A new year is upon us, and I can’t help but think about some of the things that transpired for me over this past year. One of my most notable positive events was not planned, but seemed to work out perfectly. I was performing each Sunday at a popular church here in Philadelphia. I had been there faithfully for 8 years. The people there were beautiful and I loved being there, but through the years we had several different musical directors coming in. The one thing about musical directors is that each has his own different style of leadership. While I highly respected the ideals of the last one we often had conflicts that just couldn’t be resolved, so after 8 years God said it was time for me to leave the church I so loved serving. The great thing is that God didn’t have me wait long at all for me to find a new church home. For about a month I was sitting home on Sundays (and it felt so weird not having to wake up and go) but after only a few weeks I got a call from another musical director who previously left that same church and was ministering someplace else. He wanted to know if I was available to do his church each Sunday. This was a blessing that I didn’t see coming, but nevertheless it was a blessing that was well needed. When I first went to the interview it felt very different (but I have never had an interview yet that I didn’t feel confident about). I told them my credentials and everything seemed to work out perfectly. Now I am happy again being part of a music ministry that has welcomed me with open arms. The reason I am writing about this today is because while change may bring about uncertainty in our lives sometimes change is often vital. Until we get to the point where we can venture into something different we will never get the chance to grow. I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I surely got what I needed. Sometimes it is not about what you do, but rather about “how you feel” about what you do. If you can’t feel the blessing of where you are and what you are doing, then it may be time to re-think and re-evaluate your situation. It would be nice if you can do something that makes you happy. Now I can honestly say I am… Going into the new year I expect to continue to seek out any blessings that are coming my way, and I aim to get the most out of life. I sincerely hope you will do the same. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Norman Connors, Brett Jolly and Benny Barksdale
It is amazing how music has evolved over the years. While the technology for getting a great quality track has improved drastically some songs still sound as though they were recorded in a garage. What has happened to the quality of good music? Some tracks that I hear recently on radio sound fuzzy, unmixed and even unmastered. Why would the radio industry allow that to happen? Years ago if a recording didn’t sound up to par it was often given back and the producer was told to make it radio play ready. Now it seems as though any bad quality of music can get airplay. Obviously, the reason why a bad sounding track can get played on the radio is because of “money.” As long as the right people get paid then the music gets played no matter what it sounds like. That being said, what type of music “should” people listen to? For me, I try to check out all types of music (because I never know when I am going to be asked to play it). The deep part about all of it is that now different genres are starting to sound the same. I listened to a Gospel station the other day and the songs that came on sounded like “bad quality rap tracks.” I do understand that the station is probably trying to reach out to a younger audience but the music I heard sounded like “borderline sacrilegious” to me. I do know that for me it might just be a “generational thing.” It is interesting now how “smooth jazz” isn’t really jazz at all… When they try to convince me that Luther VanDross or Marvin Gaye or Simply Red is now labeled as jazz then to me that is just them trying to “redefine” my music. As for the songs that are currently being featured as popular hits, the quality of a lot of them doesn’t seem up to par either. I absolutely “hate” when the vocals of artists are “auto-tuned.” To me it sounds so “unnatural” and I already know that whenever you see this artist live in concert the vocals will be lip synced. The drums in some of these tracks sound like they were made of paper and there is so much reverb on a singers’ voice that you can’t understand the words being sung. Yes, music has changed, but good tracks can still be found. I find that many people are “going to the internet to find good artists with great sounding tracks.” Nowadays an artist doesn’t have to have radio play in order to get discovered. If this keeps up then it may spell the end of the conventional radio industry. Hey, even Beyonce decided to sell her music online as opposed to paying the stations to play her. I still have not heard her new CD “Lemonade” yet… Since she was considered the top of the line artist then that move was a major one. The next few years of radio history should be interesting. It could either improve itself or crash and burn. Whatever genre of music you like I hope you know how to search to find it. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Norman Connors (“You are my starship”) Brett Jolly and saxophonist Benny Barksdale
In Union County, South Carolina, and interesting story came to light. Leigh Ann Arthur, a teacher at the school, was on patrol duty when a 16 year old student decided to rummage through her phone to find her private pictures. The teacher had a nude pic of herself that she gave to her husband for Valentines Day that the student found. The student then shared the photo through text and social media. To see the story, click on the link below:
Now the real question here is, “Who is at fault?” We all know the student was wrong in what he or she did, but does the teacher share “any sense of responsibility” for leaving her phone unattended?
Union County School District interim Superintendent David Eubanks said that she either had the choice to go through the dismissal process or resign since it was determined she shouldered some of the responsibility to keep those “inappropriate” pictures private.
However, was she really responsible? If the pictures were in her phone, shouldn’t they have been considered “private?” The teacher has since resigned, but there is a petition to get her back. Would it have been proper to dismiss her for the illegal actions of a student? If the student had broken into her car or her home to get the pictures, would that still mean that she was at fault? What if the student illegally went into the woman’s restroom to photograph her? Would that mean that the teacher would be at fault simply because the door wasn’t locked? I don’t blame this woman for not ever wanting to go back, but in this world of modern technology and enhanced social media she is only one of many victims out there. There are cameras everywhere. There are people who can intercept your phone messages as you text them. Your information is not as private as you may think it is. This incident was a very unfortunate one, but in my opinion I don’t think the teacher should share “any” of the blame. Yes, she should have kept her phone with her. Yes, she should have had it locked so that it no one could access it, but I don’t think she violated any ethics that warranted her dismissal. I only hope that she can recover from this scandal and go back to a normal life of teaching kids. I hope we all can learn that we may need to go to more stringent steps to secure our own privacy. Keep your phone with you and never leave it unattended. Also make sure that if you are finished with anything secret on your phone, be sure to delete it before someone else finds it Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
My good friend Norman Conners (who also shared my birthday of March 1) Brett Jolly and saxophonist Benny Barksdale
We have so much fun at my Wednesday Night open mic events. The group that I play with is fantastic and we play “any and all” genres of music. We even “take requests.” During our “jazz set” we did this particular song that was originally done by James Brown and then recently done again by saxophonist Gerald Albright. The name of the song is “This is a man’s world” and it features Chris Odom, Stan Brisbon, Keith Simpson, Cowboy, Benny Barksdale on sax and of course, me, Brett Jolly on red bass guitar. I hope you like the clip and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Take care.
At my Wednesday night event here in Philly (Which is labeled as the “Wednesday Night Grand Slam”) we do just about any and every type of music (seriously). Just last week jazz keyboardist Joe Sample passed away, and we did a special musical tribute to him featuring my brother Bill Jolly on keys. Bill had actually met and played with Joe, so this tribute was a really special one, especially for those in attendance that evening. I was asked to share this so I only hope that this will work. The song is a jazz classic called “There are many stops along the way” and if features, Bill Jolly, Brett Jolly, Chris Odom on guitar, Mookie on drums and Benny Barksdale on sax. This was gotten off of Facebook, so hopefully privacy settings won’t have any effect on those who wish to view it. Thank you and I wish you the very best that life has to offer this weekend. If this link doesn’t work then you may have to sign in with your Facebook account to view it. Sorry about that, but it is definitely worth viewing if you can do so.