What Is Ad Lib?

In sheet music, ad lib is an abbreviation of ad libitum which in Latin means at one’s pleasure. Musicians know Ad Lib to mean improvise or play freely. In Ad Lib I will blog on my experiences thoughts, feelings and insights in the pursuit of creativity in music, art and life.  Please read About Joseph Liberti for more information about me and the ad lib blog

As I write this post I am listening to Two Lonely People from the album: Bill Evans and Stan Getz – But Beautiful. The album also features bassist Eddie Gómez and drummer Marty Morell.  The video has some beautiful performances from jazz masters.

As I listen I notice all the new things I hear now that I did not recognize so clearly before. I am reminded how much we can learn from the masters whether our discipline is jazz music or painting or whatever. 

I also notice that as I learn and develop my musical skills to a greater degree how I am able to listen with “new ears” which leads me to new appreciation for the art and the artists. And, after listening to many repetitions of this album, the unique language and expression of the artists being to show up in my music performance and in my writing. 

If you are  into jazz you may love this album. If not chose your artist and try seeing with “new eyes” or hearing with “new ears.” Let the experience inspire and inform your art and life. 

I will pin the post to the top of the blog as a way to introduce Ad Lib to new readers. 

Be well and happy …and interested.

Joseph

Respect For All Life

I met this mom and her new baby on my morning hike and my heart melted. To me all life is precious and beautiful. But not all cherish nature or have respect for all life.

Deerly Beloved, by Joseph Liberti
Mom and new baby in the wood

In my town those who are annoyed by deer eating their flowers want to hire hunters to kill the problem. This morning I saw a heart-crushing Facebook post of a couple kissing next to the carcass of a magnificent lion they had just killed for a trophy. Perhaps the inhumane treatment of migrants at our border causes you pain but others just dismiss them. My heart aches when I see these things. Where is love? What happened to respect for all life. Albert Einstein said:

We, like all other life forms, are part of nature. We depend on one another for survival. Humans, like other forms of life, cannot live without a healthy environment. It is only right that we take care of nature. “Any society which does not insist upon respect for all life must necessarily decay.” ~ Albert Einstein ~

In love and respect,
Joseph

Fresh Start

Fresh Start, by Joseph Liberti
After yesterday’s rain, thistles proudly wear fresh color to celebrate a new day

I love to hike and do every morning at dawn. For many years I hiked with my beloved best canine friend Eddie. Together we hiked almost 12000 miles. Recently after a year-long bout with a brain tumor, Eddie passed over the rainbow bridge. I made a fresh start. I turned to forest bathing and photography to help me past my grief.

In my project to master point and shoot photography, each day I take hundreds photos of nature. Some are great and some just OK but all have a story.

Last night we had a nourishing rain and when I got out for my hike I saw that all the plants and trees had perked up and were wearing droplets of water. The thistles, which had been fading in the summer heat, looked fresh and perky as they made a fresh start on a new day.

To me the thistle transformation symbolized the fresh start I am making with performing music in a new way, learning photography and my life without Eddie. I felt inspired. Maybe it will provide you a pick-me-up too. Remember, you are only a breath and a choice away from a new day and a new experience of life.

Be well and happy,

Joseph

Forest Bathing Plus Photography Heals Grief

How Forest Bathing plus photography is healing my grief.

Forest Bathing in green trees and lush mountain sides. Photo by Joseph Liberti
South Valley by Joseph Liberti

I found a way to heal my grief through Forest Bathing and photography.

What’s Forest Bathing? In 1982, the Forest Agency of the Japanese government premiered its shinrin-yoku plan. In Japanese shinrin means forest, and yoku, although it has several meanings, refers here to a “bathing, showering or basking in.” More broadly, it is defined as “taking in, through all of our senses, the forest atmosphere.” This “nature therapy” program was established to encourage the populace to get out into nature, to literally bathe the mind and body in greenspace to reduce stress find peace and improve health.

A Daily Hiker
I have been a nature lover and daily hiker since I was a child, I had experienced the power of nature to calm and restore me, but after the recent death of my canine companion and best friend Eddie, it wasn’t working for me any more. Eddie and had I hiked daily for nearly twelve years and when I resumed my daily hiking after Eddie crossed the rainbow bridge, every tree and rock and meadow reminded me of him and brought intense grief.

Click Click To Find Peace
I decided to use my hiking time to photograph the nature I loved To deal with my grief . I read a book on how to create artful nature photography with a point and shoot camera and started snapping photos. As I learned more, I took more time with composition and started to see every detail in a new way. Things that had been triggering grief now brought curiosity, appreciation and reverence. The process of trying to create landscape art kept me focused on natural beauty and prevented me from obsessing on my loss.

Healing And New Beginnings
What is true is I will never forget my Eddie. He is always with me on every hike. We are just enjoying it in a new way. I heal a little with every day. and every click. My photography is improving daily and I have garnered some fans of my work, and soon some of my work will be on display for sale. I will continue to publish photos of my “green art” in this blog. Please do return and see some. I have thousands.

Be well and happy,
Joseph

J

Exciting New Jazz Music – Midón, Mendoza and Metropole

Exciting New Jazz Music – Midón, Mendoza and Metropole

Introducing Raul Midơn, Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orkest.

Recently I have been studying the music of gifted musician/compose/conductor Vince Mendoza whose stunningly beautiful and very hip orchestral music is typically classified as “contemporary” or pop jazz. Look him up on Spotify, Amazon or Apple Music and you will probably be as stunned as I was say, “why haven’t I heard of this guy before. (He’s been recording sensational sounds for more than 20 years.)

Mendoza has recorded a number of recordings with Metropole Orkest a full symphonic orchestra that plays some great jazz.

If You Really Want

In 2014 singer/guitarist/composer Raul Midón joined the Metropole Orkest, conducted by Vince Mendoza, to record the album ‘If You Really Want’. It took four years to find the right time and partner to release the record, which is out now on Artistry Music and received a Grammy. You just have to listen to it! The vocals are soulful, the compositions are elegant, and the orchestra, led by Mendoza is sensational.

A glimpse into the making of “If You Really Want”

Raul Midon: “I Just Want To Pick Somebody Up”

John Scofield, Vince Mendoza, Metropole Orchestra – Honest I Do

Have a very wonderful new year!

Joseph Liberti

 

The Best Jazz Album Of 2018?

The Best Jazz Album of 2018?

the best jazz album of 2018Pianists have grabbed a particularly bright spotlight, but trumpeters, saxophonists, bassists, and singers have shined too. And musicians of all ages, from the 29 year old vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant) to 80 year old saxophonist Charles Lloyd (one of my favs) and many in between, have released some great music.

Below are four of the many sources that have published “best of Jazz” lists. Each list is different and yet there is some overlap. Most of the lists have links to audio and video samples some have reviews and artist profiles. Maybe you will find a new or an old favorite among them. Click the titles to go to each list. Enjoy .

The Best Jazz Album Of 2018 Lists:

The New York Times List of best Jazz Of 2018

The Treble List of Best jazz Albums of 2018

The JazzIs Best Jazz Album of 2018 List

The Past Magazine 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2018 List

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and be well and happy!

Joseph Liberti

Ready For Chamber Jazz?

What is Chamber Jazz?

What does it sound like and where can I find Chamber Jazz?

What Is Chamber Jazz?

FluteDaddy and The Chamber Jazz CollectiveChamber music is written for, and performed by, small classical or jazz ensembles. and typically features improvised solos. Many of these groups play a style that is a fusion of both jazz and classical elements. Some groups include string instruments.

What does Chamber Jazz Sound Like? (Music video below)

In my experience the sound of chamber jazz is sometimes classical sometimes jazzy and sometimes a fusion go both styles. The music varies greatly from album to album as different composers and musicians express their creativity. The sounds are sometimes familiar and sometimes avant gardé and experimental.

The music program that we will perform at Jazz In The Chamber, includes a number of original tunes with a familiar jazz feel and some that are cinematic and expressive. 

Is Chamber Jazz Is Hard To Find?

A bit of searching and listening is required to find some chamber jazz. Much of the new jazz music being written and recorded sounds like chamber jazz but is not necessarily called that on the album. I’ll share some of my music discoveries with you in this and coming newsletters. 

Here’s some interesting chamber jazz found on You Tube:

Jazz In Moving Pictures Vol. 2. Billy Childs Ensemble

Childs was playing professionally as a teenager, and he made his recording debut in 1977 with the J. J. Johnson Quintet  He gained significant attention during 1978–84) playing with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s group. While influenced early on in his playing by Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, and Chick Corea and in his composing by Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky, Childs nevertheless had an original conception of his own from near the start, developing his own voice as both a pianist and a composer in jazz and classical music genres. Read more at Wikipedia.

Be well and happy

Joseph

Samba Of The Trees – A Bossa Nova Turned Anthem

Samba Of The Trees, a composition inspired by trees was chosen by North End Woodlands.

 The North End Woodlands project, formed in November 2016, has created a collaborative plan to reforest the avenues of the North End of Colorado Springs and will use Samba of The Trees as a website anthem. Tree planting is beginning and you may donate all or part of a tree through their website.
About Samba Of The Trees: A stand of cottonwood trees in Garden of the Gods park has been a refuge for me. I lay against mighty trunks, watch the golden light shimmer through the beautiful leaves and feel the peace and grace of ancient wisdom. One morning the melody and rhythm of Samba of The Trees came to me and I wrote the piece in its entirety when I got back to my studio.  The following is a score recording of the piece. While the digitally sampled audio is pretty realistic but live performance with improvised solos is quite lovely.

The Yellowjackets – Raising Our Voice

The GRAMMY® Award-winning Yellowjackets Return with Raising Our Voice.

The Yellowjackets, Raising Our VoiceRaising Our Voice is a collaboration with Brazilian jazz marvel Luciana Souza, an ideal choice for the first vocalist to join the Yellowjackets.

“The band keeps moving forward,” says saxophonist Bob Mintzerwho joined the group in 1990. “It’s one of the few partnership bands in the last four decades. It’s democratic, laissez-faire and accommodating to everyone in the band to contribute. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves as a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”

Catch these gorgeous new sounds from Raining Our Voices: Listen to preview samples on Apple Music 

And…Here’s video of  Yellowjackets Live at Java Jazz Festival 2016

Listening To Good Music

Paquito D’Rivera on Listening To Good Music

In a 2013 interview with Anat Cohen published in JazzTimes, one of my heroes , composer and wind instrument virtuosos Paquito D’Rivera talks about what he learned from his father about listening to good music.

“Well, my father is still today a main figure to look up to in my career. He was a classical saxophone player. He never had the ability to improvise. But he loved the music of Ellington, and especially the Goodman Orchestra. He used to play for me many Goodman swing band songs; he never called it “jazz.” For some reason he didn’t like the word “jazz.” He preferred to call it “swing.” He’d play the Goodman Swing Orchestra back to back with Goodman’s wonderful rendition of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. So, I was like 8 or 9 years old and also I was pretty confused. But it was a very happy confusion, because he had the concept of that music. He was very Ellingtonian, not only because he loved the Ellington orchestra, but because he said there are only two kinds of music: good and the other is not. When you play or at least try to understand different sides of music, you become a better musician, like when you can speak different languages. You understand life better, you know? So I think it is a big mistake when people concentrate only on one. Many jazz people are too sectarian sometimes. They don’t want to hear nothing else but Bird, Dizzy, Ellington and so on. What about listening to other types of music that Bird, Dizzy, and Ellington tell you to listen to? I think those great jazz musicians are so great because they understand other cultures. Jazz is a music coming out of a multi-national and multi-ethnic society and country. Everybody here has put their own thing into this wonderful style called “jazz.” So, my father saw that from the beginning, and I was very fortunate to be his student.”

Good advice from Paquito. Read the rest of the interesting interview – Jazz Is A Blessing in Jazz Times.

Some Paquito you may not have heard. Listen for quotes of various songs in his improvisation.