Do you have many shoes? I don´t. In fact, shoes are a top item on my gotta-buy-sometime-very-soon list. I recently got two pairs back from repair, and it was such a relief! I say it a very practical, non-shoe fetishist way. I just happen to have a very limited number of choices and any item matters.

Maybe you are one of those “sneakers will do everywhere” kind of person. There are so many of you out there! I admit it: maybe a tiny part of me envies you, but I could never be part of the gang (same applies for the “jeans will do in any occasion” fandom). And then there’s also this particular group, whose skills I truly admire: people that actually feel comfortable in high heels.

You may not believe they exist, and I do not blame you for that. I also used to be skeptical about their existence, until I was warmly welcomed into the house of one of them. Long story short: I had a few stop-over days in Paris on my way to India, and this very nice couple of friends of my good friend M. welcomed me into their lovely place, and by welcome I mean a great dinner and subway tickets. Best hosts ever!

One night we went out and then I had my vision. Walking around Paris cobblestone streets, I realized my hostess was one of those heavenly creatures that rather seem to float, so graceful are their steps. Effortless Parisian elegance, materialized right in front of me.

Anyway, I know my limits and I do not plan to achieve this level of expertise, but after such a long time (ages, it seems) out of stage, and maybe slightly influenced by this series I am streaming, I thought it was the perfect time to practice walking in heels again. Just a little bit. For fun.

My first enthusiasm faded a bit when confronted to the bitter reality of a low-budget season, apparent temperatures of 50º C (!) in Rio, and the Omicron variant, all very good reasons to stay home. Nevertheless, my determination to go back into heels (go figure) was stronger. After cleaning them carefully, I put on my favourite pair and used my apartment as a catwalk, so to speak.

The first steps were not easy, but after a while I was doing the laundry on heels with no problem. A great song started on the playlist, and voilà! I was dancing on my living room and really enjoying it. In heels!

My tiny condo may not have the same magic appeal of the streets in Paris, but I guess as long as I keep moving, it´s all right.

Be seeing you!

G. F.

There is always a lot of expectation around New Year´s Eve. Basically, two main groups dispute endlessly the right thing to be done on this particular night: the ones who prefer to sleep over it and start the New Year fresh and renewed, and the ones who believe you´ve got to have some sort of ritual to assure an auspicious year to come.

As I mentioned before, in Brazil a New Year´s classic ritual is to dress in white. It is one of my favourite traditions, but I have many other personal ones. My mental personal retrospective. As the first dawn of the year approaches, I let my mind fly back to the same period, a year ago. No doubt we moved a few steps forward.

Need an example? The single fact of having a vaccine developed in such a short time is already a huge development for humanity. It should be a sign of hope for humanity, but then again, there is all the mess going on everywhere. Future generations will have problems trying to understand how could we be so brilliant and so dumb at the same time.

Nevertheless, it is hard to pretend that there is nothing going on and that we should live our lives “old normal” style. With protocols changing all the time, it is very hard to plan anything at all, from a single performance to a tour. Artists, booking agents, venue owners, regulars: everyone is frustrated. And tired. Everyone is really tired.

I wish I had a flawless plan for the year starting today. Something that I could share with you, some sort of “5 steps to get it done in 2022” list, but I don´t. There is a lot of uncertainty going on, that´s for sure. Do you know what is also for sure? We will make mistakes. A lot of them. Wanna know why? Because life is like a concert.

As I say to my musicians before going on stage, it doesn´t matter how many times we have rehearsed and prepared ourselves for the show. There will always be some surprise in the middle of the way.

You don´t have to look for the unexpected (you don´t need to), but when it comes, don´t fight it. Embrace it, adjust the route and move on.

Enjoy your New Year.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Corporations always win. The average individual, caught in the net of big companies, which will decide all aspects of their lives. From what you eat, to where you keep your money; from how you spend your leisure time to with whom you spend your pleasure time, there is always a corporation involved. Not even religious dates manage to escape the voracious radar of corporations and Christmas is no exception.

My story begins early in the month, on December 6th. On that day I bought online eighteen packages of Panettone to give as a present to family and friends. In Brazil, the Italian yeast-leavened bread, usually made with raisins, candied fruit peels, almonds, and a bit of brandy is a holiday traditional, and I was very happy for the good deal. With the delivery due to the fourteenth, what could go wrong? Well, quite a lot, as I would find out.

By the 10th it was clear to me that the package would not arrive on time. My account on the web store kept showing: “preparing your order” and the web chat was not a big help either. One day, I waited online for seven hours (I started in the 79th position on the line) just to be automatically disconnect, when the counter showed there were three people ahead of me. Pure evil? A total lack of organization? A mix of both?

I was not only very angry about not getting any kind of attention by the company, but also totally frustrated about the lack of my (already plaid) gifts. My sister came with a partial solution: a local super market had enough packages to replace my lost, by the same price. Great! The big corporations would not ruin my Holiday, although there was still the matter of the money to be solved.

On the 15th, since the delivered date had expired, I logged in again on my account on the web store and canceled the purchase. No need to tell you that, again, the company did not contact me. Little did I know, the plot twist was about to happen.

On the 20th the order arrived. Watching that huge box with all the packages laying on living room I felt confused. No sign from the company, no money back, double costs to me, double profits for them (if you consider the replacements bought at the supermarket). I simply did not know what to do, and hated the fact of being made “a hostage” by a big company.

I felt really angry and quite guilty for having such a feeling so close to Christmas. After all, no situation is so bad that it cannot be made worse by guilt. On the following day, I had a great idea, which turned the situation in my favor. A second plot twist: instead of trying to reach the company for a refund, I would simply donate the Panettones to the orphanage I usually help. Of course!

This way, it does not matter anymore, if the company will ever pay me back or, at least, answer one of the numerous e-mails I´ve sent. The packages had already paid themselves, so to speak. This time, the big corporation would not win, for a change.

The next day, the box with the Panettone packages was gone and there was a big empty space in my living room, but my heart was overflowing with pure joy. Since then, I feel ready for a Happy New Year.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

The satirical paper’s headline cut to the chase: “Person Who Bought Something He Really Needed on Black Friday Intrigues Scientists”. Of all the fashions recently imported from the USA, Black Friday is the one that most feeds the consumer monster that lives inside each one of us. First restricted to one day, in Brazil the concept was extended to the entire month of November, with special emphasis on the last Friday, when consumer tension levels reach their highest peaks.

Even if you managed to escape all the “super offers”, it is very likely that the personal item you really needed to buy anyway, ended up in your virtual shopping cart. And then, my friend, before you knew it, a thing or two that perhaps you might need someday have also found their way to it, you know, just to round up the bill (it would be a shame to miss the free shipping after all).

I think there are a lot of elements involved in this equation, and advertising handles them all very well. Greed, timing and, above all, willingness to take part in a collective movement certainly play an important role in this hugely successful formula, to the point that now even banks (!) have started announcing Black Friday deals. Unfortunately they didn’t include really useful things like a mortgage reduction for example, but so what? The important thing is to take part in this party, isn’t it?

Musicians tend to take advantage of the date announcing discounts on the price of their catalogs and merch, and I believe that if you do your homework well, there is a real possibility of extra earnings. And this is precisely my problem with taking advantage of the consumerist delusion for my own cause.

Every year, the last week of November comes too fast for me. I suspect it has to do with the shock of the realization that the end of the year is just around the corner, waiting for us and there is nothing we can do about it. Anyway, I understand you, dear reader, and I know that just like me, you appreciate doing things at your own pace. I also know that this year hasn’t been easy and you need a little help getting ready for 2022.

So, here is my kind of Black Friday, actually Cyber Monday deal: for thirty days you can use the coupon LASTCHANCE for an incredible 65% off on the price of The Touring Jazz Musician – A Guide to Jazz Festivals Worldwide.

The guide has a list of jazz fests that accept entries made directly by artists. It can be consulted by event date, name or country, and the best part is that you get all updated editions of The Touring Jazz Musician – A Guide to Jazz Festivals Worldwide for free!

If you are an independent jazz musician who knows the value of a tool that saves your time, you will not miss this opportunity. Click here to use your coupon.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Deadlines. How to deal with them? If you ever looked anxiously to the calendar every hour, counting the remaining days until that very important deadline, you know what I mean.

I understand deadlines are part of life in society and I am ready to deal with them. Quick and painless is my usual style, although sometimes I also play the long and suffering mode. Either way, I am not afraid of them. Why? Because I know that the real deal starts right after you have pressed that “send” button.

Waiting for the result of a project is not easy. You did your part, putting all your heart and soul in it (not to talk about a huge amount of time), you double checked all the boxes, uploaded all requested files and now what? You exercise your mental balance and self-control: you wait.

Plenty of songs, from different genres deal with the variety of feelings we experience while waiting for someone or for something. Probably a playlist, with your top ten themes has already started in your head, but what is the thing about waiting?

First of all, it is a word with a lot of meanings. From longing to someone to arrive, to hoping for something to happen, waiting has to do with accepting that there is a limit to our actions. Sometimes, the move is not ours and there is nothing we can do about it. Or is there?

My trick to deal with the torments of waiting is fulfilling it with a meaningful action, instead of simply killing time. It can be a simple thing, such as: taking a shower, doing the laundry, cooking or actively listening to music, whatever makes sense to you.

Once immersed in a new, engaging activity, your perception of time changes completely and the feeling of emptiness brought by the waiting is suddenly gone.

Be seeing you!

G. F.

How do you like to learn new things? I love it! At least, this is what I conclude every time I conquer the procrastination monster and start floating through the garden of delights, also known as: “things I did not know about, but now I do”. Learning is like exercising: if you do not like it, it is probably because you never gave yourself the chance. Actually, our body is programmed to like both.

Falling in love with the subject you are learning about and turning your interest into something that can be shared with others is the basic principle of research, and I am glad to remember this feeling while collect information for a new project in music.

Do you also sometimes wonder about how different your life would be, if you had taken a different step in the past? Sooner or later, we find ourselves at this point on the road, questioning some (maybe all) of our previous choices. No shame on that. Just try not to get lost on it, for it is a tricky road. It can easily lead you to nowhere, so whenever you find yourself in a “coulda, woulda, shoulda” situation, the best thing to do is to fight back using a good argument.

Here is mine: becoming a researcher was one of the most valuable and useful achievements in my life. Researching is learning and learning opens your mind. I could say it using a lot of fancy words, explaining how the process of discovering new things increases brain synapses in a way that learning the next thing is a little bit easier, and the process repeats itself every time you experience new situations. Every time you go outside your box, so to speak. Instead, let´s have it short and straight: learning new stuff makes you more intelligent.

A very intelligent man was born on this day, in 1898. He saw the twentieth century rising, overcame tremendous adversities on his childhood and teenage years and managed to build himself a solid reputation as a lawyer and briefly as a politician. He was an amazing guy and he happened to be my dad. I had him around for a short time, but somehow he has always been quite present in my life. His name was Oséas and I tell more about him here, if you are interested.

I would like to wish him a Happy Birthday and tell him how grateful and honored I am for having him as my father. I know he will get the message. Love always find a way.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

How do you like to get third part content, when you visit a website? I hate it, and that is why I don´t have the feature enabled on mine. “What about monetization?”, you might ask. Well, it is a concern, but I doubt that by annoying my dear visitors, I would make a considerable amount of money.

I am not saying it is not possible. It works for a lot of people, but it would probably not work for me. Trust is on the basis of the relationship between me and my audience and random third part content would feel like breaking this bond.

You might find my point hard to understand in those days, when sharing any kind of content on social media became the means of survival of many people around the world. Well, all I can say in my defence, before you consider me a total weirdo is that I am not against monetization per se. I am only uncomfortable with the idea of monetizing everything, all the time.

On the other hand, asking directly for help is no problem for me. I did it here already, remember? There are other ways for a music industry artist to generate income, still related to her/his musical universe. Merch, for instance. The idea of caring a piece of our favourite artist home is a gentle and practical way of expressing support (and getting a new mug, t-shirt, hoodie).

I would go even further and say that it is a step ahead of “just” listening to the music. It shows that you share the concept of the artist. I am not talking about personal values, but the artistic concept itself, which is something thin as air, but strong enough to connect us with a certain performer.

Hard to explain, but easy to understand, don´t you agree? Think about your favourite artists and you sure will.

Be seeing you!

G. F.

I was finally uploading my lyric videos (a long postponed chore), when the phone rang. It was my friend A.-M., what a nice surprise! Catching up after a long time, we joyfully jumped from one subject to another, and at a certain point of time, the recent political events in Brazil came to the conversation. Talking about politics with a friend? A fast road to disaster, right? Well, don´t judge us: even if you are not a newsaholic like myself, it is kind of impossible to ignore the disastrous governmental actions during the pandemic, since they interfere in our daily life.

A.-M. said she was kind of disappointed with some of her friends that turned out to be anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately not an usual complaint these (strange) days and even weirder here in Brazil, a country that has a vast and positive experience with vaccination. Implemented by our national health care system, immunization campaigns are usually well received by Brazilians. We trust vaccines and understand their importance in eradicating several diseases in the country. Most unfortunately, lately people seem to forget this long tradition, which used to make us Brazilians very proud. Strange days indeed.

To A.-M., I said that I do not have neither the time, nor the energy to deal with such situations. I am not saying it in a angry way, at all. I believe the word is: exhaustion. Therefore, I consciously decided to keep a safe distance from people who have problems understanding the basics about living in a society. Is it a lesson? Nope. A nugget of wisdom? Probably not. I would see it more as part of my moral principles. Or did they also turn cringe?

One more thing: today, according to the Catholic and Afro-Brazilian religion traditions, it is the day dedicated to the twin saints Cosme and Damian. Patron Saints of the children, in their honor on this day people distribute candies to kids. Now imagine you are a child, and once a year your family supports you on on the following agenda: 1. skipping school , 2. getting a bag to store candies, 3. meet your cousins and 4. run with them from door to door getting candies. Sounds like a dream? Welcome to my childhood. Viva São Cosme e São Damião!

Now tell me, how did you like my new page, exclusively for lyric videos? Suggestions most welcome!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

One of my very favourite albums of acclaimed Brazilian singer and composer Caetano Veloso is called Transa. Recorded in London, in 1971, during his exile due to the military dictatorship in Brazil, Transa was released in January on the following year.

The song It´s a long way was originally the first track on the B side of the vinyl, which used to be the place where you would find the “jewel of the crown”, and this one deserves all the honors. The lyrics are in English and in Portuguese, and they work both as a political and philosophical manifest. Its torturous refrain repeats:

It’s a long road
It’s a long road
It’s a long and winding road

It’s a long and winding road
It’s a long and winding road
It’s a long and winding, long and winding, long and winding, long and winding road
It’s a long road

It came to my mind when I read that events with the present audience are gradually coming back. I wonder how long and how winding will be your road back to normality.

Do you feel safe enough to return to all your former activities? Do you want to go back to them or are you planning a completely different post-pandemic life? Maybe you are going hybrid or maybe you will replace indefinitely some of your outdoor activities by online equivalents.

There are many possible combinations and each person will feel the comeback in a different way. I am sure that there are already plenty of people telling you what to do, but my suggestion (here we go…) would be: follow your own pace. You do not have to be as (un-)motivated as the person next door. For many reasons, each of us experienced the pandemic in a different way, therefore, everyone will have a different “starting point”. Many will need a gentle push here and there in order to keep walking and all of us can use some kindness, so follow the great Aretha Franklin and try a little tenderness, will you?

I wish you a safe return to this long and winding road.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

As the month begins, I wonder how you´ve been experiencing this year. I believe for many people life is going on, as it used to be. A few little changes here, a few masks there and that´s it. I don´t know if I should envy or pity those people. The year is coming to its final quarter and I still feel like living in an eternal 2020. Of all the nice years I had available in the catalog!

It can be really exhausting living the same year twice. My friend E. asked me, if I am ok. I didn´t dare to reply him yet. Just trying to spare him the bitter truth: the best word to describe me now is functional. Not ok, but still functional.

From time to time I get to escape my repetitive reality by watching old sitcoms. It is not the first time I mention this show here, I know, but anyway, it works for me, so I here I go again: in the first episode of the last season of I dream of Jeannie, the iconic character played by Barbara Eden explains to her “Master” the reason why she cannot blink away the enchantment she has put on a spinet piano: “It´s easy enough to put the music in, but once it´s in, well, it has to play its way out”.

I wonder if the show writer was a jazz fan paying a subtle tribute to Louis Armstrong, who once said: “Musicians don´t retire. They stop when there is no music in them.” Don´t you also love such quotes? They are very easy to understand with the heart, although very hard to explain using words. Just like the most important things in life, and hope is one of them.

Ok, I know it is not easy to be hopeful all the time, but let´s give it a chance today. Let´s give hope a chance in this brand new month. Sounds too much for you? Then try it only for five minutes. A hopeful thought, a day. A hopeful thought today. Shall we?

Now tell me: I would love to know your relationship to music, in other words, when do you listen to music? When you wake up? By the end of the day? All the time?

Be seeing you!

G. F.