Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Nephew

It's great to have some time off for Thanksgiving -- to take a break from work, to spend some time with family, and to write. It's especially enjoyable when you have an opportunity to meet new family members. For me, this Thanksgiving was a chance to meet my very first nephew (or niece for that matter) -- born only about a few weeks ago. A number of my friends have had babies, now, and each time it's always particularly fun to meet the kids the first time. When it's your sibling's turn to experience parenthood, though, it feels a bit different. Maybe it's because you still remember when you were kids yourselves, running around home, playing board games, getting into trouble, and in our case, moving into a new neighborhood every few years. Or, maybe because their kid automagically turns you into an Uncle... just like that. It's unfortunate that not all family got to see the little guy, though. Hopefully they will, soon enough.

I did manage to get some writing in over the holiday. Sitting in a cafe in L.A., I felt the creative vibes of the surrounding music industry as I worked out a melody for Song #5. I also felt the hustle of Black Friday shoppers swirling about -- a very different sort of vibe, but energy nonetheless.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tony Bennett -- Pop or Jazz?

Quick, name three songs you know by Tony Bennett. I admit that prior to last week, I probably could not have done that. This week, I have a better chance of being able to do so now that I've seen him perform -- albeit briefly. Tony stopped by my day job last Monday to talk about the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts that he co-founded in 2001. He also sang four songs: They All Laughed, Who Cares?, The Good Life, and I Left My Heart in San Francisco. While his voice is very distinct and identifiable, what struck me most about this particular performance was the interesting subject matter of the tunes. His lyrics not only included references to business and famous cities, but also inventors like the Wright Brothers, Marconi, Whitney, and Edison. Having written songs in the past about technical innovation and the work place, I was inspired to hear some of his songs cover a variety of topics beyond what mainstream music tends to address today. So is he classified as pop or jazz? His songs are listed under both categories on iTunes, while on Wikipedia they call his genre "standards" as well as "traditional pop." Regardless, I may go ahead and search out one of his albums for a more detailed listen. An octogenarian, Tony looked to have an impressive amount of energy and charisma -- another point of inspiration.