Not Only Jazz Lovers

Singer/songwriter/entertainer Ty Showers is at it once again! This time he has released a series of genre-grouped compilations featuring an array of his classics as well as some fresh and new sounds! ‘0.2’, the second release of this musical anthology, promises a varied set of jazz-fusionesque tracks. The project is composed of 14 awesome jazzy tracks that will certain awaken the dormant jazz lover in you!

Certainly no stickler for conventional songwriting/ composition, the project features a wide variety of diverse, yet uniform sounding pieces. The early stand-outs being ‘Zata’, ‘On The Road’, and “River Dream’ each of which have already accumulated several thousands in streams. What’s more, with tracks such as the rhythmic ‘Jungle Paw’, and the hard-hitting ‘Catching Hell’, this album is filled with twists, turns, and surprises around every corner. Each piece is good enough to stand alone, yet there’s an odd sense of cohesion when listening to this project overall; a true testament to Ty Showers’ level of artistry.

This project is perfect for not only jazz lovers, but for all lovers of good music. Don’t let the categorization of ‘jazz’ confuse you, Showers music is simultaneously nothing like you’ve experienced while maintaining the quality standard that we’ve all become accustomed to. Listen to ‘0.2’ and make it number 1 on your jazz playlist!

Venus L

Do Tell by Calima Shatiday

There’s a calm, hands-on energy in this track from Calima Shatiday’s 2009 release, Poolside II. It’s the kind of music that, yes, would work for the pool—a sunny day, a light breeze, a frosty drink in hand—but this one veers toward another kind of territory: the meditative space.

I’m not saying that your masseuse will be playing Do Tell amid the fragrant oils while leaning into that one spot by your shoulder blade where you always seem to carry some tension—although, should that happen, this music could help. The raspy, white-noisy electronic percussion and a couple of attention-grabbing synth breaks take it out of the “space music” category and off the massage therapy playlist. The music is more likely to leak in from the studio next door, where some centered somebody is painting or developing photos, or maybe even writing. I’m typing in time to it right now.

Part of what gives the tune that centered quality is the play of opposites between its slow-motion EDM groove (about 96 bpm) and the lead melody, which is less a melodic statement than a rhythmic game of catch, tossing notes here and there in triplets and other just-off-the-beat figures, an impressionist syncopation in a kalimba-like timbre. Somewhere in the middle, a jazz organ pulls out a stop or two. What feels meditative about all this is the lack of drama. The music stays true to its good, simple intentions.

Back to that “slow-motion EDM” reference: a listener can easily imagine (or perform) languid, frame-by-frame dance moves to this song. What Shatiday pulls off here is a transparency that lets you in. You can almost see through the music to the story the composer was telling himself as he created it.

That’s quite a feat of artistry.

Jim Howard

All About Love

Valentine’s Day 2015 finds me without a love of my own. No biggie, it’s been that way for years now. I’m pretty much cool with it. While most of the people my age are grandparents, I don’t even have a kid. I do have great memories of the roller coaster ride you sign up for when you fall in love.

If I ever run across somebody again I deem worthy of my most personal attention, I’ll fill out an application. If not, the big wheel keeps on turning. Love is life’s huge thing that is a key to happiness. I’m learning that being loved and giving love doesn’t have to pertain to a person.

The love of my life is comedy. Standing in front of people and trying to get them to laugh together. I want them to laugh hard and feel as good as I do when I laugh hard. As hard as I did while listening to early Bill Cosby albums when I was about 5. As hard as I howled watching early George Carlin in the Ed Sullivan show soon after.

I don’t necessarily want to make love to my audience-for me lovemaking is strictly a one on one operation. I want to love large groups of people into feeling better by laughing really, really hard. To where you can’t make any sounds or stop the tears rolling down your cheeks.

I had a really hard laugh recently watching The Simpsons. You know how they will cut in the middle of a scene and make a crazy left turn joke. Suddenly, I’m watching Al Jarreau on Al Jazeera singing about terrorists. After laughing long and hard you can’t help but feel better. The better you feel, the better decisions you make. The better the world becomes.

William Stephenson

Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know about the New French Law

Effective January 1st, a new French law takes effect that will change the way you select your food in French restaurants. On that date, all restaurants in France (whether they claim to prepare homemade dishes or not) will be required to indicate somewhere in the restaurant the definition of what a homemade dish is:

Les plats « faits maison » sont élaborés sur place à partir de produits bruts.

This sentence states that homemade dishes are those that have been prepared in-house from raw products.

Bringing consistency to the restaurant industry, the law goes on to state what comprises a homemade dish:

  • “Prepared in-house” means that the raw products arrive from a supplier for elaboration in the kitchen of the restaurant.
  • “Raw products” means that each element of the dish arrives at the restaurant in a raw state. It cannot have undergone cooking or transformation by other processes or have been mixed with other products that might have transformed it from its natural state.

However, the term “raw products” does not mean that the produce must arrive fresh from the farm. Between the farm and the restaurant, food items can undergo certain processes that do not affect their basic nature. Examples include cleaning, peeling (except for potatoes), slicing, cutting, deboning, shelling, grinding, milling, smoking, and salting, or processes that preserve them from spoilage, such as refrigeration, freezing, or sealing them in vacuum packs.

Recognizing that it would be impractical to impose the requirement that chefs make all of their ingredients in-house, the law goes on to list products that may be used even though they have undergone transformation from their natural state:

  • Cured fish and sausage, but not terrines or pâtés
Cheese, milk, sour cream, animal fat
  • Bread, flour, and cookies
  • Dried or candied vegetables and fruit
  • Pasta and cereal
  • Raw sauerkraut
  • Rising agents, sugar, and gelatin
  • Condiments, spices, herbs, concentrates, chocolate, coffee, tea
  • Syrup, wine, alcohol, and liqueurs
  • Blanched offal
  • Raw puff pastry
  • Fowl, fish, and meat stocks, subject to informing the consumer of their use.

Restaurants that claim to make homemade dishes must identify these dishes on their menus either with the notation “Fait maison” or with the “Fait maison” image (a roof of a house over a frying pan). Restaurants that claim that all of their dishes are homemade may indicate that fact before each dish or indicate it in a unique spot on the menu.

This new law has already provoked controversy in the restaurant industry, with some chefs wondering whether important ingredients that they have been using fall under the list of exceptions. Some wonder how homemade dishes they normally prepare that are accompanied with a transformed element that is not an exception might qualify under the law. An example of such a case would be a homemade crêpe served with an industrially-produced jam.

As for consumers, the new law should go a long way to remove the doubt about whether a dish that they order in a restaurant in France is homemade or not.

On your next trip to Paris, be sure to look for the “fait maison” logo when you dine out.

Bon appétit!
Tom Reeves

Tom Reeves is the author of a recent e-book entitled Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light.

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