Showing posts from April, 2010

Super Busy!

Fear not, readers, for I am not dead or incarcerated.  I am so busy that I have not had any time to write in my blog.

Monday was a five hour jazz trio gig (and a rehearsal in the morning).

Tuesday was a Yacht Rock roller disco gig at Masquerade.

Wednesday was a Please Pleaserock Me gig (and a rehearsal in the morning).

Thursday through Monday we (Yacht Rock) are on another boat!  This one is the Kid Rock "Chillin' the Most" Cruise.

More consistent blogging will resume next week.

Sailing Up and Down I-75

Yesterday I drove up and down I-75.

Yacht Rock played the Atlanta Steeplechase (which was located in Rome, GA!).  I woke up super early (for me) and drove down I-75 into town to meet up with the rest of the band.  We drove back up I-75 to Rome to play the gig.

The event was in a private tent at the Steeplechase event.  Unfortunately, the weather was terrible--rain and lightning throughout the event.  The band played well and the food was ok (BBQ sandwich with bottled BBQ sauce).  We rumbled through, stopping for each of the races.  Evidently horses don't like music.

First came the "release the hounds!", and then the race horses came through.
It is with great sadness that I must report that my aviators were retired today.  The left lens has popped out a couple of times, and I think it's time that they be recycled.  A sad day for Yacht Rock.

Afterwards, we loaded up (in the rain) and then spent an hour on a farm road inching our way back to the interstate.  We rode dow…

Thin Thursday

Yacht Rock last night at the 10 High was a thin one.  We couldn't have asked for better weather (which lately has meant better crowds), but last night was slim picking.  I was outside on the break, and there was nobody even walking on North Highland.  The entire area was a ghost town.

We played pretty well, particularly in the first set.  The second set descended into boredom, which for us means that we started twisting and pulling on the ends of songs, making them into strange concoctions of noise.  It was a relief to finally get to the end of the set and be done with it.

All of my stuff worked well.  My new laptop gave me no problems--it did exactly what I expected it to do. I did have a few moments of terror, though.  Fifteen minutes before I left home, I set it all up to double check that it would work perfectly, and that's when I found out that my MIDI to USB convertor was not talking to the computer.  AAHHHHHH!  I downloaded a driver from MAudio's website and things …

Macbook Pro

Yesterday I bit the bullet and purchased a new laptop--a Macbook Pro.  I put my old version of Logic on it and brought my "Yacht Rock" sounds into it, and it works.  Success!
My plan is to upgrade Logic later this year to the most current version (with Mainstage).  I am currently using Logic 7 (which predates Mainstage).  What I'll do is get it all set up on my desktop, and then transfer it over once I'm satisfied that it will work on the gig.
Hopefully this means I can breathe easier for the next couple of years!  This year has been a tense one for EWI playing!

Robo Trio

David Ellington (piano), Kevin Smith (bass) and I played a trio for the Robotics convention last night.  It was a very easy hit.

After a string of gigs with really poor saxophone playing (both at my own things and Yacht Rock gigs), I think I was better on this one.  My articulation had gotten very heavy, and it made everything I played sound laborious and slightly out of sync.  Maybe I got lucky, but I tried to be lighter with my tonguing, and that seemed to make it all flow better.  I hope it will translate to my alto playing, which has been the main offender.

We had an Elton John impersonator play two songs in our set.  He was outstanding.  Unfortunately, none of the robo-dorks was around to see him.  He played for us and his handlers!

This recording is definitely better than the past.  I found a group of presets in Waveburner that really works well.  Further evidence that I don't know what I'm doing.  There's some weird distortion that doesn't turn up in the progra…

Hal and Space Capone

Last night the Yacht Rock Revue kicked off a summer concert series at the Park Tavern.  My laptop felt like this would be a great time to freak out and not work.  I spent an hour and forty-five minutes opening and shutting it, turning it on and off, and popping the battery out and holding down the power button, and praying to Steve Jobs.  Eventually I gave up and started lining up sounds with the thought that I would MIDI into my top keyboard (Korg Triton).  I even borrowed Nick's laptop (with a newer version of Logic) to try and see if I could work with that.

No luck.  I'd given up on it, and as I was packing it up and bitching to another musician, I turned my laptop on one more time and it worked perfectly.  I set it up with the EWI and played the gig with no problems.

Space Capone (from Nashville) opened up for us with a great set of 70s inspired funk.  Great stuff.

The Return of ?Mark

The one and only Mark Cobb came back to the 10 High last night.  He's been on hiatus with the birth of his son.  His playing was inspired.  I love what he brings to the gig.

Greg Lee was out due to the birth of his daughter this week, so Greg Partridge filled in on bass and did a terrific job.  His playing was super smooth--it was like he'd been playing with us for a while.  Ganesh Giri Jaya came by and contributed Greg Lee's vocals.  It never ceases to amaze me how Nick, Pete, Greg (and Ganesh when he's there) are able to reassign harmonies at soundcheck and then remember them at the gig.  Very impessive!

No problems last night.  I fiddled with my alto mouthpiece earlier in the week--it turns out the table was not flat!  That's why the thing would feel different as the reed dried out.  The altissimo, for instance, would be great at the beginning of the gig, but later on it would be really tricky.  I thought I was moving back on the mouthpiece, but I think when I w…

The GOP bores us at 8 Traxx

Tuesday night Yacht Rock played a private party for the Georgia Young Republicans at 8 Traxx Disco (formerly Andrews Upstairs).  It was the most boring party we've ever played.  I have no idea how many people were expected to show, but my guess would be that there were maybe 150 people there.  It was brutal.  Too bad, too, because we were actually playing well (until we got bored).  Mark Cobb played with us again (he is officially back) and he was on fire for that first set.  It was everything I've been missing.

The massive embarrassment of the night goes to me for forgetting to play the sax part on Careless Whisper.  I think it was in the third set and I just spaced out...I was mentally plotting out what I needed to play on keyboard and got caught not paying attention.  From the laughter onstage, Nick must have given me some kind of big lead in, but I never heard a word of it.  Good thing there was no one there to witness it.  All night I'd been checking off songs that I…


Last night I played a quartet gig with Tyrone Jackson, Kevin Smith, and Marlon Patton.  It took me well into the second set before I finally got comfortable--I'm not really sure why.  I warmed up before I left home, but I just had a really difficult time getting my head and hands in sync.  I think that at least part of it was that I was (once again) overblowing, and I got handcuffed by trying to play full-bore from the first note, which left me nowhere to go.  Once we got into the second set, I felt like things calmed down for me and I played a little better (though my reed at that point was indicating its intent to die on me!).  The first set was rough...lots of dumb mistakes.  I tried to read charts that I didn't really need to look at (Song for Bilbao, Turnaround), and I guessed wrong on the endings of a couple (Naima, Punjab).  By the time we stopped for a break, I was beat from my reading miscues, but I'd made so many mistakes I kept looking to the lead sheets for hel…

Workplace Psychology

Saturday night I was fortunate to pick up a jazz gig for a corporate reception downtown--1,200 industrial-organizational psychologists.  I was informed that they were workplace psychologists--"we study why people are or are not happy in their jobs"--which I thought was kind of funny considering how difficult they'd been at my job!  Let's just say the event was not well run, and for a two hour event there was a good four hours worth of bullshit.

The band tonight was Tyrone Jackson on keyboard and Kevin Smith on bass.  We also had an old man play clarinet with us (who was pretty dang good!), and the former president of the organization sang and played piano (not so good).
We played mostly my tunes, plus a couple of Pat Metheny songs, a Joey Calderazzo thing, and an Ellis Marsalis favorite.  We had a great time playing!

Here are the mp3s:

Leigh was our handler for this event.  She made sure I didn't strangle anyone.

Schooner Invasion!

The Yacht Rock Revue was boarded by the Yacht Rock Schooner last night and held hostage in on own ship.  Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad...Nick, Cobb, and Dannells were out last night, so Kevin Spencer, Ganesh Giri Jaya, and Shannon Pengelly filled in.  It wasn't really that different--Cobb's been out for a while, and I've played the last few Schooner gigs with Kevin and Shannon.

The 10 High changed the start time to 10 PM, which made for happier patrons (who still rolled in around 10:15 PM).  I think it was better for our collective psyche, too, to have some people in the room while we were playing.

We ended up with a pretty solid crowd;  it was pretty much as packed as last week, which is to say it was fairly stuffed, particularly around the bar.  They were definitely rambunctious and fine looking people (women)!

No gear troubles to report, though I think that I should probably move up to some harder alto reeds.  The reeds I am using right now are fine, but when I lean …

House Live lives at Ventanas

Tonight I did a House Live gig at Ventanas (again!).  Nothing new to report...we ate at Baja Fresh across the street, the weather was nice, the views were great, the gig was about some pictures?
This is what Reggie looked like when I left.  Note the agony in his face.

Here's Wayne and Jeff at Baja Fresh eating chips.  We ate three baskets of chips while we waited thirty minutes for our burritos.

My burrito.

My bowl of salsa.

The chips.

The cup.

Wayne eats.

Jeff eats.

At one point during the gig, a helicopter came in for a landing on the roof.  They might have been giving rides.  I went up there on the break hoping to score a ride, but there was no helicopter.

Weird picture, ain't it?

The Baja Fresh guys were up there providing food...we could have eaten for free!  They were set up right next to us.

The view while I awaited my helicopter ride.

If there'd been a helicopter parked here, I would've been in it.  Maybe next time?