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Listening to winter's soundtrack
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Music has always been important to me.

I am a "boomer baby" who has enjoyed all types of music, from the 1900s through 2013. Musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are unmatched in 2013.

What musicians like Armstrong and Ellington had that is missing today is "soul.’’ What I mean is their souls came alive when they played their "spiritual soul." Though I never saw or heard them in person, that "spiritual soul" comes through in movies and "records," LPs and the old 45’s.

Over the past year, I have listened to more blues and jazz than I had in several years. I have taken a musical journey with the "Empress of the Blues" Bessie Smith, and with Lena Horne, Clarence Carter, Latin jazz, Muddy Waters, George Gershwin, and so many others.

As a teenager, I had a good singing voice. I recall my parents taking me to see the movie "Stormy Weather," starring Lena Horne.

We sat upstairs in the theater as I watched and listened to the beautiful Lena Horne, and I felt that that could be me. However, I had stage fright so bad that I couldn’t open my mouth and sing on stage. And, as life went on, another career path came my way and led me in another direction.

But I still love music, and in the winter, I gravitate to the blues and jazz. I love to listen to what I refer to as "feel music." In my life, I’ve also grooved to some of the legendary R&B singers, doo-wop, rock ‘n’ roll, distinct styles that have enriched my life.

On Sunday mornings, I love to cook as I listen to music, and, of course, sing along. Hearing Billie Holiday sing "Lady Day" takes me to another place. It seems so fitting to cook a good Southern breakfast while listening to this music.

Today’s "with it" music is not problematic for me, though I can’t speak for others. Times change, hairstyles change, music changes. I sort of take music as I hear it.

I can recall when rap first came on the scene, I wasn’t a fan, and to a large extent, I am still not a fan.

However, it is all around us. Even if we choose not to listen, we must listen, because rap is a billion-dollar industry.

But music endures.

Anything that makes us move in our chairs or on the dance floor is something that this world of ours needs to hear.

On my Christmas list this year is a CD of violin music. ... Let’s see if Santa got my e-mail.

Dorothy Frazier Piedrahita welcomes reader comments. She can be reached at