Anita Brown

 
 

Anita's Old Blog

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This Is A Test

 

This is a test to see if this old blog is still feeding in to Facebook...

 

If anyone knows how to stop this feed and change it to my current blog (same website) which is interactive, let me know.  I am clueless...

 

~AB

 

Testing 1, 2, 3...

 
This is a test to see if this old blog, previously called "Anita's Blog" and now called "Anita's Old Blog" on my website, is still feeding into facebook. My new and interactive blog is called "Anita' Blog" (very original) and is now interactive, but I have no idea how to feed it into facebook because the last time I did that, it was purely by accident that I accomplished that. SO! That's enough for today. :-) Back to writing the two charts for Judi Silvano (see website...) www.anitabrownmusic.com
 

Frank Wess' 88th Birthday Celebration Is Upon Us!

 
I'm happy to report that I completed two arrangements for hire for The Frank Wess Nonet. Both of these tunes are original ballads by Frank, one of which is entitled "Entre Nous" and the other, "If You Can't Call, Don't Come And If You Can't Come, Don't Call," in typical Frank humor, of course! Both are beautiful tunes and I'm honored to have had the opportunity to offer renditions through my filter in their support. Frequently, specifications for arrangements for hire are pretty open, and offer the arranger carte blanche to handle the task as he/she is so inclined. Nnenna Freelon asked me to make her sound "young and solvent" with my arrangement of "Don't Explain" for her (LOL-that means it's pretty open). Judi Silvano was simply interested in certain grooves and tempos in the interest of maintaining balance for her book. Frank, however, was pretty specific about what he wanted. For "Entre Nous" (translation, Between Us) he didn't want much and wanted me to maintain his chord changes as well as the form of a big band arrangement he'd written on the same tune, which features him on flute. Since it's hard for him to see, he didn't want to having to read anything new. He wanted to simply be able to play without reference to a part. On "If You Can't Call, Don't Come And If You Can't Come, Don't Call" he was even more specific: "Hardly anything at all. No intro. Nothin' until the bridge on the second time through...not much...maybe a counterline and a cadenza." That's pretty specific! What Frank doesn't know, and I'm not afraid to post it here, as I am quite certain he will not see this blog entry, is that I wrote a third arrangement as a birthday gift, which Evan Barker copied as part of the gift. The birthday arrangement is a harmonization for Frank's five horns of Charlie Parker's "Au Privave." I wrote an eight measure Intro and used it again as a Coda. While there are a few options for various horns within Frank's nonet, I opted for one of my favorite instrumentations of two trumpets (although flugelhorns on the ballads), tenor, trombone and baritone sax, in that order from the top, down: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Personnel for The Frank Wess Nonet is as follows for the week run at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola: Frank Wess, solo tenor saxophone;Frank Greene, lead trumpet; Terell Stafford, jazz trumpet; Ted Nash, alto & tenor saxophones; Luis Bonilla, trombone; Scott Robinson, baritone saxophone and surely a plethora or other instruments; Michael Weiss, piano (Jan 19-21); Tomoko Ohno, piano (Jan 22-24); Peter Washington, bass (Jan 19-21); Noriko Ueda, bass (Jan 22-24); Winard Harper, drums. Being that this is Frank's 88th Birthday Celebration, he has invited a number of the jazz scene's finest pianists to join in with guest appearances on the piano ("The 88's") Be sure to make reservations because this is going to be packed and truly amazing! Guest pianists will appear as follows: Mulgrew Miller, piano (Jan 19, Tuesday) Renee Rosnes, piano (Jan 20, Wednesday) Bill Charlap, piano (Jan 21, Thursday) Billy Taylor, piano (Jan 22, Friday) Mike LeDonne, piano(Jan 23, Saturday) Hank Jones, piano (Jan 24, Sunday) Here's the rest of the info: Frank Wess 88th Birthday Celebration with The Frank Wess Nonet Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola Frederick P. Rose Hall Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center Time Warner Building Broadway at 60th Street 5th Floor 7:30pm & 9:30pm Cover: $30-35 Students: $15 select sets w/valid student ID http://jalc.org/dccc/details_fall09_final.asp Reservations: Call: 212-258-9595 or 9795 Personally I am very excited about all this for it is a great honor to have written these arrangements for the Jazz Royalty that is Frank Wess. This week has the potential to be among the greatest exposure of my career. :-) Rehearsals are tomorrow and Monday afternoons. While it is always a little nerve-wracking to hear the new work come off the page into the air, I am calmed by the fact that all the horn players are long-time friends and among the most fun people I know. I hope you will consider coming down for one of these nights. I intend to be present for many, if not all of the nights of Frank's 88th Birthday Celebration at Dizzy's. A couple of nights it's possible I won't be able to make it until the second set. We'll see! Funny...in the course of writing this blog entry Frank Wess called and after that...Barry Manilow came on TV and started singing Mandy. LOL It seems quite a humorous differential in the spectrum of musical personalities. On another note, I see my web hosting company is now offering a proper interactive blog. Unfortunately for me I have no idea how to make the switch over without losing the existing entries but perhaps it will be more painless than it seems if I write them an e-mail. Hostbaby is pretty good about taking care of their clients. Stand by for more! Hope to see you at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola this week! --AB
 

A Few Truly Great Honours

 
I guess I'm just not used to thinking about keeping the blog going so regularly. As you can see it has been a while since the last entry. Considering my excitement with the last two commissions to write arrangements, I thought I'd share that information with you...whoever may be listening out there! :-) First, I have to say that after years of friendship and mutual admiration for each others' work, I was absolutely thrilled to get a call from internationally renowned vocalist, Judi Silvano, to write two arrangements for her "book" (as we call it). Specifically, these arrangements were to be premiered by members of the Bard College Jazz Department on a presentation of "The American Songbook," although Judi will maintain them for future use as well. She has such a great spirit and it was such fun to connect and discuss tunes and her ideas for how she wanted to present them. We decided on Gershwin's "Embraceable You" as a bossa nova and Ellington's "I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart" as a shuffle! Evan Barker copied the parts in a hurry for a rehearsal that Judi and I had put on the calendar that same day. Being that I'm overly neurotic about booking plenty of rehearsal time, I suggested to Judi that we book more time than necessary on a couple of different dates, so as to secure the rehearsal space. In New York City, rehearsal space is sometimes not easy to come by, particularly the preferred venue(s). I'm glad I have learned, over the years, to go with that gut instinct. Lo and behold, Judi had to remain in Europe after her gig in Paris. Had she been home on time, we could have rehearsed just a couple days following her return. But alas, her husband, the legendary tenor saxophonist whom we all love, Joe Lovano, took a fall. He's fine now and resting, but as a result, we ended up quite happy that the alternate rehearsal date was already booked! We rehearsed my two charts and one other by Janice Friedman under my baton at The Musicians' Union in midtown. We had Alex Norris on trumpet, Marc Phaneuf on alto, Bill Saxton on tenor, Bruce Eidem on trombone, Jim Ridl on piano, Mike McGuirk on bass and Scott "Newmie" Neumann on drums and WE HAD FUN!! I gave my new H4 Zoom a spin and promptly recorded AND lost the file for "Embraceable You" but got the others. LOL Fortunately Judi still brought her old standby cassette recorder! Those arrangements will be premiered tomorrow night, Saturday December 5th at 7:00pm at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY by members of the Jazz Department under the direction of Mr. Thurman Barker. (You know...the school Donald Fagen & Walter Becker--Steely Dan guys--went to.) It's at least two hours from my place and we have a forecast for a "WINTRY MIX" so I'm thrilled about the drive (not) but wouldn't miss it for the world. With the completion of that rehearsal (after a really fun hang in midtown) my attention turned to the UNC Jazz Press paperwork which I need to take care of in order to submit the three arrangements they approved for its catalogue. I'm very excited to have been approved for their publishing my arrangements of Jobim's "Sabia'," Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain" and Dad's (Ted Brown) "Dig It" for 16- sometimes 17-piece jazz orchestra, a.k.a., big band. Meanwhile...a few days ago I returned home to find a message on my answering machine from FRANK WESS! I LOVE Frank Wess both as a player and as a friend and can't even BELIEVE that he showed up to my 50th birthday party in midtown this past June. Of course, one does NOT wait to return calls to Jazz Royalty! So, I called him back right away. I hear Frank say, "Oh HI! I was just thinkin' about you..." I said, "Well I was thinking about you too! I just got your message!" "Oh yea? So how's everything with you?" I replied, "Good...good..." There were one or two more exchanges before I realized that I was talking to his OUT GOING MESSAGE!!!!!!! LOL!!!! The OGM went on for a while and got progressively more hysterically funny; no surprise to those of us who know Frank! Finally, by the time the beep sounded I was in hysterics, cracking up out loud and trying to leave a message, when he picked up the phone. He cut right to the chase, and I was once again, incredibly honoured with his request for me to write an arrangement of one of his ballads, entitled "Entre Nous" (Between Us), for his octet to play on his hit at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, NYC, in celebration of his 88th birthday, January 19th-24th!! I hope you'll try to come down for that! I'll write more about that later. Last but not least, I attended "Funksgiving 24" on the evening of Black Friday in Huntington, NY at the Elks Lodge where The Funk Filharmonik played it's 24th consecutive Thanksgiving Show! Suffice it to say I REALLY NEEDED TO DANCE!!!!!! And there is no other drummer I'd rather dance to than Lee Finkelstein playing that funky stuff they do! If you don't know this band, they are an incredibly outstanding band that started out as a Tower of Power cover band 24 years ago in Huntington, NY at a place called Canterbury Ales. They built a following when they had a regular monthly gig at The Brokerage in Merrick, NY (every last Thursday of the month) which I attended religiously for many, many years. My brother Jeff took me to see them for the first time in May 1990, knowing how much I love Tower of Power. At that time, his friend, and my new acquaintance, Tony Kadleck, was subbing for Ron Fox, the regular lead trumpet player. That band knocked my socks off that night. By the time they finished the musicians' introductions I realized I had gone to undergrad school at SUNY Old Westbury with Lee and Steve Finkelstein, drums & percussion respectively. All the members of the band and I became fast friends. Soon after that I began transcribing Tower of Power charts for them for fun, and actually, after only having written for my school ensembles where I taught, cut my teeth writing in the professional forum for them. They still do two of those arrangements regularly: "A Little Knowledge (Is A Dangerous Thing)" and "Souled Out." I was thrilled to hear them sound SO great on them last Friday night!!!! :-) Not only is the band comprised of outstanding musicians, but many are Tower of Power alums* or subs+. Personnel includes Ron Fox and Vinnie Cinquemani (trpts), Ozzie Melendez (trbn) [toured w/Mark Anthony], John Scarpulla* (tenor), Norbet Satchel* (bari sax), Greg Schleich (keys), Dave Lavender, (gtr), Jack Knight (bass), Steve Finkelstein (perc), Lee Finkelstein+ (drums) [The Blues Brothers and "Shifting Tides of Montauk" from ABJO's "27 EAST," track 4], Tom Bowes* and Brent Carter* on vocals. Special guest, another long time friend previously with Maynard Ferguson and currently with Billy Joel, was the silly, albeit incredible Carl Fischer on trumpet. So proud to know these guys and have my arrangements in their book, for these fine musicians would never consider using them were they not up to par. And now...back to the daily grind for a bit. Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays to all! Don't forget to check out "Santa's On His Way" on the music page of my website! --AB
 

Anita as Guest Speaker/Composer at City College

 
WOW!!! I SO love teaching college level students. What a great pleasure it was to teach Mike Holober's arranging class tonight. We talked about instrument ranges, the physics of tone production, the importance of the overtone series and its relationship to writing...and then we looked at some of my sketches in my favorite 11x17 notebook and the construction of "Shifting Tides of Montauk." After playing the melody and its developmental elements for them at the piano, we listened to the track from "27 EAST." In addition to all that we looked at some of their charts and addressed some specific questions each is faced with. Great fun! What a gorgeous building and campus! I have been around New York for decades and I had never been to this pocket of Manhattan. What a most gorgeous, gothic building! And the architecture in the neighborhood at 145th St. is just breathtaking. New York at its finest, no doubt.
 

Writing for Renowned Jazz Singer, Judi Silvano

 
Anita is happy to announce that she has been hired to write two arrangements for the internationally renowned jazz singer, Judi Silvano, to be performed with Thurman Barker's Jazz Program at Bard College in December 2009. Concert details forthcoming. After being friends for years, Judi and I are very happy to finally have the chance to work together and are looking forward to a number of additional collaborations down the road. Some of you may know Judi's husband, the legendary saxophonist, Joe Lovano. Once again, SO grateful for all those folks we meet...hangin' around The Vanguard on Monday nights for decades. I am so happy to embark upon this exciting collaboration with one of the loveliest of international jazz artists . :-) --AB
 

Music for ALL AGES!!!

 
ATTENTION Music Educators and Band Leaders for music students and players of all ages: I hope you will continue reading today's blog entry! Welcome to the fall season. I sincerely hope to hear from you so that we might schedule something fun for your program or ensemble!! With the start of this school year I am embarking on a campaign to offer clinics of varying design for K-12 and college music programs, as well as co-commission opportunities with my new, extended work, 'Slices of the Gradient', for high-level jazz ensembles. My music for jazz orchestra and a number of lead sheets are available on my website. Some rehearsal clips are of unrecorded works have been posted. A listing of R&B arrangements can also be found on the products page while titles of my children’s songs will be posted soon. A more detailed outline of available clinics may be found below. Free promotional materials are available at http://ats.anitabrownmusic.com/products.html. Please scroll down to CLINICS – Free PDF. ATTENTION: Directors of College Jazz Ensembles! I hope you will give a listen to the mp3 file on my 'music' page, of a rehearsal recording of my original tune and arrangement, 'Santa’s On His Way'. This feel-good chart should make for an easy read and features an alto or mezzo soprano voice as well as a trumpet soloist. Other titles featuring the same voice include Now Baby Or Never and Don’t Explain*. www.anitabrownmusic.com/music.html *Don’t Explain is prepared to optionally feature alto saxophone. WANT MORE INFORMATION???? For starters, here are some details for you… COMMISSION CAMPAIGN 2009: 'Slices of the Gradient' is an extended work in three movements, inspired by and named for three specific photographs: 1) Lily Pads; 2) Chac Mol (an underwater Mexican cenote); 3) The Fountain. Formidable sketches are currently underway, focusing on the second movement first. If you, your school or ensemble would like to take part in commissioning this work, please send your interest in reply to this e-mail. Further details are available on my website’s blog. Scroll back to see the August 24th entry. CLINICS FOR COLLEGE MUSIC PROGRAMS: Each clinic is tailored to your program’s specific needs and can include rehearsing and performing my music and/or the music of Manny Albam (see 'links' page of website'. Lecture/demonstration style clinics discussing creative process and analyses of works and/or conducting are always encouraged, affording students an opportunity for greater insight. CLINICS & RESIDENCIES for MUSIC, K-12: Whether you’re interested in a one-day clinic or a longer residency, each booking will be tailored to your needs as the music or classroom teacher. Free promotional pdf’s are available on the products page of my website. Clinic titles include, -What Does A Composer Do? (recommended for grades K-6) -The Creative Process (grades 3-12+) -Let’s Compose! (grades 3-9) -The Composer Residency Project (grades 6-12) -Music Business Project: A Hands-On Introduction to Intellectual Property & Copyright Law (grades 3-12) -Guest Conductor Clinics: Rehearsing and performing with your school ensemble(s) under my baton. For bookings & more information please visit www.anitabrownmusic.com
 

Ten Years Ago Today

 
Ten years ago today, at this hour (2:06 am, EDT), I was enjoying time on a gorgeous 70 foot sportfish yacht, docked at Trump Marina in Atlantic City, NJ. After we arrived from Montauk, NY in pretty turbulent seas (9 foot swells as we left Montauk Harbour) the captain and first mate decided that winning several thousand dollars at Black Jack on AC's main strip was simply not enough. While they ventured into Trump Tower to play with their winnings, I remained on the "Angela Z", enjoying the luxury of such an impressive vessel by myself. By 4:30 am "Captain Jerry" and First Mate, Mike returned to the boat in an agitated state, having lost ALL of their winnings from earlier. Jerry and Mike lifted the floor in the galley and proceeded to check fuel and oil levels. I suddenly discovered that the thought I had about actually going to sleep was just not going to happen. Captain Jerry decided he wanted to leave "Now." It was approaching 5:00am or so before we were ready to navigate out of the harbour and around the jetty, but it was PITCH BLACK! I quickly learned that the only way to do this is for one chump to stand on the bridge with a high powered flash light, in search of the numbered markers leading out of the waterway to the sea. I was that designated chump; the non-mariner. one of three souls on the vessel. By the time we reached open ocean it must have been the other side of 5:30am, perhaps later. Soon we were well underway and the seas seemed moderately choppy. Suddenly the anchor cover flew open from the boat having pitched so hard, that Captain Jerry had to go out on the bow and secure it, as it was clacking around, rather out of control. It was--to say the least--frightening to observe him trying to execute this task while the boat was pitching (moving up and down, from front to back--as I later learned) madly, and his footing seemed to me precarious at best. Following that, still in darkness, we all retreated to the relative safety of the bridge. The bench behind the dash housed us all amply, while the bench seat in front of the dash could have seated ten. We sat with our feet on the dash, watching for waves coming perpendicular to the bow. These were quickly increasing to five foot waves breaking on the hull. Mike would say, "HERE COMES A BIG ONE!!!!!" and we would brace ourselves with our feet on the dash and "post," much in the same way that one would do in riding a horse. Morning light started to seep into the picture to reveal an overcast sky. Personally I was disappointed, as I was awaiting a brilliant sunrise to capture on film. (Yes, film. Pentax K1000, 35 mm, FILM) This banter with the sea from the perspective of the bridge of The Angela Z went on for a couple of hours. We were the only vessel in sight. No fishermen, no tankers, no canoes... (yes, I know canoes would never go there). By now the entire exposed area of the boat, from bow to stern, was wet, as the waves were breaking and spraying everywhere. Were it not for the zip on windshield we would have been soaked too. Now in this overcast daylight somewhere around 7:30am ( I think) I REALLY needed to use the bathroom. Capt. Jerry told me he would "slow down the boat" for me. Wearing Keds wasn't going to help me much in climbing down that ladder, walking to the opposite side of that stern to get in the cabin if we kept moving at that clip! Finally in the cabin safely I first noticed a bizarre sight: the double-sided refrigerator had jumped away from the wall and was standing nearly two feet from where it had been earlier. Not being a mariner, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I thought, "Weird. That's what happens to big appliances on a boat?" I just thought that was par for the course. Who knew? I dropped my camera on the couch in the "salon" (apparently that's what we're supposed to call the "living room" on a luxury boat the size of a house) and went into "the head" (the bathroom). As I was coming out I saw Jerry rummaging around in the entertainment wall for something. Thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shoot film in the middle of the ocean (what would I see?) I decided I needed another roll of film, as the one in the camera was spent. I took the camera into the "state room" (bedroom) forward of mid-ship where my luggage was. Little did I know, by then, Mike had been granted permission to increase the throttle back to the speed we had been traveling at earlier. After loading the camera I proceeded to drop the roll of used film into my luggage, which was open, on the floor. I stood over the soft suitcase in a tennis stance and dropped the roll of film straight down. Suddenly--REALLY suddenly--the boat apparently went over a huge wave, climbing up its steep slope with great speed and force. The response to that was the dropping of the vessel into the wave's subsequent trough, even more quickly. With that, I actually remained--like Wile E. Coyote--in the place where I had been, except now, the "deck" (floor) of the boat had dropped from the soles of my feet, leaving me three feet above it. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so of course, the boat had to return, while I had to comply with gravity and descend to meet it. I remember hearing something as loud as a gunshot, which I think was the boat hitting the surface of the water at the wave's trough. Following that, of course I had to meet up with the deck again while it was fast ascending to meet me. At the point of impact I saw-- in my mind's eye--my right shin, from about one-third up from my ankle joint, suddenly move to a 45 degree angle, turning inward toward the left leg. I remained standing. There was quite a loud "crunch" sound from inside my body to my ears...somehow. Being a little stubborn, even though I could see in my mind's eye that my right leg was in serious trouble, I decided, "That did NOT just happen. Now I'm going to stand up." With that I touched my right big toe to the floor and promptly screamed BLOODY MURDER! Thankfully Jerry was still in the salon, as the intercom from the bridge to the cabin was not functioning. Who knew there was an intercom anyway and how would I have gotten to it? Jerry ran in. I asked him to help me to the floor. He ran up and told Mike to drop anchor. He proceeded to make a May Day call to the Coast Guard, then broke the cutting board in half and splnted me to it. Always the "take charge" person in a moment of crisis as a teacher, I instructed him to get me two Advils "for the swelling." HA! The SWELLING? I was a little delusional and perhaps going into shock, or so they say. After about ten minutes lying on the floor I started to feel as though my back wouldn't let me wiggle around at all. Suddenly more pain started creeping in. About thirty minutes later, a helicopter seemed to be getting increasingly closer until it was quite loud and obviously over head. And then, there were FOUR souls on the boat. "Hi. My name is Dave. What's your name?" "Hi Dave, I'm Anita. (smile) Thanks for 'dropping in'!!" I said as I laughed at the easy pun. "This is Jerry and this is Mike!" (smile) Dave took about 30 minutes to pack me up on a stretcher (no basket). I informed him that I needed him to pack up my belongings, knowing I would not return to the boat. So, he did. Now Dave an Jerry picked up the stretcher and I said, "Wait. You guys have to put me like this...(demonstrating angle with my forearm) THEN put me through the doorway and then like this, cuz I can't tolerate it if you put me this way...(further demonstration with forearm)" Dave and Jerry looked around at the narrow threshold and Dave said, "She's right." She's right? OF COURSE SHE'S RIGHT!!! She has observed and supervised the moving of FAR too many vertical pianos for her NOT to be right! Same concept. Soon I was hooked up to the helicopter and flying solo (sola?) vertically to greet a RED helicopter against a now perfectly azure sky with no clouds. I may have been strapped to a stretcher, but I still needed to see the boat from up there and just look down BECAUSE! That's all. Just BECAUSE! As I started to try to peek over the side I suddenly realized I was taking my life into my hands as the stretcher started to behave erratically. The inner dialogue went something like, "Anita, you're strapped to this stretcher. Your hands are not going to get free without help. If you FALL you're dead. Just relax and lie flat." Now the red helicopter was getting bigger, and bigger, REALLY fast. JUST when I thought I was going to slam my face on its belly, a guy holding onto a railing leaned out an SLAMMED his foot on the side of it and stopped it from moving. OUUUUUUUUCH!!!!!! Just jarred, but WOA! Now there are TWO guys! The two of them heave my dead weight into the chopper. A few minutes later...here comes Dave! He has ALL my luggage! "Thanks Dave! Where's Jerry?" "He has to drive the boat into Cape May Coast Guard Station." Then I started to freak out. I'm being flown to a hospital by four men I never met and there won't be a single soul I know in the building OR in the town. More than the leg, that was the scariest prospect for me; being alone in a hospital with a serious problem to deal with. Suddenly I started to realize that I had nobody I knew and trusted along side of me. With that, I started to cry and freak out. My mouth was now bone dry. Just dying for some water. "Why won't the give me any water?" I thought. With that, the pilot turned around to me, lifted the helmet shield from over his face, looked straight at me and smiled. He was THEEEEEE most gorgeous man I have EVER seen in my life!!!!! And I just CHILLED! HA! Just like that! WOA DUDE! He handed me his Gatorade and told me not to take a big sip, but just to put some in my mouth and swish it around. So I said, "OK" (smile) OK...now just check out the helicopter Anita and realize "You're in a US Coast Guard Helicopter!!! HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!!!!" So, at the time I actually thought...cast...home. No problem. Little did I know that my right tibia (shin bone) AND fibula (smaller outer bone) were shattered--not fractured but shattered--and that vertebra L3 had been compressed/fractured. I had NO idea I would be living in my parent's living room for the next three months, and that I would be VERY lucky if I got home for New Years' Eve 1999, and even luckier that Tony Kadleck would actually take me to the grocery store before his gig that day and wait on me hand and foot until the groceries were put away, and even luckier that I could drive myself to the local pub, use only one crutch and manage to sit at the bar to ring in the New Year. Lucky. And lucky, VERY lucky to not only NOT be paralyzed from the waist down, but to be walking, jogging, wearing heels, wearing skirts, NOT wearing orthodics or funny shoes and both lucky and grateful that the whole thing happened at all. For as I was riding on the bridge out of Montauk Yacht Club, I was writing music, trying to notate the sound of the infrequent nine-foot swells, hissing and cutting on the side of the hull with the lighthouse off to my right in the distance. Those sketches later became the upside down trombone pyramids leading to the climax of "27 EAST" while other sketches became the bass line of the funk shuffle of "Shifting Tides of Montauk." The CD itself was financed by the eventual settlement from this episode, following payment of exorbitant hospital bills for my seven-day stay at Atlantic City Medical Center's Trauma Ward. Arriving at that location was truly congruous with a scene out of ER. I had to laugh. "Surely this is not THAT serious!" I thought. And all the while poor Dave is running along side of my gurney on wheels, shouting (and I mean SHOUTING) my stats and carrying my suitcase. My wardrobe for the day consisted of brand new Victoria's Secret black capri leggings under Jerry's jeans (it was FREEZING on the boat) and the matching set's black tee shirt under Jerry's very cool, embroidered, button down fishing shirt. Making my appearance in the trauma ward, a man in a white coat with an unfamiliar accent for which he rolls his r's in an exaggerated fashion peered over my face and said loudly, "Meeeeeezzz Brrrrrown. We arrrrre going to cut yourrrrrr clotheszzzz offffff!!" I replied, "YOU!! WILL!!!! NOT!!!!!!" I proceeded to instruct the nurse, who was not only smiling at me but surely laughing that someone gave it back to this guy, as to how to assist me in removing the clothing, although I gave her permission to cut Jerry's jeans. No great loss for me! I still own all the other articles of clothing, believe it or not. A while later my brother arrived on the scene. Some time after that both my parents arrived. I refused to sign any consent for surgery until they arrived, a decision I know now was not in the best interest of my healing, but it was what I felt I had to do if I was to be put under anesthesia. I refused on the basis of the dangers of surgery without any "next of kin" in the house. See Tony? That's why I showed up for your appendix thing. My fears. That's all. On September 25th, Mom's birthday (the day after this fiasco, also my cousin Leah's birthday)I went in for surgery early in the morning. They inserted a rod in the "tibia" (shin bone) and four screws; two at the inside of the ankle and two at the inside of the knee area. Recovery was a challenge, but honestly, the first time I was able to sit up in a wheel chair for any length of time at all without being in excruciating pain was one day when Mom said, "There's a Yankees game on. Do you want to try to watch some of it?" SO I said yes. I got into my chair and propped myself in front of the TV. Clemens was pitching. It was the first time I had REALLY paid attention to a pitcher. I was riveted to his concentration. Riveted to that drive, the will to succeed, the focus, confidence and the fact that he's just too damn handsome helped too. I had no pain for the duration of that game. Mom said nothing til it was over. I hadn't noticed I'd been in the chair for at least three hours. Following that, I kept track of the Yanks' schedule and got into that chair for every game remaining through the World Series, and with no pain. Then I said, "If Jeter can do that (stop in mid-air, change direction, pirhouette and make ridiculous plays) then I can walk by Christmas." And I did. And that's why this Mostly Massachusetts Girl is a true, die-hard Yankees fan. Percocet and codeine are OK, but the Yankees rule! I will be forever grateful for the daily phone calls during that time from Tony Kadleck and Maria Schneider. Mom and Maria got to know each other quite well over the phone. I will never forget Maria coming to my parents' place with two dozen long-stemmed white & yellow roses, and proceeding to wash my hair for me in the kitchen sink. I am also grateful to all the assistance, visits and calls from Evan Barker (and the subsequent grocery shopping oustings), Tim Horner, Janice Friedman, Glenn Drewes, Joe Mosello and Miles Evans, and of course my parents, to name a few. It turned out that the best physical therapist in the world was my nephew, Alexander "Woody" Brown, who turns eleven this November 10th. As I began trying to walk "again," he was learning to walk for the first time! He and I would go down to the ground floor of my parent's building where there is a long corridor. We walked it's length and he would say, " 'GAIN!" (again, without the first syllable). So, I had to walk the length AGAIN! And a little faster. And AGAIN...a little faster. Well, here I am and it's almost 4:00am. That hour when, ten years ago this moment, Jerry & Mike came back from the casino having lost all the money. Why did they want to leave in such a hurry? I always wondered. Alas, it turns out...the money they lost? It was the boat owner's. AHHHHHHH!!! AND...for the fact that we pulled into Trump Marina at 10:30pm on 9/23/99, the Dock Master was already gone for the night, not scheduled to return until 6:00am on 9/24/99. OHHH!!! So if we left before 6:00am...you see...we don't pay the dock fee!!! In the liner notes of my CD it does, in fact, say "...and thanks to The Atlantic Ocean, my benefactor." Yes, I know what a benefactor is. And it is ultimately The Atlantic Ocean that financed "27 EAST." Pick up your copy today!!!!!!!!!! :-)
 

Yankee Stadium, 9/14/09

 
WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE TO BE AT YANKEE STADIUM IN THE 4TH ROW!!!!!! "Legends Seats" and access to everything you ever wanted, including a great menu of free food, a private bar, all the Poland Springs, Pellegrino & Gatorade you want, on ice in big vats...and a TV screen embedded into the mirror, between two sinks in the ladies' room of that bar. Service at your seat via wait staff. Pay only for alcoholic drinks...so I had...(LOL) sushi, lobster roll & cabernet!! HA! And a TWIX bar from the nice woman coming around offering free candy & Cracker Jacks! I got Phil Hughes' autograph, talked to him, got pix of him from over his head, spoke to some cops...and I would like to thank Officer Kress from the 44th Precinct for the ball!!! And for taking a picture with me and Officer "Jack" Peters after the game. :-) I LOVE NEW YORK!! GO YANKEES!!!! Special thanks of course to my dear friend, Jami Dauber, trumpet player & manager of The Diva Jazz Orchestra, for the guest status. Thanks to Stanley Kaye for allowing Jami so many guests. And HUGE congratulations to Jami, Tanya Darby, Debbie Weisz and the other women of the Diva brass section, playing SO beautifully on Deb's outstanding arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner. It's pretty tough to pay attention to the game when you're that close to the players and having THAT MUCH FUN!!!!!!! But surely an experience of a life time. WAY too much fun for one person in one night. A night I'll never forget. Thanks Jami!!!! Love you babe!! So...May 7th and September 14th. LOL --AB
 

All Good. Moving Right Along...

 
As of just a few moments ago, I submitted a major grant application for funding for "Slices of the Gradient." I'll post more about other plans for the same, shortly. Perhaps I will even post the Statement of Plans as submitted. All rested (well, maybe not rested), certainly refreshed from having spent time with friends at the beach, including yesterday at Long Beach, NY, I am looking forward to beginning my lessons with my private students in addition to connecting with a number of school and college music programs in the interest of booking clinics. Please don't hesitate to inquire if you think your child's school district/PTA organization might be interested. Likewise, college jazz programs are great fun to work with. Free pdf downloads with further information are available on the PRODUCTS page of this website. Scroll down until you see "Clinics." Considering the extended work on the table, perhaps there are some college jazz ensemble directors who might wish to co-commission a movement of "Slices of the Gradient." More later. Right now, I have to get my act together to get to Yankee Stadium as the guest of my dear friend, trumpet player Jami Dauber, who is playing The Star Spangled Banner with the brass section form the DIVA Jazz Orchestra! If you're in New York, tune in!! Never been to BP before! :-) --AB
 

Remembering

 
The World Trade Center's Twin Towers and Plaza was a place I shared many memories with many friends. Music, laughter, sight seeing, parking nearby and just hanging out by the river... The towers were a beacon, the ballast of the skyline. They were our compass, differentiating south from north; icons of New York, hailing from Battery Park. As a child, I watched them go up...one floor at a time, while living in Teaneck, NJ and coming into town frequently to go to my uncle's shop, where Mom worked at E.28th & Lex, and while visiting my Aunt Mary's at E. 38th & 3rd. I remember, as a 7 year old, being a little sad that they would trump the height of The Empire State Building. I remember how noisy that construction was and that every floor looked the same. Week to week one could observe the progressive increase of height. Once they were built, most of us thought they were an eye sore until some years passed. They filled my windshield from top to bottom, every Monday night as I drove down 7th Ave. to The Village Vanguard to hang with my friends; a spectacular view in 3-D that I never took for granted, as was the laterally complete skyline view as one drove into Manhattan from the Long Island Expressway, just before entering the Midtown Tunnel. Another wondrous view in the most incredible 3-D, Twin Towers at extreme left. Watching them fall after I ceased readying myself to drive into New York for appointments with my attorney was a horrific moment in my life. Without TV service at that time I learned of the "accident" of a plane hitting Tower One by my mother's phone call. Not having seen the imagery, I just thought, "Eh...whatever. It will be fine. I'm not meeting Don at his office (1 block from WTC), I'm meeting him in midtown. Gotta get rolling..." I thought. A few minutes Mom called back. "I don't think you should go Anita. Turn on the radio." Suddenly news of an additional plane in DC and another in PA came through. I ran over to my neighbor's house and we watched the rest of it on TV until about 2:00pm. Worse than watching that was learning that the wonderful man and father of three of my private students, whose family I adored, an attorney for Cantor Fitzgerald, was lucky enough to survive but was burned over 80% of his body. Had he not stopped for a breakfast purchase before entering the building, he might have already been at his desk instead of in the elevator when the plane hit. As it was, the elevator doors opened and he faced a fireball of jet fuel which he inhaled as it burned off his wardrobe. He spent many months in the burn unit of Cornell-Weill and survived to celebrate his youngest daughter's Bat Mitzvah, which fell to the calendar, interestingly enough, on September 11th some years later, which I attended. His friends and family are all grateful for his amazing recovery. During the week following 9/11/01, when I made a wrong turn, I found myself forced to go over the Triboro Bridge. As I approached the span I could see the ominous cloud of dust lit from below, wavering and morphing slowly, like a ghost representing all the lives lost and crippled. I was crying uncontrollably while driving; not something I recommend. I turned around in Dave Pietro's neighborhood in Astoria and had to return, this time with a better view, much to my dismay as well as my curiosity. Everybody drove curiously and courteously slowly without use of horns, and WITH use of turn signals for at least one week. The stench of this cloud lingered and even made its way up the river to the vicinity of the George Washington Bridge. I sat down to write on September 14th. The sketches I have are strong and cut deep into my soul. The piece has been conceived and has a title. I had hoped to garner a commission from West Point to see it through but that didn't happen. It's all for the better, as I am still not ready to face those sketches. I wasn't going to post a blog today, but seemed to start to do so in response to Mark Dubinsky's post on my Facebook wall. A comment didn't seem enough. I hope everyone will do something nice for someone today. That's about all we can do. And live well my friends, live well! --AB
 

Home Sweet Home

 
While my excursion to the northeast corner of Massachusetts was "wall to wall" great fun, I am once again at home. I guess I needed to get away because this place doesn't seem to be choking me so much now (the apartment itself). I had the opportunity to vent about frustrations regarding the dynamics surrounding the use and/or non-use of the particular photographs that initially inspired "Slices of the Gradient" to some good friends, who were amused and confounded, even astonished with the photographer's retraction of permission for use. Still other friends offered their knowledge and insights, sharing the outcomes of stories about copyright infringement. Each had wonderful ideas and encouraging words for navigating the eminent obstacle course, reminding me that the photographs have already served their purpose and are no longer needed. If you have no clue as to what I'm talking about just scroll back to the first entry of this blog in late August. Interestingly I realized that sitting on the beach in Salisbury, MA doesn't quite yield the same kind of focus and will to create as doing the same in Montauk, NY. I think perhaps this is because I have long standing associations with Salisbury as being a place where I expect social interaction rather than production of a new product in my solitude. There are many distractions, particularly on a visit after five years. Of course, there are more people to see than the hours in the day allow, and the beach holds me with an invisible chain until the sun fades or the wind shifts...whichever comes first. I'd like to thank all my friends for their hospitality, their efforts to visit me on the beach, their company and great spirit(s) and for being outraged, appalled and wholly supportive with regard to the aforementioned. It's great to be able to share and think through this stuff out loud with people who appreciate and understand my motives and genuinely inspired thoughts. Thanks also for the many laughs and warm memories, and again, your company, in tandem with the fried scallops, broiled scallops, Drunken Clams, clam chowdah, fresh lobster, baked haddock, Willey's Plain Penuche Fudge, chocolate cake and the cabernet, cabernet, and the cabernet...and the white wine too. Photos of the trip are posted on my Facebook wall. I hope you'll stop by and see a few. Back to the grind...while the Yankees have a night off and I can concentrate. --AB And Happy Birthday today to Dave Smith, one of my favorite students of all time...who was in the 8th grade during my very first year as a full-time, contracted teacher in Glastonbury, CT. Did I NOT TELL YOU that you needed a brand new (1984) Les Paul? I'm glad you still have it. Sorry I missed you on this trip. Next time dude. Kiss the kids for Auntie Anita. Happy Birthday!
 

All Is Well

 
In the event that anyone is actually reading this, I must say that I am extremely excited at the prospect of moving forward with Slices of the Gradient with a new outlook. The fact is, the photos that inspired the musical thoughts to fall out to paper need only serve that singular purpose. For that, I need no permission. Following that, the possibilities are endless and I am enjoying challenging my imagination to find the best angle for the project. I was a little concerned that the photos, as beautiful as they are, might not hold up to being projected as colossal images. It's hard to tell, as I only have a matrix printer and cannot determine the quality and dpi. Perhaps they would, but perhaps not. Some of the options that are taking shape will surely be an improvement over the original concept. This is how the process works. Just react. :-) Now, beach... --AB
 

More Beach

 
Hot, sunny, slightly balmy, repeat. Great day on the beach Friday. Friends on the beach for Saturday. I'm almost done. What a great end to a crazy, insane, inspired, party-filled spring and summer. Happy 50th Class of 1977! Did I NOT say I was celebrating until Labor Day? And there it is. And perhaps beyond... Let's see...who didn't have their birthday yet? I can hear the surf from here. I feel much better when I'm near the water. ...the WAWtah --AB
 

Beach

 
That's all. Just...the beach today. More later. Great hang with Mark DeVoto yesterday. Looking forward to reading from Fowler's "Modern English Usage" which he gave me a copy of. :-) Scheduling, grant application revisions, maybe some melodic thoughts on the beach... Enjoy the day. --AB
 

Etch-A-Sketch

 
It has been so wonderful to be in Salisbury Beach, MA...my stompin' grounds. The beach is beautiful, the weather is gorgeous and walking/jogging on the beach has been quite effective at clearing my head. Time with old friends, long lost classmates who are actually still local enough to meet up with, talking out eminent challenges with brilliant and insightful people has been so very gratifying, helpful and inspiring. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the local delicacies, such as Hunt's Fried Scallops (don't get a large if they're for yourself though), Drunken Clams, Tripoli's Pizza and hot dogs on the beach, not to mention Lisa's baked haddock. Off to a lesson with Mark DeVoto Wednesday (today) in the late morning to talk about compositional development and other geeky things. Since it is already early morning, I'm over & out. --AB
 

Forward Motion

 
I'm very excited to take a little excursion to see old friends and clear my head of these "four wall." I'm grateful for the challenge that is before me and very excited to see Mark DeVoto this week to talk about form, structure, development, with my sketches for the second and first movement of "Slices of the Gradient." A little beach time...a little Grog, a little jam session hang maybe with some high school friends... And a nice drive. I like to drive. :-) Most of the time...even in traffic sometimes...like on the West Side Hwy at the river...but I digress. Reading a little Hindemith on Harmony...a little "Psychology of Music" too. Geek stuff. :-) So very excited to face the challenge of finding a solid new tactic for this project. SO many ideas to choose from. It's wild. It's all good...everything that is supposed to happen, happens. REACT! --AB
 

Comparisions

 
Now that I have seen the commercial photographers' shots of this enormous and beautiful fountain at Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia, I have to say--always being objective--that Whatizzname's shot I am calling "The Fountain" is even more amazing than I had thought. While all the commercial photographers are bringing the building and the fountain's pool of water into the shot, "JH" (we'll call him...) has purposefully found a way not to show us the water pool or the expansive landscaping that surrounds it. He has chosen his shooting location more than deliberately and with his camera's settings has taken advantage of nature's spotlight. He has made the subject of his photograph the light that illuminates the spraying water. It is brilliantly framed and planned. It's a shame he will not allow it to be posted. In searching for yellow lily pads and hot pink water lilies online, I find one thus far, but none that offers the stark, stunning contrast of color and perspective of composition with regard to line and choice of framing. This photo may have to become a painting. In fact, they--all three of his photos with which I have been working to assist and guide my thoughts to the score paper--deserve to be shown, painted and offered for sale. I have to call it like I see it, regardless of this "mighty spitelock" (to quote Steely Dan, from 'Gaslighting Abbie'). While my reference resources do not recognize Steely Dan's descriptive compound word, my search inspires me to share this from Webster's Dictionary: spite: n. 1.petty ill will with the the disposition to irritate, annoy or thwart., syn. see MALICE; v. 2. to treat maliciously. While I certainly have "my days" going through life, I believe it is important to always make the effort to be the "bigger person," and to give others the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. To date however, I have never encountered a "mighty spitelock" quite as mighty as the one locking out "Slices of the Gradient" from incorporating these three, astonishingly beautiful images. But you just have to laugh...it's all good. What goes around, comes around. "You are hereby sentenced to death by poetry for heinous violations against artistic vision. Guards. Take him." --AB ;-) Glad I still have all of Uncle Frank's oils, brushes and canvases! Don't forget to click on the photos page.
 

The Fountain

 
Related photographs of "The Fountain" as described in my entry of 8/24/09 are now posted in the photo gallery. I'm also hot on the trail of hot pink water lilies with canary yellow lily pads. I'm SOOO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!! :-) --AB
 

Some OTHER Photos of Chac Mol (Chac Mool)

 
The natives spell the name of this underwater cavern, or 'cenote,' Chac Mool. Perhaps Chac Mol is an American concept of its spelling. I would like to thank my Facebook friend, whom I shall call Ms. Torres for now, for allowing me to use her beautiful photos of Chac Mool for this website, now posted! :-) I'm so glad she friended me back in April. She is a brilliant, bilingual woman who writes about diving for online sources. You can see a picture of her as she swims in Chac Mool without any diving equipment. Amazingly, in one of these photos we see nearly the same perspective as the photograph that tapped my subconscious for some very strong musical material. It seems the other photographer may have been standing further to the right and possibly ducking down in order to observe and "wait for the shot," which I know he is in the habit of. Muchas gracias a Ms. Torres for a beautiful look into Chac Mool. Now perhaps you can see why I was so taken with a deliberate shot captured with attention to line and framing by an experienced artist's eye. So long as the mysteriously absent shot of Chac Mol (the other spelling) continues to accompany me on my journey in developing the concept and the music for this project, it will serve its purpose. Permission to utilize an image for this task is never required, as it is not a violation of any intellectual property laws. Hope you'll take the time to comment on the guestbook about this beautiful place on earth! Just click on PHOTOS! They are in the section entitled "Slices of the Gradient." --AB
 

Chac Mol

 
I am very excited to have suddenly realized that I have other photographs of Chac Mol (Chac Mool), the aforementioned cenote in Mexico, that illustrate the beauty of this underwater cavern. While they are wonderful photographs, they are very different in composition than the photograph that inspired some very beautiful musical sketches. However, closer examination of rock formations reveals that one is, in fact, shot from nearly the same location as the one that is taped to the wall next to my piano. I have inquired with the person who shared them with me as to whether or not I may post them to show you. Awaiting word on who owns them... Stay tuned! :-) It's so wonderful an opportunity to talk to so many artist friends about the options available to bring "Slices of the Gradient" to fruition. Steve Wilson just called to apologize (apologize??) for not being able to return a business call a few weeks back. NO NEED to apologize Steve! But how GREAT is it that he, this beautiful spirit of a man, called me TODAY, while I'm so excited about the direction this project will take! You guys know Steve...great sax player...all the NYC stellar big bands AND Chick Corea! One of my favorite people. Love the energy he brings! We could talk for HOURS! ...Reminding me to send love and light to those of troubled heart and deep wounds. (Aww...) Regarding a different color energy, try to remember Al Franken's SNL character "Stewart Smalley" and his "Daily Affirmations." I'm thinking about that... Still laughing! --AB Oh. By the way, see that logo of me conducting at the top of this page? I drew that with oil crayons! Know how I thought of it? :-) Krista Wortendyke shot the photo that inspired it in an ABJO rehearsal. It is in the jacket of "27 EAST." I loved it so much I drew my own interpretation...which I own the copyright to! How cool is THAT! Do you see where I'm going with this?
 

There's No Place Like Home...

 
When I was younger and spending my life at our ocean-front property at 62 Central Ave in Salisbury, MA, I always told myself that it was important to take a lesson from one of my favorite movies and remember that "if I'm ever looking to fill my heart's discontent...well I won't look any further than my own back yard," (which at the time was sand, leading to the state beach). Tonight, as a twenty-odd year resident of Nyack, NY, I suddenly realized that I once again need not look ANY further than "my own back yard" to find answers to a potentially formidable creative dilemma. My long time friends, like Gale Cruz (singer extraordinaire) and Theresa MacDonnell and Joe Mosello (all my 'girlfriends') are well aware of my creative endeavors as well as the obstacles I may face, and stand in complete support while understanding the ramifications of my intentions. Conversations with these closest of friends always generate incredible ideas for forward motion. Add to that, "my own back yard" in the literal sense: my favorite pub, O'Donoghue's Tavern where I have the incredible opportunity) on Thursdays and certain other nights) to have a nice glass of wine, a great dinner AND creative talk with my favorite bartender (see pix on facebook for My 50th b-day) Jimmy. Jim Winans is an accomplished painter. His favoured medium: oils. He understands copyright, ownership and how to respectfully bypass the need for agreement between artists in collaboration, and other such issues. So I'm GOOD TO GO! It's almost like taking candy from a child. LOL It's so simple and so sweet...on this day when permission to use a particular set of visual images for "Slices of the Gradient" was unequivocally retracted. In addition, this project is morphing as I write this, into a much larger scale production than previously imagined. More details shortly. The creative process, the muse, the medium, the intention...it's all so precious and priceless. I wish for everyone to experience this at least once in their lifetime. Alas, some of small heart cannot find this place. (Can somebody give me a line from "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" here?) I firmly believe that a grandiose lesson in life is the one The Grinch learned. Learned under one's own steam, it is far more valuable a lesson than if learned via lecture. Generosity of Spirit is high level energy. I love people with high levels of generous spirit, for they lead the way. Those who are fearful of being generous, who are fearful of being trusting will lose in the end. Perhaps there is great and surprising monetary reward for the trusting soul. Particularly when the trust may extend far into the past. Perhaps I am to see myself mirrored in this scenario concerning this "image-maker," as a person who may have previously been fearful to "allow" use. Frequently, when we don't know the people making such requests, it is hard to know the right decisions. Other times, when we know someone for decades, it seems easy to trust, but is this is not always reciprocated. "What's the bottom line Anita?" The bottom line is, it's late. I'm going to bed. I have not lost ANYTHING! I have not lost "permission" to use images for "Slices of the Gradient." I am embracing new opportunities; new ways of thinking. The painter says, "Sometimes we add, sometimes we subtract..." It's time to subtract; leave the original idea behind and work from there. Use the originals as a springboard, and be willing to give it up. On deck: A lesson in Boston with Mark DeVoto, Ph.D. (student of Walter Piston at Harvard, editor of Piston/DeVoto Harmony text, composer and keeper of a universe of 'useless knowledge' (in his own words...) not to mention my calligraphy & orchestration teacher at UNH... We will look at the PHOTOGRAPHS together and the existing musical sketches in order that this may prompt discussion of traditional (vs. jazz concept) development in structure and harmonic relationships between moevements. Very excited to see DeVoto! A trip to MY beach at Salisbury, MA (the aforementioned 'back yard') will be great fun. This piece is well underway, for which I am grateful, as it forces me to react. That's all we can do. React. The work will be all the better for it. REACT! AND...my previously held reservation for posting some simple home video of two new tunes I finished has lifted! Happily I can report that it would be a positive thing to unleash these two tunes. :-) Lyrics on the MUSIC page of this site...under "Funk Stuff." Now click your heels three times and say..."There's no place like home...There's no place like home...There's no place like home..."
 

Inspiration Undaunted...but JEEZ LOUISE!!!

 
LOL I have been laughing through this whole "wellspring" of writing, inhaling and drinking in everything that good, inspired material offers. However, today at precisely 6:15 pm, I had a 'figurative' head-on collision. I suddenly had to begin crawling under razor barbed wire, seeking to...escape "THE ENEMY!" (NOT health-care-debate related!) LOL!!!!!!!! There are always enemies of the creative process. The telephone is one, TV is another, laundry, e-mails, Facebook and bright sunshine that beckons. Usually the enemy is not human. OH...WAIT!!!!!!! I wonder if this one is... Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm............. That which does not kill me strengthens my resolve and taps my resourcefulness! Never underestimate the power of the inspired idea. I've been saying it for years!!!!!! :-) I'm having SUCH a great night! I hope you are too!! Alas, I discovered the barbed wire to be made of rubber and not terribly sharp after all. Go create something NEW! GO! --AB And...some rather crude home video coming soon to introduce two new tunes. Very exciting!!
 

The Inspired Idea

 
A gift from somewhere...the Universe I suppose. The inspired idea is that which comes without inner dialogue and for no apparent reason. It reaches you deep inside your soul, speaks softly in your inner ear, guides you by the nose, makes you laugh, makes you cry and if you listen closely enough, it starts screaming at you, instructing you as to what to do next. Shall I play it again? Shall I grope a little longer at the piano? What note should come next? Shall I write it down contiguously so I don't have to follow the maze of rehearsal numbers and colored pencil options? It always knows. Our challenge is to figure out the puzzle; the path and the product. The muse however, seems to vary immensely, sometimes from one piece to another and other times from one time frame in life to another. Maybe that's why Picasso had various periods associated with colors. The wellspring I experienced this spring and summer defies logic, common sense and reason. When the inspired idea drops by, or decides to camp out in your life, it is imperative that you entertain it; play host, ask its opinion, open dialogue, play back often (read back the chapter, step back from the image...) and honor mistakes--especially those that repeat. Never erase anything! And yet, never deny the small child its curiosity, for it will tell you what it needs, but only if you listen. The bottom line is, whether the inspired idea and its accompanying muse centers around a beautiful child, the sea, the clouds, the purging of grief, honoring the deceased, surprising delight, a lighthouse, the joy of being in the presence of those we love, or even those who are irrefutably, calculatingly mean, it all has to be brought to the tactile world from your imagination and worked through. The reasons are revealed later. Never argue with the inspired idea. Hear it, listen to it, work with it, manipulate it...but NEVER argue with it! Drop everything, and LISTEN! GO! --AB
 

Most Graciously...

 
I am stunned at how quickly responses are coming in. Thank you so much for your interest and kind words, and for taking the time to sign the guestbook! I LOVE reading your replies! For those of you who have inquired, I am in the process of connecting with a non-profit organization that will allow me to accept donations through them, and will allow the donor a tax write off. When this is up and running I will announce it here. If you are an individual who would like to take part in commissioning a segment of this work, please STAY TUNED via the RSS feed, for updates on that status. Meanwhile, I am always available for online composition/arranging lessons for which one can register by sending payment to my PayPal account using the Variable Payment Options at the bottom of my PRODUCTS page. Send inquiries via e-mail from the CONTACT page. This online stuff is pretty amazing, huh? ;-) The tech-challenged composer chick emerges into the online world... LOL
 

A Forthcoming Extended Work

 
With a recent flurry of inspired musical sketches, I have found myself embarking upon a project for an extended work in three movements; a triptych of symphonic poems for my jazz orchestra. Symphonic Poem: A one-movement orchestral form that develops a poetic idea, suggests a scene or creates a mood. Triptych: A set of three associated artistic, literary or musical works intended to be appreciated together. The concept for this piece was inspired by the artful photographic images of an amateur photographer whose eye for color, light and line is uniquely discriminating and keen. This extended work will take its cues from three photographs; each one spawning a movement and its own musical identity through my filters. The title of this triptych is Slices of the Gradient. Each movement will be named for the photograph it represents: 1. Lily Pads 2. Chac Mol 3. The Fountain While I have been cultivating this idea since April, I have just begun seeking funding for this project, which I know will be something memorable and significant. I haven’t been quite as energized about a creative endeavor as I am about this one since the 2003 recording sessions for Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra: 27 EAST. As I stand at the threshold of this daunting task, I thought it would behoove me to put the word out there in cyberspace. My reasons are two-fold. First, perhaps it will seem a little less daunting to know there are some folks out there walking with me on this journey. Secondly, perhaps it might assist me in connecting with some performing arts organizations and friends who might like to commission a segment of the work. I have recently learned of some very helpful sources for artist support. Conversely, I have never sought financing before and am quite certain there are many more organizations I know nothing of, as I write this. If you are a member or director of a high level performing arts organization and would like to consider such a commission, please contact me using the contact page on this website. You will find a link to Meet The Composer on the links page as well. And, don’t forget to sign the guestbook! The following is a more in-depth description of my anticipated triptych of symphonic poems, Slices of the Gradient. I hope to be able to post the photographs described herein before long. Until then, I hope this stirs your imaginations. Thanks for visiting my blog! Please subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!! ~Anita Slices of the Gradient: Movements and Images The first movement, Lily Pads, will be an interpretation of an image of twenty bright yellow lily pads on black, still water. At the top of the vertical frame the artist shows us the inverted, impressionistic reflection of indigenous brush in hues of deep, hunter green upon the inky indigo of the still water, moving gradually to jet black by the bottom of the frame. Near the left border of the frame there is one, lone hot pink flower. The backdrop of motionless water and highly contrasting subject will lay the foundations for its musical interpretation. The gradations of indigo to black in its background offer a certain mystery, while the viewer is invited to enjoy the beauty of the foreground’s stunning contrast in this existing ecosystem. The seemingly random formation of canary yellow lily pads, whimsically reminiscent in shape of ‘Pac Man,’ is one of ambiguously outlined concentric semi-circles, causing the eye to flit around the image for a focal point. Through its tranquility, the photo conveys a Zen-like, pacific aura, offering the viewer an invitation for contemplative focus. Chac Mol, optionally spelled Chac Mool or Chaac Mol, and pronounced ‘shahk mole,’ is an underwater cavern on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Its translation from Mayan language is ‘God of the Rain.’ Mexico has innumerable underwater caverns frequented by scuba divers of varying levels of expertise. They are fresh water caverns that do not house fish! This second movement, which was in fact the first to inspire musical conception, will offer my impression of this breathtaking place shown through the astonishingly vibrant image of a single, underwater porthole. Again, in high contrast imagery, this photo reveals the physical foreground in black to actually be the image’s background, while its physical background in glorious gradations of turquoise and green with broad rings of reverberating sunlight, pulls the eye deep into the cavern, thereby becoming its main subject. Capturing the natural landscape and three scuba divers in silhouette, the photographer’s sense of line and composition asks the eye to choose between being guided forward into the deep or laterally to the right of the frame. The divers’ unmistakable silhouettes reveal this to be a place unwilling to support human life without appropriate equipment and experience. The final movement is to be based on The Fountain; the photo that first inspired the concept for this work. This fountain is in Melbourne, Australia. Exquisite use of framing and natural light tell the viewer it is a warm, lazy day. With his choices from behind the lens, the artist manages to create high contrast once again by capitalizing on the brilliantly sunlit water, spraying from the fountain’s edifice in pure white. From his position under a gentle canopy of late summer leaves, he emphasizes the sunlight beyond his shaded location, taking advantage of a natural spotlight. Within the vertical image the fountain is mounted nearly symmetrically upon a backdrop of the ornate archway of an impressive building. The canopy of leaves sketches a directive highlighting the significance of the archway while introducing the fountain. While the overall image is not literally symmetrical, careful attention was clearly given to avoid the sterility of perfection while honoring the beauty of symmetry. Hence, we are reminded to notice the striking architecture in the background. The iconic fountain, symbol of life, abundance and civilization, a place where people of all walks of life commune, in this artful framing, curiously has no visitors. As I am drawn into this enticing scene, I can hear the fountain’s white noise, feel it’s misty spray and the breeze, the gentle rustling of the leaves as the artist portrays it as accessible, patient and inviting, yet waiting for everything and nothing. --AB
 

BLOG LAUNCH!!

 
FINALLY!!! YAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! :-) Since my webhost has added some options, it seems I am fit to blog on my OWN WEBSITE!! Yeee HA! I hope you'll check in from time to time. I will attempt to feed this into ABJO's fan page on facebook as well. That's enough for a first entry and to see if I can make it all work. Check back later! -AB