Friday, December 09, 2005

Great Jazz CD/My Friend Ed Hagan/No Clothes

(P1) Poetical

Attention Jazz Fans

When I recently asked one of the owners of The Last Record Store in Santa Rosa for his latest jazz tip, he didn't even hesitate, "Get Charlie Haden's new album with Carla Bley. It's beautiful." The CD titled Not In Our Name (Verve Records) features the dozen or so members of the reconstituted Liberation Music Orchestra which last recorded in 1968 as a response to the Vietnam War. But this is much much more than mere protest music (even though "the issues remain, and our opposition to the inhumane treatment of this universe remains (and) what is important is that we choose to express our concerns when the circumstances warrant it and our natural mode of expression is music.")

Most of all, it is great beautiful music put together in a coherent manner, one song leading to another. There are improvisations of patriotic songs. These begin in Pat Matheny's "This Is Not America" and continue into Carla Bley's haunting "Blue Anthem" and an fantastic "America The Beautiful Medley" ending with Ornette Coleman's "Skies of America." This is followed with a sort of redemption in "Amazing Grace," and that's only the "beginning" before other incredible pieces which fit organically including "Goin' Home" from "The Largo of the New World Symphony" by Dvorak; "Thoroughout" by Bill Frissell; and finally Samuel Barber's peaceful "Adagio."

The only-slightly-dissonant version of America the Beautiful leads into the four-song medley. And optimism also cooexists among the sadness with a lilting sax soaring, almost obliviously, above the murk below. It symbolizes the spirit of creative freedom which cannot be stifled. At least that's what I get. While I'm not going to attempt to summarize or review this entire work as it wanders through the fields of gospel, blues and other idioms, suffice to say, "I love this album!" It has been masterfully conceived, composed, and performed. My sole regret is that the busy holiday schedule precludes my going to see the orchestra perform at Yoshi's during their tour's stop in the Bay Area. Buy it! If you love jazz, you'll thank me.

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(P2) Philosophical

The Wit & Wisdom of My Friend Ed Hagan

(Note: In the Navy picture at left, Ed Hagan was still little more than a stem cell -EJC)

"Now here's the rub. I started out as a stem cell. Yes. ME! But I survived going on to be born and contribute to society...I didn't turn out too bad. Though I know a few people that would argue differently...that claim I am an 'Agent of Satan' because I am a non practicing Catholic. I'm sure there are Muslims that call me Infidel, Jews that call me Gentile and many eastern religions that simply refer to me as Unenlightened. What can I say? Given the way I live my life, it's a 50-50 chance I'll make it to Heaven. Maybe less because I haven't been to confession in a long time and don't plan to repent anything I've done up to now.

"So what the Hell am I saying about stem cells. Just this, it is we that are not giving the life of a stem cell a higher purpose. According to my religion, they are going to make it to Heaven. Eventually. Around the same time as the rest of us. But they won't have to make any Novenas or tithe the church. Too bad they won't have the gift of those and other experiences. You know, like hatred, poverty, hunger, pain, sorrow, distrust, war, taxes and the ultimate possibility of dying an agonizing death while feeling hopeless all the way to the end as others crouch around you saying you'll be rewarded in the next life when, deep down, you have your doubts given the way life really exists. All the things we have an opportunity to receive as we live day to day. Maybe being a stem cell isn't that bad. I really don't know the mind of God. I truly believe that to be a fact.

"So are we all sinning by not allowing every stem cell to have a higher purpose like cure someone else, take away diabetes, mend a spinal cord, recover from cancer or like Ronald Reagan live just a little bit longer and fight the hard fight against Alzheimer's?

"Is it a mortal sin to ignore the pleas and prayers of Billions of God fearing, God Loving individuals over the political whims of a few that would say God helps those who help themselves or rather Hey, I got mine! Getting yours is your problem. As long as to live and act like I think you should. Not the way I do but the way I say.

"We should be thinking of each stem cell as Native American and early humankind thought of all life sustaining gifts of God and pray thanking God we have a second chance to give that life a second chance at a higher purpose.

"If I were a stem cell I would thank you if you allowed me to do God’s work while I still lived and made a difference – How blessed my soul would be to achieve a higher purpose for being.

"Oh, by the way. My philosophy of life since its beginning is still this short:




It sure would be neat if the people that rule us thought like I do but that would take a miracle. Right God?

Ed Hagan

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(P3) Political

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Chiara Coletti said...

Ed Hagan is a cute little stem cell.

Ed Hagan said...

Oh Ed, one further thing. Do you want to guess the nickname for VF-74?
We were called the "BeDevilers". Isn't that a hoot!