I recently wrote an article for Georgia Music about my personal reflections on musical life in Columbus. The article can be found at http://www.georgiamusic.org/discovering-columbus/.
Gardens are pretty serious business here in Georgia, and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I’ve got four different peppers, kale, tomatoes, basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, cucumbers and an insane watermelon vine growing right now. If you want constant amazement in your life, coupled with an endless amount of mosquito bites, this is your thing.
The CSU Popular Music Ensemble has spent the semester learning the blues with local guitarist Neal Lucas, a fabulous dude and killer player. We’ll be dropping the jams on December 4 at The Loft Live, with Neal’s band joining in. It’s free and all ages!
The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program is the longest continually-running summer program for gifted high school students in the US. It was my pleasure to return to Valdosta this year to serve for the 2nd straight year as the department head for Computers there. It was a great time, and the work that is done there is truly amazing.
Thanks to Dale Lyles and all my great colleagues and students for a remarkable, memorable experience.
I just spent a fantastic weeked in North Manchester, IN, where the Manchester New Music Mini-Festival was held. The festival accepted my video work Toccoa River Blues for performance. The festival was great, with lots of new music to take in, much of it performed by Dr. Farrell Vernon, who is the first person I’ve ever seen play the sopranino saxophone live.
Also in attendance were Jorge Variego and Kyle Rowan, both former classmates at The University of Florida. Much appreciation to Tim Reed and the music department at Manchester University for a fantastic trip.
Many Columbus residents who enjoy live music know that the Loft is one of the best places in town to hear live music. The CSU jazz and rock groups play there, and there’s always great musicians coming through the listening room and recording studio (The Heavy, Marshall Ruffin, and Willie Nelson to name a few). From January 1 to January 17, the Loft’s upstairs club space was closed for renovations. I’m happy to be part of the team redesigning, rewiring, and rethinking the sound system, along with Sam Phillips, Steve Meadows, Gavin MacDougall, and the incomparable Maurice Owens (Mr. O, if you know him). This photo is the new stage about 30 minutes before reopening for stand-up comedy… we were still wiring lights and sound circuits. As my dad says, “Any creative activity will absorb 100% of the time allotted to it.” Ain’t that the truth…
This past Friday night, the band that was scheduled broke down in Tifton. Sam, Brad, and I got to jam out on the stage we helped build, with some sulrty guest vocals from the fabulous Nesrin Asli. There’s more work to be done, but it’s up and running!
My first composition teacher, Anne Kish, used to tell stories about Dave Brubeck at her house during young composers weekends. She lived across the street from him when both of them were studying with Darius Milhaud.
I don’t remember a lot of the stories but one has always stuck with me. She would say “Milhaud loved David the most of all of us”, and then recount the story of how, when Madeleine Milhaud would go out of town, Dave Brubeck would go over to Milhaud’s house to help him out — Milhaud spent much of his life in a wheelchair due to debilitating arthritis. Dr. Kish would say “David would lift his teacher out of the wheelchair to help him use the toilet. And this, you see, is love.”
We’d listen to Brubeck a lot during those weekends… I’m humbled to be part of this lineage and carry these stories. I suppose if Milhaud is my compositional grandfather, Dave Brubeck is my cool uncle.
Here’s a short film clip with Brubeck discussing Milhaud. RIP, Mr. Brubeck.
Here’s my little buddy hanging out and being cute. Jimi has swagger.
What a great weekend for music in Columbus — on Thursday night, monster keyboard player and singer Lloyd Buchanan, who is the guest artist for the CSU Popular Music Ensemble this semester, appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman with The Heavy. You can watch the performance on YouTube. Lloyd and the other backup singers are from Columbus. The backing vocals on the Heavy’s new album were recorded at The Loft.
Lloyd flew back on Friday morning, and played at Jazz at the Loft, hosted by the Columbus Jazz Society. Marshall Ruffin joined him for the jazz set. Afterwards, the incomparable Mudcat closed off the night. Saturday, Marshall held down his own show, which was one of the best I’ve heard.
Sunday I ventured to Smith’s Station, AL to hear local favorites Stereomonster play at the notorius Del Ranch…
Shawn Mullins played on the median here in Columbus last night, to the biggest audience I’ve ever seen out for a show. The whole celebration was dreamed up by Buddy Nelms, the owner of The Loft, who’s been in business for 20 years.
Buddy deserves a lot of credit for making downtown what it is today — there was a really great article in the ledger-enquirer about the Loft, its inception, and history. Shawn Mullins played there on his way to stardom, way back when.
Certainly missed at the party was Marshall Ruffin, but we still get to hear him from time to time when he plays in Columbus. The Neal Lucas Band was great, as was Keni Thomas, a Columbus native, reunited with his band Cornbread.