MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Saffire


A co-worker introduced me to a band called Saffire–The Uppity Blues Women. They were a short-lived group, but I do like their music. There’s something freeing about women singing true things. The gritty things. Smashing out of stereotypes.

These were women, singing about being women, and celebrating who they were..and who some of us are.



MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Il Volo

I’m not sure when I first heard this “boy band”–maybe on PBS–but I was enthralled.

When Piero Barone (in the glasses) opens his mouth, I am always amazed at the voice that comes out. They are very young in this first video.

But my amazement at Piero’s voice,  Ignazio Boschetto’s dimples (even after he lost weight), and Gianluca  Ginoble’s brooding presence never end.

I can put their album We Are Love on my mp3 player and be transported to a place of relaxation.

You can read about them here.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Dylan Says It Best

Welcome to the debut of MJ’s Music, which will be posted the third Monday of every month as part of MJ Monday. I will be sharing my somewhat eclectic taste in music with you.

My favorite artist is Bob Dylan. He has always been my favorite and probably always will be. I joke around that I married my husband for his bootleg collection of Dylan music.  When we started dating, my husband asked me who my favorite artist was and my favorite album. When I said, “Dylan, Blood on the Tracks,” TV Stevie’s face lit up. Blood on the Tracks is usually in the top ten of anyone’s compilation of Best Albums of All Time.

Dylan is an artist people either love or hate. He is a lyrical genius, as far as I’m concerned. And if you’re like me, and love to crank the music and belt along with it, you never have to worry about being on key.

Since the age of making our own music mixes, I have a custom one I call Dylan Says It Best. It’s angry music, with sometimes  vicious lyrics. There are days when a person needs to vent, and this mix is my venting sound track.

  • “I Shall Be Released”
  • “All Along the Watchtower”
  • “Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)”
  • “Like a Rolling Stone”
  • “Positively Fourth Street”
  • “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”
  • “Watching the River Flow”
  • “When I Paint My Masterpiece”
  • “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
  • “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
  • “Shelter From the Storm”
  • “Idiot Wind”

Do you have mood music?

April is National Jazz Appreciation Month

I like jazz. I never played jazz when I was in high school band, but Y-Chromo did, from the time he was in sixth grade until the day he graduated from high school. He started middle school jazz ensemble when he was still in elementary school. Early rehearsals two mornings a week, plus one evening rehearsal. Every week. He also made the All-County Jazz Vocal ensemble.

When he was still in elementary school, I was listening to Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” and Y said: “This is jazz, isn’t it.”

One of my favorite memories is of his high school graduation day. The school’s jazz ensemble was on the stage playing for the audience before the ceremonies commenced. The musicians wore their caps and gowns, although the gowns weren’t closed in front. My son was wailing on his sax, while the double bass player was completely into what he was doing. The tassels on their caps swayed in time with the music.

Here’s a great fact about jazz: jazz triggers theta waves in the brain, which induce states of artistic and spiritual insight. This can assist in dealing with complex issue.

If you’ve never listened to jazz, this alone ought to make you try it. You might appreciate it.



Music in Our Schools

A co-worker, speaking of her daughter, once said: “It’s only band.” As in, “it’s not as important as <<insert name of sport. Any sport>>.”

I was livid. It’s that kind of attitude that’s behind funding cuts for arts in the public schools–funding cuts that that aren’t as deep when it comes to athletics.  All students need outlets. Not every outlet is physical. Painting and composing are as important as knocking down another player.

Research indicates that music education:

  • increases  IQ
  • improves spatial-temporal skills
  • improves test scores
  • helps develop language skills and reasoning
  • increases hand-to-eye coordination and other motor skills
  • pattern recognition

Band and chorus are as much a team activity as football or basketball…except no one ever suffered brain damage from playing a tuba or singing soprano.

Why shouldn’t the arts be funded as generously as athletics?