In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories. This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects. However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.
I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work. At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.
There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta. It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.
Today, as I am preparing these pieces again, I feel very blessed to be surrounded not only with memories but with amazing artists and composers. Paul Pellay, Don Freund, Marshall Fine, John Bell, William Shumann, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, John Rutter, William Matthias, John Williams and the list is endless it seems.
Well, back to work now and finish my first book and on to the concert stage again. I have too much to share still and without the music in my life as a way to express myself and speak from my soul, I feel empty.
Have a great day!
Ah, the joys of New Orleans! I have to admit that I have an affinity for this cuisine as I was raised on the Mississippi River which connects North to South and runs through Memphis. Growing up, I had the best of the city and the country, a bit like in the movie “A River Runs Through It”. Couple that with a good John Grisham novel and there you have it. Court Square in Memphis was a nice relaxing place in the middle of downtown, close to Symphony Hall and right across from Goldsmiths which Is now Macy’s.
Times change, people grow and I have the memories. When I begin to prepare this dish, I think of Willie Mae, our maid, that raised me in Memphis, Beale Street and a nice laid back afternoon.
Continue reading Shrimp Ettouffee ala JK
This is a recipe I obtained from the Dietician that was employed by my family in Milan, Tennessee. It is always a hit and even Jody, that does not really like broccoli, really enjoys this one!
Continue reading My Special Broccoli Casserole
You don’t get much more into the soul food tradition than this! The oxtails used to be a throw away part of the animal but now are coming into prominence in good Southern Cuisine. I use fresh as possible and like sourcing from farm to table as I prefer to know where the foods I use come from.
5 pounds oxtails
10 pounds collard greens
10 pounds mustard greens
Three hot red peppers
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 gallon of water to begin with
Wash the greens well in salt water. It usually takes two to three washings to get the grit off. Trim the leaves from the stems by pulling them off. I keep the stems for other uses.
Put the water on to boil with the oxtails in the pot. Add bacon or country ham to taste. When boiling, add the rest of the ingredients and reduce to a simmer for about two hours. Be sure and check the pot to add more water when needed. I sometimes use homemade chicken or beef broth to add more flavor to the dish.
When done, put the greens and oxtails in a big serving bowl and I serve the pot liquor on the side. The pot liquor is full of the necessary stuff for my joint lubrication and to cut down on that old arthritis pain. Adding fresh turmeric to the cooking pot also increases the medicinal quality of this great dish! I recommend it highly.