and 15 minutes from her residence.)

Because I was the newbie on the faculty, the procedure was to review the teaching of every new professor somewhat frequently.  I was fortunate to receive very good reviews and have Mulgrew as my reviewer on a few occasions.  This also meant that Mulgrew would come to my music theory classes as well as my intellectual property (IP) classes. At one point, I had Mulgrew come to an IP class (not as a reviewer) in order to give students his feedback on their presentations.  And to also talk with me more about IP, music and creativity.  I always loved the exchanges with him.

I also would see Mulgrew often in the hallways or practice rooms.  When he was on campus, his presence was large – physically, yes, but his presence as in The Master is here.  Time spent with Mulgrew was valued by students, faculty and staff.  He was always in demand because of how he thought, how he played, how much he knew, how incredibly musical he was, how he listened to people, their music, their questions, their comments but mostly I feel because of his kindness and soul.  When I, or everyone I knew or even noticed was around him, we felt the presence of a special being.  As big as his talent and creativity were, his personal qualities and gentleness prevailed.  I always felt lucky to see and interact with him.  As quickly as possible, I realized that this musical hero to me, who was now a colleague, was just such a great and modest guy.  His charm was disarming as can be.  I was comfortable with Mulgrew immediately.

As I got to know Mulgrew better, I had to ask him – no, tell him – to stop calling me “Doctor” or “Professor.”  I told him that you are Mulgrew Miller and I call you Mulgrew.  I should call you SIR.  He laughed.  He told me I deserved the titles and the respect.

He was that kind of guy but I’ll always remember when he first called me Michael.  He’d later some times call me the D word or the P word but I just felt good and knew that I was so lucky to have, in addition to his friendship, his respect.  Yikes.


I woke up thinking about Mulgrew today.  Like all of his family, colleagues and friends, I worried about my friend.  But for some reason, his song, The Sage, from WORK, was in my head.  It is his most blues-like, simplest, and catchiest on the album.  It begins deceptively in a kind of Eb Dorian with a very simple but rhythmically slippery rhythm to its right hand melody.  I kept singing it, along with my variations and improvisation on it, in the woods, and at home have been playing AT it on my piano.  No, I can’t play it yet but I will work at it.

Mulgrew made sure I was on guest lists whenever he played in New York.  I didn’t expect that or ask for that favor, but deeply appreciated his kindness.  I almost always went to these concerts alone.  I liked this best because I could really concentrate on the music, and maybe more importantly, talk to Mulgrew at breaks or afterwards.

Mulgrew always had such a kind, sincere and humble way about him.  When you were in his presence, you just felt comfortable and happy.  If you didn’t know he was a gigantic creator and performer, you still wouldn’t have known after spending time with him.  Unless the subject turned to music.  Mulgrew wouldn’t necessarily talk shop all the time.  He really liked people and I valued time with him just spent talking about whatever would come up.

MAY 29 has always been a great day for me to celebrate as it is the birthday of two (2) of my heroes – composer Iannis Xenakis and President John F. Kennedy.

Today, May 29, 2013, is also the 100th anniversary of the enormous scandal at the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps, aka The Rite Of Spring.

Sadly, today will now also mark the death of my friend, Mulgrew Miller.  But in the ways that I am grateful for wonderful people, places and art I have known, I am extremely grateful that Mulgrew’s music and then friendship came into my life.  I know Mulgrew will continue to be one of those shining beacons that stand out and serve to inspire us to know and love music and each other more.


I want to end this with a couple of videos of my friend.  We are so fortunate that he left behind so many recordings, people deeply influenced by him, and some marvelous videos.

In this interview, Mulgrew discusses how most jazz pianists were trained (often initially via a classical music foundation), came to jazz and developed, as well as how improvisation can be taught, what a teacher can do, and what a student must do.  These five and half minutes are profound.

But this might be my favorite video as it is so intimate.  There seems to be a camera only inches from the right side of Mulgrew’s head while he so casually demonstrates such great playing (All The Things You Are) to a student.  Notice how Mulgrew looks so often at the student.  Making sure this student is comprehending chord voicings, voice-leading, harmonic variation, melody and melodic variation are of utmost importance to this great Creator, Professor and Musician.  One can learn a lot about who Mulgrew was in this two minute video.

I am forever honored, humbled and grateful for having known Mulgrew’s music from the 1980’s but more so for having Mulgrew as my friend.  I send my deepest love and sympathy to Mulgrew’s family, friends and students.  We were so lucky to have Mulgrew Miller in our lives.


The Russian Monster Fill, Bath Bombs, Tervis, Twitter + the letter “B”


Having fun here in Nashville.  Fun party two nights ago with great friends and one of my best friends who also doubles as one of the music legends in Nashville and the USA.  If you missed that last link, here it is again.  Listen to Bill Pursell Rachmaninov Marty Robbins.  I just used “Rachmaninov” as a powerful and intrusive verb to describe what Bill does to Marty Robbins’s straightforward 3-chord country song, “Take Me Back To Tulsa” (by means of his sextuplet laced Russian monster fill).

Started out the morning at a coffee shop – the Frothy Monkey.  Then to do some business and the business for a friend.  That was fun as it took us inside the magnificent Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville, one of the best halls acoustically anywhere.  (I had the great opportunity to hear Peter Serkin perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and a few weeks later at Schermerhorn –  Schermerhorn is a much better venue).  We made an embarrassing 7-8 minute video, starting onstage and then progressing/regressing through some backstage fancy rooms.  Fancy fancy.  I should link or upload the video to this blog but not if good sense and adequate judgment prevails.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Last night I learned about bath bombs and Tervis shakers.  The bath bombs excited my excessively girly girly friend, while the Tervis shaker we found at Bed, Bath & Beyond in mall-infested Williamson County, was a Patriots shaker.  I’ll now be able to make my Irish versions of caipirinhas here in Middle Tennessee using my new New England Patriots Tervis shaker.

Back to these are a few of my favorite Twitter things.  When the dog bites, when the bee stings.  I’m still stuck on that Mary Poppins’ song.  This time  – the letter “B.”

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Dr. E. Michael Harrington



My Favorite Twitter Accounts:   The letter “B”

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Good tweets but I’d rather they get more stiff, uptight and British.  Must BBC6 Music News like “gossip?”  Huh?  “Your music news fix, including exclusive interviews with all the big names, the latest gig news, behind the scenes insights, festival updates and gossip.”


Insightful technology writer for Huffington Post.  I’m on her Vibrate My iPhone 5 Now list and always look forward to her articles.  And she had the wisdom to interview me once.


Beatallica started as a concept – “what if Metallica were a Beatles cover band?”  That was brilliant and so was the manifestation of what Beatallica does  –  a brilliant parody/mashup of both groups but performed live.  I became good friends with Beatallica in my role as their expert witness.


“The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University – exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and helping to pioneer its development.”  What’s not to love about that mission statement?


Bethany Simpson is “LA Media Director with equal interest in creativity and logic.”  And she follows me on Twitter and is a joy to read.


They count, quantize and know what’s what and who’s who on P2P networks.


Big Gay Ice Cream is how to

1. run an ice cream truck (trust me – I spent 3 summers as an ice cream man)

2. do gourmet ice cream

3. travel to great neighborhoods in Manhattan (what isn’t a great neighborhood in Manhattan?)

4. interact with the public by means of Twitter

5. be gay


If you have that music/music industry affliction, you have to pay some attention to Billboard and its Twitter accounts.  Damn shame when that happens.  : )


I’ll write it again:  If you have that music/music industry affliction, you have to pay some attention to Billboard and its Twitter accounts.  Damn shame when that happens.  : )


The 3rd time is the charm:  If you have that music/music industry affliction, you have to pay some attention to Billboard and its Twitter accounts.  Damn shame when that happens.  : )


Boing Boing is wicked cool –  always featuring things you didn’t know you’d love to know.  Today’s top two (2) headlines:  “Porcupine Bites Skier” and “Malls Are Dying.”  (I’m sorry to hear about the skier, but I hope the mall story is true.)


The Boston Symphony Orchestra is the world’s best orchestra.  Calm down you Chicago and Berlin types.  You’re great too but….  Where was it I grew up?  Chicago?  Berlin?  No, Cambridge and Framingham.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra was our hometown team.  Ergo, we win.


Brad Paisley is an extremely-talented songwriter, guitarist, musician (usually different than the other nouns I’ve provided in this sentence), singer, lyricist.  And he does Twitter very well.  Exceedingly well.  (I’d guess that this is the first time in my world that I’ve used the word, “exceedingly.”)


From his Twitter account:  “Digital Librarian.”  Kahle is just a digital librarian in the same way that Gonzalo Rubalcaba is just a pianist.  


“Webinars and video for professionals and their communities.”  I especially like them because I was one of their one-hour webinars.  (E. Michael Harrington at BrightTALK, June 9, 2009)


“The latest business news and analysis.”  Business Insider is always a great read.  Even if you have no interest in business, you will enjoy BusinessInsider.

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As always, I welcome your feedback on best Twitter accounts, as well as recommendations/suggestions for music, tech, law, communication and business ideas.


Wish Lantern on Love Circle, Newtown & Sandy Hook, Merry Christmas, Kill City Space Ship & Invasions are Not Just For Aliens Anymore


Wish Lantern on Love Circle, Newtown & Sandy Hook, Kill City Space Ship

and Invasions are Not Just For Aliens Anymore

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

I got impulsive and chose to come to Nashville for Christmas.  It is my first Christmas ever in Nashville.  All of the others were in Massachusetts.  It’s great to be back here with friends although it’s not like Christmases I’ve known.

I had a surprising and enriching Christmas Eve last night with close friends and then went out to The Stone Fox in Nashville.  At 3 AM or so, we went to the beautiful hilltop with a great view – Love Circle in Nashville  – to light off a wish lantern.

I left Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester MA at 2 PM (it was a late decision, obviously) on Saturday and drove southwest on Rt. 128, past two malls in Peabody MA.  Rt. 128 had traffic backups for miles in both because of Christmas shoppers and the entire state was too crowded.  I had to even avoid the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) because of congestion.  I reached Pizzeria Uno near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border in Sturbridge MA by 5 PM – nightmarish driving conditions for a traffic-phobe like I.

I then drove to a friend’s house in New Jersey, but first with a stop in Newtown and Sandy Hook, CT.  Newtown CT has always been one of my favorite little towns.  I’ve driven through it hundreds of times in the past 30 years as it is a picture postcard perfect little town – hilly, tranquil, scenic, and light years removed from the noise of any metro area.  This is a somewhat accurate representation of Newtown and western CT.  The only way to make it more Newtown-ish would be to make the commercial’s accompanying music more like Charles Ives “Concord Sonata – Mvt. III “The Alcotts” (even if the Concord Sonata is about Concord, Massachusetts).  Newtown is away from I-84 and a great alternative to interstate driving for a few miles.  But two nights ago was much different.  It is now crowded with media and attention.  I can’t describe how it felt  –  very sad. It would be hard to explain all of the feelings I had, and would take too many words.  A cliche comes to mind  –  make sure you appreciate what you have and let the people you love know that you love them.  That works especially well at Christmas time too.

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I was honored to have music and video composed to honor my 40th blog post.  Quite unexpected but really cool.  It is the work of Kill City Spaceship and is entitled Mike’s Fortieth Blog.  This music was composed based on the great E G# C F# A opening chord of the Beatles’ song, “All I’ve Got To Do.”   Kill City Spaceship informed me that the music composed to honor my blog post was based on that E 11 #5 chord and its four (4) inversions.  Composing a work based on a musical motif, which involves compositional technique and development, is too often unknown to the general public, and foreign to the world of pop songwriting.  But just as musical styles can overlap, so too shouldn’t theories of music and composition. More on those rich subjects later…

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Merry Christmas, love, peace and joy to everyone!

Johnny Cash, Danzig, Life in Vizify, Today is not 12/12/12, Social Media Reveals I’m 65/132 Brazilian


12/12/12 Twelve Twelve Twelve Zwölf Zwölf Zwölf is now gone.  I want to wash that 12 right out of my hair.

Q.  Best way to get rid of 12?  A.  13  Welcome to December 13, 2012.  There will only be one of these.  This is probably the best day to get engaged or give birth.

Time for a thirteen (13) song:   Johnny Cash  –  Thirteen

There are other thirteen songs  – Frank Zappa, Bata Kanda, and Chuck Berry, but I want to hear Johnny Cash sing Danzig.

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I got my Vizify account, 2012 version, on Tuesday.  They were wise to get it out before 12-12-12.  If we have social media, we must have social media metrics.  And bells and whistles.  Vizify does all of that well, and fortunately, our lives can be reduced to a few pages.

Before I broadcast my life in Vizify, I should note that Facebook has now taken to their version of metrics a la the encapsulated annum-in-review model.  If all goes right with this link, and if Facebook will allow you access, here is the Facebook version of my 2012 life in Vizify.

All of this Vizify activity  –  the entire 11-page report  – could only happen if I was very active in 2012 in





and I granted the app permission to these four (4) life measure-ers, and remembered all four (4) of my very long alpha-numeric melodic passwords.

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A  C  T  I  V  I  T  I  E  S

S   H   O   P   S         &      S   E   R   V   I   C   E   S

This objectively shows that I have my life in order as I’ve taken more trips to liquor stores than banks, pharmacies or “others.”  I’m proud that I’ve been to more “record shops” than gas stations, liquor stores, pharmacies, banks and “others.”

Grocery store  –  292

Gym  –  117

Electronics  –  73

Bookstore  –  41

Record Shop  –  40

Gas station/garage  –  36

Liquor store  –  28

Other  –  Shop  –  26

Pharmacy  –  22

Bank/Financial  –  21

A  C  T  I  V  I  T  I  E  S

F  O  O  D

My taste in food is superb.  I think of myself as, to borrow a now-famous adjective, SEVERELY Brazilian.  But via social media snooping-metrics, I am only ALMOST Brazilian.  By these snooping standards, I am barely more American than Brazilian by 67 to 65.

And then my next outside-the-home eating is pizza, Middle Eastern and so on.  It’s best to just list it:

Coffee shop  –  190

American  –  67

Brazilian  –  65

Pizza  –  55

Middle Eastern  –  41

Greek  –  40

Seafood  –  37

Bakery  –  32

Mexican  –  29

Sandwiches  –  24

Italian  –  23

A  C  T  I  V  I  T  I  E  S

O  T  H  E  R

The rest of the year is completed by this compilation.  When I wasn’t eating pizza or trying to pass for a Brazilian, here’s what I did:

Home  –  473  (To create & recite a completely original expression – “There’s no place like home.”)

Medical  –  215   (I was spending great time with my Mom.)

Hiking Trail  –  151  (Most of this was at Callahan State Park in Framingham.)

Road  –  142   

Academic Building  –  123

Park  –  106  (If not 820-acre Callahan, it would have been Ramapo Mtn State Forest in New Jersey.)

Bridge  –  92   (This was mainly the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River.)

Hotel  –  47

Dog Run  –  44

Hospital  –  43   (Precious time with my Mom.)

Church  –  38

We live life, share our activities and interests, measure them and then broadcast what we’ve been sharing all year along with the Vizified measurement.  This year’s activities are made to look nice.

I love people and social media but still don’t reveal everything.

May your 13th be wonderful!






Three Songs (5/4) & Some Thoughts (7/4) About Dave Brubeck (9/8)


Dave Brubeckone of my musical heroes, was respected by every musician I have ever known.  He was the first American whose jazz excited me.  My first exposure to his music was through one of his big hit songs (yes, a jazz musician who was creative, brilliant, and commercially successful without having “sold out”).  That hit was “Take Five,” written by his sax player, Paul Desmond.  I was too young to play or analyze it  –  I only knew that it made me happy (I think I was five years old when it was released).

I was extremely fortunate to have met Dave Brubeck once.  He seemed to be as great a person as his music.  But before I met him, I met his drummer, Joe Morello who came to Framingham North High School (now known as Framingham High School) and gave a masterclass.  I remember that Morello was brilliant, looked like Roy Orbison (especially with his thick horn-rimmed glasses) and played complex meters and really well.  I liked but didn’t love what I was hearing but had enormous respect for him.  It’s easy to fall for what a passionate and virtuosic person is putting out, regardless of your age, culture, and in my case, as a young kid at a very heady jazz drum master class, maturity.  I knew that someday I’d explore jazz, just not that day or month.  (It took Miles Davis for me to “get it”  –  jazz  –  completely.  And then came the ultimate for me  –  Weather Report)

Brubeck, one of my heroes, studied with French composer and Mills College professor,  Darius Milhaud, another hero of mine.  Milhaud, as well as a few other “serious” composers/art music composers of the first quarter of the 20th century, was profoundly impacted by American jazz and incorporated elements of jazz into his composing.  My favorite Milhaud composition is his hugely influential 1923 work, La creation du monde, here conducted by Leonard Bernstein.  Click that link and for 17 minutes enter a fascinating world.

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One of the important features of a lot of Dave Brubeck’s music is his use of rhythm and especially uncommon time signatures.  Brubeck met with resistance from Columbia Records when he insisted on having songs with unusual meter/time signatures on his brilliant million-selling album, Time Out.  Fortunately for music, the public and Columbia Records, they gave in.

I have selected three (3) Dave Brubeck songs, each in a different and unusual meter.  5 beats per measure, 7 beats per measure and 9 beats per measure are far less common than the most common meter in Western music – 4 beats per measure.  In keeping with the idea of three –  3 different time signatures/meters  –  I have also compiled three (3) sets of three (3) songs each.  In each of these three 3-song sets, I have chosen a Brubeck composition and followed it with two (2) other compositions that share the same number of beats.  In each example, the songs I have selected are not of the same style.

I grouped these songs together in this manner so as to hear Dave Brubeck’s music and his take on an unusual meter followed by other artists’ versions of the same meter.  This is the manner in which I usually approach music  –  find music from disparate, seemingly unrelated  styles and periods and locate what they have in common.  It might be my inner anthropologist at work.  It’s also how my Dad lived – connecting dots that did not reach out to be connected.


5   5   5   5   5

Dave Brubeck  –  Take Five (1959)   This is not the original studio recording but a live faster version recorded in 1961.  This is how most of the world learned to feel and count five (5) beats per measure.  5 = 3 + 2.  To me, it still seems the best way to subdivide 5 beats.  Paul Desmond, not Dave Brubeck, wrote Take Five.  As with the other time signatures below, Brubeck is not the first to have used them.  But the music he wrote that has these particular time signatures is superb and deserves to be widely known.

Lalo Schifrin  –  Mission Impossible Theme (1966)   Lalo Schifrin’s theme music to the television series, Mission Impossible, in addition to being the best theme song in the history of television theme songs, is the second best known example of 5/4.  Like Paul Desmond’s Take Five, Schifrin has also used   5 = 3 + 2.  Lalo Schifrin.

Uakti  –  Ovo Da Serpente (The Serpent’s Egg) (1987) I’ve adored the music and sound of Uakti since I first heard them in the early 1980’s on a Milton Nascimento recording.  This Brazilian ensemble has also recorded with Paul Simon and Philip Glass.  With respect to Simon and Glass, in my opinion, Uakti was the “big deal” in these recordings.  Back in the mid-1990’s I flew from Nashville to Boston just to hear Uakti perform live (at Boston University) in a short American tour.  As I recall, Boston and New York were the only U. S. East coast cities on that tour.  (I would love to write more about Uakti in other blog posts.)


7   7   7   7   7   7   7 

Dave Brubeck  –  Unsquare Dance (1961)  Just as Dave had made 5/4 simple, normal and fun, in “Unsquare Dance he makes 7/4 your new favorite meter.  7 = 2 + 2 + 3.  This is the Brubeck studio recording choreographed.

Pat Metheny  –  Finding & Believing  (1992) Pat Metheny wrote and performed most of the instruments on this song in 7/4 and throughout his great and massive 1992 album, Secret Story.

Sting  –  Straight To My Heart  (1987)  One of my favorite aspects of Sting as a composer is his use of – what I respectfully call  –  “music theory tricks.”  If one transcribes and analyzes Sting’s music, it is obvious that Sting has (maybe often) considered structural aspects of music before and during his composing.  (To discuss Sting’s music theory tricks more would mean writing more about music theory and structure, something I do not want to do here.)


9   9   9   9   9   9   9   9   9

Dave Brubeck  –  Blue Rondo A La Turk (1959)  I selected the brilliant night photograph of the Eiffel Tower for the cover of this blog post for several reasons.

1.  The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most unique and magnificent  structures immediately recognizable to people from all over our planet.  The same can be said for Dave Brubeck’s music.

2.  The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of not only Paris and France but the entire European Union, and it was in Europe that Brubeck heard many complex and irregular time signatures.  Blue Rondo A La Turk revealed Brubeck’s influence by and capture of Turkish rhythms.  (Beethoven and Mozart had also been enthralled with Turkish music.)

3.  The Eiffel Tower is pointing upward.  Is there a heaven above?  Above has always fascinated many of us and pointing and living upward is inspirational to me.  Dave Brubeck represents upward.

Blue Rondo A La Turk is a masterpiece.  9 = 2 + 2 + 2 + 3.  I started to learn to play Blue Rondo A La Turk in my usual way  – put on the record and play along with it.  I kept putting the needle back to the opening and early sections as it is not easy to learn this work, especially as an untrained high school musician.  But when I knew I’d come to a stop and not be able to ever play this entire thing was when I got to 1.36 – 1.39 of the song  – the FANTASTIC & BIG CHORDS in contrary motion.  Damn it  –  that was going to require a lot of practice.  I did the easy thing  –  quit trying to play it, love what Brubeck was doing and move on!

And then comes this abruptly different, laid back bluesy section at 1.53 – 1.57.  For all of four seconds, the song changes character until the agitated opening 9  = 2 + 2 + 2 + 3  thing returns abruptly.  (There is a musical concept of “multiple time” that would describe this as well.)  If you have it in you, write a Blue Rondo A La Turk and place it is as your album’s opening track.

Milton Nascimento & Wayne Shorter  –  Ponta De Areia (1974)  Ponta De Areia is the opening song on the extremely important album, Native Dancer, an album that featured the first-time collaborative writing and performing of music legends from the United States (Wayne Shorter) and Brazil (Milton Nascimento).  Nascimento’s 9 beats per measure (9/4 rather than 9/8) are really long, temporally speaking.  Brubeck’s 9 fly by, whereas Nascimento’s 9 almost contain story lines as the rhythm section is left to create subplots within.  Listen especially to how much takes place in the drums, bass & keyboard from 0.41 – 1.28, a relatively long span of time with lots of smart activity but one which features only eight (8) measures of 9/4.

Sting  –  I Hung My Head  (1996) – Sting’s I Hung My Head epitomizes what I mean by “music theory tricks” above.  in this song, Sting divides 9 in a unique manner:  5 beats followed by 2 and 2.  9 = 5 + 2 + 2.  You can hear this pattern in the bass.  The drummer is left to also articulate a 9-beat pattern but his is even more peculiar and agitational, in terms of the context.  This drum pattern is in the forefront.  Not that drummers are often hard to notice but in this case, the drum accents predominate and propel the band.  Whereas the bass plays 9 = 5 + 2 + 2, the drum rearranges this palindromically (not a palindrome per se, but palindromically)  :  9 = 2 + 5 + 2.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

This post went in a direction different from writing a eulogy.  (I had not intended to write a eulogy – I only intended to write a few sentences more than my Foursquare entry last night shortly after I heard the sad news about Dave Brubeck.)  To me this post is a conversation (at this point, only a monologue) about great music.  When you’ve “received” a great work, it leads to more thoughts and appreciation of the work and that should lead to…  “Have you heard this?”  Or… “What do you think about this?”

I am deeply grateful for Dave Brubeck  – who he was, what he gave us, where he led us, and how he inspired us.


Being Thankful on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2012, from Louis Armstrong to Hank Williams

 H A P P Y      T H A N K S G I V I N G  

I thought to celebrate this wonderful day of ThanksgivingI’d compile music with lyrics that express thanks in various ways.

I would like to have included at least one more  – Bach – Now Thank We All Our God.  Even though I have great recordings of Now Thank We All Our God, I couldn’t find one I liked as much on YouTube.

Here is my Thanksgiving wish:

Music from these artists (arranged alphabetically):

Louis Armstrong

Led Zeppelin

Bob Marley

Me’Shell Ndegéocello

Sam & Dave

Hank Williams

The six (6) THANKFUL recordings (arranged in the listening order I prefer):

Thanks A Million  –  Louis Armstrong

Thank You Lord  –  Bob Marley

Thank You  –  Led Zeppelin

I Thank You  –  Sam & Dave

Thank God  –  Hank Williams

Thankful  –  Me’Shell Ndegéocello

Excerpts of lyrics from these six (6) songs (corresponding to the listening order above):

“Thanks a million, a million thanks to you, for every thing that love could bring you brought me”

“Thank you, Lord, for what you’ve done for me.  Thank you, Lord, for what you’re doing now.”

“And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles, thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one”

“You didn’t have to love me like you did, but you did, and I thank you”

“Thank God for every flower and each tree, thank God for all the mountains and the sea, thank God for giving life to you and me, wherever you may be, thank God”

“So much suffering for fancy cars, big houses, everything, I lose my faith sometimes, I lose my faith sometimes, yeah, just want to be happy and thankful”

 H A P P Y      T H A N K S G I V I N G



Haiku 101, Intellectual Property Haiku (IP Haiku)

I’ve written thousands of haiku.  It all started one morning in Pittsburgh.  I woke from the strangest dream.  In my dream, I tried to convince people I was a composer (I was and am a composer) but they wouldn’t listen.  They found a poetry journal from Australia and in the journal were haiku I had written.  They told me I was an INTERNATIONALLY PUBLISHED POET who specialized in haiku.  I told them I was a composer, not a poet, but I couldn’t convince them of this.  Strangely, after I awoke, I laughed at this bizarre dream but then started to research haiku.

I found out that the most common form of haiku was a three-line poem consisting of 17 syllables.  And there was a nice symmetry to the structure.  The first line consisted of 5 syllables, the second had 7 syllables and the third had 5 syllables.  An “A – B – A” form.  In music a “rondo” has an A – B – A form (and a rondo can have a few other forms).  I had never written a rondo (and still haven’t) but I decided to start my RONDO CAREER as a poet instead of  a composer.  So, I started to write   5  –  7  –  5  haiku.

My haiku obsession – haiku career – began that way.  I’ve gone through periods of writing hundreds in a few hours.  Sometimes my haiku tell a story.  Other times they are related to a theme, and still other times they are disconnected and without any purpose, like my life.  (I do not have a purposeful life – I have a purpose-less life.  An ambient free-form, drifting life.  Enough of this theme.)

I used to get reprimanded by poets and scholars who knew better than I (knew better than I about everything – just ask them).  Even my Japanese girlfriend told me that haiku were supposed to be about nature, not vehicles for telling deranged and absurd stories that would be parodic and unauthorized episodes of   –  –  –  –

The Dating Game

Leave It To Beaver

The Brady Bunch or

Love Boat

Or that haiku were not supposed to be vehicles to criticize and protest President Reagan, Barry Manilow or American pop culture.  My haiku started out as an escape mechanism – I was composing too much complicated concert music and found that if I got away from the music and started to write in this happy 5-7-5 format, I’d feel better.  My escape would be realized.

Here is one installment of a bunch.   These are about copyright and intellectual property and date back to 2004.  If I can find my first analog book of haiku, I’ll break those out over a period of time at  But for now, here are some IP haiku.


Copyright haiku
Musings manipulations
And sometimes held thoughts

If you can publish
Them they might bring you good luck
Forward them to friends

(Maybe I’m confused
Maybe it’s email that needs
To be forwarded)

In any event
Here is the first installment
Of  I. P.  haiku

Chapter 1

I just bought a bomb
It came from Best Buy and I
Think it is legal

The bomb has a name –
Jay-Z’s “A Cappella Black
Album.”  Still, a bomb

I think of it as
Silly Putty; a means for

But this Putty is
Also copyrighted stuff
So, fun with limits

Press Silly Putty
Onto newspapers and watch
The print get copied

I now have a new
Cool thing –  an embodiment
And derivative

My Silly Putty
Has infringed the copyright
Of a newspaper

Chapter 2

And it gets worse – I
Copied an Op-Ed piece from
Today’s New York Times

I took the writer’s
Best part and transferred it to
My Silly Putty

This Silly Putty
Is worth more financially
As I took good stuff

My idea was
To combine Putty and print
And make something new

There were thousands of
Print sources for me to use
I had to choose well

Or I could phrase it
This way – there were thousands of
Sources I could steal

Not “use” but “steal.” But
Isn’t all expression at
Some level not new?

Watching Me Walk Around Naked


Directv has created and is airing a sticky – to be more concise, “ICKY” – television commercial that only succeeds at showing a young couple in their loveless relationship.  And the “zinger” line, aired by the male, is mean spirited and aimed at demeaning the woman.  It suggests danger, discomfort and intimidation, not exactly positive qualities to connote by means of a television commercial.  When I first saw this commercial, I was shocked and thought, “he didn’t just say that, did he?  Yikes, this is one ugly and disturbing commercial.”

I’ve heard:

All publicity is good publicity.

Being bad is good for a reputation.

Hey, at least you remembered the commercial – you’re talking about it, aren’t you?

Yet I feel that these three sentences/sentiments do not apply to television commercials or a company’s reputation in the age of ubiquitous social media.  It’s a hard enough proposition for a telecom to have a good reputation and associated good will without the company airing an ugly and disconcerting commercial.

This awful 30-second television commercial is so bad:

FIRST  –  There’s no music.  Music should be in almost every TV/radio/Internet commercial as it can enhance the company or service’s message, as much as visual stimuli  –  art, photographs, video  –  can enhance text.  (Notice the visual for this post.)

To move slightly off the subject and introduce something to explore later:

Music accompanying a television commercial should

a)  herald the message (of the commercial)

b)  be supportive of the message

c)  reinforce the message, or best of all

d)  be memorable so that when the music is heard again, the audience will conjure up the commercial

e)  optimally, introduce a cool new music composition, style, musical artist, band or gangnam-like/macarena-like thing or other foolish fad

SECOND  –  these two young lovers (they were likely lovers in a distant time and galaxy) are at their worst and we the audience are watching the précis worst of their worst.

THIRD  –  the commercial opens with what looks to be the making of an Alfred Hitchcock-Janet Lee-Psycho type shower murder scene – the glass is foggy, and she is naked and cannot see the danger that is lurking just outside the shower.

FOURTH  –  the woman is vulnerable and frightened by an enormous bright billboard-like sign that is waiting for her as she exits the shower.   The unrealistic large sign indicates…

“R E C O R D I N G     C O N F L I C T” 

FIFTH  –  now for the demeaning part.   Shocked by and referring to the sign, the woman says, “OK I am sick of this thing!”  He replies, “Hmm.  Well, see we have cable and if it didn’t record your shows while I am recording my shows, we wouldn’t have to deal with this” (as he points to the huge sign).  She replies, “I just feel like it’s watching me walk around naked.”  He then stops brushing his teeth and delivers his zinger, “Well, at least somebody gets to.”  He smirks, starts to brush extra hard and walks away.  Meanwhile, she looks hurt by his callousness and stands frozen, tightly holding the towel around her body.  Just before the scene fades, a message in white letters, “DON’T LIVE WITH CABLE’S CONFLICT BOX” is briefly displayed on the screen.   Finally, an unseen new male VOICE says, “Upgrade to Directv and record five shows at once.  Call 1-800-DIRECTV.”

The commercial has reminded us that a naked woman in a shower is in a potentially dangerous situation – how can Hitchcock’s “Psycho” not be implied?  Instead of being murdered by a psychotic individual, an enormous psychotic sign is there to startle her.  The only conversation after this is meant to belittle her – she doesn’t know enough about technology for the household, but if she did, the psycho sign wouldn’t be there to scare her coming out of the shower.

As an obnoxious bonus, we are reminded that as a lover, this woman is worse than she is a technophile – she is belittled because she does not know that Directv is better than cable.  Finally, we are told that at least the scary sign is likely to see her naked –  she is more receptive to the Big Brother Recording Conflict sign than the male in the house as he never gets to see her naked.

In this, the most expensive and media-saturated election period in United States history, we have heard several infamous, idiotic and sexist utterances from certain Republican male politicians including these sledge hammers:

if it’s a legitimate rape, uh, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” (Todd Akin, R-MO)


“I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” (Richard Mourdock, R-IN)

At any time in civilized society, this Directv commercial would have been inappropriate.  But in this 2012 “legitimate rape” and “God intended to happen” election period, this Directv commercial is vile, offensive, more off base and ultimately more harmful than beneficial to the Directv brand.