Showing posts from January, 2010

Wild Wing Suwanee

Last night I played the Wild Wing Cafe in Suwanee with the Yacht Rock Schooner (the B band to the Yacht Rock Revue).

It's a strange feeling getting dressed for a Yacht Rock gig at home.  I have become "that guy" when I put on those clothes;  it's weird to put on my clothes and walk through through the house.
I pulled up to the Wild Wing across town--in a shopping center with a Wal Mart and a Dollar Tree, and I couldn't help but think that I was going to kick everybody's ass--in the band, in the audience, in Suwanee.  The environment definitely challenged me.  I was playing with a big chip on my shoulder.

The band played pretty well.  Some things, Peg, for instance, really grooved.  I think they're still trying to find bedrock on some of the other tunes.  I can't remember what it felt like when we started out, so I can't say that we didn't have the same struggles.  We've reached a point, musically, where we have our identity, and I don…

Karate Cobb

Mark Cobb!
Mark Cobb!
Mark Cobb!

Cobb was pretty on fire last night, especially in the first set.  At one point, he took some crazy fill, and kept flipping it over and playing a different way every eight measures.  So cool...I loved it (every version of it).  That stuff really makes the gig for me.

My first set went pretty well.  I actually got off a good solo on Takin' it to the Streets.  I never ran out of ideas.  Bencuya recorded last night (mostly for the banter, but maybe there will be something musically good, too).  The second set he will hopefully erase!  I kind of tripped and kept falling for a couple of songs.  In particular, I totally bit it on All Night Long (I have not mentioned today that I hate that song, so...I hate that song!).  I was pretty terrible.

Last night was judged by Wheat Williams.  Wheat is an amateur musician who knows a lot about the music we are playing, and most conversations with him are either inquisitions or trivia contests.  He and I spoke …

Enthusiasm Tempered with Indifference

I played a last minute trio gig tonight at the Westin Buckhead with David Ellington (piano), and Kevin Smith (bass).  It was some sort of awards dinner thing (my specialty!).  I don't have much to say about it other than the crowd ignored us and we ignored them.  They were really loud, and I couldn't always hear very well what we were doing.
We tried several of my tunes...some were more successful than others!

A Worthless Blog Entry

I ended up with nothing for this past Friday or Saturday night.  It was good and it was bad, as my self worth is closely tied to my gigs.

Sunday night I did my usual church gig.  After watching the football game, I got started on a new project focusing on The Beatles, titled Please PleaseRock Me.  Several songs have horns (either in the original, an excellent cover version, or because we want them to fill up the sound), so I'm pumping out horn arrangements.

This week just got a little busier.  I just picked up a last minute gig for tomorrow night, so I cancelled students and a rehearsal.  Thursday is Yacht Rock at the 10 High.  Friday is Yacht Rock in Nashville.  Saturday is Yacht Rock back in Atlanta.

Not Much to Say

Hey wow, it's been almost a week since I last blogged.

Not much happening this week, musically speaking.  Monday and Tuesday was the usual teaching muck.  I tried really hard to be good and not spew sarcasm.  Some lessons were more successful than others in that regard!  I did teach a handful of students who actually pay attention to what I say, but the majority are not practicing enough and not taking my suggestions.
Wednesday I taught from home, which was a little better, but it's still teaching.

Thursday night was Yacht Rock at the 10 High.  A pretty good show overall.  We had "Good Luck Ganesh" holding down the drums while Mark Cobb is enjoying the weather in southern California.  The on stage sound was a little different from usual--Ganesh doesn't play with the same volume, and that altered the balance.  It's still good, just different.  Anyway, I couldn't hear Bencuya very well (compared to other weeks), so that was disappointing.  Dannells was not …


It's been a busy weekend for sure.

Friday night we played Andrew's Upstairs.  We sold it out again--such a strange feeling (still) to see a line of people waiting to see a gig that I'm on.  The gig itself was pretty good.  I was much more tired than the night before, so I don't think I was as sharp, but I can't recall any major disasters.  It doesn't sound like FM is going to make the cut.  We played it again (debuted it at the 10 High the night before), and people don't give much of a reaction.  That's a bummer.  I love playing it, and I'm pretty good on the string part (and getting there on the sax solo), but I guess songs with long rambling jazz solos don't appeal to these people.  Perhaps Steely Dan is overrated.
Andrews video made a video recording (I would say "taped" except for the lack there of) of the performance.  As usual, I'm kind of curious as to how it sounds, and then I'm also scared that my performance will not …

Back to Earth

Yacht Rock made a somewhat triumphant return to the 10 High last night.  It's good to be back in familiar territory.

When I got there, I got a parking place right next to the door (awesome!), and it didn't take me 10 minutes of wiggling my monster truck into place.  Things immediately got weird, though.  Some homeless guy was poking around between cars, and some lady started yelling at him that the police were on the way--she was convinced that he was looking to make a break in.  Right around that time, the sound man pulled up and we explained to him what was going on.  I was watching the guy as I was telling him the story, and I turned back to face the soundman just as he was pushing a clip into a pistol.  Great...shoot out at the 10 High.

We debuted three tunes last night.  Two (All Night Long and Caribbean Queen) are not my favorites.  I'll just leave it at that.  The third was Steely Dan's FM, known for its famous saxophone solo.  All three went pretty well.  I'…

Rock Boat X



This week, Yacht Rock is headed out of town on a cruise.  We're actually headed out to play a gig on a boat!  In anticipation of this event (Rock Boat X), we added a few new tunes.  The big one for me was FMby Steely Dan, which features a humongous tenor sax solo by Pete Christlieb (who also did the solo on Deacon Blues).  Here's a look at what I wrote down.  The stuff at the end (where they band is vamping an Pete's going nuts) is a little weird because I was writing it down at 2 AM, and it wasn't easy to notate what he was playing.
When we played this tune in rehearsal, I got a massive adrenaline rush.  I mean, those first four measures are familiar to everybody with ears.  The opportunity to play it for real was spine tingling.  Plus, I was sightreading it on four hours of sleep!

As with my Maneater post, you can click on anyone of the above jpegs to view a much more readable version.


So that was 2009...
Yacht Rock played a private party for Six Feet Under at Paris on Ponce last night. I love playing that room! Not only is the load in super easy, but there's just the right amount of space for us (and for the crowd). I can always hear well, and nothing ever gets too loud. Last night's crowd was pretty cool (with no Skynard requests!), so it made for an all around great evening. It's tough to say who played best last night. Mark Cobb played possibly his best show ever. He just came back from NYC last night, and I think being up there for a week really energized him. Mark Dannells was his usual top notch self. I know it's unfair to compare players, but when I hear him play the gig, everything he does sounds exactly right. He also had on a nice new suit (and he helped me load out). We added Maneater last night, and Mark Bencuya's sounds were soooo spot on it sounded like they'd been lifted directly from the record. Wow!
Over on my side…