Monday, March 28, 2011

Meshell Ndegeocello - The Womb / The Way

Meshell Ndegeocello - from the album Peace Beyond Passion

Me'Shell Ndegéocello – Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Arranger, Multi Instruments, Drum Programming (See full personnel at Wikipedia)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Demi Lovato - Remember December

Memorable track by the young, authentic singer-songwriter-musician. Song written by Demi Lovato, Anne Preven, John Fields

Winter 2011 Round-Up

Japanese Women and Girl In Western-style Clothes, Hats And Shoes by Toyohara Chikanobu (1838 – 1912, Japanese), image from I am a Child (children in art history)

After I flew to Kobe to sing at a benefit concert in the aftermath of the terrible 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake, I never imagined there would be such a tragedy of this magnitude devastating Japan again. The beautiful, economically developed city of Kobe was destroyed in mid-January; then, too, the suddenly displaced homeless were made to suffer in cold, difficult conditions on top of suffering so much personal loss.

Although I'm not much in the mood for wearing and sampling perfume this week with the sadness in Japan and everything that's going on, I wanted to fill you in on my scented life before tastes change again come spring. I'm not planning a hiatus but should I feel like going on one, I don't want to leave without making a final round-up Top 10 list for Winter 2011. Chances are, I'll be right here, just as I've been all along, posting glimpses into my psyche with each post, as irreverent and downright ridiculous as most of my postings are. Hopefully, my readers understand I'm here to have fun, to occasionally share news and info I find pertinent, and let you in on the trends that come my way in various forms. I'm grateful to my readers, my friends with common interests on the world wide web. Thank you for all you're doing to send prayers and support to those in need right now.

White florals, particularly tuberose, is making a big comeback with me, as seen through my current obsession with Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her. This is a creamy, delicious tuberose accompanied by jasmine and vanilla. Somewhere in the mix, I seem to smell a toffee or caramel note, which is just swell, never a let down with me. I love Werther's candies as much as I love those Japanese Flower's Kiss candies that taste like peaches and cream.

I'm so into tuberose, I have Kim Kardashian and Michael Kors Very Hollywood on my list of fragrances to sample. Did you chuckle? I hope so. When I do try them, and if I end up smitten again, I'll let you know.

Most of all, my past month or so can be summarized by my love for Cartier L'Heure Mystérieuse, which, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you already know I dream of calling a bottle of it my own someday. In the meantime, I hope someone (maybe you) will know the pleasure of giving Cartier L'Heure Mystérieuse (or perhaps one of the other Cartier Les Heures de Parfum fragrances) a loving and attentive home.

I had a brief encounter with By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses, a juicy, saucy, potent plum fragrance. I've seen it classified as a Fruity Chypre, but all I get in the dry down is a creamy, almost buttery accord and White Musk; is this not a Fruity Floral? I get tons of compliments on it, and I do enjoy this plum combined with a full heart of rose, but plum and I are on an on-again, off-again status. I've never cared for plum wine, either. If I drink at all, ume crushed in hot water and shochu is more my speed. But hey, this is a great fruity scent by the Hennessy dude (I mean, heir), so check it out.

Gucci Guilty stole my heart. Fred is so wonderful for going to Sephora to ask for a sample for me. Sephora, we love you. This perfume is on my wish list, and I don't care that it smells kind of like Vera Wang Princess.

I can't forget to mention Xerjoff, in particular Bouquet Ideale and Verona, two fragrances from an exciting new fragrance house I'm sure I will revisit soon.

Top 10
1. Cartier L'Heure Mystérieuse
2. Bond No.9 Saks for Her
3. Gucci Guilty
4. By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses
5. Xerjoff Bouquet Ideale
6. Creed Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie
7. Xerjoff Verona
8. Caron Narcisse Noir
9. Burberry Sport
10. Chanel Chance

Please visit Yoko Ono: Message to Japanese people affected by the Sendai Quake & Tsunami *UPDATED LINKS*, where Yoko Ono has complied a list of many helpful links relating to this catastrophe.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Georgia O'Keeffe

Radiator Building, Night, New York , 1927 Georgia O'Keeffe - Skyscrapers and Cityscapes

"It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colours put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint." Georgia O'Keeffe on Wikiquote

"I hate flowers — I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move!" Quoted in Laurie Lisle, Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe (1981), p. 180

Georgia O'Keeffe on Wikipedia

Related link: Georgia O'Keeffe - Pink Manhattan, March 29, 2006

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Toshiko Akiyoshi: The Subject is Jazz (1958) "3rd Movement" / "Lady Liberty"

Toshiko Akiyoshi performs her own composition, "3rd Movement"

Uploaded by byrd4026
The Subject is Jazz, 1958
Toshiko Akiyoshi(p)
Eddie Safranski(b)
Ed Thigpen(ds)

"Lady Liberty" composed and arranged by Toshiko Akiyoshi, from the album Wishing Peace (1986)

"Wishing Peace is the second recording released by the New York based Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin after 13 previous releases with their Los Angeles-based Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band. "Lady Liberty", "Wishing Peace" and "Uptown Stroll" form the three part "Liberty Suite" written on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty." (Wikipedia)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My prayers for the people, and thoughts on the Japan Tsunami and Earthquake catastrophe

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund
Many are in dire need of essentials such as water, food and supplies.
To donate, please visit

In the face of the most horrendous disaster Japan has faced since the end of WWII, I have seen people from around the world band together to support Japan in kindness and solidarity, and it restores my faith in humanity. I'd like to express my deepest sympathy to those who have lost their dearest loved ones to this disaster, send prayers to those who are still searching for loved ones, that their loved ones are safe, and extend my personal gratitude to those who have reached out to me in the last 3 days. Although my family is here in the States, I have a number of relatives, and many friends, in Tokyo. The city of Sendai where the tsunami had destroyed and taken lives, is home to people I know. Although we are still watchful of the situation regarding the failing nuclear reactors, an imminent threat just a few miles north of Tokyo, I am praying that further destruction will be thwarted, and that, with the support of compassionate people around the world, Japan will rebuild once more. My thoughts are with all who are affected by this unimaginable catastrophe. I also need to make this point, that the reason I have harped on and on about how dangerous nuclear energy would be for the U.S. is because I hope we never have to find out what the people in Japan are going through right now.

Second Blast Rocks Japanese Nuclear Powerplant
Explosion at Fukushima plant occurred mid-morning Monday
- by Martyn Williams | Tokyo March 13, 2011 VOA News

TNR: "The explosion at the Number One Fukushima Plant—which helps supply Tokyo with power—has led to a slew of conflicting stories and accounts. While the earthquake itself has brought out much of the best of Japan—the solidarity, the self-control, the millions of people doing what they need to do without being told and without bellyaching; not to mention the tens of thousands of buildings that survived intact thanks to meticulous work by construction companies and maintenance engineers—the ongoing drama at the plants suggests some of the worst: unaccountable, self-satisfied bureaucracies dismissing their critics and discounting the possibilities of “black swans.” Anti-nuclear activists had warned for decades of precisely what happened—an earthquake of off-the-chart magnitude leading to critical failure of the cooling systems—but were brushed off as amateurs who lacked the credentials and standing for their fears to be taken seriously. One is reminded of nothing so much as the pre-Lehman bankruptcy attitudes of the Wall Street quants who led the economy into disaster by failing to build into their models the possibility of simultaneous meltdowns of global credit markets." Tokyo Dispatch: Skyscrapers, Earthquake Science, and the Odds of Another Disaster by R. Taggart Murphy - The New Republic, March 13, 2011

FUKUSHIMA, Japan, March 12 (Reuters) - "An explosion blew the roof off an unstable reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday, Japanese media said, raising fears of a disastrous meltdown at a nuclear plant damaged in the massive earthquake that hit Japan. The 8.9-magnitude earthquake -- the strongest ever recorded in Japan -- sent a 10-metre tsunami ripping through towns and cities across the northeast coast. Japanese media estimate that at least 1,300 people were killed. Jiji news agency said there had been an explosion at the stricken 40-year-old Daichi 1 reactor and TV footage showed vapour rising from the plant, which lies 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. The blast came as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) worked desperately to reduce pressures in the core of the reactor that -- if not contained - could lead to a release of radiation into the atmosphere." Read on: WRAPUP 11-Explosion at Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant - media - by Chris Meyers and Kim Kyung-hoon, Reuters Mar 12, 2011

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras! Celebrating Women in Music: Sarah Vaughan

Uploaded by 4theLOVEofVINYL on You Tube

"My Reverie" - The Columbia Years (1949-1953)

Click here to listen to "Easy Street" uploaded by TheReturnOfStephan1 on You Tube

Sarah Vaughan (vocals); Teddy Edwards (tenor saxophone); Carmell Jones (trumpet); Ernie Freeman (organ); Milt Turner (drums)

Uploaded by thejazzsingers

Sarah Vaughan sings and accompanies herself on piano - "Once in a While" in concert

Happy Mardi Gras and International Women's Day centenary 2011! Our Pink Manhattan celebration of Women in Music continues during Women's History Month.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Fragrance of the Moment

The newest 2011 launch by Cartier was composed by in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, the illustrious nose who had created my current favorite fragrance, Cartier Les Heures de Parfum L'Heure Mystérieuse. She's a great, versatile perfumer, able to create beauty in a myriad of styles, but all with her elegant, nuanced, luxurious signature. If you're a clean Floral lover, this is an extremely lovely and light, translucent-yet-creamy skin scent-type Floral, along the lines of Bvlgari pour Femme but sweeter, more citrusy (or, more precisely, like lemon tea) and for me, more wearable (but if you love classic violets with your roses, go for the Bvlgari).

Actually, the resemblance in style to Bvlgari pour Femme was an afterthought; my initial reaction to it was that it reminded me of numerous fragrances with names that often escape me, but they all have the same new synthetic soapy-citrusy high-pitched floral note. I think I've smelled it in Thierry Mugler Cologne, Narciso Rodriguez Essence, a pleasant Japanese Cherry Blossom scrub I once bought from a niche boutique - I might describe this note as somewhat green and maybe salty (?), a new type of aldehyde to use in a nouveau Aldehydic Floral blend (the soapy, creamy ones that smell sort of like Nivea skin cream, only without oakmoss) like Essence, or as more of a pronounced soliflore as in TM Cologne. I think Sarah Jessica Parker Covet and one (or some) of the Issey Miyake scents contained this note as well. Cartier de Lune incorporates this note but it is not at all a soapy scent nor retro-smelling powdery Aldehydic Floral, and it doesn't register as being very Green, even if notes such as honeysuckle and muguet suggest it could be classified as such. It's a subtly green and fresh, rose-hearted Woody Floral, which, now that I think of it, might resemble Zirh Ikon even more so than Bvlgari pour Femme. Fresh Mukki and Penhaligon's Castile also come to mind, but Cartier de Lune is softer, rounder, less sharp and soapy, a closet romantic with the most floralcy of them all. De Lune ends on a light skin musk note, reminiscent of Marc Jacobs but in a more subtle way.

I love the soft yet fresh opening of this scent, but the dry down is also wonderful, a sweet, sunkissed honeyed rose, dewy and luminous, in full bloom but controlled in sillage and absolutely poised, excellent for the office or any important daytime meeting. As far as truly professional scents go, there are two that I'd recommend for you to try the next time you swing by a department store or a Sephora: Chanel Chance (the classiest patchouli-based nouveau Floral Chypre in existence) and Cartier de Lune, an ultra-sophisticated yet functional, clean Floral. Chance is the sweeter (fruity), more aqueous of the two, but you can't go wrong with either one. My only caveat is that de Lune is so dutifully well-mannered that it can bore me after a while. I hesitate to commit to a full bottle, although it smells like something I should own, like a career ensemble, but de Lune impresses me as a great achievement in making that synth floral soap note delicious-smelling with the right accompaniment, the effect unlike that of Nivea skin cream but of milky rice husk, translucent and smooth, a gentle moonlight.

Tania Maria - Bronx / Valeu

Tania Maria "Bronx" from the album The Lady From Brazil (1986)

Music composed by Tania Maria Correa Reis

Tania Maria - Keyboards [Yamaha Cp80], Synthesizer [Yamaha Dx-7], vocals, percussion
Anthony Jackson - Bass
Buddy Williams - Drums
Isidro Bobadilha - Percussion
Onex Aquino - Percussion

Tania Maria "Valeu" from the album The Lady From Brazil (1986)

Music and Lyrics by Tania Maria Correa Reis

Tania Maria - Piano [Steinway], vocals
Eddie Gomez - Bass
Steve Gadd - Drums
Steve Thornton - Percussion

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Eliane Elias - That's All It Was / Horizonte (To Gonzaguinha)

Eliane Elias - "That's All It Was" from the album Everything I Love (2000)
Composed by Eliane Elias

Eliane Elias - piano
Marc Johnson - bass
Jack DeJohnette - drums

Eliane Elias "Horizonte" (To Gonzaguinha) from the album Long Story (1991)
Composed by Eliane Elias

Eliane Elias - piano, synths & vocais
Jon Herington - guitar
Marc Johnson - bass
Peter Erskine - drums
Mino Cinelu - percussion

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Gucci Guilty

2011 seems to be *the* year of perfume discoveries for me. I've fallen for another fragrance that is sure to become my signature along with Cartier L'Heure Mystérieuse...For those of you wondering how I could turn into a patchouli fanatic, I would say these perfumes are light on the patchouli, and come across as Floral Oriental (Floral-Ambery) more so than Woody Oriental. Still, it's funny how fruitchouli fever has finally caught onto me big time.

In this fabulous 2010 offering by Gucci, the lilacs really add a special, almost vintage touch to the woody-ambery notes, while peach adds dewy softness. This may sound strange, but to me, this perfume is almost a meeting of my own two indie fragrance creations, Pink Manhattan and Persephone: the former featured peach, and the latter ambery woods with purple flowers which included a lilac-hyacinth-magnolia accord. With a dash of pink pepper, Gucci Guilty stands on its own as a unique combination of fruits, flowers, spices and warm, ambery woods finishing on a contemporary White Musk dry down. If Guilty is supposed to smell dangerous, it's a danger of the forbidden fruit or sinful chocolate kind, as decadent for the gourmand-seeking soul as the blingy gold bottle bearing the classic Gucci logo.

I believe Gucci Guilty is the best launch since Gucci Rush, one of the most unique blockbuster hits by the house that's as well-known for their perfumes as for their designer fashion (vintage lovers should seek out their Gucci No.1, a stunning 1974 Chypre (Perfume Intelligence lists it as Aldehydic Floral), if you can find it). If you love sweet gourmand Orientals but need a grand floral arrangement to add some class to the presentation, this scent will give you the entire banquet table, complete with a live band and DJ. On a side note, Evan Rachel Wood who models in the Gucci Guilty ad, is known for her love of Benefit Maybe Baby, a peach with white floral combination, linking her persona to the peach-hued (pink gold) images of the campaign as well as to the peachiness of the glamorous, sensual fragrance.