Saturday, December 21, 2013

Listening to Music Can Increase Learning Skills

I read an interesting article in the "Business Standard" published by "Press Trust Of India" on October 10, 2013. The article supported what I have believed for years. The story presented the premise, supported by a new study, that when we hear a song we really like, our brain transmits a chemical called Dopamine. According to the article "Dopamine helps in the transmission of signals in the brain and other vital areas that play an important role in motivation and learning".  The researcher, Benjamin Gold from the University of Helsinki and Alto University stated "The full power of music is more than what meets our ears.  By simply listening to music that we like, we can significantly improve (or hinder) our learning process or skills". The study uses volunteers to pick songs they like and also songs they did not like. Then the volunteers listen to these songs while working on a dopamine-dependent learning task that concluded with a test.

The results were interesting! The volunteers that listened to music more emotionally learned the task better when they liked the background, however those volunteers that listened more analytically learned better when they did not like the background music. This study is one of many recent ones that are looking at the therapeutic use of music.

"Today many afflictions like obsessive-compulsive, attention deficit/hyperactivity, schizophrenia, addiction and Parkinson's disease are currently treated with dopaminergic drugs, however these drugs involve negative side effects such as substance abuse or depression, music might ultimately serve as an alternative or at least complementary treatment".

Saturday, December 7, 2013

CD Review: Annette Genovese "Dream With Me"

Annetta Genovese's latest CD, "Dream With Me" uses three original songs including the wonderful and dreamy title song, "Dream With Me". The music and arrangements in this CD are fresh and have a contemporary feel. Annette has a smooth, rich and strong voice that it perfect for the varied tempos found in this CD. It's simply an exciting new swing Jazz CD that will stay new no matter how many times you listen to it. Annette has tons of experience performing in the New York Tri-State area over the past 25 years. But Annette is much more than just a great singer.  She has always managed her own projects including this CD.  Annette has recorded and performed in New Wave, Gospel Rock, Pop, Funk and Jazz. She had a good sense of what she wants from her projects and involves herself with arrangements, writing, recording mixing and the final mastering.  This is one talented women!

Annette has selected some superbly talented musicians to support her on this CD. Each one them could star on their own CD and have in the past. Rob Reich on Guitar received his BA in Music from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ in 1993. Since he graduated, Rob has been a fixture of the NYC Jazz scene.  He has toured with Peter Cincotti and opened for Michael McDonald at the Sundance Film Festival. He has just finished his debut CD "Homeward" and is finishing a second CD entitled "Gems".

Jim West is on Keyboards and has performed with many giants of the Jazz world including Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Anita Ellis, Carly Simon, Gerry Niewood, Ruby Braff and Steve Allen. Jim recently performed at Feinstein's, The Metropolitan Room and the Iridium Jazz Club in NYC.

Bassist Brian Glassman received his BA degree in Jazz performance from Rutgers University.  Since 2003, he has been the instructor of Jazz Bass at Princeton University. He has also performed with a "Who's Who" of Jazz greats like Paquito d'Rivera, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Lionel Hampton Kenny Burrell, Benny Golson, Liza Minnelli and Anne Calloway.

Paul LaDuca is on Drums and handles the various rhythms on these arrangement perfectly. Paul has played with several R & B/Jazz bands and vocalists Elaina Edwards, Anthony Literati and Paul Del Genovese.

Annette Genovese has a great voice and classy style to go with it.  She knows the value of recording with only the finest musicians and the result is this fine Jazz CD.

1. Senor Blues                                  5. Superstar
2. Simple Magic                               6. Young and Fine
3. Dream With Me                           7. Willow Weep for Me
4. Ain't Nobody                                8. So Many Stars

Annette Genovese: Vocals
Rob Reich: Guitar
Brian Glassman: Bass
Jim West: Keys
Paul LaDuca: Drums
Lee Farber: Percussion

CD Review: Clairdee Releases Her Forth CD, "A Love Letter to Lina"

San Francisco based Vocalist Clairdee has admired and been a fan of Lena Horne since she was four years old.  Clairdee was not just in...