Welcome to the REBLOG!
|Roger Bissell, the Muse-Seeker
(Just as a blog is a web-log, so this REBLOG is
the web-log of REB, Roger E. Bissell)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
On the eve of Thanksgiving 2008, I thought I'd take a breath, reflect a
bit, and express my gratitude for the good things that have happened during the past month.
9:35 am pst
First, I had a
very nice trip to the Southeast in early November. It began auspiciously enough on Election Day with a flight to Nashville,
Tennessee, where I picked up a rental car and dropped in on my older daughter, Rebecca, and middle son, Andrew, and
grandchildren for a brief visit, then motored up to Lexington, Kentucky for a two-day visit with my oldest son, Charlie. He
and I watched election returns for a while, but as you all know it was over fairly early. The next day we knocked around for
a while and ended up playing nine games of pool. (That's how many games it took for my old "touch" to return.
It has been years since I played that much pool, and my embarrassing performance each time I play a game or two reflects it
all too well.)
On Nov. 6, I returned to Nashville, had another brief visit with older daughter, middle son, and
grandchildren, then dropped off the rental at the airport, where I flew to Charlotte, North Carolina to join the Side Street
Strutters Jazz Band for two days of pops concerts with the Charlotte Symphony. The concerts went very well, the crowd spontaneously
shouting during some of the rounds of applause on our Saturday concert. And the city was a vibrant, cosmopolitan, booming
place, with fabulous food. Ah, the blackened pork chops at Mert's--don't miss them, if you can!
9, I again returned to Nashville, picked up another rental, and proceeded to have three wonderful days of visits with older
daughter, middle son, and grandkids. (Youngest son was busy working double shifts the entire time. But see later...) Andrew
and I had fun recording a song I wrote based on his granddad's poem, "My Desire to Retire." Now all you curious readers out there can hear what I sound like trying to sing country music! Andrew did the
studio engineering as well as all the instrumental tracks except for a little non-descript piano plinking, which I did, along
with the vocal and all the "church choir" parts at the end. What a blast! (This was the first time I've
overdubbed multiple voice harmony parts since about 1978, when I did arranging and vocals for the Louis Brown Orchestra album,
"Big Band Bridge." Sadly, it has been out of distribution for many years. Sometime soon I will do an "In Memoriam"
for Louis and upload some tracks from the album at that time. )
I returned home to SoCal on Wed. Nov. 12, just
in time to meet up with the Strutters, who motored up to Oroville (north of Sacramento) for a community concert and an elementary
school "outreach" concert on the 13th. These both went quite well, too. After returning from Oroville, I met up
with Becky, and we drove up to Hollywood, where we rendezvoused with our college friend, Milo Schield and his wife, Cynthia.
They treated us to the Reason magazine 40th anniversary celebration, which included a gala (banquet etc.) on Friday evening
the 14th and a full day of panel discussions on Saturday. Milo again joined us for dinner Sunday evening at the Abbey in Orange,
a converted church which serves great steaks, trout almondine, and what have you. We discussed life in general, the future
under Pres. Obama, and a couple of projects that we will start working on in 2009 (one on logic, one on music).
the prodigal (youngest) son, Daniel, arrived on Thurs. Nov. 20 for 3 days in the area. He and a friend came to Disneyland
one day (seeing me in my Pearly Band glory!), did some recording in Long Beach another day, attended an improv theater in
Fullerton one evening, and came over for a family dinner one other evening. He is planning a return visit in May, and is seriously
considering moving here next summer to pursue his career in acting, voice-overs, improv, etc., possibly even applying for
employment in the character department at Disneyland.
Tomorrow we will be having a family dinner after I get off
work. Becky and her daughters, Desi and Rissi, and our daughter Rachel will collaborate on making a turkey dinner "with
all the fixin's", which I will gratefully help to demolish, along with Rissi's guy Thomas and their little boy,
Auggie. A nice way to cap off a month very rich in quality time with family and friends--and to launch into another month
with more of the same on tap!
Thanks for letting me share.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
In Memoriam, October 2008
7:13 pm pdt
October 2008 will go down in my memory as one of the worst months of personal
loss I can remember. (The only one that compares is when I lost my Dad in September 1984.) I had hardly begun to process the
loss of my beloved trombone teacher, colleague, and friend, Rex Peer, when I found that my dear friend and ex-father-in-law,
Danny Dill, was near death. Several days ago, in the Biography sub-section of Histories & Mysteries, I compiled obituaries
and other material celebrating both of them. I have now moved that material to separate files which are linked from the Biography
On the positive side: two weeks ago, I had a very successful and enjoyable time in Sun Valley, Idaho, where
I played with the Side Street Strutters Jazz Band and sang with the All-Star Big Band for the radio broadcast. More recently,
I finished the second review draft of a long essay on the mind-body problem, which is tentatively slated for publication in
the Fall 2008 issue of Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
Also, just this past Tuesday, I composed a tune to
go with the poem written in 1998 by Danny Dill, and I will be recording it in two weeks in my son Andrew's recording studio
at his home in Nashville. If time remains between now and when I leave for the Southeast on November 4 (yes, I voted absentee!),
I will also finish my orchestration of Rex Peer's "Blue Trombone," a solo for trombone and piano which he wrote
back in 1966, and I will enlist Andrew's aid in getting it recorded, too. During that trip, I will also be playing with
the Strutters in a pops concert with the Charlotteville, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. I'll report on all this in
a month or so.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Roger Bissell, a Muse-Seeker
7:22 pm pdt
Dear Cyber-brothers and Sisters: Welcome to the Internet home of
the Muse-Seeker, which is dedicated to the pursuit of inspirations!
In the leading years of my seventh decade here on Mother Earth, I find that Father Time has blessed
me with more hobbies and interests than I know what to do with! Neither a polymath, nor a true Renaissance Man, I am probably
better described as a Muse-Seeker -- hence the title of my home page.
A Muse-Seeker is a person who follows his or her inspiration, wherever
it may lead, in search of discovery and enlightenment. Muse-Seeking is neither dedicated single-mindedness, nor crass whim-worship.
The Muse-Seeker is the spiritual equivalent of the Hunter-Gatherer. I track and pursue the hidden truth, the elusive data,
the unexpected pattern.
the sources of my inspiration, as you will see by clicking on the two major links on the left, are philosophy, music, psychology,
and genealogy. And although I'm a full-time working musician, happily married, and the father of five children (and four
grandchildren, at last count!), I have still managed to publish essays in each of these areas in journals, magazines, and
books, and I am busily working on more!
But I have not been just a wordsmith. I have also written numerous musical arrangements
and songs and taken part in numerous live and recorded performances of commercial and jazz music. I share here some of my
favorite song lyrics and poems, as well as a list of the record albums (some available at amazon.com), on which I have played
or had compositions recorded.
you may be interested in reading my essay that explains Muse-Seeking in the context of technical issues regarding
personality and temperament and their relation to ancient Greek mythology. If so, please click on this link:
A New Look at Keirsey's Temperaments
And if you find this essay interesting, you will find a number of
related essays linked from the Essays sub-page of the Words & Music section, as well as on a companion web site:
Happy reading and listening! And feel free to contact me at rebissell (at) aol (dot) com.
Roger Bissell, musician-writer