Black Taj by swo8 Blues Jazz from the album Black Taj in iTunes

Do you know the story about the Black Taj? If you come from India you probably will know. It is a legendary black marble mausoleum that is said to have been planned to be built across the Yamuna River opposite the original white Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Emperor, Shah Jahan had planned to build a mirror image of the Taj Mahal he built for Mumtaz, albeit in black. Hi son, Aurangzeb, was so outraged at the expense of it he over threw his father and locked him in the Red Fort for the last 8 years of his life. There he was able to gaze upon the beauty of the original building. BTW you can listen to the many songs on this album on any streaming device just look for swo8 Blues Jazz.


Knossos by swo8 Blues Jazz from the album Efharisto in iTunes

We stayed in a rather simple hotel in Iraklio, Crete. Crete is Greece’s largest and most southerly island. It has been inhabited since the Neolithic times (7000-3000 BC) and is probably the heart of the Minoan civilization. The British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans made some dramatic discoveries in the early 1900’s. He uncovered the ancient palace of Knossos. It is still in the process of reconstruction but it’s an exceptional find especially the many frescoes of Knossos. The photos are my own and if you ever venture to Greece this is well worth the visit.

The Beginning by swo8 Blues Jazz Lyrics by Rajiv Chopra

This is a beginning of sorts and what better way to celebrate than to listen to the wonderful lyrics of Rajiv Chopra in this video. Rajiv and I under took this collaboration some years ago. It was to reflect on the myths and legends of the world. What better place to start than at the beginning. The vocal is Big Dio. Rajiv also designed the visuals in the video.

Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5: Aria (Cantilena)

Happy New Year to one and all. I leave you with this haunting vocal by Renee Fleming, it was featured in the movie Bel Canto. Heitor Villa-Lobos was the composer and wrote a series of nine pieces. It represents a fusion of Brazilian folk and popular music on the one hand and is a Bach-inspired Brazilian piece. I highly recommend the movie. Try to remember all the beauty in the world.

Mere Renard by L. Martel

This is a new painting I’ve been working on called Mère Renard (Mother Fox). It is 12″ x 16″ oil on canvas and I’m afraid I may not be able to part with this one. That’s the trouble when you get attached to your work.