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Prince: Reflecting on his Life as we Reflect on Marriage

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Prince12By Socrotiff Michael

This post is dedicated to Prince, the music icon who left this earth earlier this week and who will be missed by millions of people around the globe. As we explore his life and his music, there is much a married couple can learn. Prince had a style that was timeless, he stayed true to who he was, and he left a legacy that will be remembered for many years to come.  This model is one that can also be exemplified in marriages.


Prince was a timeless artist; a musician that was, many have said, before his time.  He sang about 1999 in the 80’s during a time when it seemed so far away and made us excited to see the year 1999. We can create Prince14timelessness in our marriage by continuing to give our best to our spouses, to dedicate ourselves to being the best version of ourselves in your marriage.  In your marriage be timeless, keep your spouse excited by continuing to challenge yourself, whether this is earning a new degree, taking up a cooking class, or learning a new language, keep them guessing and giving them the best of you.  Never allow yourself to be so routine in your marriage that it becomes boring and predictable, allow yourself to step outside of the box once in a while and shock both yourself and your spouse!

What works for you? – Now do that! “To thine own self be true”

Prince25Prince lived his life based upon what worked for him, not what worked for anyone else, he stayed true to himself.  How are you and your spouse in your marriage? If you take an inventory of your marriage, can you honestly say you are staying true to the spirit of your marriage? Are you looking at your neighbor’s marriage and trying to compare your marriage to theirs? Or feel compelled to match what their marriage is doing? If you are – don’t! Embrace the ability and the beauty of your marriage and create a relationship based upon where you are, not where someone else is.  Understanding that, your marriage is completely unique to you both is the beginning of freedom to accept your relationship for what it is.  There is no perfect blueprint to fit all marriages, but you can create your own specific relationship that fits you.  I challenge you and your spouse today, to make your marriage your own.  Give yourself permission to be different and fully celebrate all that makes you different.


Prince leaves a rich legacy. He will be remembered as an accomplished musical genius who achieved countless awards for his music.  Have you Prince37thought about the legacy you will leave when your life is over?  What type of spouse do you want to be known for?  A loving spouse, a moody spouse, a spouse who took good care of his or her family?  A spouse who worked to provide and gave all he had to all he knew? A spouse who was angry, selfish, or a spouse who never made time for their partner?  The great thing about life, is even if you are living a life today that you are not proud of, you have an opportunity to change. If you are not the spouse you want to be in your marriage, you have another opportunity to change, starting today. Your legacy will not just be one thing; it can be many.  You can change and become more intentional with creating a legacy that will make you and your family proud.

Words of Wisdom: Hey! look around, there is always something we can learn about marriages in this life!

Socrotiff Carruth Michael, is a Velvet Note customer and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist & Licensed Professional Counselor.  She provides therapy to couples and co-owns Michael & Michael Counseling & Consulting, LLC, with her husband Original. please visit their site at: www.counselingwiththemichaels.com

Louis Heriveaux Releases His First CD

Monday, April 11th, 2016

LouisHeriveaux-TriadicEpisode1000WEDNESDAY, April 13th @ The Velvet Note: We must confess, We LOVE Louis Heriveaux! And I mean, LOVE. And we’d be willing to bet that you do too!

The quiet humility…the self-effacing giggle…the moment when he stops laughing and gets down to business…his endless generosity in support of others, elevating their music beyond their wildest dreams. Louis Heriveaux is a fixture of the Atlanta scene, but until now, the pianist has mostly stayed in the shadows. Heriveaux has been content to lend his bubbling, inspiring voice to some of the best bands throughout the region, but with Triadic Episode, he’s stepping out on his own. The album’s music is a mix of originals and covers that have played a part in Heriveaux’s development as a musician. Triadic Episode is Heriveaux’s first recording as a leader. It’s been a long time coming. Are you coming? With the Curtis Lundy and Dave Potter. Tickets are selling like Wednesday night hot cakes—get them at The Velvet Note at http://thevelvetnote.com/louis-heriveaux or 855.5.VELVET.

All That Jazz: People Who Listen To Jazz Are Smarter And More Creative

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

By Dan Scotti

From one end of my iTunes library to the other, there is generally a different type of music for every occasion, so to speak.

For example, rainy days, full of storm clouds and grey skies, I make sure to play James Blake’s Overgrown – in full – to at least set the proper score, for the mood.

JazzSmarterWhen I’m driving around Long Island in the summer, with my windows down, you can rest assured Billy Joel is blazing through my stereo.

In the fall months, when I’m lonely, I typically fancy Drake (or Nick Drake, when I’m extra lonely).

In the spring, I tend to be more Grateful Dead heavy. And regardless of the mood – or the weather, for that matter – I’ve got my Travi$ Scott sh*t on deck, for whenever I need a boost.

As you can probably see – wherever I go – it’s a pretty safe assumption that I have music playing. Even during those times when music, or any type of sound, is typically frowned upon – like in the library, while studying, for instance.

As counterintuitive as it may sound – listening to jazz music, while studying for an exam or writing a thesis paper, usually helps block out any wandering thoughts that might be floating around my head.

There’s something about that mid-20th century bebop jazz, whether it be Charlie “The Bird” Parker or Thelonious Monk, that just puts any apprehension I might be harboring to bed. For me, no other music could duplicate this effect.

I mean, put it this way. If I’m listening to Young Thug while driving, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that I’ll soon hit double the speed limit, without even being conscious of it – I doubt bumping “Thugger,” while face down in a textbook, would improve my final grade.

Yet, with jazz music, there’s something about the lack of words (even though Miles Davis’ trumpet, Harmon mute and all, does all the speaking necessary), which has always enabled me to focus better on my studies – despite the “background noise.”

As it appears, science supports my impression of the improv-based music form.

According to Dr. William Klemm, of Psychology Today, there are a multitude of different cognitive benefits that enrich your mind while listening to jazz music.

It relieves stress.

It’s always been somewhat of a cliché that jazz music is for “cool” people – you know, sitting carefree on a barstool off in the corner, wearing sunglasses and a Kangol beret. As Dr. Klemm writes, however, there’s also a great deal of truth behind that understanding.

According to the University of Nevada, Reno’s counseling services, music and stress levels go hand in hand. While faster tempos can get you up and going, slower ones – such as the standard tempo of jazz music – will soothe both the mind and body.

Klemm makes a powerful connection between stress level and one’s ability to study, too, noting how stress is the “arch-enemy of memory ability.”

Following this logic, by listening to jazz music while studying – and lowering your stress levels in the process – you’ll also find yourself much more likely to retain the information that you’re attempting to learn.

It stimulates the mind.

There’s almost like a “monkey see, monkey do,” relationship that your brain will follow under the influence of jazz. Because of jazz’s, at times, herky jerky, pulsating, rhythmic patterns – your brain tends to mimic this improvisation, and we’ll see that through increased neural stimulation.

In a separate study, conducted by Dr. Charles Limb of Johns Hopkins University, brain scans of jazz players show the impact of this style of music on the brain.

As Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press writes, new research now shows that the back-and-forth playing style of music affects the brain, much in the way that spoken language does.

This characteristic of jazz music activated the regions of the brain correlated with the syntax of language, which acted almost as exercise for this feature of cognition.

It boosts creativity.

According to Beth Belle Cooper, on the blog buffer social, ambient noise improves creativity. As explained further by Cooper, not only the type of music you listen to – but also the volume at which you listen to it – is critical.

Cooper states that moderate volume levels are the most optimal for mental function, saying “moderate noise levels increase processing difficulty, which promotes abstract processing, leading to higher creativity.”

In short, by forcing our brain to do extra “work,” but not too much work, we will ultimately find our brains working at maximum efficiency – and think further outside of the box, while doing so. This is where the creativity portion of the relationship comes into play.

Another report, done by Katrina Schwartz of Mind/Shift, provides additional ways to boost creativity through jazz music. According to Schwartz, creativity is not a black or white, rigid, character trait – in fact, it can be developed over time.

She uses a practice-based analogy to describe the attribute, crediting how “the more you do it, the better you’ll become at it,” school of thought.

Schwartz also makes mention of the JHU study conducted by Dr. Limb, citing his suggestion that jazz music – and art in general – is the best way to train our brains to think creatively.

If you guys have a test coming up, or just want to be more creative – and more inspired – I recommend all of you download Coltrane’s entire discography, and start there. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy studying a lot more.

Louis Heriveaux’s CD Release

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

LouisHeriveaux-TriadicEpisode1000WEDNESDAY, April 13th @ The Velvet Note: We must confess, We LOVE Louis Heriveaux! And I mean, LOVE. And I’d be willing to bet that you do too!
The quiet humility…the self-effacing giggle…the moment when he stops laughing and gets down to business…his endless generosity in support of others, elevating their music beyond their wildest dreams. Louis Heriveaux is a fixture of the Atlanta scene, but until now, the pianist has mostly stayed in the shadows. Heriveaux has been content to lend his bubbling, inspiring voice to some of the best bands throughout the region, but with Triadic Episode, he’s stepping out on his own. The album’s music is a mix of originals and covers that have played a part in Heriveaux’s development as a musician. Triadic Episode is Heriveaux’s first recording as a leader. It’s been a long time coming. Are you coming? With the Curtis Lundy and Dave Potter. Tickets are selling like Wednesday night hot cakes—get them at The Velvet Note at http://thevelvetnote.com/louis-heriveaux or 855.5.VELVET.

Thank You!

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Stacy CartoTamara,

I want to thank you for seating Joe and I in such a great place on our date night. We had an amazing time and completely enjoyed the show. Like I told you, the Velvet Note is our favorite place to go for date night and we tell so many friends about it. I absolutely love the intimacy that I have not only with the music but with my hot date as well. 😍 We look forward to seeing you again soon. God bless you!

– Stacy C.

Valentine’s Singles Event

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Friday, February 12th

Valentine’s Singles Event

Valentine’s Day often leaves singles behind, but not at The Velvet Note!  On Friday, February 12th, you can mingle with others who are flying solo, enjoy a world-class performance, treat yourself to dinner and enjoy the festivities of one of the year’s best holidays.  



“Tucker and her cello blur the lines in our heads that divide classical, jazz, folk, R&B and soul.”


“Most importantly, the songs tell a story; that’s what a work of art should do…”


“You rarely see Joni Mitchell invoked as a reference point… because her music is so unique that few can follow her.  But in Shana Tucker, we have a worthy successor.”



Harlem-born actor Lewis Saunders has over twenty years of stage, TV, film and LewisSaunders2voiceover experience.  While Lewis is most remembered for his regular role as Fritz on the “CHiPs” Series, his additional credits include a regular role on “240 Robert”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “3rd Rock from the Sun, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and “Silk Stalkings”.  

Stepping away from the camera, this former pro football and model has turned his attention to writing. spoken word and voiceovers.  Saunders’ collection of poetry about love from a man’s point of view is called “Wattya’ Mean, Men Don’t Care?”.  It was published after interviewing over 500 men fro m all walks of life, and translating the thoughts, ideas, feelings and common themes into poetry form.  Lewis will offer a segment or two from his book during this evening of music, laughter and magic.


Your evening’s entertainment package includes a champagne arrival, concert ticket, dinner entree, raffle ticket and server gratuity.

Showtime:  Doors open at 7:00pm and the fun continues until 11:00pm.

“On the Couch” with Joey Sommerville

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

JoeySommerville1The interview we’ve been waiting for! After 4 years of chasing Joey Sommerville, he’s finally coming THIS WEEKEND to The Velvet Note. What took him so long? How is his music changing? What advice would he have for his younger self? Get the answers and insights in 20 mins by clicking here: https://soundcloud.com/elusivebe…/joey-summerfield-interview.

Whitney James at The Velvet Note

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Listen HERE.  On a picture-perfect, mid-October evening, jazz singer Whitney James made her way up from Tampa, FL to perform in our Acoustic Living Room.  And she brought an extra-special treat:  her band consisted of the WhitneyJames2members La Lucha, one of our favorite acts of all time.  Last year, Mark Feinman (drums), Alejandro Arenas (bass) and John C. O’Leary, III (piano) were awarded several performance accolades as their CD entitled Standards, Non-Standards climbed the charts to critical acclaim.  Whitney James–a former theater arts major– laid down clear, straightforward vocals with a lyrical command and stage presence that blew our audience away.  

But the true breakout star of the night was pianist O’Leary (pictured far left), whose solos throughout the night convinced you that this might be the last day of his visit to Planet WhitneyandLaLuchaEarth before venturing out to other parts of the solar system.  Dr. O’Leary– a PhD neuroscientist and a leading Alzheimer’s researcher by day– was celebrating his 30th (gasp) birthday, and his hands were on fire!  When he got off the stage, a dear couple intercepted him to inquire about his interest in meeting their daughter, who they would love to see married off to a great talent such as his.  But, alas, Dr. O’Leary had to deliver the heartbreaking news that he’s already married.  Ahhh…such is show business.  Thunder only happens when it’s raining….Players only love you when they’re playin’……  Enjoy O’Leary’s solo on this beautifully-re-imagined arrangement of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” HERE.  And catch more recordings of live performances at The Velvet Note at http://thevelvetnote.com/radio.

Is ‘Artisanal’ Music the Next New Thing?

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

by Ted Gloria, The Daily Beast

Processed and modified are out. Natural and crafted are in. Is the music business about to imitate the food industry? And will the industry giants get caught napping again?
Forget crafted beers and artisan cheeses. The real artisan movement is happening in the music world. The first stirrings can be heard in almost every genre, and the long-term implications are far from clear. But this tectonic shift has the potential to shake up the entertainment business, and shift the balance of power among the various labels.Even as synthesized sounds and samples are available to artists at the click of the mouse, a growing number of million-selling performers are embracing old school values of craft and musicianship. The power brokers in the music industry ought to pay attention—or a paradigm shift could once again catch them napping.

You don’t want to be a musical Monsanto in this brave new world! A smarter strategy is to establish street cred as the Whole Foods of the record business.

The analogy to food trends is appropriate. After decades of processed products and tech-created additives, the public rebelled and showed that a large market existed for natural and organic alternatives. The same thing is happening now in music, but the movement is still in its early stages. Yet similar forces are at work in both fields: a growing sense that that reliance on processing and tech additives may have gone too far, and that a return to core values might produce better long-term results.

The discerning listener can now hear this new paradigm emerging in every corner of the music business. Lady Gaga may have surprised fans with her unexpected collaboration with Tony Bennett and various associated jazz players. But check out Ms. Lauryn Hill channeling Nina Simone on her latest album. Or look at Queen Latifah doing the same with Bessie Smith on HBO. Or consider the implications of the unexpected ascendancy of sweet soul over in the U.K., where Adele showed that you can sell millions of albums without massive Auto-Tuning—and helped kick off a whole British neo-Motown movement.

How did Britain manage to steal the soul/R&B sound from Detroit? The answer is simple: artisanship.

Then listen to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, a number one hit and the most talked about hip-hop album of year, and hear all the top-flight jazz talent on that project. Well, maybe D’Angelo’s Black Messiah has gotten as much buzz, but here too we encounter outstanding musicianship from real flesh-and-blood performers … and again a marked jazz component. In the new paradigm of artisan music, a sample just isn’t good enough. Instead, you need to hire the cats who can really play.

In fact, jazz is serving as a catalyst in a host of unexpected places—from the The Late Show, where new host Stephen Colbert has turned to Jon Batiste to run his house band—to new high-profile Hollywood biopics focused on Miles Davis and Chet Baker. Even as the size of the jazz market remains small, the music seems to haunt the entertainment mainstream, serving as a touchstone for excellence and artisan skills.

We can see a similar ascendancy of craft and old school musicianship inside the jazz world, where the very players most famous for crossover slickness, from Kenny G to Robert Glasper, are releasing under-produced albums featuring acoustic instruments. And the hottest young jazz stars, such as Cécile McLorin Salvant and Kamasi Washington, stand out for their deep commitment to craft, and don’t seem much interested in fitting into slick processed-music categories.

And have you heard the extraordinary work of rock and pop composers entering into the classical music field? Or the remarkable creations of contemporary classical composers who are moving into rock and pop? Exciting new projects of this sort are coming out almost every week, but don’t expect to read about them in Rolling Stone or see this stuff on network television. These works don’t fit into radio formats or conventional genre categories. But make no mistake about it: This is a revolutionary movement underway, as significant in its implications as serialism and minimalism in their days of ascendancy.

For some examples, check out Caroline Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices (a recent Pulitzer Prize winner but resonating with pop vocal influences), Richard Reed Perry’s Music for Heart and Breath, Bryce Dessner’s Murder Ballads (on the new Filament album from the chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird), and Jonny Greenwood’s Popcorn Superhet Receiver. And don’t miss the eponymous album from The Knells, which mixes prog rock, vocal polyphony, and a string quartet in a stirring hybrid that resists any label you try to apply to it. These works are rewriting the rule book of contemporary composition, and also have the potential to shake up our conceptions of commercial music along the way.

Even the oldest megastars are paying attention to the new demand for artisan skills. Beck won the Grammy for album of the year with a pristine album driven by acoustic guitar—a release that seemed to violate every rule of music industry conventional wisdom in the current day. Elton John’s most recent album finds him returning to the crafted under-produced sound of his earliest work. Bob Dylan’s latest release finds him following in the footsteps of Frank Sinatra, of all people! Everywhere you look, hot stars are going unplugged and all natural.

A few of the old school labels seem aware that a shift is underway. But just as the big food conglomerates mostly missed the rise of natural products, the same thing is happening in the music world. Nimble young labels such as New Amsterdam, Brainfeeder, Innova, ANTI-, Sunnyside, Acony, Tzadik, Third Man, XL Recordings, Motéma, Mack Avenue, FatCat, and others are each pursuing their own vision of artisan music. But they have one thing in common: they seem more in touch with the new zeitgeist than any of the major multinational entertainment corporations. Only a few older labels (ECM and Nonesuch come to mind) seem ready to ride the new wave of crafted sounds.

I am not suggesting that Kanye West will show up on the unemployment line, or that Justin Bieber will start touring with a string quartet. Once again, we should look to the recent evolution of the food business for an analogous situation. Even as organic and unprocessed foods took off, the major companies still used their marketing muscle to push Jello, Velveeta, and Frosted Flakes. The processed foods still sell in larger quantities than the natural alternatives. McDonald’s serves up 75 hamburgers every second! But the high growth segments in the food market today are the natural ones, and the most discerning consumers don’t pay much attention to what’s happening in the frozen meal section.

An acceleration of this embrace of artisanship is the most likely path of evolution for the music business. True, the big companies will continue to push hard on processed and canned products. Dinosaurs don’t learn new tricks. Their sales have been shrinking since the dawn of the new millennium, and they just keep on doing more of the same—just like the corporations who pushed Folgers and Maxwell House while letting other companies build the (now enormous) gourmet coffee market. I don’t expect the people running Universal Music or Sony Music to change their approach just because of diminishing returns. But they are to music what McDonald’s and Wendy’s are to food—volume producers who will struggle to match the quality of the upstarts.

Review: Why The Velvet Note Is A Jazz Club Worth The Drive

Friday, August 7th, 2015

by Jon Ross

It’s been two years since I’ve seen a show at The Velvet Note.

This is not for lack of good music. Since opening in 2011, The Velvet Note has hosted big-deal jazz acts like Diane Schuur, Christian McBride, Wycliffe Gordon, Gretchen Parlato and Kenny Garrett, along with top-flight local and regional performers. This dedication to Atlanta’s talented local jazz players is ever more important, as a few long-standing outlets for local musicians in the area have moved in new directions.

While the venue isn’t perfect, that hasn’t kept me away, either. The space itself is cozy without being cramped, and the acoustics certainly rank up there among other venues of its size.

The management’s seemingly curious choice to serve food on plastic plates with plastic cutlery is aimed at reducing unwanted noise during performances, and it works. But this silence-is-golden outlook doesn’t extend to the bartender, who can occasionally shake drinks with abandon during ballads. The intimate space means every little extraneous noise fills the entire room.

There is demand for jazz out in the suburbs, and the venue also seems to draw listeners from inside the city. On Friday, for a concert by drummer Jamison Ross, patrons packed the 40-seat room for the first set and nearly filled the space again for the later show.

Ross gathered former classmates from Florida State University for the show, including the superb local musicians Rick Lollar on guitar and Nick Rosen on piano.

Ross initially gained notice with his first-place finish in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition in 2012 and is currently celebrating the release of his first disc, Jamison. While he won the competition as a drummer, Ross is as much about his powerful voice as his playful drumming.

During the first set, he ran through the entire release, his voice alternately affecting a rough edge for “Bye, Bye Blues” and a rounded, New Orleans bounce for “Deep Down in Florida,” showcasing his easy, fluid range. His voice was light and vibrant on “Sack Full of Dreams,” which he dedicated to the victims of the recent shootings in Charleston.

Ross and company gave a superb, exciting performance, so the mental hurdle I face with The Velvet Note is likely rooted in location. The club doesn’t have an exciting, in-the-moment address; Google Maps will point you to a tiny strip mall just off Exit 10 on 400 that is a traffic-heavy 26 miles from Atlanta’s only other jazz club of note, Churchill Grounds. That Midtown jazz venue is still the location of record for Atlanta jazz.

Yes, it takes some effort to get to The Velvet Note, as I learned when I heard bassist Andrew Sommer lead a quartet of seasoned locals in 2013, but in a city with dwindling options, it’s worth the trip.

With a few exceptions, The Velvet Note is the one place to regularly hear national touring acts outside of a university recital hall. The overall schedule can be hit or miss, but The Velvet Note’s booking choices (which include Jimmy Cobb on November 21) can ease the sting of a long drive from the city.


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