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Throughout my childhood, I had been exposed to music of all types. Both live and recorded. Some of my richest childhood memories involve music. My father was in corporate sales and was rewarded vacation trips to places like New Orleans, San Francisco, and Hawaii. We had a sailboat docked at Annapolis, Maryland. On weekends we sailed on the Chesapeake and returned to see live music at the King of France Tavern, home base for Charlie Byrd, reknowed bossa nova acoustic guitarist. We were regulars in the front row of tables, having great food and music. Washington, D.C. was nearby as well. When we traveled to New Orleans, we hit the French Quarter and did the same thing... front row seats to see the legendary Pete Fountain! It was the first and only time I had turtle soup. It was phenomenally delicious, but I don't want to kill turtles. I was 10 years old.

It was also a time of growing up in the Unitarian Church, where I was exposed to a lot of ethnic and traditional music and jazz. We also listened to public radio, the classical stations and a host of other radio venues. Christmas is my favorite time of year and one of the greatest memories of childhood Christmas was listening to classical and traditional Christmas music on the radio. I remember getting 33 rpm records, as well as, sitting next to the radio and tape player to record the songs I loved.

By the time I was in college to young, independant adulthood, I took up residence in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. I had a business partner, who was himself a remarkable electric guitarist, that turned me on to whole bodies of sonic creativity unbeknowest to me. I went to all the best clubs and performances in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. I was a regular at Yoshi's when it was in my neighborhood on Claremont Ave. Bonnie Raitt would be sitting at a table across the way as I heard McCoy Tyner perform on piano. We also had 24 hour jazz at KCSM radio. I could go on and on, but I don't want to go to OnAndOnAnon! While living in the beloved Sierra Nevada, we listened to KVMR, a community radio which played every kind of music available and they sponsor great music festivals! We still listen to them on-line in Hawaii, streaming from KVMR.org.

Today, I have two beautiful children of my own that I love dearly, and I expose them to all the things I love and value on a regular basis; art, music, language, outdoor education and experience, you name it. My first son, Forest, gained an early appreciation of music and took to jazz right off. By the age of two he was asking for the music of John Coltrane by name! He also loves Miles Davis, Gordon Lightfoot, Zuco 103 (from Brazil), The Beatles, Earth Wind & Fire among others - he's now 8! He can identify any musical instrument by ear and has benefited from a musical lifestyle.

The debate over which is better, recorded or live music, has gone on for a very long time. I don't think the argument is even worth getting into because each venue has its value. Live music has been around since humankind has been in existance. It is a form of community, a source of great enjoyment, and personal challenge, per skill and style development. There is an emotional and spiritual component to experiencing performed music, both for listener and performer. When a performer is doing well, the feedback from the audience increases the performer's confidence level. As the performance provides more excitement, the crowd goes wild. It is a back and forth thing, as well as, an upward spiral. I have experienced this many times, be it jazz, Indian Ragas, traditional music, whatever. On the other hand, many fine musicians have passed on.

With recorded music, the essence and quality of their work lives on indefinitely, beyond just stories of people who have been exposed to it, love it and miss it. Also, with the cost of living and entertainment, even a CD at $16 is a deal when you consider that you can play it over and over again, whereas, the same amount might be considered a reasonable admission price for one person.

So here for you is an extensive recording list of music I hold dear to my heart, across practically all genre of performance. I am not a music store, however, I have gone through the effort to create links to the appropriate places at Amazon.com, if you wish to purchase something that really turns you on. There are things out of print that may be difficult to find and some truly great material only available on vinyl. I send you off with prayers in hopes you can find them.


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