Back On Schedule

      1. Basement - Supergood

School commences! After three months of reduced work commitments and one month of none whatsoever, I was obligated to report to Poly Prep Lower School at 9:00 am on Monday for orientation. Today was the introduction for the new Head of School at the upper campus, and after a few rocky years within the board and administration, it felt like a greatly needed fresh start for the faculty. Audrius Barzdukas delivered a passionate and inspiring speech on the nobility of teaching and moved an audience that has been bracing for this transition with deserved skepticism. Hopefully, as he put it, we can get back “to making the main thing, the main thing”. Teaching truly is a joyful and inspiring occupation, and our institution is filled with amazing faculty who love their work immensely and wonderful students and families who offer everything to the community. I am grateful to be a part of it and look forward to sharing music with kids next week.

But wow, just hanging out with my family is pretty much the greatest time I’ll ever spend. It has been quite a Summer, Miles’ first, and we enjoyed having him along on all our adventures. Ivy is an incredible sister, and we have what I would consider to be the most perfect family in human history!

 

Sweetness

Summer is accelerating quickly! We have been Capeside for our annual 4th of July family weekend, bigger and greater than ever with the two newest Taylors, Miles and Julian. We spent a weekend camping in Vermont, had some friends to The Land, and enjoyed some pool and beach time in Bellport. We are headed up to Lake George on Thursday for a reprise of last year’s raucous weekend with 20 of our closest friends, then a wedding and a week in Maine. And so soon, in a short paragraph, my Summer is complete.

But these few sentences don’t really do it justice. It has been a phenomenally deep and textured few months, and it is the details within these days that make it so incredibly rich. Taking Ivy to watch her first fireworks, assisting in the construction of a tree-house, playing our first multi-day festival with Land Band, and seeing Miles instantly love swimming are just a few of the moments that may have been brief, but will never be forgotten.

I was also excited to perform some Supergood improvisation for an audience for the first time, which was recorded and will live here for interneternity!

      1. Land 07.15.16 - Supergood

Brentrance and Brexit

I woke up this morning in my Brooklyn bed for the first time in 10 days. It was 4:00 am when Ivy rolled in, roaring to start her day before the sun rose (acknowledging it from our bedroom window – Look Dada! So beautiful! – when the sky began its awesome daily hue evolution), experiencing the easy side of jet lag and its 5 hour shift from the previous week and a half in England…

The impetus of the trip was cousin Piera’s wedding, which was an absolutely stunning camping party at a farm in Devon. While we were granted a room as a nod to our toddler/baby situation, the tent city that grew was impressive and the setting was divine. The ceremony involved a picnic with an all-guest grand waltz in a field by a lake and I was incredibly honored to be asked to play guitar and lead the crowd in a singalong of Barry Louis Polisar’s “All I Want Is You“. Everyone contributed to the food preparation as well as the set up and strike of wedding tent and all associated furniture and equipment for late night dance party in the barn. The wedded couple, Piera and Andy are phenomenal people dedicated to sharing their passion for Arts and Sciences and their event was creative, unique, collaborative and beautiful.

We tacked on a week in Sydling St. Nicholas, Dorset, with G and Grand, because they are two of the most supreme beings on this planet. At 93, they have their physical limitations, but they are wise and highly conscious. They love each other in the deepest way and spread it through 4 generations of family. They define divine perfection.

Brexit tension was building when we arrived and on Thursday, G and Grand trudged down to the village hall to cast their ballots. Obviously, they voted to Remain in the European Union, which they witnessed from its nascence, from the despair of bleakest war to the hope that intertwined cultures and economies would eliminate the ceaseless and senseless battles that have scarred the continent for millennia. At 10:00, the polls closed and they began counting the votes of whether to remain in or leave the EU. At about 5:00, Miles woke up and I will never forget the quick intake of breath that Alaina made when she read the New York Times notification that they had voted to leave. I felt sick with fear and loneliness, sadness for all of my family who will be directly affected by this and for the rest of the world, which will suffer as well. It was a loss with incalculable costs and for what? So a few politicians could jockey for power? Cheap fears and closed minds with no compassion for greater humanity led to this result. Many people may be thrilled by this breakup, but none of them could possibly explain what will actually happen to the country, the continent and the world because its implications are infinitely bigger than a binary in/out choice on a piece of paper. We will have to wait and see, but in 3 days the news has had fairly devastating economic impacts all over the world, with trillions of dollars vanishing from markets and portfolios.

Ultimately, it is inconsequential when considered against simple love, which we toasted many times last week, for P&A’s wedding, our 11th anniversary, and G and Grand’s 70th anniversary (Congratulations!). While I do spend a lot of time and energy focused on politics, it actually exists outside the realm of my real life and all that is truly important in my quotidian existence. They play games for power while I play for love.

Doing What I Love To Do

      1. Grownup

 

These Summer weekends are extraordinarily delightful! Friday night was a rare mommy & daddy date night, seeing a musical we have been anticipating for years, Anais Mitchell’s “Hadestown”, which delivered a powerful and haunting score to accompany the myth of Orpheus’ journey to the Underworld to save his love, Eurydice. Amazing performances and universal themes always make great art.

Saturday morning we headed out to Bellport for some high-quality R&R with family and friends. Farm strolling, pool swimming, sailing, beaching, BBQ, and civil discussions about politics and futurism are all excellent ways to while away my weekends and I look forward to more of that over the next three months!

Harmonica

      1. Finals2 - Supergood
      2. Finals - Supergood

 

I got five harmonicas recently and remembered what a fun and easy instrument it is. I learned the basics about 20 years ago with a Klutz book and tape (!), and have just rediscovered why I love it so much. Straight from the lungs and always in key makes it a powerful complement to any piece.

Summer ’16!

      1. Humidity - Supergood

Summer is here! Memorial Day weekend ushered in a period of less work and more play for me. Many of the hours I devoted to teaching from September-May will be spent with my family now and this past weekend was the kickoff, driving North to spend time with Maine Taylors, including my newest nephew, Julian, while taking in a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game, eating at The Honey Paw, playing on swingsets, jungle gyms and running through sprinklers. We stayed one night in Newton with my parents in my always comforting childhood home and one night with my sister in her beautiful new Brookline home. It was too short but deeply meaningful to spend any time at all with these people I love the most.

Bedtime

      1. Bedtime - Supergood

 

When it’s late but I just want to play.

Flow

Driving on the BQE with my family yesterday, I heard the end of a TED Radio hour on NPR and some quotes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which I found very intriguing. He is a psychologist who has written extensively on a concept he refers to as “Flow“; describing it as losing oneself in an activity through complete focus and intrinsic motivation. I found it fascinating because I know exactly what he means and I feel it regularly when I compose music. Whenever I am able to fully concentrate on creating music, I have no other cares or desires; it is everything in that moment. It is, itself, the reason I play and enjoy my time in that endeavor so immensely. I have always been aware of this ecstatic state and have always made every effort to cultivate it whenever possible. I realize that I feel it in other situations, too; sports and skiing, in particular, affords me fleeting moments of transcendence, teaching classes or lessons sometimes offers the challenge and effortless command of attention and skill that produce flow. I have felt it while traveling in exotic places and at many other points in my life, when a task or activity stimulates and motivates me to a sense of timeless joy. Being in Love, with my wife and children, when time is simply devoted to being in their presence, is probably the most profound and uplifting rapture I ever experience, and although it may not fit in the flow schema of high challenge/high skill, I am certain that it is related. All of these aspects of my life bring me great joy and are purely and intrinsically rewarding.

It was so wonderful to stumble upon this branch of psychology, and I subsequently watched the entire TED Talk and researched the concepts broadly; it has given me a context for how, what and why I devote so much of my time and energy to these passions. I discovered a great new word, “autotelic“, to describe these vitally important aspects of my life. I have a greater appreciation for these moments of joyful immersion, and I recognize how lucky I am to have these opportunities to experience Flow.

Indiana

      1. Indiana - Supergood

 

Trump is mean. He is a racist, sexist bully and he is now the Republican candidate for President. I have been horrified to watch his ascent and I am truly sad and scared that so many people in this country that I love support him. Please, America, don’t let fear and hate scare you into voting for this character. Make America Great Again? We are now and have always been so much greater than this disgusting persona.

Choose Compassion. Embrace Love. Be Good.

My Kind of Friday

      1. Fridad 2 - Supergood
      2. Dad Ninja 2 - Supergood

I love babysitting. Alaina is seeing The Crucible tonight, so I had the pleasure of putting the kids to bed by 8, then enjoying a quiet house for a few hours, spent making music and watching David Ortiz blast a Game-Winning HR against the Yankees. A perfect Friday night for the old man.

This is tonight’s production, which I truly loved creating.