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Edition #18 – Matt Geraghty answers 7 questions

1. Why are you a musician?

I am a musician by necessity, because I simply need music to heal and live. I really became a bassist in my adolescence by accident. When I was 16 years old playing sports, I suffered a tragic accident that caused me to lose my right eyesight. It was a traumatic and sad experience, but a friend — a teenager like me — invited me to join his band to play bass guitar. I can’t find words to describe how music helped me heal during that stage of my life. But since then the bass and I have been great companions.

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

My greatest inspiration will always be Marjorie Shea, my maternal grandmother, she was a very talented pianist and singer; loved for her renditions of Broadway tunes and the hits of the 30’s and 40s. She was the first who made me take classical piano training so absolutely my grandmother had a great influence on my musical education.

On the other hand, my influences have always depended on what moment I find myself. These past few weeks I have been deeply inspired by seeing these artists live and up close: Arooj Aftab, Marcus Miller, Joe Lovano, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, Brian Blade and Joshua Redman.

3. What is your practice routine?

I don’t have a routine exactly, but I make time every day to connect to my music and make sure I find new things to work on all the time. This means listening to new music, composing new ideas, shedding upright and electric, working on a variety of musical styles, playing by ear or just going out to see music. I see this as part of all of the same process of just trying to get better and stay on top of your game.

4. Why did you make this album?

The Sacred Leaf
By Afro-Andean Funk

I am a lover of traditional cultures. I’ve gotten very close to traditional artists and their stories, and maybe that’s also been a way for me to connect with some root that I felt I was missing as an American.

This album The Sacred Leaf was born out of our Just Play traveling music documentary series, the platform we created to bring visibility to these traditions and cultures of the African diaspora. In 2018 I traveled with my team to document the scene in Peru and invited different artists to be part of the album, one of them was Peruvian singer Araceli Poma, together we have formed AFRO-ANDEAN FUNK, to break some cultural barriers. We have embraced our cultures, our shared passion for global music and that is how our band was born.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album? 

I think the biggest obstacle is always your mind, which sometimes fills us with doubts. But if we can handle our mind we can handle the rest.

Being an independent artist is a great challenge too, this career is for the brave. It requires a lot of patience, perseverance and love for what we do.

And it is precisely with these last three things that I mention that I have overcome this challenge.

6. Who is featured on the album?

I am privileged to have created the music for our album with Araceli Poma, an outstanding Peruvian singer, representative of Afro and Andean culture. It has been a wonderful process of composing and performing our own music together. Together with Araceli, we lead Afro-Andean Funk.

The first person we called on was a virtuoso Argentine DJ, Grod Morel, who worked on the electronica aspects of the album. Some of my favorite artists were also part of this album, such as Neal Alger on electric guitar, Misha Tshiganov on piano, Shirazette Tinnin on drums, Fredy ‘Huevito’ Lobaton on Afro-Andean percussion and Fredy Gomez on the Charango.

Our special guest was singer and producer Manno Beats from Haiti. Crafting the lyrics on a couple of the compositions was Lara Bello from Spain.

7. Where may we find you online?

Edition #17 – Brian Harris answers 7 questions

1. Why are you an author?

I am actually a 1st-time author. My wife and kids encouraged me to write a book based on home improvement tasks I did around our old home for years that didn’t always go as planned. I was very fortunate to have my book published by the publishing giant Simon and Schuster in New York and as well by Simon and Schuster in Canada. I have finished writing my second book and am working on my third book presently.

2. Who are your literary inspirations?

To be honest, I really don’t have any literary inspirations that inspired me to write these books, just a crazy imagination I guess! Embarrassed as I am to admit it, this book is all based on true events!

3. What is your writing routine?

I write usually from 8am to 11am each morning. I started this routine when I retired to help me stay on track with my writing goals. It started with scribbles on note pads and evolved into a more thorough process for documenting different stories from my life. I find the structure goes a long way for a retired person, and I’m grateful that it led to really publishing a book. I started off as a songwriter and never thought I would publish a book so late in life, and I definitely didn’t expect to make the Canadian bestseller list!

4. Why did you write this book?

The Cheap Handyman
By B.S. Harris

My wife, kids and I were sitting around the dining room table in our new home reminiscing about our home in which we lived in for 30 years. Someone, out of the blue, brought up a project I did that was a disaster and then the flood gates open and countess mishaps were mentioned which led to the idea of writing a book, hence here we are.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in writing this book?

The biggest obstacle for me was sometimes not being able to finish each story in the fashion I wanted to. I would write a chapter then go back to it a few days later to make sure it was exactly as I wanted it to be. If not, I’d edit it and go back again later, make the necessary changes and so on until it was perfect in my mind. I always worked on three chapters at once in case I struggled with one particular chapter.

6. Who are the key points of this book?

This Old House meets #HomeImprovementFails in this collection of laugh-out-loud stories, perfect for fans of Nick Offerman, CarTalk, or The Red Green Show.

“This book is all the fix-it you need for your hurt home improvement ego.” —Harrison Scott Key, Thurber-prize winning author of The World’s Largest

Man Meet Brian Harris, a (mostly) retired, self-proclaimed jack of all trades with a penchant for DIY and inventive money-saving schemes. Armed with a soldering gun, his trusty nine-foot ladder, and of course the handyman’s secret weapon—duct tape—Brian’s projects start out as simple chores: trim a tree branch, stain the cedar siding on his home…but all too often they end in costly disaster.

Sometimes he’s trying to do the right thing, like the time he wrecked his pool while saving some baby ducks. Often, he channels his inner MacGyver: he once taped his hockey skate back together so he could finish his rec-league game, only to get suspended for falling on the referee when it broke (again). But usually he’s just being, well, cheap! Like the time he inadvertently destroyed a $295 car key fob because he wouldn’t pay the (outrageous) $10 fee to have the battery professionally replaced.

In The Cheap Handyman, Brian anthologizes his hard-won wisdom, teaching us how (not) to cut down a tree, what to do if a stray cat has kittens in your HVAC system, three very incorrect uses for duct tape, the manifold hazards of pool maintenance, and more.

Filled with unforgettable true stories from the everyday life of an average guy just trying to save a few bucks, The Cheap Handyman is a delightful tribute to anyone who has ever thought, “Sure! I can do that!”

7. Where may we find you online?

How Raj Khetarpal thrives with 2+ careers (HR consultant, Career Coach)

How Raj Khetarpal thrives with 2+ careers (HR consultant, Career Coach)

Meet Raj Khetarpal, a multi-careerist who is based in Melbourne, Australia. In 2017 Raj established a Coaching and an HR Consulting practice. We met via LinkedIn and share similar taste in music. Find Raj’s insights below on how he evolved into a portfolio careerist.

Raj’s past careers

  • Event Management
  • Tea Plantation & Production Manager
  • Hospitality Worker
  • Community Corrections Officer
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Human Resources Manager

Current careers

  • Career Coach, Recruitment & HR Consultant

On his motivations for many careers

From the very start of my career, I found myself in roles driven to help, support, and enable others. The various roles I have performed over the 3 decades of my work life have fulfilled and furthered that to a greater extent.

Some of the opportunities I took up during my journey were unplanned, and in hindsight, they enabled me and acted like stepping-stones.

Along the way, I was greatly assisted by not losing sight of my target, even if the role I had taken up seemed like a major deviation from the path I wanted to be on.

In 2017, I embarked on my consulting practice with a portfolio of work that inspires and motivates me. Do what I do well and enjoy, with people I like, and it has been a liberating experience.

Advice to aspiring multi-careerists

Start with thinking deeply regarding and arriving at your purpose. Throughout don’t lose sight of your goals and mission. Adopt a long-term horizon approach.

Above all, take it one at a time, so that your portfolio career does not resemble a large construction site.

Above all, make sure you leave room and energy for fun, friends, and family.

Overcoming Obstacles

Never give up! Overcome obstacles through grit, positivity, and perseverance. It is infectious!

Get good advice, ultimately trust your instinct, own your decisions and back yourself. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. That’s where the great learnings and lessons are waiting to be discovered.

On how careers are mutually beneficial

In my experience, each role prepared me for the next one I was taking on. No skill gained over the very diverse ever has gone unutilized. They are all useful and beneficial and have led me to have fulfilling experiences.

On balancing work & life

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
–Mark Twain

Something he wishes he had learned sooner

Paid more attention to the above Mark Twain quote. I knew about it for years, before I took the courage act on it and commenced on formulating and designing my Consulting practice.

Overcoming the stigma of multiple careers

Find like-minded and supportive people. They are out there. Endeavor to understand the naysayers. Ultimately, discover your inner voice. Trust and follow it.

Recommended learning

Get better at storytelling, focus on self-awareness, enable others, and practice gratitude.

Keep it simple. I am a visual-auditory learner; I particularly enjoy learning via Ted Talk’s.

Here are a few I find eternally inspirational:


Where to find Raj

***

Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author. Follow Kabir on LinkedInInstagramFacebookTwitterSpotifyYouTube.

Edition #16 – Rachelle Buchbinder answers 7 questions

1. Why are you an author?

I am a physician specializing in rheumatology (arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions) and a clinical epidemiologist, combining seeing patients with research. I love performing research and writing research papers (over 600 papers to date), as well as making the results understandable to the general public. The book Hippocrasy is the culmination of this work.

2. Who are your literary inspirations?

In the writing about medicine for a lay audience: Atul Gawande, Jerome Groopman, Irvin Yalom, Oliver Sacks, Siddhartha Mukherjee.

3. What is your writing routine?

Firstly some procrastination and then getting in the groove so that I am oblivious to what is happening around me; writing is my happy place. I wrote the book with Ian Harris, an orthopedic surgeon and also an academic and we each wrote drafts of sections and then swapped them. This part was lots of fun and also I learnt a lot too.

4. Why did you write this book?

Hippocrasy
By Rachelle Buchbinder and Ian Harris

Because a lot of health care is not improving health – not only is that sometimes harming the patient (up to 10% by some accounts), it is wasting valuable resources that could be better spent on people that need our care. It is also having a deleterious effect on the environment. Many doctors understand the problem but too few are doing anything about it and the public are generally oblivious to it. We wanted to raise awareness of too much medicine to a wide audience as one way of trying to address the problem. The book gives examples from across all fields of medicine of the problems of overmedicalisation, over diagnosis, over treatment and medicine as big business.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in writing this book?

The biggest obstacle was finding protected time to write the book as both of us are busy seeing patients, leading departments and doing research (not to mention family commitments). We were very fortunate to have been awarded a Rockefeller writing residency at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy for four weeks. We wrote the first draft of the book in that idyllic setting with views of Lake Como and the town of Bellagio below. Further iterations were written during summer vacations and weekends. A second obstacle was explaining difficult concepts for a lay audience without lots of medical jargon – we mainly do this through stories.

6. Who are the key points of this book?

We used the pledges of the Hippocratic Oath (1964 version) as the focus of each chapter. The key points are First, do no harm; the importance of understanding science and using evidence to make health care decisions; the harms of relying on opinion and personal experience; the over reliance on medicine for normal human conditions like sadness and ageing, birth and death; making diagnoses that don’t help the patient and often harms them; the distorted view of many doctors that they need to ‘do something’ when simple assurance and explanation and empathy may be the better option; and the problems with fee for service, big business and perverse incentives. Finally we offer some solutions.

7. Where may we find you online?

Edition #15 – Dario Acosta Teich answers 7 questions

1. Why are you a musician?

I grew up in a very musical home. My father is a musician and I started making music when I was very young. I don’t think I’ve ever decided to become a musician. It was a completely natural thing

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

My dad has always been my main inspiration and the rest changes constantly. Sometimes I get obsessed with a particular band or musician ad and I listen to their music a thousand times in a loop and I would move to something else. I’m very curious and I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration

3. What is your practice routine?

I try to practice every day at least for a few minutes. The day of the concert if I can I’ll practice for a couple hours. I don’t have a structured routine. I just pick up the guitar and start by improvising something until I either move to something specific I need to practice for a show or a session or I do some technique or compose a tune. The only rule is just make music

4. Why did you make this album?

Folklore
By Dario Acosta Teich

Since then minute I left Argentina I’ve felt a strong need to reconnect with my roots but without giving up my love for jazz. Fortunately, in New York I met the musicians I collaborate with, who also happen to be for Argentina and have that same feeling about Argentine traditions. The sound we created together was exactly what I was looking for. That’s why I decided that I decided to make a album that I can share with people from around the world and perhaps inspire someone.

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album? 

Coordinating rehearsals and scheduling the recording session with everyone was very difficult. The musicians I play with are super busy, when one is in town the other one is on tour. One everyone is in town there’s no availability in the studio I like… It was a challenge and I had to let go many things but we made it happen and I’m very happy with the results.

6. Who is featured on the album?

  • Dario Acosta Teich – Guitar, vocals, composition
  • Moto Fukushima – Bass
  • Franco Pinna – Drums
  • Leo Genovese – Piano and Rhodes
  • Julio Botti – Saxophone

7. Where may we find you online?

Edition #14 – Javier Perez answers 7 questions

1. Why are you a musician?

I love to create new things, I like to share my ideas, my thoughts, and I have found in music the medium to express my self and share it with the world.

2. Who are your musical inspirations?

My musical inspirations are Thad Jones, Miguel Zenón, and Astor Piazzolla.

3. What is your practice routine?

I try to practice every day, sometimes I try to balance my practice time between composing/writing and my guitar.

4. Why did you make this album?

Big Band, Vol. 2
Carrera Quinta

Every time we are living different experiences that bring us ideas, inspiration to create new music and as musicians we like to share, from our music, how we see the world, and the things and situations that surround us, this album compiles almost 4 years of these experiences, and we like to share it with everyone!

5. What were the biggest obstacles in making this album? 

Making a Big Band album is really challenging, putting together a team of almost 27 people is not easy, also getting the resources to produce it; we organized really carefully each detail of the whole process, organizing everything knowing the strengths of each one of the team members, that’s our key to overcome the obstacles.

6. Who is featured on the album?

The jazz scene here in Colombia has grown significantly in the last decade, and we had the opportunity to record with a select group of musicians that are part of it, most of them are featured in our 2016 album.

7. Where may we find you online?

Samba Jazz Odyssey

Samba Jazz Odyssey
By Hendrik Meurkens & The WDR Big Band

Liner Notes
By Kabir Sehgal

Maestro Hendrik Meurkens isn’t just an acclaimed artist, whom we have all come to admire. He’s a man brimming with incandescent ideas which manifest into musical gold. What makes Meurkens so special is the singularity of his sound. A German-born, New York-based harmonica player who performs Latin Jazz. If there is a Venn diagram of these attributes, he would be one of the few in the middle. That he has carved such a niche over a storied career should put this album under a special light. Samba Jazz Odyssey is an adventure with seven pieces composed by Meurkens, which were undoubtedly informed by his trailblazing musical journeys around the world. The maestro pairs with the august WDR Big Band, from Cologne, Germany, with arrangements which were also conducted by Michael Philip Mossman, a Grammy-nominated arranger. “This project is very special to me,” said Meurkens. “It is everybody’s dream to record with the WDR Big Band, and I was honored to collaborate with them.” The resulting production is a vivid voyage through samba jazz in its many forms.

A Night in Jakarta isn’t just a get-up samba with feel good effect. It exemplifies the theme of this project, a veritable tour of samba jazz, which begins in the South Pacific. Meurkens wrote the piece as an honorific for the Java Jazz Festival organizers based in Jakarta. He and his Samba Jazz Quartet have played at this well-regarded festival many times. Meurkens has fond memories, particularly of the late-night jam sessions at the hotel. Paul Heller (tenor saxophone) and Raphael Klemm (trombone) deliver dazzling solos to get this album going.

Meurkens first recorded Manhattan Samba on his album Poema Brasileiro (Concord, 1996). It’s a tune of many layers, runs, and hits. The band plays as one, navigating the sections with aplomb. Pascal Bartoszak (flute) offers an uplifting and thoughtful solo. Meurkens’ harmonica solo is beautiful and buoyant, bright and bluesy. The maestro is at home at this piece because well…he’s at home. After all, he’s a New Yorker. And this piece is a musical dedication to the vibrant samba jazz scene in New York, as many terrific Brazilian artists live in the Big Apple.

Next stop, central Europe. Prague in March is one of Meurkens’ veritable hits, as many accomplished artists have recorded it over the years, including Claudio Roditi, the Brazilian trumpeter. This particular arrangement is by Carlos Franzetti for a project on which he and Meurkens collaborated. In fact, Meurkens wrote this masterpiece before he immigrated to the US, just one year after the Berlin Wall fell. The namesake of the song, Prague, is also its inspiration. Meurkens was fascinated with this beautiful city, and on this rendition, check out Ludwig Nuss’ refined trombone solo.

Sambatropolis is another of Meurkens’ popular compositions, recorded previously with English and Portuguese lyrics. It’s a terrific ode to the samba jazz scene of New York. The back-and-forth trades between Meurkens and Johan Hörlén (alto saxophone) are pure delight. This juxtaposition of virtuosity may spark memories or engender one to imagine the music geniuses found at many New York jazz clubs.

On Mountain Drive, we find ourselves somewhere in the American West, driving amid the Rocky Mountains. Meurkens named his piece after a car ride from Denver to Aspen. The natural beauty of the jagged mountains and greenery enveloped Meurkens’ mind. For this particular rendition, Andi Haderer (trumpet) goes to work with a terrific solo. “I love the groove that Mossman found for the band. He added a totally new perspective with his arrangement,” reflects Meurkens.

Beginning with pulsing drum hits, You Again is Mossman’s composition, and it unfolds with a steady groove and blooming harmonies. The band is put through the paces, and it’s clearly up to the task as the full sonic and dynamic range is on display. Meurkens contributes an epic harmonica solo that demonstrates his effortless mastery. Joining him with remarkable solos: Jens Neufang (baritone sax), Andy Hunter (trombone), Mattis Cederberg (bass trombone), Hans Dekker (drums), Paul Shigihara (guitar), and Rob Bruynen (trumpet). This piece is a jam session.

Meurkens wrote Bolero Para Paquito for Paquito D’Rivera, the legendary jazz saxophonist and clarinetist. “Paquito remains one of my main inspirations in Latin Jazz, and he has so much positive energy,” said Meurkens. In fact, Paquito recorded the piece, too. And this particular arrangement by Franzetti is a thoughtful and well-placed work. One highlight is indeed Billy Test’s piano solo.

The premiere recording of Samba Tonto is a high point of this album. A samba in seven with a bridge that undulates between 2/4 and 3/8 could make your head spin. But the move among meters is handled gracefully, with colorful woodwinds and lush harmonies. Paul Shigihara (guitar) adds his stamp with a modern and soulful solo. The album ends with Choro, the well-known piece composed by A.C. Jobim. But you’ve never heard it like this before. Mossman’s cinematic arrangement frames the number in a special manner, giving space for solos by Billy Test (piano), Ludwig Nuss (trombone), Ruud Breuls (trumpet), and Meurkens (harmonica).

Jazz Samba Odyssey exemplifies basic addition. One plus one equals two. But the combination of Meurkens, Mossman, and the WDR Big Band have given us something ever more. This album is a calculus of creativity, a diagram of distinction, and a watershed work for the jazz and samba communities. It has been a distinct honor for Doug Davis, Matthew Mayer, and I to help produce this album for maestro Meurkens and the entire group. The project has indeed been an odyssey – into the music, from the heart, and out of this world.