One week later and I’m a lovely shade of purple!

A full week has passed since I experienced an unfortunate mishap where the road literally rose up to meet me.  

Thank you for sharing your concern for my well-being. I am healing well. The swelling is slowly subsiding, but I think the various shades of purple and green may linger a bit longer.  The good news is there are fewer instances of strangers averting their eyes when I’ve caught them staring, so that tells me my appearance isn’t as troubling as it was.

For the past few days I’ve been drinking a warm turmeric tea in an attempt to soothe my very sore mouth. You might not immediately think of turmeric as a calming component, but mixed with honey, it really is! I’ve read about the healing properties of turmeric for many years, but this is the first instance where I’ve been enticed to test the claims.

This bold spice is purported to have broad anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects as well as taming the inflammation leading to Alzheimer’s. Studies also indicate turmeric may have a more positive effect on arthritis than many pharmaceuticals.

My central nervous system certainly took a violent blow, so I have reasoned I might want to find a way to calm my own inflammation. I have developed quite a taste for this warm, spicy liquid! I can’t swear that it’s providing healing properties, but it is somehow very comforting.

Just mix turmeric and honey into a paste and add a dollop to hot water. Don’t forget to top it with a little black pepper–I know, it sounds improbable, doesn’t it? But the pepper somehow enhances the properties in the turmeric. Curious? Read all about it.

I’ve also tried to compensate for my body’s intense jarring by resting a bit more than usual. Slowing down doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m practicing. Resting meant some disappointment.

I was VERY unhappy to pass on our final Hollywood Bowl performance for this season.

All summer I’d looked forward to a major party at the Bowl. Earth, Wind & Fire has been performing for more than four decades and they do know how to pull out all the stops and entertain a very enthusiastic crowd. I enjoyed them at the Bowl two years ago, and they’ll probably headline again. This time it wasn’t wise for me to brave the energy of the Bowl just one day after the accident–but I’m still sulking just a little bit.

Fortunately we did have a special time at the Bowl just one month ago and I’m glad the season ended with a personal favorite.

Yo-Yo Ma, perhaps the world’s most famous cellist, is known for his musical versatility. Many months ago I wrote about an exclusive event broadcast LIVE from Boston’s House of Blues to hundreds of theaters across the country. “The Goat Rodeo Sessions featured Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.

I enjoyed this performance from a theater, and that much more to see the artists perform LIVE at the Bowl.

I was sorry to miss out on a long-anticipated event, but it was a wonderful summer and I did enjoy other Bowl events.

For now, I think my best course of action is inaction.

I’ll take good care of myself and be ready for the next time. I don’t stay down very long!

Timeless summer music from the Bowl makes this heat tolerable!

So here it is another weekend! I’m gearing up to open our home to my cousins, coming down from the Bay Area for a family wedding and I had to remind them to expect Southern California to be just a little bit warmer than what they are experiencing in San Francisco.

It’s hot! Really hot! However, I am certain that if I took the time to see what I shared last September, heat and humidity would have been all over those posts, too. Typically we get the worst of the so-called summer heat in early autumn, so this current heat wave isn’t too surprising.

But what we do have going for us are fantastic summer evenings. Blazing daylight hours turn to easy cool at night. And one of my favorite ways to spend a summer night is relaxing under the stars while at the Hollywood Bowl. I enjoy it all.

My eclectic musical tastes may have been heavily influenced by the artists I listened to as a young person. My little aqua blue transistor radio rarely left my side.

And looking back to the List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1966, the year I entered high school, reminds me that the songs most played included “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, “We Can Work it Out,” by the Beatles, “Paint it Black,” by the Stones, and “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra? Yes, and daughter Nancy had a #1 that year, too–an eclectic assemblage, don’t you think? The era’s music was good, plentiful, and featured artists with diverse musical backgrounds and histories. I suppose I had favorites, but because I enjoyed it all, my “favorites” moved up and down the list.

One artist that broke through during that time was a new-to-America performer, Sérgio Mendes. I adored the easy  mix of Brazilian bossa nova–samba–Latin jazz-what was that new sound? And to better connect to a young American audience, Mendes featured music from the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, as well as Cole Porter and Bacharach, just mixed with a spicy Latin beat.

My albumsYep! I still have my albums, although I no longer have the 8-tracks, cassettes and assorted other vintage Mendes collections I once held.

One of the distinctions of this Brazilian sound was the beautiful voice of a young American singer, Lani Hall, who may be more familiar to you for her rendition of the theme song from the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.

Marquee

Then there is Lani’s husband of 39 years, Herb Alpert, trumpeter and music entrepreneur.  Although Alpert is probably most clearly recognized for his association with TJB–Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, he is also responsible, along with Jerry Moss, for founding A&M Records, which throughout the 60’s and 70’s signed Cat Stevens, Billy Preston, Quincy Jones, Joan Baez, Captain and Tennille, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, and yes, Sérgio Mendes…recognizable names?

Each of these three seasoned artists has enjoyed varied and successful music and business careers yet they continue to create fresh sounds. Mendes released the CD “Timeless” in 2006, partnering with will i. am as producer, featuring John Legend, Erykah Badu, and the Black Eyed Peas, assuring his distinctive sound remains current and relevant–not bad for a guy who started his career more than 50 years ago.

To see a pretty snazzy version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Alpert and Hall…click HERE. Don’t miss Herb as the bus driver!

The enthusiastic audience was remarkably mixed-age and appreciative of the body of work represented by each of these artists. Alpert and Hall performed the first set up to intermission, and Mendes came in for the second, pulling Hall back in to sing from the Brasil ’66 songbook that first introduced her as a recording artist.

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Yes, I’m enthusiastic. I could go to the Bowl every week during the summer and not lose my enthusiasm.  And so next post I’ll share another one of our concerts–distinctively different from Brazilian Jazz.

Just for fun, I’ve added a video I think you’ll really enjoy. That is if you like stories about talent discovered in the most unlikely of opportunities.

At the recent Bowl concert featuring Kristin Chenoweth, the talented and personable artist invited an audience member to come up and sing with her. I’ll let the video tell the story. Skip the ad and enjoy!

No fireworks, but Sousa, Copeland, and maybe a little Ray Charles. What stirs you?

It should be very quiet in San Gabriel. Our little city placed a ban on 4th of July fireworks many years ago. Sounds almost un-American doesn’t it? I no longer recall the precise reason they were officially prohibited, but it takes the pressure off–I don’t even think about pulling the group together for a big event.

But I’ll make my own appropriate and patriotic noise.

My musical buttons were enthusiastically pushed earlier this week with a visit to the Hollywood Bowl. One of my good friends invited me to accompany her to Tuesday’s Josh Groban concert–with the Los Angeles Phil.

Bowl Opening

It couldn’t be a more perfect concert for me. My musical tastes are very eclectic–as you’ll learn when I share the other three performing artists and groups we’re set to see later this summer–but the beautifully controlled power of Groban’s voice, the complex and creative instrumentation supervised by musical director and incredibly gifted guitarist, Tariqh Akoni, blends popular and classical into the most exuberant musical color.

The perfect concert for trying out the Bowl’s new speaker system–if my bones rattle, I’m at my happiest.

Of course the concert was primarily about the headliner, but being the week of the 4th, it opened with the Philharmonic setting a patriotic tone, stirring the audience with musical compositions easily identified by an American audience.

I might not immediately identify the piece Buckaroo Holiday, but within the first measure I sure know it’s Copeland. I couldn’t have stated the title, Colonel Bogey March, but everyone in the audience could whistle the melody made famous in the film, The Bridge Over the River Kwai, and John Williams’ Summon the Heroes is pure John Williams.

An Armed Forces Salute, an arrangement of music of the Armed Forces, energized the audience as the evening’s conductor, Sarah Hicks, invited veterans in the audience to stand for recognition while “their song” played.

This was an American concert, but music transcends borders.

I’m stirred by musical nationalism–rhythms, harmonies and musical motifs inspired by a country or region, whether I’m listening to Chopin as the standard-bearer of Polish nationalism or American Gershwin.  Sometimes I just enjoy simple folk tunes with easily identified melodies–immediate recognition when you hear it.

I was quite young when I tuned into the strength and beauty of La Marseillaise–that stirring scene in Casablanca is a standout.

And Blake’s Jerusalem, transformed into one of England’s most beautiful patriotic songs, moves me every time I hear it. I think it’s thrilling.

I am a bit suspicious of any American who doesn’t tear-up at least a little with Ray Charles’ “America the Beautiful.We all have our patriotic musical touchstones.

So today is my turn up the volume music day–from Souza to Kate Smith. And now that I’m thinking about it,  a little Ray Charles.

Music will be my way to celebrate–and think. I’ll give more than a little consideration to why I’m grateful for my country–flawed more than a little bit, but my home.

I can vociferously complain about almost everything associated with American politics, but I feel protective when I hear complaints from outside the country. We’re funny that way!

Wherever you find yourself today, living in the land of your birth or a new home abroad, you have patriotic musical memory.

Would you share what songs or anthems stir your patriotism?

Fireworks at the Bowl
Fireworks at the Bowl

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans, and to my many delightful international friends, it’s always a good day for a little Ray Charles.