I’ve watched all the Ken Burns documentaries.  Some in part, others in their entirety-some of those multiple times.  “Jazz” belongs in the latter category.  It’s just stunning.  This 10 part series shows you the genesis of an American art form.

The common thread that runs through the series is the life, and influence of Louis Armstrong.  The mark that “Pops” left on the world is hard to fathom.  I’m not a religious person, but that man makes me believe that he was a gift to the world.

Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, it’s worth the watch.

If you’re a PBS subscriber it’s available on their app, iTunes and many other places where one can consume media.


4 little strings


I’ve always had an affinity for 1. collecting and 2. small things.  It’s no wonder that 4 years ago I bought a ukulele.  I couldn’t tell you why I bought my first.  I only know that after about a year I had another, and that’s when I really started to play.

The ukulele plays an important role in traditional American music.  Jug band and other traditional musicians were playing the ukulele long before Arthur Godfrey and Tiny Tim. Tin Pan Alley sheet music routinely had the chord diagrams listed for ukulele.  It was the peoples instrument.

Learning and playing music keeps a brain young.  The ukulele is the easiest stringed instrument I’ve ever played.  I think everyone would be happier if they played the ukulele.

A great cd I found features a man who played the uke in tent shows in the late 20’s.  Check out Papa Lemon (also available on iTunes).  My modern day inspirations come from James Hill, Lil Rev and Aaron Keim of Beansprout Musical Instruments.

Two of my prized possessions come from Mya-Moe Ukuleles.  Truly magnificent instruments.

Strum…..and Smile.