SATURDAY JAZZ BRUNCH: My Favorite Things by John Coltrane - What would a week of my personal favorite be without a song about favorite things. I have to admit that I was inspired after listening to a debate on the artistic merit of the original Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical standard over on NPR’s Soundcheck. I did not even know that Elvis Costello wrote a song about his mild distaste for the saccharine tune.
I will however side with the pro-My Favorite Things crowd. Otherwise, how could John Coltrane craft such a monumental piece of music. It became Coltrane’s breakthrough mainstream hit and one of his most requested tunes. This was the song that marked Coltrane’s break from the standard hard bebop of the day to a more modal, free jazz sound that would mark the rest of his career. The greatest thing about the tune is that no matter where the song goes in its various meandering solos, it still has that core that takes you back to the original, even when Coltrane completely takes it apart. Definitely one of my favorite things is this song.
Johnny Cash - No Expectations (Rolling Stones cover)
A Thanksgiving email sent from one friend to another, for complicated reasons
Thoughts on the Day: Our Thanksgiving was Better Than Yours
What’s more Thanksgiving than the beach? Here, in a carefully measured circle, the McNamara-Merchant-Bleiberg families gathered today, wearing new mittens made from harvested wool by our faithful chihuahua, Baby, our collective grasp soft, hopeful and just a touch ambivalent. Here, by the sea from whence we came, we sing our thanks. Not out loud.
Our turkey, Ochegwi, was hand-fed by elves until his final days. Tonight we celebrate him. We will eat here, in the dunes, with found shells as our dinnerware. First a course of raw chestnuts for the children (what a treat!), and then we playfully pull Ochegwi apart with our hands, feeding ourselves and one another. Whitney does an ancient sand dance as Mona plays the Jew’s-Renewal Harp. After the meal, what’s more American than Shoot-the-Boot! The adults drink Ekem’s homemade dandelion wine from my careworn hiking boots, and the children draw lazy pentagrams in the sand.
Our cup runneth over. It runneth over a whole lot more than all those unfortunates, sitting at their tables with their silverware and their plates and their traditional notions of work and play. Our cup is made of crabgrass. A little prayer plays across our lips for you, as our astonishingly healthy children make Gods-eyes in your name.
Our Thanksgiving is Better Than Yours