I’ve always liked the double or upright bass. I like the way it sounds and I like the way it looks. The last time I recall hearing one outside of a symphony hall that knocked my socks off was in a live performance in 1996 at the now shuttered Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel in New York City when Linda and I saw a then little-known singer-pianist, Diana Krall, perform accompanied by Christian McBride’s double bass in that venue’s intimate supper club setting.
Anybody who has ever heard or seen Milt “The Judge” Hinton knows what a wonderful instrument the bass is, and I also had the privilege of seeing this very talented man in New York City many, many years ago. When you watched TV or listened to the radio, you’ve probably heard him too and maybe didn’t even know it as his talent was sought after for jingles, sound tracks of radio and TV shows, and he played with everybody from Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby to Bette Midler and Paul McCartney.
This man, who may have been one of the most recorded jazz musicians of the 20th Century, died in 2000 at the age of 90 and I am very fortunate that I saw him perform. I still have an early 1960s vinyl album of Hinton and drummer Joe Jones tucked away somewhere.
But back to Amelia Island and our assembly of talented bass players that we are fortunate enough to see and hear almost any day of the week despite the fact they don’t lug around the stand-up version.
I asked some of our better known and most popular local performers including bassist/vocalist Michele Anders, who plays with talented and popular guitarist and vocalist Dan Voll, and the equally popular duo Phil Maphey and wife Kathy (beauty and the bass, pictured above) who perform locally as the Macys, why they don’t use the upright type.
The answer is simple says Phil. The heat, humidity, and salt air at many local venues would wreck havoc on the pricey and delicate instrument. That makes sense I guess.
The double bass debuted in the 15th Century and today is used in symphonic orchestras, jazz, blues, rockabilly, and even bluegrass and can be played with a bow, by plucking the strings or even slapping.
If you want to hear Dan Voll and bassist Michele (pictured below as Beauty and Sunset Danny) you can catch Dan at the downtown Alley Cat Wednesday night as a solo beginning at 6 pm and every Friday evening with Michele and drummer/vocalist Nico Findeisen at the Green Turtle beginning at 6:30 pm. Dan and Michele are outside at Sandy Bottoms on Saturdays from 1-5 pm and can been seen and heard at the Salty Pelican each Sunday 6-9:30 pm.
Look for beauty and the bass — vocalist Kathy and the bassist Phil — every Wednesday at Sandy Bottoms from 6-9 pm; Thursdays, at the Seaglass Lounge in the Omni Resort Hotel, 8-12 pm; downstairs at Sliders each Friday, 6-10 pm; the Salty Pelican Saturdays, 7-11 pm, and Sundays 2-6 pm at Sandy Bottoms.
And speaking of music and fun, John Springer, who packs the piano bar each Thursday evening beginning at 6 at Alley Cat, will be back at the keyboard Saturday August 22 and August 29 as well. I’ll provide future piano-man dates as I am informed of them.
Trump & The Dentist: OK, I was wrong. Donald Trump didn’t crash and burn during the Republican debate as I wrote here last week. According to national pundits and my barstool caucus crowd he was just being himself — loud, brash, and insulting, and even though some find themselves cringing at his comments, it appears many, many others find him a breath of fresh air, particularly after listening to the mush and pabulum dribbling out of the mouths of the other candidates on the right and the left. I thought Ted Cruz came out of the debate looking better than most, as did many others. Oh, and why is it that the media are calling for Trump to apologize to Megyn Kelly for comments he made criticizing her? I don’t recall them screaming for that raspy-voiced weasel Harry Reid to apologize when he stood on the Senate floor and lied about Mitt Romney not having paid taxes for 10 years and saying that Romney didn’t care when an employee’s wife died of cancer. There’s a media double standard in play folks. I know it and so do you. And as far as the American dentist who paid $50,000 to go to Africa and have a couple of jerks flush a lion out of its sanctuary to he could kill it with a bow and arrow, he should have stayed home and filled cavities — particularly the huge one between his ears.
Fun With Scammers: I have been called twice by thick Indian accented people claiming they are from the “Windows Service Center,” saying that my computer has been hacked and they want my details to “fix the issues.” The first time I hung up and on the second call I impolitely suggested that the caller wasn’t who he claimed to be and that he may even be a scammer which resulted in him unleashing a torrent of profanities in my direction that would have made a Marine blush. So, if you get a call from one of these cretins have some fun with them. Tell them they have reached the number of the Internet Security Office of Interpol; speak to them in Pig Latin; mimic their accent and tell them you don’t speak English very well and could they make their accent even worse so you can understand them better; tell them to hold on as you have to wipe the blood splatters off the walls and floor before they dry; tell them they just called a homicide crime scene and ask what their relationship is to the victim; give them the phone number of one of HUD’s Affordable Care Act offices and say you heard those folks are having terrible computer issues; or make up some other fun scenario, but whatever you do, don’t give them any information about yourself.
Educational Migration? If you don’t think we live in a Norman Rockwell-like setting consider that parents in Duval County are taking their kids out of that crime-ridden, out-of-control school district to enroll them in Nassau County schools, or so say news reports. Eleventh grade student Marcus Holloway told Jacksonville’s Channel 47 WJAX-TV: “I feel like this school year is going to be different, because I feel like we’re going to have better students. No more gang activity and stuff. So I feel like it’s going to be better.” Yulee High School officials expected an enrollment of 1,200 students but 1,300 showed up in the highly rated school amid reports that they are pouring over the county line to escape the misery of Duval’s schools. To make it even worse there are reports that a number of Duval’s better First Coast High School teachers have also said “good-bye” to that crummy school district. Maybe we should build a wall.
More Costly Obama Hot Air: In an editorial last week Benita Dodd, Vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said this about the President’s Clean Power Plan (climate action plan) to reduce carbon emissions, which she says the administration has fervently tried to re-label as “carbon pollution.” “This example America sets is expected to reduce global temperatures by 0.01 degrees Celsius. The price? The president maintains the average American will see a drop of $85 in annual power bills. The American Action Forum warns it will cost the U.S. economy $2.5 trillion, close at least 66 coal-fired plants and eliminate 125,800 jobs. But that’s just the beginning of the fallout. Consumer prices will increase; the cost of doing business will increase, causing more job losses (or shrinking job creation); more businesses will move off-shore, and Americans will deal with the price volatility of natural gas to replace the plentiful, reliable fuel source of coal. Coal will still be used, of course – just not in this country, where environmental responsibility is expected and demanded. A the Texas Public Policy Foundation points out, the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions the EPA hopes to reduce across the country by 2030 would be emitted by China in less than two weeks.” The Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is already anticipating price increases because of this misguided lunacy and is plotting a variety of rate hike calculations. Floridians will be hit the hardest as 30 percent of our electricity is generated from coal. Good grief!
Hold The Tuna, Make It A Bomb: Comedian and political pundit Jackie Mason observed that in New York, agents of the Health Department can enter any restaurant at any time and conduct an inspection. However, the international inspectors have to give Iran 24 days’ notice before entering a nuclear facility. So while we’re not protected from a bomb, we are protected from a bad tuna fish sandwich.
Where’s Bruce? If Bruce Jenner ever disappears will his picture be posted on cartons of half-and-half?
More Liberal Lunacy: “Subsidize something and you get more of it. Tax it and you get less. There are plenty of ways to subsidize low-skill hiring – an expanded earned-income tax credit, for instance. Instead, a higher minimum wage taxes the employers who hire low-skill workers. That’s nuts.” – Jonah Goldberg
You Get What You Pay For Department: Liberals always know they can fall back on raising the minimum wage, even though it means that many of the least-educated and least-equipped to survive in the 21st century will be let go because they simply aren’t worth $12 or $15-an-hour to their employers. Because liberals have no core principles, they often find themselves in a bind. For instance, left-wing environmentalists hate the Keystone pipeline, but left-wing unions want the jobs that come with it. Liberals hate fast food establishments because they are always far more concerned with their fat bellies than with their fat heads. However, they can’t hate them too much because if there wasn’t such a demand for burgers and fries, millions of illegal aliens and Puppetry Arts and African-American studies college grads would be hard-pressed to find a job.
How The Left Screws The Poor: Despite what they say, it’s obvious that liberals e.g. Democrats, really, really don’t like poor people. Why else would they favor aborting poor helpless babies in their Dr. Mengele Planned Parenthood clinics, dismember them and sell their body parts while opposing the death penalty so they can shelter and feed murderers? I guess they’re afraid the babies might grow up to vote Republican while the convicts are already totally dependent on the government and, in many cases, able to vote for the folks caring for them. They also place exorbitant taxes on small pleasures of the poor like beer and cigarettes. Democrats also want to make sure the poor stay poor and provide a wide variety of social programs to pay them to stay that way, otherwise they may wise up, make a decent wage and vote Republican. They even give them a “You pay for what you get” flavor of health care, and underwater mortgages (Frank-Dodd) to keep them dependent. Just wait till they get their future electric bill. Oh wait! I guess those will be forwarded to the Republican voters. West Coast blogger Bert Prelutsky phrased it well when he wrote recently: “What I find most objectionable about Democrats isn’t that they are wrong on every issue, ranging from abortion and taxes to global warming and national defense, but that they’re convinced that they are smarter and more decent than the rest of us. I ask you In what universe would anyone believe that Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Elijah Cummings, Nancy Pelosi, Al Sharpton, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Patty Murray, Alan Grayson and Maxine Waters, wouldn’t have to cheat in order to score 80 on an IQ test? Only a liberal pinhead who thinks that the government should handle charitable contributions, along with everything else, would actually suggest that Democrats are even more giving and more compassionate than, say, churchgoing conservatives.” Oh, I’d add our neighbor, Corrine Brown of Florida’s 5th Congressional District to the low IQ crowd.
November Petanque Tournament: The annual November Petanque Tournament run by personable expatriate Philippe Boets is getting so popular that Monsieur Boets has added 32 team slots to the already filled up entry list. In years past teams have come from as far away as Greece, France, and Morocco and this year’s competition, the largest tournament of its kind in the US, has even attracted a New Zealand entry. If you’re interested in participating contact Philippe at Philippe.firstname.lastname@example.org, but hurry. And speaking of New Zealand, Linda and I ran into a newlywed couple from there in St. Augustine recently and asked them if they were enjoying their trip here. They replied, “We love it and are trying to figure out how to move here permanently.” I suggested to the two well-educated professionals that they scamper down to Mexico and just wade across the Rio Grande like anyone else that wants to live here.