The Good is the Enemy of the Great 

THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT

 

That’s one of those enigmatic sayings. But if one takes the time to understand it, one can see that settling for the good is really stopping the development of any idea or project at some artificial outside system of values. Whereas, if one continues to ignore the outer promptings and seeks to connect to the intuitive and instinctive interior channels to refine the original, raw idea(s), one can achieve that which is great. (I have since dropped the idea of the

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Henry Miller on Art in Life 

I am reading my favorite author again, Henry Miller. BIG SUR AND THE ORANGES OF HIERONYMUS BOSCH and THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINS: A STUDY OF RIMBAUD.

These were written in the 1940’s and 1950’s. What he has to say about life, and specifically about American life even then, is quite amazing and even truer today. Miller was a great writer, thinker, philosopher, humanist and astute observer of the human condition yet he had mystical sense, a cosmic vision rare among American writers and a wonderful sense of…

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Billy Strayhorn 

Billy Strayhorn (11/29/1915-05/31/1967)


2015 is a big centennial year for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Billy Strayhorn. But I feel that Billy Strayhorn’s celebration is overshadowed by the other two centenaries. Not to take away any due praise from the two vocalists, but I would love to see him get the attention and honor that he so truly deserves. This past May 31 marks 48 years since his untimely death at 52 years young. He is indelibly linked with Duke Ellington, another towering…

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“For they have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear.” 

There is a beautiful image that captures the great chasm between a  peace of mind that most of us strive to attain and the quiet desperation that most people live and experience. That image is of a great river. For me, that river is the lordly Hudson. Its surface  can be as smooth as glass, tight as a drum skin, or whipped up into varying degrees of agitation, from rough to rippling. Yet underneath it all, invisible, inviolate, is the steady, powerful and constant current. Both the surface and current are…

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Irene Kral (January 18, 1932 – August 15, 1978) 

I recently came across a song, entitled “Forgetful”, by Jack Segal and George Handy, originally written for David Allyn. It was  recorded by Chet Baker on his 1959 Milano Sessions, with a string quartet.   The following link, on You Tube, is Irene Kral’s sensitive rendition:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EKks-bWcZo

All three singers are supremely gifted and musically intelligent; and, all three render a superbly understated reading of the lyrics.

If you have never heard of Irene Kral, you are in for a real…

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Introductions 

The first thing I do when I listen to an unfamiliar singer is determine whether or not the voice seduces me. This is exclusively subjective and truly does not reflect upon the talent itself. Some voices are acquired tastes and require an aesthetic maturation in order to grasp the scope of artistry.

I begin the probe by asking these questions: Is the voice warm? Is the intonation uniquely and interestingly beautiful? Is it elastic, relaxed and easy on the ear? Is there clarity of diction? Is the voice…

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Ken Greves

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