it's over now, it's over now

did you catch the monk reference from the "well you needn't" lyrics that he didn't write and probably hates?

putting a closing stamp on the sing-off festivities...

firstly, i am SO GLAD that nota won this thing. sonja and i sat in front of the tube monday night, lips ablaze from eating the too-hot jambalaya i cooked up during that recipe's maiden voyage, hoping that nota would pull off the win (although assuming that a bunch of young america would become infatuated with the goofy white guys from the boogerlyboobs and text their votes in until they ran out of skin on their thumbs.) we watched natasha bedingfield rush during her tune with voices of lee, nick lachey embarrass himself while trying to sing a christmas song, the wizard bobby mcferrin play it safe while improvising with the group, and smokey "i can't stop smiling because of all this botox" robinson NOT REHEARSE with nota. i thought the pussycat doll chic and her boobs did a pretty nice job with the boys glee club. ben folds was okay, but sounded like the messiah compared to boyz II men. dear lord, they were terrible. really really terrible. my kids kept looking at me with a disgustful look plastered on their grills, checking to make sure that their assessment was accurate.

nota wins. totally the right call. that singer guy from "down" joins them for a reprise of their smash performance. totally the wrong call - he sounded outclassed by david pinto. through all of this, i thought two things: 1) i wonder how they actually tabulate "america's vote" and will we ever know what the real numbers were or is it simply up to the producers' whim, and 2) am i going to hooked on reality tv now?


it's tough to do michael

another quick & opinionated synopsis about sing-off.

whew- someone finally got some sense (or borrowed the stones from that bass singer lady) and voted off maxx factor from the show. the beach boys medley is probably right up their alley but it seemed far too predictable. the so-cals hit the streets too, which i didn't completely understand. they have the horses to pull off the solos, and even switched the bass & vocal-perc guys around to further solidify their harmonies. journey sounded pretty good (another obvious choice) and i really dug their hazy shade of winter. how do they leave and voices of barf stick around? their michael jackson set wasn't too hot, although kudos goes to them for the arrangement that works the best. slim needs to pipe down about how they are supposed to interpret the song and instead take the time to look up the word 'interpret' in the dictionary (which i have just done, to be sure i'm covering my ass here.)

nota gets my vote for winning (and yes, i may actually bother to text that vote. that would definitely be a first for me.) doing the jackson 5 set was pretty solid, and the way that they took on the peter gabriel jam was very impressive to me, even though slim thought he needed to hate on them. i think he's just jealous (joel mchale had a funny line on 'the soup' last night, talking about how the boyz II men guy was judging this show because the local mall let him out of a couple shifts.) lead singing, vocal-perc, bass lines, the go-go whistle, riffs...nota is the bomb. as ben folds so aptly put it "it's like testing the A student."

the boy band from Tufts, the beetlejuicebubs (or whatever in the hell they're called) drive me to an early grave. the arrangements are straight cheese, so are their facial expressions, the colorful sweaters make me want to vomit, and the innocence they lather all over these lame arrangements is reason enough to have them kidnapped from the show. but you know what, they'll probably win because a bunch of teeny-bopper girls will think they are SO COOL and will text in votes for them like there's no tomorrow.

will i tune in on monday" damn straight, because bobby mcferrin is supposed to be on there. can you imagine what bobby would do for this show? he & nota? case closed. and i'm sure the pussycat doll lady will think that a hypothetical combined set with the most gifted singer of our lifetime and the best vocal group on the show would be hot.


cmas playlist

here's a list of some christmas stuff that i'm checking out.

albums that i own: take 6 he is christmas, jimmy smith christmas cookin', james brown funky christmas, the elf soundtrack, first call an evening in december, kenny rogers & dolly parton once upon a christmas, old school stevie and michael on a motown christmas, one of those sinatra cmas things, the quincy jones version of handel's messiah, and some of the brian mcknight bethlehem album.

i also bought a bunch of stuff on iTunes and made my own cmas mixtape. here it go:

bebe & cece winans grace, bruce springsteen santa claus is coming to town, harry connick jr. sleigh ride, wynton marsalis w/ jon hendricks sleigh ride, hall & oates it came upon a midnight clear, elvis presley blue christmas, whitney houston do you hear what i hear, al jarreau & kathleen battle w/ michael brecker my favorite things, james taylor some children see him, run dmc christmas in hollis, sting i saw three ships, dave matthews & tim reynolds christmas song, luther vandross the mistletoe jam, mariah (you're on fiah) carey all i want for christmas is you, andrea bocelli adeste fidelis, john denver & the muppets the twelve days of christmas, tuck andress rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, nat king cole the christmas song, taylor swift silent night, chuck berry run rudolph run, john coltrane greensleeves, john legend & stephen colbert nutmeg

and how could i forget johnny barstow a bowtie christmas. legendary...

soul survivor

the title sort of has something to do with this, but it's more of a reference to a really great pete rock record.

i made it through yet another semester of higher ed. i always swear, at the start of each new term, that i'm going to make much more time for personal career development. practicing, writing, marketing, preparing educational mumbo jumbo that i can handout later. yes, i'll be committed to my students (both applied and private) and will work to be a better teacher. no, i won't put my own stuff on whole. yes, i'll be at their beckoned call. no, not at the expense of my physical/mental health. it's like new year's resolutions over and over again.

looking back on what has transpired, i realize that i'm the same old me: great initial intentions, small steps towards personal goals, simply hanging in there during my teaching, making a guilty push towards personal growth, back to surviving the final swash of student & departmental needs. my students did well, and i am particularly proud of my applied saxophonists. they trust me (or have got me believing that) and work for me in ways that are obviously uncomfortable or foreign. their final performances for this term are representative not only of the work they have put in, but the ideology they have embraced. the performing groups are working hard to be their own people which, on a musical level, is totally what i'm going for (and excuse me for ending with a preposition.)

they say that the three best things about teaching are june, july & august. i'd also like to throw christmas break into the mix. i see it as a small window of opportunity to overhaul a lot of things in my life (including resurrecting my blog activity.) i'm ready to tackle the new practice routines i've been sidestepping, sweat to the P90X dvds that have been sitting in my gym for over a year, and capture the tunes that i have managed to keep rattling around in my head. per usual with me, the concern is to not create an unreasonable list of goals for this short period - just enough good habits that can stick during the lean times (because who knows - this period may just be a primer for things to come...)

so today, me & this 3x5 card are gonna make it happen. step one: get out of these apathy-inducing sweatpants...


round two

the follow up viewing of nbc's sing off went down like this: my two kids and myself sharing the reclining leather loveseat that sits about two feet from our 50" lcd, and the dvr remote at the ready so we can cruise through the commercials and the pussycat doll chic's terribly shallow critique. watching this show with two young boys is a trip. they liked the boys glee club from Tufts, hated the "old hags" chumming the amy winehouse, and went nuts for nota after i did. they were more impatient with nick lachey than sonja and i were.

nota turned it out. great bass lines and fun vocal percussion (or, as ben folds calls it, mouth drums). the mormon girls had to go, but maybe not before the cougars. when that gigantic bass lady from the maxx attack took a 4-bar solo moment, i wondered what a guy thinks when he's on a date with this lady and finds out she sings bass in an all girl barbershop quartet.

i'm not much for reality tv, with the exception of the ufc ultimate fighter series. i think reality tv is a cop-out for using your imagination to dream of a new collection of characters and scenarios and music and set design in hopes of picking up 13 episodes (hello community!!!) i haven't seen a single episode on most of the reality shows, and am totally okay with that. however, i already have scheduled the dvr to record the next and also final installments of sing-off. my kids agree with that decision. now if i can just locate my boyz II men cassettes...

the armchair vocal coach

i watched the sing-off show last night on NBC. interesting...

my early years of music school were steeped in vocal jazz music. i had the opportunity to sing in a vocal jazz group that used vocal percussion, bass, lead pop singer kind of stuff, harmonies, blahblahblah. i learned a ton in that group - performing, ear training, vocal placement, etc. the people i studied with (jason smith, phil mattson) have that market cornered and understand the arranging side of things - kind of a behindthescenes look at successful vocal jazz. i was pretty into it then, and quickly fell off the wagon when i began to study saxophone and instrumental stuff post-swcc. (yet i still have a special spot in my heart for this music, albeit relatively small...)

sonja and i parked it in front of the tube with our yummy supper and watched the groups perform. i have a lot of friends who are still doing this music professionally - canada, east coast, west coast, commercial, indie - so i was secretly hoping i'd recognize someone on tv (i didn't - thankfully).

umm....barf. these groups were pretty rough. pitch was all over the place, vocal percussion left plenty to be desired, lead singers were pooping out, but choreography was good. geez, when are we going to take singing for what it is and not add the dance moves to it for credibility. and the judges....huh. not sure what to think of it. it was nice to see the boyz II men guy again, but he wasn't necessarily contributing a lot of constructive criticism (plus, he wasn't even the good guy in that group). the pussycat dolls chic was unnecessary, except for the fact that she unzipped her top to let the girls out. she reminded me of little mama from the mtv dance crew show; snazzy sort-of-current lingo with a nice outfit yet no real substance. i was really impressed with ben folds. he had intelligent comments, insightful music info, clever jokes, and delivered it all with a positive-yet-unrevealing candor.

and of course, there's nick lachey. who would i prefer in that role? mario lopez (again?) ryan seacrest (again again?) regis? rosie? with the way our country is unraveling, i sort of figured we'd see a cameo by barack obama.

you guessed it - i'm tuning in tonight.