Monday, January 27, 2020

Some young musicians practice every day.......

Yesterday, I enjoyed an afternoon of teen Jazz musicians and feel encouraged that " jazz music future is in good hands!"

Part of a week-long salute to the genre, these 7 "bands" won well-deserved applause from a packed church a few blocks from my home. 

I walked over wearing my Lowcountry Blues Club t-shirt.

I talked up the weekly Sunday free Blues Jam held a few blocks away.

Then, yesterday evening, I joined the crowd at Smokey's Place.

That's the music-friendly 9-year home of the Blues Club.

There, I praised the impressive young Jazz musicians I had enjoyed earlier.

A great day for a short stretch of Remount Road in North Charleston! 

Not exactly the famed Highway 61 but a good showing.

I was a bit surprised there were not any ads or presence for Forte Jazz Lounge, the new music venue downtown on King Street.

What a natural tie-in with the young and old jazz musicians and - in this case - the VERY interested and involved parents!

Here are a few more views on a lovely Sunday afternoon in Charleston, SC...home of the Blues AND Jazz.

I live in a musical neighborhood indeed.

Oh, there was a special announcement by the bandleader for the youngest group there - Westview Middle School.

"We have a few seasoned players mixed in with our young men...especially Ulysses Corbett, who played with the
Count Basie band!"

"Mr. Corbett is 99-years old * and an inspiration to our young players that music can last a lifetime!"

I spoke with the leader after the show to get the correct spelling of the names.

I found the 13-year old playing trumpet behind the seasoned pro was Wesley Ward, the bandleader's son.

He also admitted that, as a joke, he assigns different ages for Mr. Corbett who actually is "only" mid-seventies.

Be sure to click on the photos and links for more details and information.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

How about some Chinese rice for dinner?

Many people like to cook - and do it very well - and I got to see an Asian version close up on Monday. 

My Chinese internet friend who has been living and working in Summerville, left town yesterday morning to return to New York City on the 10 am Amtrak. 

He came down several months ago to get a break from icy weather up north. 
Yeah, right, like so great here lately! 

He was the Chief Sushi Chef at a relatively small Asian Bistro called Red Bowl and lived in an apartment provided by the owner.
He worked 6-days a week with only Monday off.

I would go up to Summerville, pick him up and we would tour a bit of the area before returning him to the apartment in the afternoon.

We stopped at the Bank of America so he could do his monthly wire transfer of cash to his son still in China then we took off to tour.

We rode out to Folly Beach, stopping at the Folly boat recently recovered and now on display again,

We walked out on the fishing pier, ducked into the Sand Dollar dive bar,  and split an Irish Breakfast at the Guinness bar next to THE traffic light. 

I had a half-pint of Guinness. He had tea.

Traffic was light so went all over downtown, both fountains at Waterfront Park (saw the unsightly hole in the ground where the SPA Headquarters had been for years and where a new hotel will spring up to block the harbor view for many.)

He oohed and ahhed at the stately S.O.B. historic mansions, we walked the Low Battery and ambled around taking in the sights.  A quick drive over and back on the Ravenel Bridge so he could get a twilight view of Mount Pleasant.

Stopped at Harris Teeter on the way home to get what he needed to make us a "rice dinner" Monday night. I had no idea what was in store for me to observe!

Heating the skillet until it was red hot, he oiled it and stirred two eggs in and made them crispy scrambled. Two beef sausages were heated and diced, the huge container of white rice was crumbled and added to the hot skillet as he kept the spatula busy moving things around so nothing burned nor stuck to the pan. A wonder to watch! I had plenty of Soy Sauce which he used liberally.

I have trouble making toast!

Being a Chief Chef, he showed me the "tools of his trade", many knives valued in the thousands of dollars were unveiled from his bulging carry wrap. 

In there was his seasoned whetstone and he later sharpened ALL of my knives to a keen edge! 

On the salad he made (half of a head of lettuce), he drizzled his own version of Russian dressing (mustard, mayo, etc) and we ate for a long time! Burp. 

He cleaned everything spotless and we relaxed to use my computer to check with his son that the money transfer had worked and watched some tv.

I have several spare bedrooms and, compared to the Spartan sleeping area he has had since coming to Charleston, he was pleased.

 My Chinese friend Kyle Yu is back in New York now and I hope the weather remains benign for him way up North!

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Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Remember the "good old days" back in 2019?

As has become a New Year Eve activity for me, I drove down to the paper's office for its annual Salute to this year's retirees.

It has been 15 years since I retired and the NYE Drop-In is a chance to stop by and give good wishes for the newly-retired.

A chance to see old faces - and show my old one.

I was reminded by some that they saw my beard last year and others remembered me as clean-shaven.

Many faces in the small crowd were reporters whose bylines were familiar and others totally new to me.

A cadre of older retirees like me was engaged in conversations around the room and I joined a few to catch up.

Oh, and there always is a nice spread of food.

I put my diet aside and sampled pieces of crispy fried chicken, a few biscuits with sliced ham and cheese and a chocolate chip cookie.

Most of these delicious bites are not part of my normal menu but - hey, it's a special time-out day! A new decade beckons.

After some nice conversations, I drifted away to see what was the same and what had changed in the last 364 days.

While I was hired to run InfoLine for the paper, I still had an affinity for the press photographers whose work always pleased me as I scanned my daily paper.

My press photo roots harkened back to the 1960s in San Diego where I was a staff photographer.

I got to chat with this year's retired press photographer Wade Spees and, while neither of us had a camera, we both had Smartphones in our pockets that could capture some great images.

Right after his Summer retirement, we both had attended a Retirees quarterly luncheon and I was armed with a 4x5 Speed Graphic!

He was pleasantly surprised to see such an well as the bulky classic news camera.

Many fond memories of racing to grab the right image while being mindful of approaching deadlines for the morning and afternoon papers.

This was the same situation here growing up when my two brothers and I carried - and tossed - the News & Courier and The Evening Post.

Long after I headed West, the two papers here merged as did the two in San Diego.

All around the building, I saw dazzling photos taken by staffers.

The one in England of a colorful double-decker bus in the midst of a black & white scene caught my eye.

I have a buddy who drives modern buses around London. He will chuckle when I suggest he check my blog.

New to me this year was seeing "lounge areas" scattered around the second floor.

I believe the paper has an in-house ad agency now called King & Columbus.

I didn't see any pool tables or other recreational break areas.

Understand there are such areas that GOOGLE workers can retreat to for relaxation.

Not sure about another new site I saw near the advertising cubicles.

Did they bring in prospective clients to a cozy retreat area?

Or, was it a place for the ad sales reps to relax and recharge their batteries.

Either way, I seem to recall that room was a designated smoking area. There was one on each of the three floors but I had quit smoking before I was hired so never ventured into the smoky enclosures.

One image I will add to this NYE account.

It was NOT at the downtown newspaper office but IS symbolic of this time of the year.

A friend gave me a small Christmas Cactus plant that I have nurtured along for a few months.

Apparently, it had its first bloom while I was spending Christmas out in California with two of my children.

A nice seasonal happening that always pleased my Mother when her cacti bloomed starting around Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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