I listen to a lot of jazz, mostly early jazz from the 60′s and late 50′s. There’s so much to say about Jazz Music recordings and education benefits! These are classic recordings that move me because the artists have managed to share their art with us on precious recordings.

Today too many people use their iPhone to listen to music and that’s too bad because the music on your iPhone is compressed and as such it loses some of its sonic capabilities. I know who has time to sit at home and listen to great music? You would if you had a decent hi-fi system.

Jazz is my inspiration and regular listening allows me to stay motivated so now I listen to the jazz recording and learn.

There is a belief that you need to spend ten’s of thousands of dollars to get a great hi-fi system. To this I say “bullshit”! You can get an excellent hi-fi system for under $2500 if you know what you’re doing.

The key is to take some CD’s of some of your favorite music down to a local hi-fi dealer and listen to them on some systems. By the way, if you like rap or other overly produced music a good hi-fi system won’t make a damn bit of difference.

The Arcam Solo is an all in one CD player with amplifier and is a great sounding audio system for the money.

Now back to the classic jazz. Rudy Van Gelder recorded some great music at his recording studio across the Hudson River in New Jersey. These recordings sound amazing today and have come to make me realize that when great artists get a great canvas great things can happen. See also this post about the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Some of my favorite albums of all time are:

Blue Train – John Coltrane (with Miles Davis) -it helps me to concentrate
All Blues – Miles Davis (with John Coltrane) it helps me to stay focused
Time Out – Dave Brubeck/ it is great to relax after learning
Ah Um – Charles Mingus
Soul Station – Hank Mobley
Something Else – Cannonball Adderley
Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster

Moments That Take Your Breath Away

“Life is not the number of breaths you take. It’s the moments that take your breath away.” ~ Alex Hitchins (aka Hitch)

Ok. So, I’m sure Hitch didn’t come up with this quote. I just love this movie. But, think about it. What takes your breath away?

Time with my family is so precious to me. I love seeing them as often as I can. We just hang out – no agenda. Well, the only agenda is that we eat…well. We eat well.

As I sat with my family this weekend, I thought about how easy it would be to relax and overeat while we’re having a good time, sitting back, sharing our best moments of the past week, celebrating the kids’ spelling bee victories (cue: get up and get a plate of food and a beer), enjoying the babies as they croon their renditions of their current traditional fave, “The Wheels On The Bus,” a la American Idol (Minus Simon.

We’re a house full of Paula’s. Oh, and cue #2: get up and get another plate of food and a soda), and this will happen several times inside of 90 minutes. Noticing this some time back, I had to figure out how I could prevent myself from getting lost in the day and overeating. It was simple – use a smaller plate.

So, as I filled my plate, I was careful not to pile it so high that it would become a work of art, reminiscent of the great Leaning Tower of Pisa. Broccoli, chicken pasta salad, beef skewer, and some brown rice…mmm. It was so good. It was awesome, as a matter of fact. The reward came later, in the form of a rockin’ game of “Marco Polo” with my nieces and nephews.

When I finished eating, I felt energized, ready to play with the little ones, jump in the pool for another round of “Marco!…Polo!” Suddenly, I realized. I was surrounded by the kids as the rest of the adults retreated inside for t.v. and a short nap. They fell victim to, “the ITIS” (pronounced eye-tis). ITIS is a slang term referring to when you eat good food — i.e comfort food or home-cooked. It tastes SO GOOD, you eat SO MUCH that you’re SO FULL and then, you catch the ITIS. It’s pretty much the tired, sleepy feeling you get after eating some really good, rich, fat-laden food!

At that point, I realized how I could spend more time with my family, enjoying their company. Eat in moderation. So, I did. My appetite was satiated. Nutritionally, I ate with excellence and most important to me, I got to spend more time playing with my nieces and nephews. I felt like a little kid. I had so much energy and I´m ready to face my battle with the GED exam.

Enjoy every second of every moment. Eat smart. Eat well. Be energized. Be healthy. If not for your sake, for the sake of the people you love and in honor of the moments that take your breath away.