Mapping Happenings

A Sort-of Music Oriented Blog


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Welcome to my blog!

After years of visiting and reading blogs, I have finally decided to do one of my own. Thanks for stopping by! Here I plan to describe what I am listening to, live music events I attend, and my thoughts about various artists of the present and past, as well as my thoughts on about anything else I want to share; most everything will tie back to music in some way or another. But let me first start out telling a little about myself.

Who am I?

First, I am not a professional musician. I have friends who are. I am not a music instructor. But like so many, music has always been a big part of my personal life. I played B flat clarinet in high school. Learned guitar as a teenager and took lessons for 2 years from a prominent jazz guitarist in Washington, PA - Anthony (Tony) Janflone, Sr. During the time I was taking lessons Tony's band Marshmellow Steamshovel folded and he formed the Super Blues Band with George & Bill Heid. Later, Tony was part of the Gene Ludwig combo and recorded a CD with them in 1998, "Back on the Track". Great album. I had heard somewhere, unconfirmed, that Tony's instructor was Joe Negri, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame (Handyman Negri). I also had heard that Negri was George Benson's instructor, and also taught Ralph Patt, the inventor of major-thirds tuning. One thing is for certain; Tony and George Benson jammed together in the early to mid '60s. I have Negri's "Afternoon in Rio" CD from 1998, and it is well worth tracking down. Tony's son, Tony Janflone, Jr. is an exceptional blues/rock guitarist and is quite popular in the Pittsburgh & Tri-State area, as well as gaining international recognition. He has several CDs out, going back to the 90s. His "Live at the Blues Café" CD is my favorite.

I played in a band locally in my late teens and early 20s (1970-1972). There were several personnel and name changes with the drummer and I being the only constants. But college studies took priority and all of us in the band sort of faded away from performing. I sold my electric guitar and amp in the early 80s. I still have my acoustic, and play at home occasionally. My clarinet was lost in the move to California in 1999 but I had not played it in years. I was in a male Gospel vocal quartet for awhile in the late 80s, as well as doing community theater from '78 through '85, including musicals. That's the extent of my music performance experiences.

My parents were proficient in playing the phonograph, radio, and television but unfortunately no musical instruments. My older brothers played clarinet and trombone in high school. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and were fans of big band swing, as well as Dixieland music. My clarinetist brother turned me on to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" when I was five (1958). My sister was a big fan of Bobby Rydell, Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian when I was in grade school so I heard their music a lot. We only had a 45 rpm player until I was 13 (1966), at which time we obtained a phonograph that played LPs. However we had a stereo reel-to-reel beginning in 1963. My parents made the transition from big band to Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass & Percy Faith in the mid '60s. I didn't really have a musical identity independent of my folks (except for classical music, as I was exposed to it in school) until my freshman year in high school. That's when things changed.

Mission 5, Part 2: We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

On The Delightful Starfish

I continue learning to use the manual settings on my camera. I spent 10 minutes each day this week completely focused on nothing but photography. Often more than 10 minutes. I also turned my thoughts back to childhood, remembering all the times I spent watching my Dad use his camera and darkroom. I felt this might inspire me and offer my childlike fears some comfort, as you suggested, Leo.

As I've said, my father was a photographer for the United States Navy for over 20 years. After he retired from the Navy, I put all of his old black and white negatives in a storage box and placed them in the attic. That was 30 years ago. About five years ago, I pulled the box down from the attic.

Since that time, I have procrastinated sorting them all out because I knew it would require one or two full days of tedious work. This week, I finally sorted them. I spent all day Tuesday viewing the negatives over a light box and sorting them. It was like opening a time capsule.

Many of the negatives were official Navy photos such as ceremonial portraits and guided missile computer systems. Dad was also required to photograph tragedies like suicides and over-doses. I found several of those. An entire set was from the time he spent in photo school. I noticed that my father had a wonderful, artistic eye. Dad's work inspires me and helps subside my fears. He, too, had his time of fear and learning.

There were also tons of photos of me and my brother, as children. I’ve included one of those in this journal entry, below. This work helped get me in the mindset of comforting my childlike fears.

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