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Showing posts from December, 2014

Jazz Movements

Part of what makes jazz seem so complex is its many movements. Melodies or taglines, rarely stay in the same key.

That alone is a major differential between jazz and pop, country, r&b, rock, and gospel. For the most part, songs in these genres are played and sang in one key.

Jazz's many movements and creative use of a number of scales are part of the reason why it is often considered the highest form of music.

Jazz requires an understanding of scales, modes, and intervals, along with discipline and diligence.

It is probably better if heard. As we are on the tail end of the Christmas season, what better example than the "Christmas Song."

If you are near an instrument try picking up on how many times this song changes keys. You do not have to be near an instrument or musically inclined to hear the changes. The ear naturally discerns the note changes.

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Kirk Franklin and the Family- Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

It is only fitting to spotlight a Christmas album. None better comes to mind than gospel music trailblazer Kirk Franklin's Kirk Franklin and the Family Christmas.

Before I go any further, you must have this album!

Released in 1995, this album contains elements of jazz, classical, blues, and some Caribbean flares.

There are originals like "Now Behold the Lamb" (led by a then, unknown Tamela Mann), "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," "They Need to Know," "There's No Christmas without You," and "Thank You for Your Child." All which sing praises to God for sending His son to earth for the sins of the world.

Franklin also puts new harmonies and melodies to classics like "Silent Night," and "O Come, All Ye Faithful." In fact, you will not hear another version of "Silent Night" like this anywhere else!

The entire album will have you dancing, shouting, and crying within a complet…

Hobbit 3: The Battle of the Five Armies

I saw the Hobbit 3: The Battle of the Five Armies Friday at the movies.

I have not seen the first two Hobbit movies. I have never read any of the original books. I do not like sci-fi or fantasy-type films. Prior to watching the movie, I had never heard of "Smaug," "Bilbo," or "Laketown."

But, I am a fan of war tales, war movies, and displays of courage.

Factor my interest of war-time courage with the action shown on the trailers and I concluded I should give the movie a chance. I'm glad I did.

It is a really good movie! The plot, the artwork, the acting, the graphics, the sound effects, and the music create an action-packed mix from beginning to end.

As a born-again Christian, I do not endorse the movie's reliance on other spiritual forces. But, other than that, I encourage you to go see it. There is no cursing. It is family-friendly. It is a film anyone can relate to.

To everyone involved in making this movie: producers, directors, technicians, c…

Retail: The Jobs

Retail is big. Especially this time of year.

Retail is a large part of the US and global economy. Retailers create jobs, generate tax revenues, circulate local dollars, and increase quality of life..

For most people, the type of retail jobs we see are those in the store. But we often  do not consider the many other jobs retail supports.

Retail, indirectly, creates and supports manufacturing and warehouse and distribution operations. That is the process of creating and shipping finished goods to the stores. This includes jobs such truck drivers, plant managers, equipment operators, human resources departments, accountants, and all other necessary occupations to operate industrial facilities. Jobs we never interact with before making our purchases.

For every item of clothing we buy from retailers, we should also consider the many others who helped bring the product to the shelf. In fact, it is also interesting to take a look at the "Made In" label on most products.

It takes a …

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Young Noah- Time

This is the very first post in what will be Music Spotlight Tuesdays on Pianomics. It is not a review. It is a post to bring positive attention to a recording artists' work, regardless of genre or the album's release date.

Since this is Music Spotlight Tuesday's debut posting, it is only fitting that I spotlight a debut album. This particular artist happens to be very special to me because he is one of my closest friends and my brother.

Time by rapper Young Noah was originally released earlier this year in August. Bias aside, Time is not a typical hip-hop album. The production is varied with mixes, styles, and rhythms of numerous genres, just like Young Noah's flow. You can hear it not even halfway through the first song, "Closer Now," where a metal guitar solo is rhythmically placed between heavy-knocking 808's.

The lyrics are scriptural laced with Young Noah's real life experiences. Within the 11 tracks, anyone can relate to the personal authenticity…

Studying Jazz: Grind On

The best way to learn something is to study it.
It is common sense, but studying is much easier said than done.
I am now in my fourth year of studying jazz piano. Yet, I have only played one (1) jazz gig so far. Yep, just one.
That's four years of study and only one gig to date. Just like an Olympian.
However, that is ok. Like anything else in life, success does not happen overnight. Oftentimes it takes years.
It took me some time to wrap my mind around it. I play gospel, hymns, and contemporary Christian music at church, where every song is based on one key. Whereas in jazz, songs have numerous keys and multiple movements within those keys.
However, all of the playing helps. 
Going into 2015, I intend not only continue studying, but to go deeper into jazz studies. That means, more practice. But additionally, I want to get out and play more.
So, this one is for all of my fellow jazz musicians, jazz heads, music students, and Olympians: Keep Grinding. Success is not far!

Ferguson: Evidence of Spiritual Starvation

Yesterday in church, my Bishop preached about God's solution to the unrest facing our country (Trayvon Martin, Ferguson- Joseph Brown, NYC-Eric Garner). I would like to share a brief summary with you.

Bishop's concern was very simple: "In all of this mess, where is the church?"

Matthew 14:13-22 is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish.

Faced more than 5,000 hungry people, the disciples, symbolic of the church, said "Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." (v.15).

Jesus replies, "Bring them here to Me." (v. 18).

Jesus then took all the food nearby, 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, and blessed it, broke it, then distributed it. As a result, more than 5,000 people were fed, not counting women and children.

This passage reveals our nation's current condition and the solution for it.

The church's previous response has been "Send them away. They are not like us. Their needs…

Development Agreements

A Development Agreement is a contractual agreement between a municipality (city, county, or village) and the owner of real property as it relates to the development and redevelopment of the property.

The agreement specifies the standards and approvals that govern development of the property.

The scope could cover land development (engineering, platting, infrastructure) or vertical improvements (buildings, renovations).

Land owners seek such benefits as stability and reimbursements from Development Agreements.

Municipalities seek economic development benefits, job creation, quality development, and public infrastructure from Development Agreements.

Development Agreements have been proven most successful for the development or redevelopment of large tracts of land.

2014 Black Friday Analysis

This year, Black Friday sales dropped 11% to $50.9B from last year's $57.4B based on a preliminary survey released yesterday by the National Retail Federation.

Sales dipped despite many stores opening earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day.
Online sales also dipped. Based on the same survey from the National Retail Federation, online shoppers spent an average of $380.95 over the four-day weekend. 6.4% less than the average $407.02 spent last year.
The Black Friday sales' underachievement is traceable to two key factors, among many others.
1. Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown sent the nation in uproar. Logically and systematically, people protested the case's outcome by boycotting Black Friday shopping. Some of those lost dollars may be made up as the holiday season goes on. But for now, the national sentiment is anti-establishment.
2. Gratitude. Thanksgiving, despite its origins, is a time we set aside to give thanks. Shopping, especia…