76 Favorite Saxophone Songs

Here is this year’s summer playlist, with the theme being saxophone songs.  It spans a full ten decades, almost a hundred years of recorded music.  It starts off pretty sparse in the 1930’s and 40’s and thins out again from the 1990s’ into the 21st century.  It begins with Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker, who virtually defined modern jazz on the sax.  In the 50’s and into the 60’s it’s dominated by the great jazz players, mainly tenor but a few alto, soprano, and even bari.  In the mid-sixties pop music start taking over, beginning with soul rapidly followed by rock, and alot of great horn section bands appear around this time.  By the mid-seventies into the 80’s there’s lots of different styles and in rock, horn sections largely give way to a single sax player.  By the 90’s rock and pop had largely moved into grunge and electronic styles, so there’s less of a role for the horn.  Still, around the time we see a resurgence of a new generation of jazz that continues into the present day.

Coleman Hawkins – Body and Soul

Charlie Parker – Donna Lee

Sidney Bechet – Petite Fleur
Ben Webster + Art Tatum – Have You Met Miss Jones?
Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane – Nutty
Sonny Rollins – St. Thomas
Paul Desmond – Take Five
Lester Young – There’ll Never Be Another You
The Champs – Tequila
Ornette Coleman – Lonely Woman
Charles Mingus – Better Git It in Your Soul
Miles Davis – Freddie Freeloader

John Coltrane _ Giant Steps
Dexter Gordon – Cheese Cake
Paul Desmond + Gerry Mulligan – All the Things You Are
Stan Getz – The Girl From Ipanema
James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)
Eddie Harris – Freedom Jazz Dance
Wayne Shorter – Mah Jong
Sam And Dave – Hold On I’m Coming
Wilson Pickett – In the Midnight Hour
King Curtis – Memphis Soul Stew
The Beatles – Savoy Truffle
The Doors – Touch Me
Sly and the Family Stone – Want to Take You Higher
Joe Henderson – Black Narcissus
King Crimson – 21st Century Schizoid Man

Traffic – Glad
Blood Sweat & Tears – Smiling Phases
Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4
Vehicle – The Ides of March
Rolling Stones – Heartbreaker
Headhunters – Sly
Pink Floyd – Us and Them
Supertramp – Crime of the Century
AWB – Pick up the Pieces
The Brecker Brothers Band – Some Skunk Funk
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
David Bowie – Young Americans
Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years
Return to Forever – Nite Sprite
Billy Joel – Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
Weather Report – Havona
Steely Dan – Deacon Blues
Foreigner – Long, Long Way from Home
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
ZZ Top – She Loves My Automobile

Grover Washington Jr. – Just the Two of Us
The Blues Brothers / Aretha Franklin – Think
Joco Pastorius – Soul Intro/The Chicken
Lounge Lizards – Harlem Nocturne
The Electric Mayhem – Can You Picture That?
The Police – Hungry For You
Alan Parsons Project – Old and Wise
Genesis – Paperlate
Madness – Our House
Joe Jackson – You Can’t Get What You Want (TYKWYW)
Wham! – Careless Whisper
Sade – Smooth Operator
Huey Lewis and the News – The Heart of Rock’n’Roll
Sting – Shadows in the Rain

INXS – What You Need
Tears for Fears – The Working Hour
Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – Thud
Michael Brecker – The Cost of Living

Branford Marsalis – Mo’ Better Blues
They Might be Giants – She’s Actual Size
Morphine – Honey White
John Zorn – Batman
The Seatbelts – Tank

Ravi Coltrane – 26-2
Pharoah Sanders – The Creator Has a Master Plan
Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band – The Crunge

Joshua Redman / Brad Mehldau – Ornithology
Kamasi Washington – Street Fight Mas
Too Many Zoos – Car Alarm

Sungazer – Threshold
David Murry – Cycles and Seasons

Honorable Mention – songs that didn’t make it because they’re not on Spotify, or they’re already on another playlist:

Raymond Scott – Powerhouse
Steve Lacy – Plays Monk
Tower of Power – What is Hip
Parliament Funkadelic – Give Up the Funk
The Who – The Real Me
Maceo Parker – Pass the Peas
Duran Duran – Rio
Huang Chung – Dance Hall Days
Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny – Song X
Fishbone – Bonin’ in the Boneyard
Material – Black Light

Summertime Grooves

First off, I’m happy to announce the Spacecats record is complete and submitted to all the streaming services.  The release date is July 1.  I’ve also sent off the order to print a small quantity of CDs, just because I feel like it’s important to have a physical artifact to really make the project complete.  More announcement around this as the links go live.

For the first time we’re also looking at doing a vinyl record.  It turns out you can get 100 vinyl records made for a thousand bucks.  Not a bad deal when you think about it, even compared to CDs at two dollars apiece.  However, you can only fit a little over twenty minutes of music on a side, and our record is over fifty long, so we’d need to cut two songs for the vinyl addition.  On top of that, we don’t know anyone who has experience mastering a record for vinyl, and it’s really it’s own thing compared to digital.

We’ve had continued nice weather until just a few days ago, and then it turned hot toward the end of last week.  Lots of barbecuing, and got the mustang out last weekend.  Did a big round of trimming the willow tree growing into our back yard, and now the cycle starts over again with the weeding.

I’ve been doing lots of biking.  In fact, I’ve been biking seven of the last nine days.  I’ve reversed my route thru New Rochelle, so it starts downhill, then the middle is mainly uphill, then a big downhill at the end.

I finally got on the Empire State rail trail with Jeannie and Michelle on Father’s day.  Found a new place to park off Tuckahoe Road.  I got a flat tire, 6 miles out, which was a bit of a drag.  So I took it to the shop, all better, but now I’m thinking of getting a new bike.

On Juneteenth Jeannie and I both had the day off, so we took our bikes down to Robert Moses State Park on Long Island, and took the bike trail out to the little towns on Fire Island.  There’s no cars allowed there so it’s really cute and fun to bike around, kind of like Hobbiton but full of rich people’s beach houses.  Ended up with a nice hang on the beach and a swim in the ocean.  A perfect day for it.

By Friday the weather turned hot — ninety-five degrees, so I actually got out early and did my ride before work.

Saturday Nick and Lisa came over for a visit and Martin came down from Albany too. We did a big ol’ barbecue and built a fire and played games, it was a great hang.  For the party I made a new playlist, as is becoming tradition.  This summer the theme is 76 Favorite Saxophone Songs.  I’ll post a link to it soon, so stay tuned.

Martin stayed over and Sunday morning joined Jeannie and me for another bike ride.  We went fourteen miles, the longest of the season so far.

He also brought his guitar so we jammed a while.  I’ve been re-organizing my big book of rock songs.  I used to have it alphabetical by artist, but then as I moved thru it I’d spend a couple weeks doing only Steely Dan or Billy Joel for example.  Now I have it alphabetical by song title.  I’m in the letter B and recently added a bunch of B songs, including Bad Sneakers, Bloody Well Right, Break On Thru, and others.  Martin brought his book of rock songs too, so we basically took turns calling the tune.  We tend to know alot of the same songs, but if not there was a chart.  I learned Everybody Wants to Rule the World, which I’ll now have to put into my book.

A couple other things:  The OUSA convention would normally be this weekend, but this year it’s in July instead.  Feels more relaxed.  I’ve ramping up my folding the last week or two.  Right now I’m refolding a bunch of models I have out of good paper to exhibit and photograph, including my Platypus and a new and improved version of my Space Cat.  Next it’s on to new models, including some more single-sheet polyhedra ideas combined with tessellated flowers, and some animals and insects.

Lastly, at my day job in the Consumer Reports Innovation Lab, my MVP prototype integration the Data Rights Protocol into the Permission Slip application is on the cusp of completion.  I’m sort of in the Zeno’s paradox phase, where every day brings me half the distance closer.  I’m nominally code complete, and have moved on to integration testing which involves two separate apps, and am encountering pesky deploy roadblocks, cross-domain permission issues, and that sort of things.  Ah well, hopefully I’ll be able to declare victory soon.

The Global Jukebox 3.1.0 is Live

The Global Jukebox 3.1.0 is now live at https://theglobaljukebox.org. The major feature this release is a tool for users to submit corrections to song cantometric coding data and song metadata, along with and admin workflow to accept changes and migrate them into the app database.  There’s also a new journey about The Roots of the Blues by Lamont Pearley. And of course numerous UI, UX and usability enhancements, bug fixes, etc.

Meanwhile at my day job at Consumer Reports Innovation Lab, we just launched a beta version of AskCR, a chatbot-style application to answer user question about product comparisons, backed by our extensive databases.  I’ve been enjoying taking part in testing sessions, and happy to reports so far it’s actually accurate and helpful, even if sometimes it’s just a more verbose way of finding information you could just use our search tool to find.  I’ve been asking it alot about hybrid luxury SUVs and high-performance sports cars recently.   I learned that there’s a hybrid Corvette out there now that has all-wheel drive with electric front wheels and can go from zero to sixty in two and a half seconds!  No information, however, on the storage capacity of the frunk.

The weather had been great, warm and sunny but not yet brutally hot.  I took my first longish bike ride of the season last week, going up into New Rochelle towards Larchmont. Pretty hilly, like most places around here, but still fun.  Just under ten miles, just under an hour.  I’ve also been having a run of good workouts, back up to nominal full weight on all my sets.  Although today was kind of rough; I was tired from being up and down a ladder and swinging a chainsaw around over my head to trim the neighbor’s willow tree that hands into my hard.  I ended up chopping of a pretty good branch landed my shrubbery and rolled off into my other neighbor’s yard.  Talk about a bustle in your hedgerow!  Unfortunately, I have not gotten around to taking the Mustang out for a drive in a few weeks.  By the time I was done the yardwork yesterday the Hutch was all backed up.

My friend Nick had a barbecue party Saturday, a most excellent time.  I ended up talking to his kids and Michelle at length about music, and what people are listening to these days, and how music continues to evolve.  Giovani, who is a musician, has weird and interesting tastes, including jazz, prog, metal and lots of stuff I’ve never heard. He’s gotten as far as appreciating Alan Holdsworth, which is super fun.

And finally, the Spacecats album cover is complete.  Now I can get on to getting CD’s made (which at this point is really just for vanity) and publishing it to the streaming services, which is more important.  I actually got a check last week from people streaming my music.  Less than I make in an hour of work writing software, but you know, it’s something.  I also got a check from royalties from my origami book, which was more than a day’s salary.  So anyway, watch this space.

Another Sunny June

Summer has arrived in earnest.  I’m still busy with work and projects, but have been making time for some low-key relaxation and enjoyment.  This is important because I feel like I’ve been working since February on the same set of things, and while I’ve been making progress and getting things done, I’ve also been getting weary of the grind.

Michelle is home from school for the summer.  Today she started her new summer job, an internship for her study in civil engineering.  She’s very excited.  The work is mainly inspecting, reporting on and supporting repairs on train bridges in The Bronx.  It’s the kind of work where she needs safety boots and a laptop computer with AutoCad. Apparently steel-toed boots in women’s sizes are hard to find at shoe stores around here so she had to order them over the internet. The company provides the computer and software.  Rock on!

Meanwhile, Lizzy has enrolled in grad school to get her Master’s degree in Business.  This is a mainly online program she can do while continuing at her day job. A year ago she told me she had no interest in grad school.  I think she changed her mind because her boyfriend is pursuing a medical degree, but she says it’s to open up her carreer options going forward.  Either way, rock on!

In my own little scene, things are grinding along as I’ve said.  Things are getting done, but everything is harder and taking longer than one would hope.  My day job has entered an unusually chaotic phase, and I was temped to write in my weekly status update today “EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE!!!” but instead wrote “repeated build failures; we are working with the enterprise team to resolve the issue,” which is really just the tip of the iceberg.   We’ve hired a new in-house engineer who will start in July, which should help things going forward.  Meanwhile the MVP for my more R&D-ish project moves ahead one obstacle at a time, when I have to time to work on it.

The Global Jukebox is approaching the release of version 3.1.0.  We’re in the final testing and bug fixing phase.  So stay tuned to this channel for future announcements.

The new album by my jazz group Spacecats has been mixed and mastered and ready to publish for a few weeks now.  All that remains is the album cover.  I put together a cover featuring images of the band members taken from video stills.  We all agreed the quality was not the best, so at rehearsal a week ago we took a bunch of new pics of the group as a whole, both playing music and posed at various spots around the studio.  I’ve gone thru the images and narrowed it down to a handful of semifinalists.  The next step is to drop them into to composition, see how they look, and play around with them until I get somewhere cool.

The OUSA convention is drawing near.  I’ve dusted off my list of ideas for models and begun folding, starting with creating exhibit-quality versions of models I’ve already done, then moving on to explore new territory.  This year the convention isn’t until late July, so I have a whole extra month to get it together.  I also need to decide what I’m going to teach.  Probably one of them will be my Spacecat, a variation on another cat, Sophie.  I’ve recently refined the Spacecat, changing the proportions and folding sequence, and the final model looks better.  Trying to work thru the final sculpting now and looking for the right paper.

I’ve been working out and biking alot, but it’s been a bit uneven as my energy level hasn’t always been the best I’m working thru so weird random pain in my shoulder.  I seem to be mainly over it and back up to full weights on everything the last week or two.  I still haven’t taken a ride with Jeannie on our local rail trail, but hope to this weekend.  I’ve been doing the local loop of my neighborhood (about 4 miles with hills and traffic) about three times a week, and have done the Nature Study woods (longer, no cars, some bumpy trail-ish hills) twice now.  We’ve only done one two hikes this spring too.  Need to get our into nature more.

We did do some fun things the last few weeks, and at least the major spring yardwork cycle got done, although next weekend starts a new round.  Memorial Day weekend I went to a Mets game with Jeannie and Michelle and Mary and Lou and their kids.  I don’t care that much about baseball but it was a fun hang, and our seats were in the shade.  Amazingly, the Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth for a come-from-behind victory!  We’ve also been doing a bunch of barbecues and hanging out by the firepit in the backyard, listening to playlists from summers past.

Last weekend Jeannie and took a mini-vacation to wild and exotic Connecticut.  We went to Mystic, where they have the Seaport Museum featuring tall ships and lots of stuff related to ships and shipbuilding in the Age of Sail, including things like a blacksmith, cooper, printer and other 19th century shops, crafts and industries.  They’re also actively restoring several historic sailing ships.  There’s also an aquarium there, with penguins, sea lions, beluga whales, and all kinds of fish and even octopus.  After that we went out to sushi for lunch.  There’a cute little downtown a bunch or restaurants and shops, including a great seafood place.  There’s also an 80-foot sailboat parked right there, a three-masted schooner, so we did a two-hour sunset cruise of the sound out beyond the river.  The harbor is actually up the river a little bit, so first we had to navigate the channel out to sea.  We crossed past a swinging train bridge that seems like the perfect focal point for an action set piece in some adventure film.  There’s a train coming and there’s a tall ship coming, and the hero and the villain are fighting up in the control room, trying to gain control of the switch to swing the bridge open or closed.