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  1. #1

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    New job started Sunday (in case you haven't read it before, I'm 'mentoring' adults with autism/Asperger's who play instruments. Bring the guitar to work Sunday-Tuesday):


    Started work Sunday, and it's been an exciting and DRAINING 3 days---more the horrible commute than anything (b/c I snuck in a visit to Stamford, CT Sunday to see what the building I applied to live in was like. With bad google directions and nobody knowing nothin', when they bother to even look up from digital toys it took 3 1/2 hours to get to the right part of town and find this little cul de sac. But the building looks well-kept, has a nice garden with seats and lounge. Someone let me in to look inside. I politely asked a resident what it was like. He's been there 8 years and likes it. Said electricity is free, which I thought it wasn't, and central AC is just $20/month in summer. Rent is $500 for a studio and parking $40/month. It's pretty much the same deal as my current one and like this one it's a faith-based community. They take care of residents. The mgmt. office called me for an interview so it looks like I may be moving. It's a 1 hour commute vs. 2 from Philly, though I 95 is a nightmare. There are other ways though and also Metro North. If I do move I'd only have to drive in Mondays b/c the Tues. client is in SI---a nightmare drive from CT (though easy and fast to get back to Philly).


    I caght a lucky break to stay in Sugar Hill Sun-Tues. morning with another mentor and his GF for the work days. Was able to park right out in front in a spot that had no alternate side til Thurs.! They're very nice people (he's a good tenor player) from Italy and I had to argue and insist on giving them money to stay ($40---a bargain compared to a hotel; hostel)---and no dreaded commute.


    The work: The Sunday-Monday guy is something! Brilliant but VERY high-spectrum. Since Covid upset his routine he's been obsessed with the theater premieres of Soul & Luca----over & over & over and you have to get him back on track. But he's always listening and remembers your every word. Sunday I gave him a guitar lesson (he also sings and plays piano & violin---and has a repertoire that many full-time musicians don't). Despite the endless interruptions about the Pixar films I successfully taught him the easy 1st position changes to All of Me, which he sang. Had to straighten out his time, his one weakness, but he doesn't get offended. I told his mom what we did & that I expected him to play it for me next time.

    On the way to work Monday I had a brainstorm: what if I got him to write lyrics about these obsessions? It worked! On the bones of Don McLean's American Pie we co-wrote a respectable lyric about the closing of Blue Sky Studios. Not only did he come up with some hilarious and sweet lines---and FAST---he knows about meter, how many syllables will fit, couplets; rhyme scheme---and more about letter form, i.e. AABC than I, a frickin' songwriter, do. He just knows a lot about a LOT of things. You have to shout him down when he gets too aggressive and he likes and calms down after bad jokes. A gentle soul and amazing young man. Good thing my energy matches his.


    The 2nd guy, seen on Tuesdays, is the polar opposite: low spectrum; speaks little and softly, and answers you only after careful thought. We worked on teaching him music reading and theory. He plays electric bass. It's a 7 hour-shift, and we can't do music all day, so we find other things to do. He's a good driver and showed me around the 'hood. Mom generously gave me the extra hour (and dinner!) to defray the travelling costs. I get meal comps too, if I take them out for lunch---reimbursements.


    At night I hang in the Village and want to slowly re-establish my presence on the jazz scene. A lot of new people came in since I left town. We need to meet & play. I guess I'll eventually get back in the Smalls rotation, and there are other new joints now. (I have a group of Philly aces I'm trying to launch, playing a lot of my material, and would also like to play solo at Mezzrow---a natural for my style and recent singing efforts---as I have numerous times at Smalls). Fat Cat, my 12-year stomping grounds and go-to hangout has reopened as Cellar Dog. All of the old staff---like family to me---are gone, and my great friend manager Benson Gee basically worked himself to death last year. He'd have been canned too---after being THE brains in the smooth running of Fat Cat. I'll see about gigs. I was pretty regular since 2011. No guarantees now.

    (I also fear the re-opening of major cities has been way too hasty, with evil Delta lurking and mask restrictions foolishly dispensed with. People are packed in close in these joints and who knows who hasn't been vaccinated? Or even has been but 'carries'? No damn good, and it may just lead to another lockdown, and could the venues survive THAT?)


    The icing on the cake would be to move my current teaching job close to my new digs if I do move. It's a national company so it's doable. They're working on it, and I reached out to their stores in Westchester and Fairfield County. There's also online teaching. I do so like the job (and also don't want to lose that fat monthly bonus check!)


    Life is changing and it feels good & right...
    Last edited by joelf; 08-04-2021 at 04:53 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Joelf thank you sharing and wish and hope the best for you. You have a special temperament to do that work and how cool to help people.)
    Sadly agree on the Delta variant, i think we are in for some rough air.
    jk

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post
    Sadly agree on the Delta variant, i think we are in for some rough air.
    jk
    Just finished an email exchange with a friend---a woman I've real feelings for---who's going to lose a job b/c she'll neither be vaccinated or agree to testing (claiming 'dry sinuses'). I adore her, but I think this is the end of the line for me. We're not only moving apart but physically moving, so 'let it be'. I'd rather have the good memories anyway...

  5. #4

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    It sounds like you are providing a very important service to your clients.

    Good luck with your move!

  6. #5
    Done deal. I sign a lease Tuesday at Pilgrim Tower, Stamford, CT. Was a bit drug yesterday when they showed the 1 remaining studio, as it looked smaller than my current 250 sq. ft. one. My hallway is what makes the Philly crib look bigger, but therein lies another problem: I have 3 nice-sized closets here, one that holds lots of clothes AND a Fender Champion 100 amp. The other 2 have lots of clothes in one; a box of memories and juvenilia; the other has all my nearly 200 LPs and my DVDs plus a milk crate for all my shoes---and there's room left! This new joint has one lousy closet. It also has linoleum flooring----eeewww. Seriously, I think musicians who practice prefer a wood floor. Well it DOES have a wall bookshelf. And I'm sure the stress from all this newness and especially the long commutes didn't help my mood...

    So you make do: get a rug that covers most of the space; one of those portable closets; a coat/hat rack, etc. It's a great deal any way you cut it: I'm only 1 guy; it's $500/month w/o even a subsidy (my Philly pad has a Hud 202 subsidy program, although in nearly 3 years I've never gotten mine. The new place keeps the rents down via a faith-based network); $40/month ASSIGNED parking---I don't have that now, though there's always a spot; $150/year for A/C (a unit's in a window already). The main thing is that it can be, with luck, as little as a 40 minute commute to upper Manhattan (where I crash with another mentor & his GF in Sugar Hill Sun. night-Tuesday morning) if I stay off the slow boat to China otherwise known as I 95. It's also very close to Westchester County, which I love. And I'll look into the Fairlfield County jazz scene and Hartford, too. I already know 2 good guitar players and a drummer---all good guys.

    I'm digging the job. My S.I. client (I HATE that word) opened up today and I found him to be bright; articulate; and impassioned. He's a libertarian. I'm learning from him and the other guy, who, despite being seriously one-track obsessive, is brilliant and everyone loves him.

    If I can move my teaching gig north with me I'll have everything I need. (Except that I called Progressive, and my f&^*(g liability, according to a quote tonight, will leap from $137/month to $300. Time to shop.

    To be continued...

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by joelf View Post
    Just finished an email exchange with a friend---a woman I've real feelings for---who's going to lose a job b/c she'll neither be vaccinated or agree to testing (claiming 'dry sinuses'). I adore her, but I think this is the end of the line for me. We're not only moving apart but physically moving, so 'let it be'. I'd rather have the good memories anyway...
    I emailed her to confirm my move---and got a chilly 1-line 'good luck' back.

    Guess all good things have to end sometime. We had 23 years. Guess it's time the show closed...

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf View Post
    I emailed her to confirm my move---and got a chilly 1-line 'good luck' back.

    Guess all good things have to end sometime. We had 23 years. Guess it's time the show closed...
    :-(

    Cue Frank Sinatra:

    New Job & possible move-sinatraonlythelonely-jpg

    My very distant ancestors lived in Stamford. They are the Finches noted in this description of colonial properties. I’ve never been there, but I believe at least one of the Finch houses is still standing.

    https://www.stamfordhistory.org/dav_colonialmaps.htm

    Good luck…I made a big move 11 years ago about this time of year, and the key is to look forward not behind. Enjoy the adventure, as they say.

  9. #8

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    She didn’t deserve you J.

    Carry on with all our hopes behind you!

    jk

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post
    She didn’t deserve you J.

    Carry on with all our hopes behind you!

    jk
    She's a wonderful soul; beautiful woman---and I will adore her til the day I die.

    People grow apart, and that's life. We part amicably. It's just time. Will always wish her the best...

  11. #10

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    Wow, Joel - you pack more action and emotion into a week than most of us generate in a year! Your new adventures sound exciting and fulfilling. Even having known you only a few weeks, I strongly suspect you’ll be making the most and the best of it all. I’m sorry we won’t be seeing you down here much any longer and look forward to seeing you again. Stay in the groove!

    David

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit View Post
    Wow, Joel - you pack more action and emotion into a week than most of us generate in a year! Your new adventures sound exciting and fulfilling. Even having known you only a few weeks, I strongly suspect you’ll be making the most and the best of it all. I’m sorry we won’t be seeing you down here much any longer and look forward to seeing you again. Stay in the groove!

    David
    I ain't half bad for a cranky old Jew...

  13. #12

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    Oh Joel don’t worry… your faith doesn’t have the corner on old and cranky.
    I hear it’s a boomer thing.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf View Post
    I ain't half bad for a cranky old Jew...
    COJ...maybe that's where the expression "old codger" comes from?

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post
    Oh Joel don’t worry… your faith doesn’t have the corner on old and cranky.
    I hear it’s a boomer thing.
    Hey! Who you callin' old and cranky, whippersnapper? It ain't boomers who cornered the angst market - it's guitar players! Life was tough for us in the old days. For $5, we had to drag 60 pound amplifiers on our backs through the snow and up five flights of stairs to play '50s covers for ugly rich kids in fuzzy sweaters who couldn't dance to save their lives. We used ungrounded equipment and got regular shocks when touching our guitars and a microphone at the same time, from which many of us got PTSD - I still approach every mic with caution and rubber gloves.

    We were forced to learn some of the worst music (if you could even call it that) in history to please demanding brides, Bar Mitzvah boys, and their parents. We had to play Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, The Theme From Exodus, Unchained Melody, and What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life again and again, week after week, at hundreds of weddings while listening to those stupid, tasteless people (and later, their boomer children) complain at every party that we were too loud. And the boomer bandleaders thought they were the reason their bands sounded so good - we sidemen were ignored and treated quite shabbily.

    We were sold out by the guitar makers we loved and supported. They cheapened their products while raising their prices on us. And 50 years after we dropped their stuff like hot potatoes, we're paying collectible prices for instruments we hated when Norlin, CBS et al churned them out ("Psst! Wanna buy a 3 bolt Tele???"). We chased low distortion in our amplifiers for years, only to later face demand from leaders that we spend our hard earned money on devices that put it back. We all knew that Leo used cheap car paint on his guitars and told his guys to spray no more than necessary to give the guitar some color - and now we're asked to pay top dollar for "custom see-through finishes" after some fool ages them with oven cleaner and a blowtorch.

    You bet we're old and cranky - and we earned it!! The pain is easing now that we have "old people equipment" like Little Jazzes, Toobs, Elves, and gig bags. But Apple will release an album of funky waltzes by Lawrence Welk and James Brown long before I'm willing to relinquish the old and cranky title to a bunch of the accidental byproducts of pent up post-conflict sex! Grrrrr!

    New Job & possible move-mean_penguin-gif

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter View Post
    Oh Joel don’t worry… your faith doesn’t have the corner on old and cranky.
    I hear it’s a boomer thing.
    Yeah man---watch out for those Coptics!...

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff View Post
    COJ...maybe that's where the expression "old codger" comes from?
    Dunno---but there's 1 silver lining: at least I'm not a cranky old Jew WOMAN!

    Oy vey...

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit View Post
    Hey! Who you callin' old and cranky, whippersnapper? It ain't boomers who cornered the angst market - it's guitar players! Life was tough for us in the old days. For $5, we had to drag 60 pound amplifiers on our backs through the snow and up five flights of stairs to play '50s covers for ugly rich kids in fuzzy sweaters who couldn't dance to save their lives. We used ungrounded equipment and got regular shocks when touching our guitars and a microphone at the same time, from which many of us got PTSD - I still approach every mic with caution and rubber gloves.

    We were forced to learn some of the worst music (if you could even call it that) in history to please demanding brides, Bar Mitzvah boys, and their parents. We had to play Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, The Theme From Exodus, Unchained Melody, and What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life again and again, week after week, at hundreds of weddings while listening to those stupid, tasteless people (and later, their boomer children) complain at every party that we were too loud. And the boomer bandleaders thought they were the reason their bands sounded so good - we sidemen were ignored and treated quite shabbily.

    We were sold out by the guitar makers we loved and supported. They cheapened their products while raising their prices on us. And 50 years after we dropped their stuff like hot potatoes, we're paying collectible prices for instruments we hated when Norlin, CBS et al churned them out ("Psst! Wanna buy a 3 bolt Tele???"). We chased low distortion in our amplifiers for years, only to later face demand from leaders that we spend our hard earned money on devices that put it back. We all knew that Leo used cheap car paint on his guitars and told his guys to spray no more than necessary to give the guitar some color - and now we're asked to pay top dollar for "custom see-through finishes" after some fool ages them with oven cleaner and a blowtorch.

    You bet we're old and cranky - and we earned it!! The pain is easing now that we have "old people equipment" like Little Jazzes, Toobs, Elves, and gig bags. But Apple will release an album of funky waltzes by Lawrence Welk and James Brown long before I'm willing to relinquish the old and cranky title to a bunch of the accidental byproducts of pent up post-conflict sex! Grrrrr!

    New Job & possible move-mean_penguin-gif
    Oh---so THAT explains the hair on your chest!...

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf View Post
    Oh---so THAT explains the hair on your chest!...
    And it’s a good thing! It was so tough for guitar players when I was starting out that I had to make wound strings by braiding my chest hair.

    [Yes, I’m older than Joel - we established that the night he came down to sit in with us. Of course, you wouldn’t know it to look at us ]

  20. #19
    And I'M older than baseball...

  21. #20
    He's here through Thursday, ladies and germs---tip your waitperson...

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit View Post
    And it’s a good thing! It was so tough for guitar players when I was starting out that I had to make wound strings by braiding my chest hair.

    [Yes, I’m older than Joel - we established that the night he came down to sit in with us. Of course, you wouldn’t know it to look at us ]
    OK---got a joke for you (cracks knuckles):

    Why is it better to be a Shakespearian actor than a jazz guitarist?

    B/c the Shakespearian actor at least works once a year---when they do Hamlet...

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf View Post
    OK---got a joke for you (cracks knuckles):

    Why is it better to be a Shakespearian actor than a jazz guitarist?

    B/c the Shakespearian actor at least works once a year---when they do Hamlet...
    A pencil was recently found in Shakespeare’s house. It’s being studied to determine what kind it is - 2B or not 2B?

    Hmmmm - this comedy thing seems a lot easier than schlepping a Twin through the snow to play a lousy party for slave wages. Maybe I’ll try it……

  24. #23
    Got an interview this coming Monday to teach in a Westchester store for the same co. I teach for now. They're looking for someone like me. (The Greenwich, CT store also said call when I move. They have online opportunities).

    And I sign my lease Tuesday and get a key, so I can start moving stuff in.

    Talk about things falling into place...

  25. #24

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    Hmmmm - this comedy thing seems a lot easier than schlepping a Twin through the snow to play a lousy party for slave wages. Maybe I’ll try it……
    Wait until you see the wages for run-of-the-mill comedians...

  26. #25
    Signed the lease this morning and moved some stuff in. There's a brook outside I can sit on a bench and look at as I drool on myself.

    'Life is GOOD!'---'Jaws', hearing he can kill Dr. Thorndyke, High Anxiety...