Thursday, November 27, 2003
Till next time... 'Mela
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
On this cold, cold rainy day,
My father passed away 15 years ago today.
John P. MacCarthy.
Things I remember about him:
His black curly hair
and hazel eyes.
He once spent an entire afternoon untangling fishing lines for me and my three sisters,
and he didn't lose his temper.
The way he taught me to ride a bike:
he just pushed me out in the highway-
I learned immediately.
The way he made games we were playing come alive
when he joined in...
His joy at playing the drums, and singing.
His stories about things that were our "secret".
The way he called New Year's Eve Amateur Night.
How we picked dandelion greens together.
How he took me and my three sisters to Niagara Falls.
How he took me and my three sisters to a strawberry farm near where he lived,
we ate so many that we picked hardly any...
His old black Plymouth sedan.
And his red sweater.
How he would love to cook.
The night he came to see me perform,
and sat in on the drums...
When my great grandfather Pietro from Italy
my father took my hand and said:
"Remember,there's nothing closer than family. "
His excitement at me bringing
his first male grandchild into the world.
He wasn't perfect.
But he was my dad,
and I loved him...
On this day,
I'd like to honor his memory.
Funny how love becomes a cold rainy day
Funny that rainy day is here...
-Here's That Rainy Day
Johnny Burke & James Van Heusen
Till next time... 'Mela
Monday, November 24, 2003
I know technology is a good thing,
but gee golly damn-
This is some unbelievable shit.
I read this in The New York Times today.
I hear the boopa boopa boopa boopa intro of Yager and Evans'
song, "In the year 2525"...
I'm surely not against moves to improve the human condition,
but in light of the fact that there are major
diseases in the world at present,
does it really seem necessary to invent software
to create "worldclass vocals"?
Welcome to VOCALOID INC.
It seems a bit of an insult to vocalists,
who take years to season their voice; honing personal experience,
and dedication to their craft-
Only to be reduced to a font?
Or even worse, a font that takes requests...
I saw this coming back in the 80's.
When karaoke machines replaced piano players in piano bars.
Drummers were replaced with rhythm machines.
Technology in music that eliminates human beings.
This is a sad, sad commentary...
Computer generated actresses,
Is anyone out there just a little bit concerned about
where this is all going?
In the year 5555
Your arms hanging limp at your sides.
Your legs got nothing to do.
Some machine doing that for you.
-Zager & Evans
In the year 2525
till next time... 'Mela
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Being a New York shoe gal living here in Tokyo
has been a heart-breaking experience.
For so long,
I would gaze longingly at the lovely shoes they offer for women here,
knowing full well they don’t carry larger sizes...
This knowledge didn’t seem to sink in completely,
and hope remained that I would discover
After all the hubbub made over Washington Ginza
I decided to check it out.
An exercise in futility.
Their shoes are lovely, yes,
but when you approach the area where the not-so-large
larger shoes are located,
the styles become dowdy, and sparse...
Another store I found in Shinjuku,
is called TEN.
I would give it a SIX.
The shoes are well crafted, and the prices reflect it-
Although it has been improving on it’s selection of larger sized
shoes & boots, for both men & women,
it is still so not there.
They also have a particularly annoying habit-
[ this place is advertised as a LARGE shoe store ]
They put up a gorgeous pair of designer shoes in the window,
only to find that that particular shoe is only in
“regular” shoe sizes.
The proverbial carrot on a string.
For years my only hope of finding cute shoes,
as opposed to the where's-the-oars-for-these-boats,
understatedly un-elegant shoes
being fobbed off with a straight face here,
has been to shop
in the USA.
While visiting Seattle, Washington,
I found the most glorious shoe store EVER...
John Fluevog shoes.
There I bought a pair of the most original looking shoes.
When I wear them in Tokyo,
it is such a thrill.
Not just because they are “my size”-
No- it's because they allow me to celebrate my size,
with originality and sass!
Hallelujiah John Fluevog!
I gave them my business card,
and recently received an email:
They are now ONLINE!
I don’t have to travel to Boston, Chicago,
Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco,
Seattle,Toronto;Canada, Vancouver; B.C., or even Melbourne; Australia!
I can go to my computer and browse:
Shoe-bie doobie doo...
Till next time, ‘Mela
Monday, November 17, 2003
An old friend of mine, and used-to-be fellow Tokyoite,
will be going on the air at
Kaulai Community Radio.
Click the logo to go to the broadcast online.
Lisa will be playing some happnin' vocal jazz, in general,
and she will feature a few cuts off my CD, "How About You?"
It will be streaming online from 6-8pm Monday, Hawaii time-
Or 1pm, Tuesday, TOKYO time...
Thursday, November 13, 2003
I'm thinkin' of Gwen Guthrie's song:
Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent-
you got to have a J O B
if you want to be with me.
I said no romance without finance...
And who could forget the "rebuttal" by Oran "Juice" Jones :
You just a squirrel lookin' for a nut
dis is my world,
Whenever someone asks:
"What's going on'?"
It makes me think of those
A Pavlovian response...
I got this perfume the other day...
7.5 ml of the House of Guerlain's
newest fragrance, "L'instant de Guerlain".
It is heavenly.
A mixture of vanilla, magnolia,
and crystalline amber.
It was a difficult choice.
I so love some of the others:
Jicky, Mitsouko, L'heure Bleue, Chamade,
Samsara, Le Jardin du Bagatelle, Nahema -
I went with something new...
I visited the House of Guerlain when I was in Paris.
It is the ultimate in subtle elegance.
The only parfum they make that I don't like is
I can't say it's because I dislike the fragrance,
it just makes me claustrophobic.
The Shinjuku Keio Department Store has recently
acquired all the Guerlain fragrances.
It used to be you could only find
such a collection at the Imperial Hotel
What a nice surprise to see all those lovely bottles,
lined up like delectable potions...
Tomorrow I will visit my B-3 Hammond organ player friend
It should be an interesting time.
Till next time... 'Mela
Monday, November 10, 2003
Greetings from my street ...
It's a drizzly wet day.
I'm now thinking of my neighbors,
out yesterday sweeping the fallen leaves away,
with an urgency of removing some form of unsightly trash.
These persimmon leaves are the most beautiful
shades of orange and crimson.
But in my neighbors' eyes,
once they hit the ground, man, it is over.
The scattered almond shaped patches covered the street
in front of my house,
making a lovely contrast to the asphalt surface.
Today's rain has brought a new batch of them down.
Let this beautiful melancholy last a bit longer-
Don't hurry along winter with your broom
Till next time... 'Mela
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Starbuck's medium de-caf mocha java with cream and sugar
with a coupla Danish pastries...
The midtown-Shinjuku smog
sits in the bleacher seats-
Me and my trumpet playin' friend
discuss the price of rice in Lower Mongolia,
dressed in black.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
My story today is bittersweet.
I am first saying thank you-
to a man who did so much for me here in Japan.
He opened a door of memories and experiences that I will never forget.
And also to say, goodbye...
George Kawaguchi passed away on Saturday, November 1, 2003.
TOKYO (Nov. 2) -- Renowned jazz drummer George Kawaguchi, known as the Japanese Art Blakey, died Saturday at a hospital in Tokyo, his family said Sunday. He was 76.
Kawaguchi, a native of Kyoto, died of a brain hemorrhage at 10:40 p.m., the family said, adding that he was taken to hospital after falling at his home in Tokyo on Friday.
Kawaguchi, whose real first name was Joji, began playing jazz in 1947 in U.S. camps in Japan. As his father was a saxophonist, Kawaguchi was familiar with a number of jazz repertories in his childhood.
In 1952, Kawaguchi formed the legendary quartet Big Four with players including pianist Hachidai Nakamura and led the Japanese jazz scene.
Kawaguchi also played with a number of famous international jazz players including the legendary Art Blakey, Branford Marsalis and Slide Hampton.
Pamela MacCarthy and George Kawaguchi
George Kawaguchi came to hear me perform
at one of the various live houses I was appearing in in the early 90's.
A little man with a twinkle in his eyes,
he had a laugh that made me feel welcome.
George took me on tour with him and his New Big Four +1 jazz combo,
and he showed me what classy was all about...
From one end of Japan to the other,
via planes, Shinkansen, (bullet train) & boats.
To tiny obscure places,
to the largest performance halls,
I played them with George.
He had a way of giving me space and respect,
as long as I took care of business.
He gave 150% on the bandstand.
He played with two bass drums, and when he played his drum solo's on "Caravan", "Night in Tunisia","Sing, Sing, Sing" ,"Take the A-Train",
or any one of his many numbers,
he came away wringing wet of sweat.
The audiences just loved him.
He gave his all, and the people gave back-
With return engagements, year after year,
extravagant dinners, flowers-
The bouquets I would take home!
I worked many Xmas shows with George.
All the shows, the laughs, the er... hangovers!
George wasn't a drinker,
he was a genki guy, who enjoyed his golf.
He always loved me to sing Autumn Leaves.
All the laughs I had with the New Big Four + 1 combo.
It featured: Hideo Ichikawa- piano, Seichi Nakamura- tenor sax, Hitoshi Okano- trumpet, Mizuhashi "Gon" Takahashi- bass.
I will never, ever forget George Kawaguchi.
I will miss you Georgie, when those Autumn leaves start to fall...
Till next time... 'Mela
Sunday, November 02, 2003
A new day.
I'm going to Daikanyama today to see a friend of mine's art exhibition.
Daniel Kelly's show JEEPERS CREEPERS
is at The Hillside Terrace.
2 days only, it will close today.
I opted out for last night's cocktail opening party...
I prefer to see his work in the natural light,
and perhaps an unfettered moment to say "hello" to Daniel.
His artwork is divine.
Go here to see some of his work
and learn more about him...
I'll report back later...