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The Paul Dietrich Quintet plays The Jazz Estate on Friday.
The Paul Dietrich Quintet plays The Jazz Estate on Friday.

Dietrich jazzes up an old genre

Jazz and youth are not mutually exclusive. Twenty-six-year-old jazz trumpeter and Wisconsin native, Paul Dietrich, is proof of that.

The Paul Dietrich Quintet’s first album, "We Always Get There," implies wisdom, experience and emotion that couldn’t possibly be contained in a 20-something’s wheelhouse. But, then there’s that cover of Bjork’s "Unravel" that reminds the listener that perhaps this is not your great-granddaddy’s jazz.

The modern jazz group formed in 2012 to showcase Dietrich’s small group writing. The band offers an accessible style that’s a fusion of influences like progressive rock, modern and classic jazz, contemporary classical music and folk and world styles. The band includes three more Wisconsinites: Dustin Laurenzi on tenor saxophone, Tim Ipsen on bass, Wisco-educated Andrew Green on drums and Paul Bedal on piano.

Dietrich, who went to college in Appleton and got his Master’s Degree at DePaul University in Chicago, now resides in Madison, where he is also an educator. Dietrich is a devoted Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks fan, which is not merely a way for the professional musician to show his home state team loyalty, but also provides an unintentional way for him to connect jazz with his leisure time.  

"I remember an interview I saw once with Phil Jackson, who is a jazz fan. He compared the two in a way I thought was cool; in both jazz and in basketball; you have a group of people who all know a particular system and they all work together and improvise to create something out of that system that is more successful than any of the individuals," he says. "So there's a bit of a team aspect to it, I guess."

It’s that cohesive ordering of seeming chaos that it is so impressive about jazz. Perhaps that sense of chaos is because of a current mainstream unfamiliarity with the genre, at least within a certain demographic. There is of course, an intense precision to a successful jazz composition, no doubt from the immense education …

Maybe this will help. Or not.
Maybe this will help. Or not.

I almost forgot to write this blog

My memory sucks.

I am actually surprised I remembered to write this blog at all.

I will embarrassingly admit that I started this piece a while back, saved it and then never even recalled its creation or need for completion until I was opening another document and stumbled upon "Blog Memory." It was lying dormant, waiting editing in my Document file, abandoned not from malice or disinterest, but from pure ignorance of its existence.

The alarming nature of this incident indicated a need for some immediate brain healing and investigation into why I seem to be suffering from a lack of retention.

I’ve always been a "list writer." But, these days especially, if something is going to get done, it has to be catalogued on my "list." Even, then I have to actually remember to jot it down on there. Growing up (and to this day,) my mother utilized her "Famous Yellow List," a single sheet torn from a mini legal pad, that inventoried her endless "to dos" while also housing coupons and other important slips within it’s single fold, secured with a single silver paper clip. I took on this modeled behavior, which has evolved into an almost compulsive use of the Reminders App, born out of and maintained due to necessity.

But, I wonder if my dependence on "the list" has contributed to my brain getting lazy. Kind of like GPS has become my inner compass’s crutch. I’ve never really possessed a good innate sense of direction, but now I don’t have one at all. It’s become so easy to plug in an address and let Siri tell me where to go instead of knowing how to get there. Could this reliance on computerized mapping also have affected my memory? I haven’t had to actually remember how to get anywhere in ages! Perhaps my poor recall skills are a yet another symptom to fuel my dislike of technology.

I’m pretty sure my memory has been on the decline since my early twenties. Or at least I think it has been. I really can’t even remember when this all started. My ability to retain i…

No, we can't even just be friends, Facebook.
No, we can't even just be friends, Facebook.

Farewell, Facebook!

This ain't no resolution. This is a mother trucking manifesto.

I’m going to tell you how I really feel and then, I’m going to actually do something about it. No apathy here.

Maybe this is just a phase. But, this is totally about me – not you, nor anyone who chooses to continue to engage with you.

I’m just … not that into you anymore.

I need some time apart, to navigate without you for a bit. I realized a while back that my relationship with you has totally disconnected me from reality. What you deliver to me is in no way authentic. It’s a specifically sorted collage of only what you and your users want to show me, allowing the mind to create false stories around this show of selective truth.

My relationship with you has caused me to become cut off from so much. I feel a deep disconnect from culture – true culture that I can corporeally experience. I am ashamed at how out of touch with real news I am, influenced into accepting your "feed" as an alternative to more journalistic sources. Newspapers and telecasts replaced by your relentless roll filled with gossip and half-truths.

Most disturbing is that I feel your presence like Big Brother, watching my every move so that EVERYONE is privy to details of my daily life or special events – even when I myself do not share this information. I miss the anonymity of daily life. And not only do you track and broadcast my activity, but you then use it to try to sell me anything that may be within my demographic interests.

I miss my life before you, when my privacy didn’t need a policy.

I don’t think I’m better than you or anything like that.

*I just don’t feel BETTER after I interact with you.*

Honestly, most of the time I feel worse. I am sensitive to your emotion-manipulating advertising and non-consensual social and psychological experiments. I am defenseless to the portal of spontaneous energies you deal to me via the screen of my digital devises. But, I will no longer be a victim to your p…

Ellen Cook volunteers her time and talents to Flashes of Hope.
Ellen Cook volunteers her time and talents to Flashes of Hope.

Local photographer offers Flashes of Hope for kids with cancer

Photographers capture moments, preserve emotions and convey feelings through the images caught by the shutter of their lens.

For families dealing with childhood cancer, the moments captured by photographers like Whitefish Bay’s Ellen Cook through the organization Flashes of Hope at in-hospital photo shoots provide forever precious memories.

Flashes of Hope was founded in 2001 by the parents of a child with cancer. The completely volunteer organization now has chapters in 55 cities and photographs more than half of the children diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. Families are given reprints, enlargements and a disk at no charge.

Cook reflects, "For too many families, these might be the last images of their children." In fact, 25 percent of the children photographed do not survive.

Flashes of Hope deals solely with childhood cancer and since 2009 have been fund raising for childhood cancer research through the Kick-It Program. Childhood cancer research is a highly neglected area, which according to Flashes of Hope’s website, "receives only 4 percent of U.S federal funding for research R&D in (the) pharmaceutical industry (while) adult cancer research 60 percent ... children's cancer research (is) close to 0 percent." Additionally, most childhood cancers have no known cause and do not discriminate based on economic status, ethnic group or geographic area making all families vulnerable.

Cook, an in-demand professional photographer in Milwaukee and beyond known for her distinct ability to artistically document family events like weddings, pregnancy and infant to senior portraits has spent the last five years as one of many area photographers that donates time and talent to Flashes of Hope.

She sees her service as a way to use her creative passion and express her gratitude for her two healthy children while giving families with children diagnosed with cancer the gift of beautiful portraits and memories. She has done shoots at Children’s Hospita…