Le Ballon Rouge by The Musical Millennial, for Your Listening Pleasure

Song Cover for Le Ballon Rouge by Thomas Wenglinski

The Musical Millennial has written, recorded and released a new single, a tune that was inspired by the 1956 film, Le Ballon Rouge, or The Red Balloon. The film was written, directed and produced by French cinematographer Albert Lamorisse.

It All Started in About 2002, Thanks to Aunt Julie

While the Musical Millennial is now a junior in college studying jazz composition at The University of Texas, we watched the film together when he was a small child, and he was transfixed. Which means, of course, we watched it many times. (If you’ve ever had a small child, you understand.) Luckily, this 35-minute film is worth watching multiple times, so I renew my thanks to his Aunt Julie for sending it as a Christmas gift.

Song Cover for Le Ballon Rouge by Thomas Wenglinski
Song cover art for Le Ballon Rouge

Le Ballon Rouge has the Approval of Mom the Critic – I Love It

I really love this tune! Big surprise, I know: he’s my kid, of course I do. I like everything he does (mostly; I was actually too honest when he was tiny and “wrote” tunes by assembling pre-recorded tracks from Garage Band that I didn’t care for…there may have been tears). Le Ballon Rouge is avant-garde and thoughtful, and it may be the first song he’s ever created with lyrics. It’s definitely the first time I’ve heard him sing since choir in 4th grade. (I couldn’t really hear him then, actually. He was ‘in the chorus’. You know what that means.)

Announcing Le Ballon Rouge

Here’s what the Musical Millennial said on Instragram to announce the release of Le Ballon Rouge:

happy new year everybody!! we made it to 2019!!
my new single “le ballon rouge” is now available everywhere online!!
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this single was inspired by 1) the need to get over a ripping stress headache i was battling at the time the original groove/theme came into my head and 2) my recent rediscovery of albert lamorisse’s 1956 film of the same name. i’m honored to share it with you, and i hope you enjoy it as much as i enjoyed recording it!!
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(again, special thanks to @_justinebel for the seriously killing cover art!!)
#newmusic2019 #pickupjazz

From the Musical Millennial’s Instagram (thomascwenglinski

The Lyrics

Aunt Julie, the giver of Le Ballon Rouge, is the poet Julie Wenglinski; it is so fitting that her gift inspired the Musical Millennial to write a song with lyrics 15+ years later. I think it reads like a poem, and you can hear the childhood memories combined with the contemporaneous experience (the headache) he described in Instagram in the lyrics (below).

I’ve got my own 
One red balloon
Thanks Lamorisse
You gave me peace
I was so lost
Broken and crossed (but now)
I’ve got my own
One red balloon

I’ve got my own
One red balloon
Far in the past 
Memories amassed
It’s mine to stay
If just today
I’ve got my own
One red balloon

Listen to Le Ballon Rouge Now

How can you hear it Le Ballon Rouge? (You want to, I know you do.)

Stream on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0xapOUO2B2nfhkDxAptXlY?nd=1
Buy on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/le-ballon-rouge-single/1448048942
Stream on Amazon Music:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MKSCSST
Stream on Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/le-ballon-rouge-single/1448048942?uo=4&app=apple+music
Buy/Stream on Google Play:https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Thomas_Wenglinski_Le_Ballon_Rouge?id=B3bqifemo4wyf3xnmzul5nk2uiy

The Movie that Inspired It

And what about the film? Like my son, the New York Times still loves this children’s film that won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay; check out this review from YouTube. Warning: it will make you want to watch! Amazon has it here.


© 2019 Glover Gardens

Edinburgh Farmers Market – Jazz and Memories in the Shadow of Edinburgh Castle

NFMW2018_MGbannerIt’s National Farmers Market Week and I promised to share, so I’m unearthing more farmers market memories. Today, we’re in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Just last summer, I had this amazing experience in Edinburgh. Only a few weeks after my Dad died, I was on a European business trip which required a weekend stay-over, and the location happened to be Edinburgh. Lucky me. In a hotel that looked out to Edinburgh Castle. Double-lucky me!

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The hotel is in the center of town, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. That was the (zoomed-in) view from my hotel window. Wow.

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Photo of Mary King’s Close from the Guardian by Murdo MacLeod

My colleagues and I did touristy things together on Saturday morning, including a macabre underground ghost tour that taught us all about how the Scots of way back handled the plague, and then we split up, some of them headed out to castles in the distance, some of them shopping, and me – just wandering around and thinking about Dad.

Getting back to the hotel and in desperate need of a nap, I was amazed to learn that the city’s month-long music festival had taken up residence right outside my hotel, the street blocked off at both ends to hold three stages and various food and drink vendors.

Score! I shucked off my inclination for a nap like a new year’s resolution on Jan. 3 and flung myself headlong into the crowd.

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Have you ever heard live jazz, in Scotland, in the shadow of a castle? I hadn’t … wow, what an in-the-moment experience.

Festival in the Shadow of Edinburgh CastleIt was the end of the performances for the day, sadly. The first – and last – tune I heard was, unbelievably, When the Saints Go Marching In.

Here’s a little bit of video of that performance.

Oh. My. Gosh.

The connectedness. The synchronicity. The serendipity. The simple, awesome experience of enjoying delightful live music with an appreciative crowd.

Saints is a tune that is important in my family. My Mom always loved the New Orleans tradition of the second line parade after funerals, that lively and joyful conclusion after the pre-funeral dirges. We made sure it happened just that way after her funeral; I will always be grateful to my friend / ex-husband for bringing his whole jazz band and playing their hearts out in her memory. Joy in sorrow, joy in sorrow.

Before this Scotland trip, I had been at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, when Dad was still alive. I had happily heard When the Saints Go Marching In about 10 times over a long weekend, including once by the legendary Herb Alpert. OMG, he is awesome! Dad and I texted each other during the Herb Alpert performance at Jazz Fest, when the Grill-Meister and I were awestruck at how vibrant he was at 80-something; Dad said, ‘your mother and I saw him ’round about 1965. Good times.” (Another story for another day.)

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Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall brought the house down at the NOLA Jazz Fest

Just three weeks prior to the Edinburgh trip, the venerable Saints tune was the joyful conclusion at my Dad’s funeral, just like it had been at my Mom’s 17 years earlier. Just like it will be at mine when it’s my time to go. I’m partial to that song, you might say.  🎶🎶🎶🎶 “O Lord I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in.”

So, to be in Scotland on a business trip and just stumble into a live performance of Saints was almost too much.

The connectedness. The synchronicity. The serendipity.

I felt Dad’s presence on a grand scale, and my heart grew too big for my body, just like the Grinch’s when he saw that Whoville would still have Christmas without presents and food. It was a transcendent experience.

Back to the the Farmers Market

I haven’t forgotten, truly I haven’t – this post is supposed to be about the Edinburgh farmers market. My journey there tonight took place via music and reminiscence.

As I said, I hit the ground at the music festival at the tail end of the performances. Sigh. I jammed and jazzed to Saints, but then, sadly, the musicians began to break down their gigs and pack up. I was just getting started!  I noticed that there was a farmers market on the other end of the street … hmmm. Curses, is it about to close, too?!!? But no, the stalwart vendors didn’t ‘up and leave’ when the music was over; they were on their regular Saturday market schedule.

And what a lovely market it was. It had everything: produce, cheese, a bridal couple (he wore a kilt), dogs galore, arepas, paella, olives, breads, leather goods…a plethora of products to peruse while people-watching.

I’ll be in Edinburgh again soon, and will likely fall more deeply in love with it. Watch this space!

Related Resources

© 2018, Glover Gardens

Coming Along, Another New Jazz Composition for Your Saturday Listening Pleasure

Another new jazz composition from the Musical Millennial! It’s a hopeful, lilting, happy tune that still has depth and complexity. I love how the thin, reedy sound of the melodica is balanced by the warmth of the guitars. Or maybe I should just say, I love it!, and stop posing as a music critic.

I also love the specificity of the credits (shown below, or you can see them if you click all the way through using this link):

  • Released July 25, 2018
  • Composed by Thomas Wenglinski 
  • Joel White: Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Bass, Handclaps
  •  Thomas Wenglinski: Melodica, Keyboards/Synthesizers, Percussion, Handclaps, Whistling

Good to know who’s doing the handclaps! 🙂

What’s the full story? Well, you’ve heard all about our Musical Millennial if you’re a Glover Gardens blog follower. And his very talented friends who are also jazz studies / jazz composition / jazz performance majors in college. And the music they produce so prolifically.

But if you haven’t, you might check out this recent post, The Jazzy Sounds of Summer at Glover Gardens to find some enlightenment, or just scroll through the musical content in the blog using the Music tab in the menu bar above or this link.

Thomas Wenglinski and Joel White
Thomas Wenglinski, AKA the Musical Millennial, on the left, with his frequent collaboration partner Joel White; photo creds to Mallory Frenza

Whether you stream for free to listen, or buy to download and keep (he’d prefer the latter!), I hope Coming Along enhances an already-lovely Saturday for you.

As it has for me. Saturday is Coming Along nicely.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

The Jazzy Sounds of Summer at Glover Gardens

The summer months bring a welcome flurry of sound to Glover Gardens. Our Musical Millennial is home from the University of Texas where he’s studying Jazz Composition, and is busy writing, playing, recording and mixing new tunes. Other young musicians who are home for the summer drop in late at night and carry their instruments upstairs to the cluttered lair where the keyboards, amps and computers wait to come alive.

I love it.

Music, laughter and earnest debate about how to ramp up and tweak their collaborative creations drift downstairs to the Grill-Meister and me, and I know that all is right with the world.

Here’s the newest offering, Familiar Territory.  It was written by another musical millennial, one of my son’s frequent recording and playing partners. It’s posted in my son’s Bandcamp site where you can download it for just $1 or stream it for free. (I have a bet with him about how many purchases this post might stimulate from loyal Glover Gardens followers, but hey, no pressure!)

It’s a fun tune to listen to, and was obviously fun to record.

Thomas Wenglinski and Joel White 2
Thomas Wenglinski and Joel White

Watch this space! These two are planning to write and record enough new material for an album before heading back to their respective colleges. And there’s an upcoming gig at Cezanne in Houston on July 14, for any of you locals that want to hear them live.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

(cover photo © Mallory Frenza)

A Brand-New Jazz Composition for Your Sunday Listening Pleasure

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My son performing a solo on the melodica (in the blue suit)

I’ve posted several jazz originals from our Musical Millennial (my son, a college sophomore majoring in Jazz Composition). Tonight, I am thrilled to share his latest (and my favorite), a 12-minute suite with multiple movements that (in my humble opinion) is heartbreakingly beautiful. It was performed by the University of Texas at Austin’s Jazz Orchestra at their winter concert a couple of weeks ago and I was blessed to be in the audience.

Live Recording of “Repurification (Laura, Ryan, and the Thunderstorm)”

The piece is titled “Repurification (Laura, Ryan, and the Thunderstorm)”, and was written for a special performance at the opening of an art exhibit at the Blanton Museum Museum of Art in Austin. The video is below; if you play it, I encourage you to listen to the whole thing – it is like several different but complementary tunes, or perhaps several stops along a journey. My son is on piano and melodica, and every one of the musicians brings their A-game in this performance, directed by Professor Jeffrey Helmer.

In the Composer’s Words

If you’ve gotten this far, you might be interested in the program notes.  These are my son’s words about his composition.

From the time I started composing, I have always attempted to channel at least a portion of the music I grew up with – Pat Metheny, Weather Report, Stevie Wonder, Jobim/Regina, etc. However, in more recent days, I’ve been reevaluating just why it is that I’m consistently called back to the earliest memorable parts of my life for artistic inspiration, and I’ve reached a conclusion: we view the world differently as children. Some adults describe this phenomenon in a glass-half-empty way, saying, “A child’s world is so much smaller,” but I tend to see the exact opposite.  We experience small, routine things (such as the raw atmosphere of our front yard on a cold cloudy night or a bike ride through the neighborhood on a sunny Saturday morning in June) through a magnified lens when we’re young, innocent, and unencumbered by any kind o cynicism brought about by the burdens of adulthood.

It was this part of my thought process that was completely electrified this past fall, when the Blanton Museum of Art’s photography exhibit The Open Road brought with it a selection of works by Ryan McGinley, almost all of which exclusively aim to capture millennials throwing their troubles away out in the open country, particularly one entitled Laura (Thunderstorm). McGinley’s ability to capture this same youthful, pure human warmth in sometimes cold, bleak environments not only intrigues me to this day – it inspired, and almost demanded, that I take aim at the same goal musically, culminating tonight in this piece, entitled Repurification (Laura, Ryan, and the Thunderstorm). — Thomas Wenglinski

At a Loss for Words / My Heart Grew Too Big for My Body

Well.

I’m not often at a loss for words, Dear Readers, but is hard to explain how I felt, reading those notes before the concert, and then hearing my son’s composition played so beautifully.

My heart grew too big for my body.

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The kid and me at the piano

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I had just posted in the blog about how my own world changed when I became a parent all those years ago, because it gave me another lens to look through: his. (See Haiku: Little Ones).

 

Hmmm. Perhaps all parents of musicians and artists feel this way when they experience their child’s art; it is both surprising and not, like getting a long-awaited response to a question that you already knew the answer to. As in, “Wow, I can’t believe he created something so beautiful / Gee, I always knew he would create beautiful things.”

References:

For Your Friday Night Listening Pleasure

Butler School of MusicTonight at 7:30 p.m. CST the University of Texas Jazz Orchestra will be live-streaming from the Bates Recital Hall in Austin, Texas.

The music will mostly be original compositions written by the students, including a piece by our own Musical Millennial, who is a sophomore majoring in Jazz Composition at UT. That’s him below at the piano, enjoying a laugh with the guitarist.

We’ll be there in person, and you can join us from anywhere in the world via the live stream. Click here and then follow the link, if you’re interested. The performances should be excellent, and you can’t beat the price (free). 😍

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Prof Hellmer Introduces
Professor Hellmer (at the microphone) is the best.

I’ll post the recording later when it is available. If you listen to the stream tonight, let us know!

© 2018, Glover Gardens

In the Christmas Mood! Holiday Tips from Colleagues include a Hot Chocolate Bar, a Board Game and Christmas Jazz

We’re in the Christmas mood here at Glover Gardens, and some of my colleagues have helped us get that way…

There was a hot chocolate bar at our work party last week, and my colleague who organized the party urged me to get there early and take pictures “for the blog”. Sweet!

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The bar was a great idea and we may do something similar here on the 28th when we have our family Christmas. The hot chocolate was in a big crock pot, and there were all kinds of goodies to drizzle, dollop or adorn the sweet, steaming goodness. (Not pictured – whipped cream!)

Beyond enjoying a meal and the hot chocolate together, our little work party during lunch one day last week was really fun! Calling it a “wamily” (work family), the crackerjack team of party planners had organized activities that made the event a wonderful bonding experience.   Our recreation during the celebration included decorating ornaments, a hilarious set of contests (I actually won the one in which you have one minute to draw a snowman on a paper plate on top of your head because the judge was impressed that I wrote “snowman” in cursive legibly) and playing board games together in small groups. One of my colleagues brought a new game, Codenames, and we were all instantly enamored. I ordered one right away for Glover Gardens, and Santa might have given a couple as gifts (shhhhhh!).

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Another colleague, knowing how we feel about jazz here at Glover Gardens, sent a text to me one evening with a link to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Big Band Holidays performance (led by Wynton Marsalis) on YouTube suggesting that my family would enjoy it. Love it!

This music will definitely put you in the Christmas mood.

Thanks to my colleagues for the great tips!

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

 

New Jazz Composition: “New Flame” (Awesome!)

Our musical millennial is at it again. Click below for his latest composition, New Flame, recorded at the November 17 performance of the University of Texas at Austin Jazz Orchestra, under the director of Department Head and Professor Jeffrey Hellmer.

Enjoy. (I think it is awesome.)

Composition copyright Thomas Wenglinski, 2017

 

Sunday Jazz Mass with Diane Schuur – Today in Austin

jazz-at-stjames-logo-1Glover Gardens readers and friends have heard about our musician in college studying jazz composition. More than once.  He’s a sophomore at the University of Texas in Austin’s Butler School of Music and is having a wonderful experience in a town that’s well-known for its vibrant music scene.  This weekend, he’s in one of the groups playing at the 23rd annual Jazz at St. James festival; the headliner is Diane Schuur. He’s a “side man” (on piano) in the John Mills Quintet (see Meet the Artists). This morning at 11:00, there’s a free Jazz Mass:

The Jazz Mass is a divine celebration of music and the spirit. Two-time Grammy award winner Diane Schuur will be singing and playing piano, joined by the St. James’ Episcopal Church Choir, John Mills, Joe Morales and others. It’s a church service with soul. Don’t miss it!”

Doesn’t that sound GREAT!? I wish I could be there. This is an amazing experience for my son, who will play again this morning at the mass. He was surprised to see his biography in the program when he arrived for the Friday night set.

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If you’re in Austin today, this might be a great way to start your Sunday.

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Poster and cover art from Jazz at St. James

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Jazz at St. James is sponsored by the Austin Jazz Society.  This sounds like a group I should join, post-haste!

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

New Jazz Composition, “A Modern Requiem” – a Tribute to a Wonderful Grandfather

Followers of this blog will have read about our last millennial in college, the young musician majoring in Jazz Composition at the University of Texas. I’d like to call Thomas the Glover Gardens resident composer, except that he won’t be in residence much longer because he heads to Austin for his sophomore year in just a couple of days. A prolific composer, Thomas has just completed another original and posted the recording on the streaming service Bandcamp.

This one is really lovely – evocative, thoughtful, pensive – and extra-special to me because he dedicated it to his late grandfather (my Dad). They were close, and my Dad was so very proud of my son’s musical talent.

I hope you’ll click and give it a listen.

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Thomas Frank Harvell and Thomas Wenglinski at Glover Gardens in the summer of 2016

There will be a lot more original jazz to come, and the posts below provide some of his previous compositions, if you just can’t wait.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

cover photo credit to Mallory Frenza