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Entry date: 5-30-2024 – The Shed – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


We got a shed yesterday. Rhondi has been busting a move lately getting the house the way she wants it, and we have a big shed in our backyard. Now the time has come to resist the temptation to get more stuff since we have some extra room.


I have my work cut out for me to store stuff in the shed in a way that makes sense and maximizes our space. Tetris for adults can begin now, I suppose. Just need the controller.




We had a Hillbilly song called “The Shed” on the second record. It was about a woman who tried to burn her children alive in a shed in Phoenix. I used to get a lot of the lyrical ideas from watching the news. I’ll tell the full story of it when I write about that record.



Michael C. and I did some Living Room Collective work last night. I think the songs are going to turn out really well. He’s got some other cool stuff for us to work on, too. The musical world is abundant right now. Hillbilly practice tonight and hopefully a jam with some other friends sooner than later.




Day three of summer camp promises to be another humdinger, too. I’m not sure if the kids are digging it or not, but I think they had some fun yesterday so we’ll see if we can keep it going. I wonder what game the head PE coach is going to have us play today.


There are some nice people working at the 5-8th grade campus. It’s weird to be an outsider, though. I feel it, big time, around a few of the teachers I am working with for the summer camp. A couple of them flat out act like I am not there. It’s so weird.




Happy Thursday everyone. Read the signs the universe leaves you today and have an amazing experience.





In the late 1990s, I loved walking through the rows and rows of DVDs and CDs at Best Buy. If I had some time to kill near 20th Street and Camelback, I would go in there and browse for the music and movies that I was looking for at the time. Every once in a while, they would have a big sale and I would score a bunch of things that I probably didn’t really need but thought I should have.


When it comes to DVDs, I probably have a few hundred that I’ve never even opened. I like the idea, though, of having them just in case. Currently, I justify keeping them because we always run the risk in Maine of the internet going out and if you want to watch something, it will have to be on DVD. This is silly, I know, but it gets me through the night.


On one such trip, I found something I wasn’t sure about. It featured two jazz artists I really like, but I had not heard of it or, to my limited jazz knowledge at the time (and probably still), didn’t know even existed. The CD in question is Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane. On this particular disc, they are playing songs Monk wrote and the recordings, according to the liner notes, are from legendary sessions (three, I believe), that took place in New York City in 1957.


In my brain, I have romanticized the music of both of these jazz giants. I love the way Monk plays the piano and his tunes on this collaboration remind me of watching black and white films about New York City from the early 60s. “Ruby, My Dear,” for example, seems like it could have been on the Days of Wine and Roses soundtrack. There is an ethereal melancholy about it and I can just picture Jack Lemmon’s character, “Joe Clay,” sitting in a bar drinking his life away.


Coltrane shines on this one, too, actually, and “Ruby, My Dear” is just as much a place for him to shine as it is for Monk. On “Trinkle, Tinkle,” the two go back and forth, swapping leads and playing follow the leader while Shadow Wilson’s drums keep everything moving perfectly. For Coltrane’s extensive and fantastic run in the middle of the song, you just have to sit back and take it in. I can’t help but picture his fingers flying around the tenor sax.



The talent both of these men had is amazing.


The great Art Blakey joined in on drums for “Off Minor,” which is a lot more upbeat sounding than the first two tracks. Coleman Hawkins also adds an additional alto sax on “Off Minor,” as well. This one, and I reserve the right to use this term yet again, really swings. I am glad that I have listened to enough jazz at this point to be able to recognize when a group of musicians are “really swinging.”


“Nutty” is a fun one. When I listen to this one, I hear a group of musicians who are really having fun with a neat little riff. That sounds way more dismissive than I mean it to be. It is pretty damn nifty. It’s also very recognizable. I feel like there is another version of this one out there that has been featured in a movie I love. I’m sure Siri would tell me if I asked, but I don’t want to bother it.


On the version I own, the last track that Coltrane plays on is called “Epistrophy.” Art Blakey is on this one, too, and you can tell. He does a pretty rad drum roll to kick things off and then keeps everyone marching in line pretty well. To me, this is the type of jazz I really like the most. It’s not too serious sounding but if you pay close attention to what the musicians are doing, it’s incredibly complex. They just make it sound like it takes very little effort.


Ray Copeland’s trumpet work is also top notch on “Epistrophy.” Best known for his work with Monk, Copeland was a perennial side man and jazz teacher. He played on “Off Minor,” as well.


This one is a great one, though, for playing in the background at a party or for relaxing at home.




See you tomorrow.

Not the Shed I sang about...

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