Goodnight everyone, and have a non-lyrical weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy!

If your office is like mine many of your colleagues, while hands are placed on keyboards, have their ears attached to headphones. Studies show that music is effective in raising efficiency during repetitive work. And there are numerous theories as to what is the best music to listen to on the job.

Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, found that  participants in her studies who listened to music they enjoyed completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas.

Seven out of eight radiologists found that baroque music increased mood and concentration on their work.

Another suggestion is to listen to music from video games when you need to focus.

Here are some more.

Workers were better at solving mathematical problems when listening to classical music, which was  also the second best type for general accuracy and spell-checking.

Participants listening to pop music completed data entry tasks 58% faster than when listening to no music at all.

Dance music resulted in the highest overall accuracy and fastest performance across a range of work tasks. Participants listening to dance music produced more accurate results in spell-checking, solving equations and tackling tricky mathematical word problems, increased proof-reading speed, and were able to complete abstract reasoning tasks more quickly.

And according to Cambridge Sound Management lyrics are distracting. That’s because
how intelligible the words are that forces us to shift focus from our work to figuring out what someone is saying. Their study found that 48% of office workers are distracted by speech. So you should listen to music with no lyrics.

That’s our focus this week as we launch into the Labor Day weekend with some recent recordings. Let’s get started.

Tinkr Barfield, the former bass player for Luther Vandross, is the man behind Tinkr’s Classy, Greasy, Jazzy, Funky, Ole Azz Booga Band. Their debut album puts a modern twist on Beethoven’s classic short piece, “Fur Elise,” composed when he was almost completely deaf in 1810, but not published until 1867, 40 years after Beethoven’s 1827 death.

The title comes from a manuscript Beethoven signed that disappeared. So the piece remains a mystery.  Who was Elise? No one knows for sure. Or even if she was a real person.

Undoubtedly very recognizable….

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Regular readers of this feature know I’ve posted different versions of  “Take Five” by  Dave Brubeck. I’m intrigued by what talented musicians can do with this classic.
Composed by Paul Desmond and recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959, “Take Five, ” inspired by Turkish street musicians, was the first jazz instrumental to sell a million copies.

Dr. Dave is a popular smooth jazz guitarist. Here’s his ‘take.’

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Next…

Leon Russell performs onstage during the Agency Group Party at at IEBA Conference Day 3 at the War Memorial Auditorium on October 9, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee

A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Leon Russell died in 2016.

One of his best known songs was recorded by The Carpenters.

Russell was one of the influences of pianist and composer Paul Tuvman who has been a pilot for Delta Airlines since 1986.

“Flying is such a big part of my life & after 31 years of airline flying, I still love going to work,” says Tuvman.

That day job inspired the cover for his latest album.

His friend and producer of the album, smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun is featured on this remake.

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BONUS FROM PAUL TUVMAN!

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Our next artist spent many years in Miami’s Latin pop and jazz scenes and has performed with many of the world’s most popular Latin pop stars, Latin jazz stars, and American pop stars.

Gutshall was an adjunct professor at Miami-Dade College for seven years. He was the instructor of saxophone and also taught courses in Music Appreciation and Jazz History, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Music and Jazz and a Master’s Degree in Jazz Education from the University of Miami.

Antonio Carlos Jobim composed this popular bossa nova piece that translated means “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” and refers to the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.

From Gutshall’s debut album…

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That’s it for this week.

Goodnight.

Sleep well.

Have a great holiday weekend.

We close with a jazz guitarist and his uptempo rendition of a beloved Christian hymn about the Holy Trinity.

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: An old Chinese proverb

The late Andy Williams was very popular in the 1960’s.

Andy Williams performs "The Sun Shines on Andy" on his TV variety series "The Andy Williams Show" in the early 1960s. The singer, 84, died after a yearlong battle with bladder cancer on Tuesday night, September 25, his family said.The Andy Williams Show, a TV variety program hosted by the singer, ran from 1962-1971.

Like today, in those days prime time television was dominated by reruns in the summer.
In 1970, NBC needed a summer replacement for Williams and opted for Ray Stevens, a Nashville-oriented singer who made his fame on novelty records: “Ahab the Arab,” Gitarzan,” and years later, “The Streak.”

“Andy Williams was on NBC, and in the summer he needed a replacement. So, I was the guy and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got a few weeks that I can write a song and record a song that would possibly be used for the theme for that television show.’ I just chained myself to the piano for three days,” Stevens told an interviewer last year.

“Oh, it was a big mess. That’s where my piano was and where I wrote. After three days, I finally came up with ‘Everything is Beautiful,’ which I thought ‘yeah, this’ll do it.’ Sure enough, we made the record, and the people that produced the show loved it and wanted to use it as the theme for ‘The Ray Stevens/Andy Williams Summer Show.’

“You know, I had a little book of Chinese proverbs and it would say things that we’ve all heard. I can’t recall all of them, but one of them was ‘everything is beautiful in its own way.’ I thought, ‘Well, I’ll try that.’ Sure enough, it came off really good and I stopped writing at that point.”

The song hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the summer of 1970, and won the Grammy in 1971 for Stevens for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

The children heard singing the chorus of the song are from the Oak Hill Elementary School in Nashville, including Stevens’ two daughters.

On August 21, 2018, in downtown Nashville, country and comedy music legend Ray Stevens received his very own star on the Music City Walk of Fame. Stevens’ friend and fellow GRAMMY® Award-winning music colleague Ricky Skaggs presented him with the honor.

Stevens was inducted alongside Nashville-based pop artist Ben Folds, Country Music Hall of Famer Brenda Lee, and Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely.

One of the original pioneers of Music Row, Stevens arrived in Nashville in the early 1960s. Shortly after he would meet and form a lifelong friendship with Chet Atkins, produce the legendary Dolly Parton, and record with Waylon Jennings. He was also recruited to play on sessions with “The King” himself, Elvis Presley. Stevens would go on to sign major record deals with several Nashville-based labels where he recorded some of his biggest career songs including, “Mr. Businessman,” “Everything Is Beautiful,” “Misty,” “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” and “The Streak.” With the recent grand opening of his West Nashville showroom, CabaRay, Stevens continues to make his mark on Music City.

Stevens, Lee, Seely and Folds received the 81st, 82nd, 83rd and 84th stars on the Walk of Fame. The four were recognized for their significant contributions to preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and for contributing to the world through song or other industry collaboration.

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Today’s highly interesting read (08/31/18): Why black people are warming to Trump

Campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Katrina Pierson writes in the Detroit News:

As a black, single mother who journeyed from struggle to success, I know what opportunity looks like.

My story is emblematic of the opportunities President Trump is offering the black community. He too knows what opportunity looks like and is working hard to ensure Americans from all walks of life can seize it.

Read her entire column here.

 

Today’s highly interesting read (08/30/18): How About Crime Victim Justice Reform?

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The Republican-controlled House has already approved a bill that offers federal inmates more opportunities to prepare for freedom and rewards them with more “good-time credit” for behaving and participating in education and training programs. The measure, called the First Step Act, would provide a faster path to release for almost all federal inmates, many of whom would see months shaved off their release dates immediately, thanks to changes that would apply retroactively.

But the Senate is a tougher sell. Prison reform advocates are aggressively lobbying Congress to act. But they don’t have much time. The Nov. 6 midterms are approaching.

Read his entire column here.

 

Support for school choice grows

The results of a new poll suggest that a majority of Americans now support the expansion of school choice for all families. The findings released on Tuesday by the policy and opinion magazine Education Next show 54 percent of respondents saying they favor universal-choice policies. That would indicate the idea has a substantial jump in popularity since last year, when 45 percent of respondents said they supported such proposals.