[M.A.P.L.E. V-16] From bookmarks and margins (#4M)

It’s been a while since I’ve joined the Monday’s Music Moves Me meme (the last time was back in August)! Then again, it’s never too late to join, since there’s no obligation and no risk.

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[M.M.X.I.V. 246] Musical Memories Shuffle XVII

This post used to be a regular part of my blogging, but it has become fewer and farther between.  But, I figured that today was a good choice for it, partially because I was somewhat stuck for a choice, and partially because music is fun!  So, I now hit the shuffle button, and we’re off!

What will the 15 MP3 entries be?

[M.M.X.I.V. 186] Summer Horns

In the last few years, I would say that I have celebrated the Fourth of July in non-traditional ways.  When I say traditional, I mean going to a cookout, and watching the fireworks from wherever the party is.  However, sometimes different ways of celebrating keep it fresh from year to year.

Last weekend, when I was hanging out with one of my friends, we had considered activities to do, including upcoming Ravinia concerts, that might be enjoyable for a future rendezvous.  We considered a few concerts in August, such as The Beach Boys, but there was one much closer concert which caught my eye: “Dave Koz and Friends Present Summer Horns 2014,” scheduled for July 4.  This friend already had plans on the fourth, but I was bereft of plans until then–what an opportunity for me!

When I was younger, smooth jazz grew on me as a genre that I liked.  This is directly related to my fascination with weather, given that it was played on every Local on the 8’s on The Weather Channel.  I didn’t know the name of any of the songs, however, that played on the station, but the general sound of it definitely tickled my fancy.

I have been to Ravinia three times before: classical concert in 2010, Idina Menzel with CSO on July 8, 2012 (and I’m intentionally timing a post based on something that happened that day for a few days from now!), and Israel Solidarity Day on ל”ג בעומר, תשע”ג (Lag b’Omer in 5773, corresponding to April 28, 2013).  Each was a different experience, but all of them were quite enjoyable!  Each of those times, I took the Metra with at least one of my friends/acquaintances up to the concert/event.
Since I went at it alone this time, I figured that I should just ride my bike–the weather was absolutely perfect–sunny without a cloud in sight, and temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit.  I rode along the serene Green Bay Trail, which was fairly devoid of pedestrian and bicycle activity.  It reminds me of riding the Jamaica North trail along the west side of Lincoln.
I got my ticket once I got there after a Long 40 Minutes(TM), entered the park, and traversed the Martin Theatre clockwise in order to find a spot on the lawn in front of the Pavilion.  I could not see the stage from my vantage point, but I arrived early enough to eat my picnic dinner (fried chicken and grapes (!)) before the concert began.
The concert started at 20:05 with a guitar solo, which was a little unexpected for me, and I couldn’t see who it was playing from my vantage point.  However, after I finished eating, I walked over to the edge of the Pavilion, and was able to see the stage.  The company started with a jazz-ified medley of some “funk” songs from the ’70s, although I didn’t write down all of them that were within the medley.  This post, after all, is not intended as a playlist!
The songs were more than just the smooth jazz that I am used to from Pandora and The Weather Channel.  Indeed, some of them sounded like Saxtributions on popular songs from the ’60s and ’70s.  There were Stevie Wonder songs, James Brown, Earth Wind & Fire, and more.  However, all of them were purely instrumental, which was perfectly fine by me.
The show is much more than just the music, however.  Watching the quartet interact with each other, as well as the percussion, bass, and keyboard, makes it a full experience.  During the fifth song (of which I did not catch the name), there was some hand-play among the saxophonists, which I found somewhat endearing or amusing.  They walked around the stage and often swayed the saxes from left to right, much like what I see in marching or pep bands!  During the penultimate song, they all marched through the aisles of the Pavilion, and someone standing next to me commented on how impressive that was, particularly for Mindi who was wearing high heels.
Given that we are in Chicagoland and the night was Independence Day, two aptly-themed songs were done.  Anti-respectively, these were “God Bless America” and a Chicago Transit Authority medley of “Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is” and “25 or 6 to 4.”  This was very enjoyable, as it gave a much different feeling than either the live CTA version or studio version that I have on my computer, OR the Northwestern OR Nebraska pep bands.  Every rendition has its own appeal!
All in all, it shows that even popular songs that might normally grit on me (e.g. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams) are up my alley when the words are stripped and/or the performance is jazz-ified.  This might not be effective for EVERY song underneath the planet, but it can’t hurt!
Dave Koz said that at the end of the show, they would be doing an autograph and meet-and-greet session.  This was something I was more than willing to stick around for, as I was INDEPENDENT  of the train and parking-lot shuttles.  I bought the Summer Horns and Wild Heart CDs, and then waited in line for the autographs.  The security person was telling us, “The steps: One–get your merchandise or items to be autographed.  Two–have the CDs open.  Three–if you want a picture, wait until everyone has gotten autographs.”
A few more announcements about last trains blared over the loudspeakers while I was in line: “The last southbound train will be at 10:38 PM and the last northbound train will be at 11:21 PM.”  It was clearly pre-recorded or synthesized, but it sounded like the woman had a British accent.  Go figure!  As you know, voice-overs tend to amuse me, and I will often try to imitate them.
The line was not too long, and it shortened from the back.  The crew appeared at about 22:40 or so.  (It didn’t matter to me what time it was.  I knew I would get a second wind.)  So, the line moved pretty quickly, as I got autographs from Mindi, Gerald, Richard, and Dave, together with handshakes and quick small talk.  Before returning to the line for a photo, I found a restroom and then saw that the line was quite short for photos–hooray!  I posted the quintet photo on Facebook, but might as well reproduce it here as well for my readers who do not have Facebook and/or are not following me there:
From left: Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Noah Weiss, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright

From left: Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Noah Weiss, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright

With all of that done, I checked my watch and it was 23:30.  Given that it was still going to be a “Long Ride Home,” I had little choice but to be “Kickin’ It Up.”  I had the head lamp as well as the handlebar lights available to “Show Me The Way,” given that the “City Lights” were nowhere to be found on the starlit Sheridan Road.  In fact, on my entire Long-40-Minute Ride Home, there were only three southbound cars that passed me.  I didn’t get home in time for the end of Independence Day, and this is now officially the latest that I have ever been out on my bike.  I’m much more comfortable doing this on the North Shore than I would in the city.

I am so glad that I went to this concert, and in some sense, I might have passed over it if I hadn’t looked carefully at the Ravinia schedule last weekend!
Today is the one-hundred and eighty-sixth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes twenty-six weeks and four days.

[M.M.X.I.V. 126 / M.A.P.L.E. III-6] Morning Dance

In dance, the set of choreography is sometimes referred to as a “routine.”  Therefore, the story behind the seventh song of the day was well-timed, for a few reasons!  The password to consider here is FLEXIBILITY.  You’ll see it in this post, with flexibility in how I use the word “dance.”

Will you be flexible and continue reading?

Shuffling musical memories – VI

Here is Round Six, with 15 more songs.  Hopefully no repeats from earlier, although if I get a repeat, there is usually a second story!

1) “Be My Lover” by La Bouche.  Like other similar 90’s dance songs, they happened to excite me whenever I heard them.  This one, in particular, came up often on Sunday nights on the radio when I was a freshman at UNL… when I previously had not heard the song for a while!  Sunday nights seemed to bring out “rare” hits that I liked.

2) “Poem for the People” by Chicago.  The beginning of the song has a very similar musical introduction as another song I like–“Walk The Walk” by Rick Braun, which is a great jazz song that I had discovered.  Additionally, I like the ending horn part of the song.  The song itself, though, doesn’t have a particular memory associated with it.  Not everything will, and I’m not under the delusion that 100% of them will.

3) “The Streak” by Ray Stevens. This song was part of the 70’s decades skit that was part of my last week of fifth grade.  I found the song to be pretty funny, but was very embarrassed when I found out what streaking was.

4) “Because The Night” by 10000 Maniacs.  I downloaded this song shortly before going on the canoe trip with the math department in the REU in 2008, and it popped up on my MP3 player between Halsey and Valentine.  I was the only one awake in the car at the time, as others were napping–we had gotten up pretty early that morning!

5) “Do You Wanna Go Party” by KC and the Sunshine Band.  Honestly, nothing about this song really stands out to me.  I ripped it from the Best of KC CD that Mom and Dad have back at home, and despite it coming up frequently, it never really grew on me.  It’s still fun to listen to, but it doesn’t particularly resonate with me.  Maybe it’s because the salient songs generally appear on the radio rather than when I’ve already downloaded them (exceptions definitely can apply).

6) “Give It Up” by KC and the Sunshine Band.  Go figure–sometimes shuffle will do that to you!  This song, unlike the last one, has definitely gotten in my head before.  It appeared in my queue on the long ride to Ada from Lincoln, back in early April of my freshman year of college.  This was shortly after Mom told me about my infancy… with “Noah, The Other Noah (my dark side?) , and the Rest of Noah (my mysterious side?).”

7) “Big Country” by Eric Marienthal.  The last song on the Weather Channel II CD.  This song reminds me of airplane rides to and from Lincoln from Chicago, even though this song doesn’t always hit the queue.  The saxophone and xylophone (?) combine well to make a happy song.

8) “Rhythm of My Heart” by Rod Stewart.  I heard this song en route to UNL back when I was a senior in high school, taking Math 208.  In particular, it came on shortly before I arrived at the parking garage and headed to Architecture Hall in order to take the final exam!  I did well on it, and ended up with an “A” in the class.  Hmm… wonder if I will now be able to relate it to my TA experience of Math 234 at Northwestern?

9) “Wild Night” by John Mellencamp.  This song has popped up several times in various forms, but the original is my favorite.  However, there’s no particular time or place where it has been especially salient, but I eventually decided to download it simply because I liked the song.

10) “Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)” by Haircut 100.   I heard this song on KLIR 101.1 (Columbus) while driving on Highway 2 toward UNL during the summer between high school and undergrad, to work in Prof. Batelaan’s lab.  The song got stuck in my head all day with the instrumental refrain and the popping.  At least it made the frustration of resolving the signal peaks a little easier to handle!

11) “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas.  I went on the ski trip with some of the other ESAM students during my first year at Northwestern.  After our first day of skiing, this song was one that Swami strummed on the guitar while the rest of us sang.  This was a fun trip, and I always enjoy singing, even if I am frequently terribly out of key!  Go ahead and throw all the terrible jokes about how I shouldn’t quit my day job!

12) “The Promise” by When In Rome.  The song, actually, reminds me of watching Game Show Network back when I was in late middle school and early high school, as one of the frequent commercials was an “Absolute 80’s” CD.  This was one of the songs that showed up in yellow on the scrolling list of songs (and ergo an excerpt was played).  Although this was before I really started getting back into “popular” music.  My music tastes back then were still primarily what I played in band.

13) Broken file.  How did that happen?

13 mulligan) “Dark World” from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  When I played the game frequently in third and fourth grade, the song naturally got stuck in my head.   That is all.

14) “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby.  Do I really need to explain?  Indeed, I requested this song on the Ultimate 80’s Request Party each Friday before going to a Science Olympiad competition.  It definitely became a routine in that way!

15) “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave.  No memories happen to be associated with this song.  It’s a cop-out, I know.  Instead, I like the song because the “mechanical” sounding voice of “Got to keep on dancing, keep on dancing” makes me laugh.  If it’s not a memory, it should at least energize or stimulate me somehow, and amusement is one way to do that!

That’s the end of this episode.  I will have more entries on the music in the future, as well as whatever other topics come to mind.  Part III of “The Man With Nine Lives” is still on indefinite hiatus, but if another salient topic comes to mind, it will certainly pop up on the blog.

Additionally, I am planning to edit my Israel blogs by adding the top 5 to 10 pictures of each day in the entry.  I will post an entry about this if (when) I do.