Run Forrest Run, Music & Movin’

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. 😉

Really just another chance to talk about music!

January 17, 2014

4 mile jog, plus

You know its gonna be a good run when the first 2.5 miles are all your favorites!

“Sinner’s Swing,” -Van Halen

“You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” -Judas Priest

“Circles,” -Joe Satriani

“After Forever,” -Black Sabbath

“Big Bad Will (Is Sweet William Now),” -Van Halen

“Moby Dick,” -Led Zeppelin

“Nobody Does it Better,” Carly Simon

“Symphony no 96 in D Major, 1st Mvmnt,” -Franz Joseph Haydn

“Poison My Eyes,” -Anthrax

“Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, 3rd Mvmnt,” -Gustav Mahler

None of the songs specifically effected me on the run today. It was just cool to have so many of my favorites  play. “Moby Dick,” was probably the coolest song of the run. Nothing like a mile and a half drum solo from John Bonham to keep you going! Carly Simon might seem like the odd song out, but, I was already in a groove and I like that song.

“Poison My Eyes,” is probably my favorite Anthrax song. I like the heaviness and progressiveness of it. Also because I don’t know a lot of their music…any of my metal bloggers out there have any Anthrax recommendations?

Full disclosure: It was about 85o degrees this morning in San Diego, all apologies to the rest of the northern hemisphere. So the rock n roll laden playlist was definitely appreciated to beat the heat.

Better Than Coffee, Gustav Holst, “Jupiter”

Click here for previous Better Than Coffee posts.

JupiterI think most of you who read this blog would agree music is the best ‘drug’ of all time…including our beloved morning coffee.

This series has been and will continue to be a public service for those of you trying to cut your caffeine intake, by enjoying some fast/energetic music…. 😉

…Or for those of you looking to enhance that morning cup.

Gustav Holst, “Jupiter,” from, “The Planets.”

If you are unfamiliar with, “The Planets,” each planet was characterized musically. “Jupiter,” was composed as The Bringer of Jollity. This piece is fun and furious. Even the slower parts are dignified, stately and triumphant!

Do you think, “Star Wars,” composer John Williams mightn’t been influenced? hmmm

This video is another in the line of animated scores click here for others.

Happy Friday, Enjoy!

Stravinsky’s, “Rite of Spring,” 100 Years Today

Ahhhh Classical music, enjoyed by the aristocracy, your grandmother’s tea sipping friends the 1% in todays terms….

Well that was the scene 100 years ago today as Stravinsky’s, “Rite of Spring,” was premiered. Well that was allegedly the scene. Would you believe these said music aficionados and high society folks kind of started a riot? Booed so loud the music could not be heard? Began throwing anything they could find?

However it went down that fateful night the music has absolutely stood the test of time. 100 years later the piece’s centennial is being celebrated all over the globe with performances and tributes.

Yes, for most people’s tastes, even today it sounds odd and perhaps ‘ugly.’ For those who have found their way into the works masterful composition it is a thing of beauty. When I first began studying music I was a Mozart and Bach fan. The ‘modern’ art music was not for me… But, through time and guidance of some of the most amazing musicians, my San Diego State music professors, I have learned to appreciate and yes even enjoy, ‘modern’ music.

To really explore the piece, I bought the score back in college so I could immerse myself, visually and aurally, inside the compositional and instrumentation processes Stravinsky employed. Try following the notes on the video below, the piece’s first section.

You have to laugh a little at what in art is called ‘modern,’ because most of it is extremely old. The 20th Century may well go down as the “Modern Era,” for hundreds of years to come. Like the 14th Century is known as ‘Ars Nova,’ or new art.

‘Modern,’ music may never be fully encompassed by humans. Perhaps it lies just out of our centered humanness and can only be appreciated and enjoyed by those who seek to study and look for it’s beauty.

I find myself extremely lucky to be able to love music, such as, the “Rite of Spring,” with all its complexities both in sonority and compositional structure and then listen to a 3 chord AC/DC hard rock song and be moved by both.

The part of the “Rite of Spring,” that has always moved me most both sonically and compositionally starts at approximately 7:45 on the video below. Specifically at 7:56 through the 10:30 mark, although the WHOLE piece is a true masterpiece!

Open your ears and Enjoy!!

Today’s IPod Workout

Did a quick 30 minute workout this morning, of course, with IPod on shuffle…all 8,000 songs. The shuffle was pretty eclectic, but, awesome. I feel lucky that I can listen to so many diverse musics and get a connection with all.

It went from jazz to classical/opera to Blues to Grunge to New Age to Pop to 70’s Spacey Synth.


“Nature Boy” -George Benson

Benson’s cover of the standard

“Ruckertlieder/1 Ich atmet einen linden Duft”-Mahler

I have never been much of an opera buff mostly cause I am just not into lyrics in general. But, Mahler, one of my favorite composers sets such a great orchestra arrangement to support the vocal.

“You Know I Love You” -BB King

BB doing his thing!

“All Secrets Known” -Alice In Chains

AIC is definitely my favorite of all the grunge bands and they are still going strong with a new album to be released in 2013. They may not have had the social impact of a Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but, in my opinion, were vastly superior musically to most of the top grunge bands.

“Rikki’s Shuffle” -Michael Hedges

If you are a guitar fan and don’t know Michael Hedges you really need to check him out! Although he falls into the New Age category, he was truly a virtuoso with a unique style. He is known for using a harp guitar, several tunings and lots of hammering techniques.

“Love Will Keep Us Alive” -The Eagles

The Eagles are the Eagles, many great hits, of course. But, when they wrote sappy songs they really went sappy! Of these songs my favorites are the ones sung by Timothy B Schmidt. Although he joined the band later in 1977 his voice has become an integral part of their sound ever since. Probably best featured on, “I Cant Tell you Why”

“Dream Weaver “-Gary Wright

I was always drawn to these spacey synth driven songs

RIP Ravi Shankar Renown Virtuoso Sitarist

Not the post I was planning on writing this evening.

2012 has been a brutally tough year with the deaths of many legendary musicians.  Just last week we lost jazz pianist/composer Dave Brubeck and today(Dec. 11) the sad news of Ravi Shankar’s passing.

Ravi Shankar is an amazing musician known for many things, however, there are two highlights on his resume. First, he was a pioneer in introducing Indian sitar music to the Western world. Second, not totally detached from the first was his influence on the Beatles especially guitarist George Harrison. Trained in the Northern Indian tradition of Hindustani music the sitarist was a crossover  in the 1960’s Western pop culture. As mentioned he was an influence on the Beatles and also played the legendary Woodstock Festival. With his amazing talent and global appeal Shankar became an icon of Indian culture. The Indian Prime Minister said of Shankar on his passing, “National treasure and global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage”.

Shankar has two daughters who are also renown musicians. In the tradition of her father, Anoushka, concertizes throughout the world on the sitar and has pushed the sitar further into the Western realm with her collaborations. I was lucky enough to see the two play together at a San Diego concert near the turn of the millennium. Norah Jones, pop vocalist with a smooth voice inherited her fathers musical genes if not his cultural side.

Shankar died right here in San Diego. For those of you curious who are not from here, he actually passed in La Jolla which translates to the jewel. An amazingly beautiful city on the Pacific Ocean fitting of such an ambassadors final breaths.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you all for following my blog! I appreciate all of you who follow and chat about my favorite subject…..MUSIC!

Thank you to all my wedding and performance clients, fellow musicians and students….it is a pleasure to share music with all of you!

It Was November 4, I Last Held Your Hand

As a musician, I am not one to pay close attention to lyrics. My brain is much more content following the shapes and construction of the musical patterns, although, I do think really great or really bad lyrics can make or break a song. For some reason, however, the opening lines of Queensryche’s song, “London,” have always stuck in my mind. They are generally benign, but, I never forget them.

“It was November 4, I Last Held Your Hand.”

See nothing special. Maybe it’s the way singer Geoff Tate phrased the words that etched them in my memory. That would make more sense that I picked up on the musical phrasing of the words. Funny thing is other than this line I have NO idea what the song is about!

Anyway, if you are looking for something new to put into your ears I recommend the first four Queensryche albums. The first is actually a self-titled EP followed by “The Warning,” “Rage For Order,” and their watermark, “Operation Mindcrime.” Expect a touch of the theatrical mixed with a heavy metal edge, well written progressive music and my favorite…great guitar playing. All members in the band were musically minded. You will find lots of operatic vocals, thumping but musical bass and drums and crisp creative guitar lines and solos. Some fans are drawn to their lyrics especially the concept album, “Operation Mindcrime.” It’s ironic that my friends used to analyze the lyrics and story behind the album and I barely know what it is about other than the music!

Hope you find something new to listen to in these four titles. If this sounds great but you are looking for something a little less edgy, try their 5th release, “Empire.” Great in its own right but more poppy, overproduced and a little forgettable over the years, their ‘Jump the Shark’ album, although many would disagree.