Saturday, January 18, 2014

All We Are Saying Is Give Them A Chance

It constantly breaks my heart that as a society we have come to value virtually everything more than a human fetus. I am greatly saddened and enraged for every woman and girl who is impgregnated against her will by some horrible act of violence and violation. But this is not by any means a large statistical number of the abortions that occur. I am devastated by the number of abortions that either for convenience or fear or, I am sad to say it, whatever excuse women choose. Am I saddened for the the teen who finds herself pregnant after her first sexual experience? Yes. But whatever circumstance arises a much better choice is to allow SOMEBODY to decide to raise a helpless newborn baby. SOMEBODY will CHOOSE a BABY regardless of ethnicity, birth defect or even an extremely short life expectancy. People love babies, people want babies, we must protect them in order to give willing parents a chance to do so.

Otherwise we are no better than the various members of the animal kingdom that eat their young. I beg you, please don't get me wrong I really don't condemn anyone for their choice even when they come to it frivolously. How can I condemn someone who Jesus has literally died to forgive? But I do not and cannot condone the practice of abortion. There IS a difference between saying "I believe you've made a terrible mistake." and saying "I think you're a terrible person." WE ALL make terrible mistakes. But this one happens to be a moral mistake we are making as a society and it is destroying our very moral fiber. What is more helpless, what deserves our protection more than a human fetus? After all a human fetus does not become a harp seal, it becomes a human. This rampant destruction of so called tissue is child sacrifice and we are willfully blind not to see it.

Abortion Statistics In America From
"If the statistical data by age groups is taken into consideration, women in their 20s top the group with 58 percent of the total cases of induced abortion, followed by women in their 30s with 22 percent cases and women below 20 accounting for 18 percent of the total cases.
Of the overall cases of abortion, girls belonging to the age group of 17-19 constitute for 11 percent of the cases, those in the age group of 15-18 constitute for 6 percent and those who are 14 and below constitute 0.4 percent of the total cases."
Andrea Bocelli's Story

The child you save may or may not be the next Andrea Bocelli or the next "your favorite famous or important person's name here" but EVERY child deserves the chance to become whatever God had in mind for him or her to become. Every person has significance and value, whether they become President, a doctor, a car salesman or a person that has to be cared for their entire life. Someone is willing to care for raise and nurture that child if given a chance.

Why Women Get Abortions
The three reasons focused on in the article above are:
Financial Instability
Negative Impact on the Mother's Life
Relationship Problems and/or Unwillingness To Be A Single Mother

These issues appear to be seen solely through the prism of "This child is going to ruin my life if I have it." This supposes that if you have a baby you have to keep the baby. Believe me, if you don't want to have a child we don't want you to raise a child. we just want you to have the child some some loving family can. The vast majority of these issues could be addressed through adoption. A 9 month detour to save a human life. Why do we as a society almost completely disregard the most loving, compassionate and beautiful option? It is quite difficult to adopt a child in America and quite easy to abort one. This is not a good thing for society. It's an incredibly callous method of troubleshooting or problem solving. Why destroy life when you don't have to?

I don't say any of this callously or without compassion. And I know I will never know what it feels like to be pregnant and feel trapped. For that I apologize. But I have held a baby in my arms and thought "You're so beautiful!" And when I think back to those moments I think "How could someone want to kill you?" When an unwanted pregnancy happens why can't our reasoned logical thought be that when we say. "You have options." the assumption is that we mean you can have the child adopted as opposed to "We can make that go away."?

I don't want to see anyone's life destroyed by having to raise a child while one is a child. I don't even want to see someone's life inconvenienced because they are not ready. I don't wish for anyone to be a mother if for whatever reason they deem it the wrong time for them. But the answer is not to destroy life before it can blossom. I almost never speak in absolutes but here goes. I will say it again. There is ALWAYS someone willing to love a baby. All we are saying is please, please give them a chance.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Who Do YOU Think I Think I Am?

The Question: How well do we know one another? Or even ourselves for that matter.
It can be answered in many ways.
The first question I threw out was in my game called Who Do You Think I Think I Am? was this: who do YOU think are my five favorite bass players. The answers were quite good  but no one got them all correct for right now in my life. I am going to keep asking questions regarding different aspects of myself and I hope others do the same. It seems a safe way to get under each others skin a little. Safely and in a good way ;-)

Here we're MY answers to the first round of the game. Enjoy and deploy!

 Spoiler Alert: Here are my 5 Top Bassists of all time. No particular order. This is my knee jerk list at the time I posted the Dare.

 Marcus Miller: master and innovator on so many levels, ruthless tone and probably finds his way onto the playlist more than anyone. 

Jimmy Haslip: Formerly of The Yellowjackets. I have logged more miles with the Jackets in my ear than even Marcus. I hope he finds his thumb now that there is a place for it... Love his tone, touch and taste. He moves me. 

Pino Pallidino: When i Hear fretless i THINK Pino. New York Minute/Don Henley  :-) :-) :-) 

Nathan East: POCKET, POCKET, POCKET .....   TASTE   ...... POCKET
Neil Stubenhaus: Back in the day, most times when I would look up the liner notes on a CD to find out "Who is the bass player? He isn't playing anything and it feels soooo good! " it would be Stubenhaus, The King of the Perfect Nothing! Taste and pocket for eons...but even more subtle than Nathan somehow...

Fred Hammond and his bass players Maurice Fitzgerald and Terrance Palmer. I have to include all three because of the sheer mileage and rewind factor... The baselines are Fred but many of the live interpretations are Mo and TP and expand on the original siqueness recipe! 

Honorable Mentions:
BRUTAL list to whittle down! 1st some honorable mentions go to Jaco, James Jamerson and Stanley: They are the DNA. THE SPOCK to our collective Sheldon Cooper... Without them the others wouldn't know to exist, if you know what I mean.

Abe Sr. Favorite live! I haven't seen everyone of my faves live, but how do you experience more than experiencing Abraham Laboriel Sr. Live!? I don't think I can be done. I just don't :-)
Chariya Bissonette, this is for you! EVEN had you not checked in, EVEN IF I DIDNT KNOW YOU GUYS, Matt Bissonette would have gotten this HM. Julian Lennon Help Yourself: Years after I met you, Chariya, the lightbulb came on and I realized that Matt played bass on it. Not only an all time fave but an all time fave BASS ALBUM long before I knew or even KNEW I knew the bass player...

Other honorables I would have or may have mentioned: (in a knee jerk first that come to mind basis)
Aaron Mills/Cameo TONE & lines
Prince: Lines
Verdeen: Lines
Victor: Holy!!

I think that most of this list was compiled in this manner. Consistently through my life to this point, which players have most shaped me directly:
How I listen to music, am I listening for bass specifically?
How often do I come back to this music?
Has it changed me? How I play, hear or think about The Bass
Do or how much do I have think or woodshed to play and sing this baseline?
Probably, the greatest factor is how much do I come back to it, because that seems to inform everything else...

Missing honorable mentions:  James Neuble and Cedric Lee. Both phenomenal bassists that I have worked with and have graced me by allowing me to wield their axes a time or two. But most of what I have gotten to hear of Jimmy and Ced has been tempered with this. When I hear them I am required to not cease to do my job while they throw down. AND THEY DO! But I still have to singing/playing/running loops etc and specifically not let myself by completely absorbed into the Borg of Funk! Even though I would become mo'phunky it would keep me from leading worship if I let myself go all the way DOWN TO THE BASSMENT...

FIVE IS WAY TOO SHORT. THE LIST IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Thank you for coming along on this Fantastic Voyage!
Hint for a future list or two. Heartbreak Hotel by The Jackson's and Teen Town by Jaco

Stay tuned for future Who Do You Think I Think I Am? DARES! And don't forget this bonus question: How did Who Do You Think I Think I Am? get it's name? Want a hint? PLEASE post your own WDYTITIA? DARES :-)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Tale of Two Presents

I have been sick literally all year and then some. Actually, since the day after Christmas. So I am pretty excited to be up to lashing words together at length.

Today we are going to talk about the a glorious convergence of two of my favorite things.
Christmas and music. God bless us Amazon. Let me get this straight. I live Christmas probably more than anyone you know not named Buddy. I just realized I wrote live instead of love back there but both are true so I'm leaving it. Also, it's not about the presents. Ask my kids, they will probably still be able to tell you what I want is world peace. Meaning for everybody in the house to be getting along and truly happy and honestly pleasant... But we have a big wonderful family, so the Amazon wish list is indispensable. All that to say I scored all the way around but I just happened to actually review two presents formally during my convalescence.

First, Sting's The Last Ship Super Deluxe Amazon Exclusive

5.0 out of 5 stars Great change of venue! Typical genius! One caveat !,

I am a full-time professional singer, songwriter, bassist and keyboardist. Sting has always been my gleefully dark side, so to speak. He's such a storyteller. Better yet, in keeping with the adage that a picture paints a thousand words, he's a master painter. Top to bottom The Last Ship carries you in a bittersweet, raucous, heartbreaking AND heartwarming journey through the seaside town, the ships being built and the Theater, for which the songs have been crafted.

For me, Sting's music tends to be a tasty dish that is constantly comfortingly familiar yet filled with surprise. He has themes and threads he loves to weave thru his entire body of work. From winks, nods and suggestions to direct self quotations in various songs across the decades it's like a musical train tour through England. From The Last Ship, to The Night The Pugilist Learned How To Dance (my current favorite), to Practical Arrangement he takes you there. It's like A Christmas Carol except you're whisked around by a spirit into the lives of the characters in the song, not your own past, present and future. What more could you ask for?

Well, there is ONE thing I could've asked for. There are two F-Bombs in Jock The Singing Welder. I could've lived without them, particularly, as my first listen was with my wife and early adolescent son. Not so much that they are there or gratuitous or whatever. We just didn't see them coming. As you can see, I still gave the album five stars. I just would've appreciated a heads up.

In the words of the truly great, Reverend Gordon Sumner, "It may not be the romance that you had in mind,
But you could learn to love me,
Given time."

Gordo, you had me at Roxanne and you have me at The Last Ship. I can't imagine how you could lose me...
In fact, If I Should Lose My Faith...

P.S. I'm a devout Christian with the terrible habit of honoring great turns of phrase by designating the author "the Reverend" "Right Reverend" "Reverend Dr." etc insert wordsmith's name here. (It's usually Donald Henley, American Treasure) I love words, so it's essentially my personal version of a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar or the Congressional Medal of Honor. They aren't necessarily or necessarily not given to preachers and I mean disrespect to no one ( nor the above honors) on any level. That's just how I roll. For the uninitiated, Gordon Sumner (Also referred to as Gordo) IS Sting and is NOT, nor is likely become a minister. The same goes for "THE DON".

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality time with your music teacher AND your wife/girlfriend that SHE will EAGERLY sign up for...

Marcus Miller: The ONLY Artist I can consistently expect to still be playing when I get back in the car when my wife has been driving at length! I was reminded of this album when I was looking for a Christmas present for my pastor, who happens to be a phenomenal bass player. Long story short, he already had it, it ended up on my wish list and subsequently among my presents. We put in A Night In Monte Carlo for our annual pilgrimage across California on Christmas afternoon. That was over two weeks and a thousand miles ago. I've been sick and laid up in the house most of that time (including the trip home). Marcus is still playing... And at least during one of the few times when I was both in the car and conscious I heard my wife say, most appropriately, "That's just sick!"

Marcus and the Band plus Roy Hargrove & Raul Midon AND the Orchestra.
Plenty of nasty and tasty improv. Interwoven are some sick unison lines that carry so much force with the weight of Marcus' Bass (capitalized intentionally) the band and orchestra. Stanky, quirky, butter smooth, lyrical, haunting, jaw-dropping, ruthless, beautiful, funky....SIQUE! In all it's a work of art, a master class in multiple bass techniques and arrangement, composition, orchestration, interpretation...AND great for DATE NIGHT!

Granted my wife is musical, but not nearly the funk/fusion head that I am. I play a lot of "musician music" around the house and in the car, Yellowjackets, Karizma, Ricky Peterson, George Benson, Miles, Trane... But I only expect Marcus to still be playing when I get back to the car.

...and thereby hanger a tale...