An acquaintance of mine used to say “Where are we? Here. What time is it? Now.” Living in the moment. Taking the next logical step. This seems to be an ever changing endeavor as one’s perspective changes on life. But being in the moment is far more desireable than worrying about the future or regretting the past.
Right now I’m headed back to Los Angeles after spending a month in Europe. Did two weeks with the Yellowjackets: London, Ambleside, Paris, Krakow, Fano, Cala Gonone, Sardinia. Then a great concert with the Modern Art orchestra outside of Budapest followed by a week of teaching at a jazz gathering in Harnosand, Sweden with old friends Fred Noren, Gustavo Bergali, Adam Nussbaum, and a host of new friends. Finally, Carla and I spent a week on a Hertigruten boat traveling up the Norwegian coast. Amazing!
There is nothing quite like spending a week in a country to learn first hand about how folks do things there. Did you know that Sweden sends government representatives abroad to study how other governments do things? Or that Sweden, a country of 40 million people, took in 330,000 Syrian refugees, or that when a Swedish family has a child the mother gets a paid year off from work and the father gets 6 months paid leave? Did you know that high quality cutting edge healthcare in Sweden is essentially free to all, and attendance at the best universities cost roughly 1,500 dollars per year? Now tell me that higher taxes, where the wealthy pay their fair share, are a bad thing.
In the littlest fishing villages on islands in northern Norway, where the weather can make things challenging in the winter, everyone helps each other out. Someone with a snowmobile will travel a long distance to bring back food supplies for the rest of the community, If you don’t have a car, it is common practice to go and borrow your neighbor’s car without having to ask. The keys are left in the ignition. If the neighbor comes back and you have his car, he will borrow another neighbor’s car if needed.
One of the young women who worked on the Hurtigruten boat was from Copenhagen. She decided to move to one of the isolated fishing villages mentioned above. She was welcomed despite being an outsider. Initially the fishermen took bets on how long she would last living under these challenging conditions. She has been there 4 years. What an amazing experience this woman has undergone, integrating into this very different societal situation.
Right now, as I enter th 4th quarter of my life I am most concerned with helping people through sharing music, random acts of kindnes, and working on self awareness. I’ve let the self promotion thing slide lately, and am far more concerned with putting some nice notes together as a composer and player, and helping my fellow man.
Right now I don’t feel like I have to be the best at anything. I’m happy to make a nice sound come out of a saxophone and write music that represents my thoughts and feelings. I don’t have to play major jazz festivals or be the “flavor of the day artist”. Usually my musical activities of late involve long-term axcquaintances, relationships that I have developed over time.
Right now I feel like we are being hoodwinked by a Republican party that does nothing for our citizenry and blames their own misdeeds on one of the most together presidents we’ve ever had. The fact that they’ve promoted a psycho like Donald Trump as their candidate should tell you something.
Right now I am still excited about learning every day about music, peoples of the world, nature, art, and literature.
Right now I am less concerned about what I think, and eager to see what you think, with the hopes of learning something new. Hence I havent writted a column in a while.
Right now I wish you all a good life, good notes, bright moments, and meaningful endeavors.    Bob

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