Friday, January 20, 2012

Encyclopedia of Me - P (Mark)

Peter: We were talking the other night and realized that we've known each other for almost 30 years. Even though we don't keep in touch too well, any time we talk it's like we've picked up a conversation mid-thought. I also love how Peter is so expressive and honest. He's a great friend to have.

Pizza Pirate: It's been years since I've been back, but I will always have fond memories of baseball team parties, late night "dinners" watching "M*A*S*H" while eating a slice, and being the first person up in the morning and by default getting to finish off the leftovers for breakfast. It's still easily one of the top three pizzas I've ever had.

Psych Patients: I've been fortunate to be "moonlighting" at a psychiatric hospital for over three years now. I do all the medical care for the inpatients. I've come home with plenty of stories and variety in my workday is a definite plus.

Potter, Harry: Ms. Rowling has provided our entire family with countless hours of enjoyment and entertainment. I remember reading the first half of the first book at a friend's house in Pennsylvania while we were here checking out the state before moving. Stacy was sleeping since she was so tired during her pregnancy with Thing 2. Thing 1 was napping as well so I thought I'd give Mr. Potter a try. Love the books. Love the movies. Again and again.

Portugal: My awesome wife is 100% Portuguese, and the food is 100% great. I have a daily appreciation for this overlooked gem. One day we'll get there.

Parker, Charlie: I love all jazz music, no matter who's playing. I may be a trombonist, but I love bebop and a lot of what I listen to and play is from that era. One of my fondest memories is of our high school jazz combo playing my arrangement of "Scrapple from the Apple" during a competition. We ended up placing first and bringing home a nice award.


The Magic Violinist said...

I'm going to do Harry Potter when we do "H"! :D Awesome post.

Boquinha said...

Portugal! I even thought of it and then, apparently, promptly forgot to put it on my list. I thought of Peter, too. :) Fun post to read!

Boquinha said...

P.S. You weren't in the room when we all agreed that Harry Potter would go under "H." That's okay -- either way, he's on ALL of our lists. :)

Emily Foley said...

I've been to Pizza Pirate a time or two myself but I still prefer Dion's in Albuquerque. You'll just have to visit and have a taste test.

Oh Harry Potter. I am so glad Stacy told me to get the CDs from the library. I want to be in the car all the time just so I can listen to it all day! Greatest books ever written, in my opinion.

I've seen some pictures of Portugal on Pinterest lately and it looks beautiful there. I'd love to visit some day.

Dr. Mark said...

Based on pictures you've posted, Emily, I'd love to try Dion's. It looks great! And ditto on Jim Dale's rendering of Harry Potter. He is amazing and makes you feel like you're reading the books for the first time.

Siths and Jedis said...

Awesome post, Daddy I want to try pizza pirate but I think it's only in California.

Dave Johnson said...

We STILL need to listen to the Dale versions of HP. Also, I need a good "starter" list for Jazz. I used to play in Jazz clubs for extra $ in college, but never really dived into the whole thing because I was such a metal-head at the time.

Dr. Mark said...

So, a "starter" list for jazz . . .

I have the recordings and artists I like best, but there is so much from which to choose, and talk about subjectivity! So, with that said, here are my Top 10 "must listens" (in no particular order) as I sit here right now. This list could change depending on my mood.

1. "Kinda Blue," Miles Davis. Davis is known for his hard bop style, but this album is way more subtle. You also get to hear jazz icons John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and Cannonball Adderly on this recording. Favorite track? "So What."

2. "Giant Steps," John Coltrane. The stuff this guy did on tenor saxophone revolutionized improvisation forever. The chord progression is very unique and demands brilliant soloing. If an artist can produce a decent solo over those chords he is on his way. Favorite track? "Giant Steps."

3. "Take 5," Dave Brubeck. If you want to hear what a truly hip white dude can do on the piano, check this one out. He loves to play with various rhythms and I'd recognize his block chords in his solos anywhere. My favorite Brubeck album is actually his "West Side Story" one, but "Take 5" is the classic. Favorite track? "Blue Rondo a la Turk."

4. "The Emminent J.J. Johnson: Volume 1," J.J. Johnson. No jazz trombonist can deny the impact J.J. has made in his playing. He turned a gimmick instrument into a legitimate bebop machine. My greatest accomplishment in playing was actually keeping up with one of his solos while I played along. I pulled it off once or twice. Our college jazz group was close to booking him as a guest artist but couldn't pull it off. I was so disappointed. Favorite track? "Turnpike." (Sidenote: anything you can find where J.J. and Kai Winding collaborate is great to listen to as well.)

5. "Standard Time Volume 1," Wynton Marsalis. Currently he's the Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and I think he's done a lot for the popularity of jazz music with younger musicians. His family is incredible musically and I have albums from Branford (saxophone), Delfayo (trombone), and Ellis, his father (piano). His albums represent a wide style, but his standards albums are very accessible. Volume 2 is a bit more New Orleans in sound, but you might as well start at Volume 1. Favorite track? "Cherokee," but I love a lot of them.

To be continued . . .

Dr. Mark said...

I exceeded the 4,096 character limit for comments, so here goes part II . . .

6. Anything by Louis Armstrong. It's hard to choose just one album, especially since not everything he's done has been put on disc or mp3. If you want to get 2 great artists in one, then look at "The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong" (Verve Records). "What a Wonderful World" is not on this one, and that's his classic song, but there are a bunch of gems on here. And Ella Fitzgerald is the quintissential jazz vocalist so you cannot go wrong here. Favorite track? "Stars Fell on Alabama."

7. "We Are In Love," Harry Connick, Jr. Some may scoff at me including him on here, but he's uber-talented and a disciple of Ellis Marsalis. A product of the New Orleans jazz scene he put big band back on the mainstream map with this album, although the "When Harry Met Sally" soundtrack didn't hurt. Anything he's done is great, and his later albums have way more of a funk/New Orleans jazz feel. He has some instrumental albums and also some small combo stuff that is fantastic. Favorite track on this one? Can I cheat and say all of them? "A Nightengale Sang in Berkley Square" by a nose (plus, Branford Marsalis appears on this track--bonus).

8. "Sinatra 80th: All the Best," Frank Sinatra. There is absolutely no way to pick one Sinatra album since he's made so many. Between his solo work, Ratpack albums, and later duets there is more music than you could ever consume. This album is a two-disc set with all his best and most recognizeable. Favorite track? "Fly Me to the Moon."

9. "It's Time," Michael Buble. I'm not sure this album has reached jazz classic status yet, but around here it has. For the beginner this album is the perfect blend of classic and modern making it very accessible. He has some old school jazz classics, but also a few mainstream hits, too. Anything he does sounds great, but this was my first Buble favorite so it wins. Favorite track? "A Song for You."

10. "Ellington at Newport," Duke Ellington. This is a live recording from teh Newport Jazz Festival and it is great. Trying to pick an Ellington recording is a lot like trying to choose a Sinatra one: there is just too much. I like the live energy on this album most of all. Favorite track? "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" (featuring a 27-chorus saxophone solo).

Honorable Mention: "The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings," Thelonious Monk. Because of his emphasis on dissonance Monk sometimes gets overlooked but his work is genius. His piano playing is a bit simple at first listen, but when you really pay attention to what's going on you get it. Plus, this album features John Coltrane, always a plus. Favorite track? "Well You Needn't" (Our high school jazz combo did a great funk version of this one; I wish we had a recording).

Apparently I could go on and on and on and on, but this is a good start. Enjoy!

Boquinha said...

Dave, GET THE CDS FROM THE LIBRARY!! Jim Dale is PHENOMENAL and your boys will LOVE it and beg for more. Don't hesitate! Do it! It helps instill a love of reading . . . :)

Dave Johnson said...

I already have a few Branford Marsalis albums, and the obligatory Coltrane, but sadly I've used them more for reference than actually taking the time to absorb them. I'm more familiar with the Marsalis brothers due to their work with Sting early in his solo career (get Here Comes the Night Vol. 1&2 for some great jazzy renderings of some Police/Sting songs if you don't already have it).

Brubeck is great, though I don't own anything by him, so I'll find this album. Harry Connick Jr. absolutely belongs on this list, for variety if nothing else. I'm watching a show called "Treme" right now about the New Orleans music scene recovery after Katrina, and the soundtrack is fantastic. I'm still digging the "She" album btw. My college roommate was a huge Theolonius fan so I'm probably more familiar with him than anyone, but again, back in those days, I was more interested in the next Iron Maiden release than anything else, so my brief enjoyment of Monk kind of got lost in the mix.

Thanks for the details!

Dr. Mark said...

Dave, I haven't heard that Sting album yet, but I'll have to check it out. If you like "She" then you should listen to "Star Turtle." It has more of the funk sound. Also, if you're enjoying the New Orleans style HCJr's "Oh My NOLA" album is really good. He made it immediately after Katrina.

Monk, Maiden. Same thing, right? ;)

Boquinha said...

Emily, Dion's is totally on our list of places to visit in ABQ! All the green chiles in everything look soooooo good.

A little story about HCJ's "Nightengale." Mark serenaded me with this song in college. We had a bet and whoever lost had to call the other for a week and wake them up with a song. Technically it resulted in a tie of sorts. It was about the correct spelling of judgment (nerds!). Mark said it had an "e." I said it didn't. Mark's spelling was the alternative spelling listed second. So, technically a tie, but he agreed to sing. :) I love my husband!

Dave, is the Katrina soundtrack HCJ's "Oh my NOLA?"