Saw Ahmad Jamal at the Blue Note NY last night

Author: tshook

I went backstage and said hi – every time I see him I get really inspired.  He’s a true original.  He just recorded his first album in 3 years, and it was on a French label.  America is fairly dead for jazz, has been for a long time.  But that’s cool – although mass media has had a huge effect on the US population, perhaps limiting narrowing their aesthetic scope, people should consume what they want to consume.  Besides, most jazz kind of sucks anyway.  But that 3% that’s good is REALLY good.  And I think it’s the same spread for any other genre as well: Classical, country, rap, r&b, rock, bluegrass, whatever.  90% doesn’t really help, 10% is good and worth checking out, and that top 3% is MAGIC.

I’m especially honored because Mr. Jamal really liked my Travis Shook Plays Kurt Weill album.  He particularly loved the cello arrangement I did on “Lost in the Stars” (he’s mentioned it a couple times to me) and in general he complimented my arranging skills.  It’s a great honor when one of my all time heroes likes what I do, it’s the kind of thing that keeps me going.

Save Carnegie Artist Studios

Author: tshook

I’ve written about genius pianist Donald Shirley before.  He’s lived above Carnegie Hall for many years now and is over the age of 80.  They are about to evict him along with other 41 other artists, most of home are elderly and have lived there for dozens of years.

I’m all for capitalism, but I’m not for changing the rules whenever a corporation feels like it.  These studio apartments were set aside for artist housing in 1960, and need to stay that way as part of our cultural heritage, and, well just for the sake of not kicking elderly geniuses out of their apartments.

For more than 100 years, a unique collection of musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, drama coaches, photographers, architects, educators and related professionals have occupied the studios above Carnegie Hall as part of Andrew Carnegie’s mandate to house a comprehensive creative community.

Icons of American art and culture have lived, worked and studied in the Artist Studios: Marlon Brando, Leonard Bernstein, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Isadora Duncan, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and Martha Graham are only a few of the legends that have called the Artists Studios an artistic haven or home. John Leguizamo, John Turturro, Mira Sorvino, David Duchovny and Richard Schiff.

If you want to get involved you may sign the petition here: