Showing posts from June, 2010

Tuesday Quartet

Wow!  Another amazing night playing with my friends.  Tyrone Jackson on keyboard, Kevin Smith on bass, and Marlon Patton on drums.

Tonight we tried a new tune of mine (twice).

Here's the audio:

Here's a few photos of the very hip backdrop:

The Loft

Yacht Rock played a gig last night at The Loft on West Peachtree (part of the Center Stage/Vinyl complex).  I'd never played there before (I played a sad little solo sax gig out front years ago), so I was excited to see the inside.  The Loft, it turns out, is a big concrete bunker--not a great room at all.  It makes me wonder why the front of house added so much reverb on everything when we were basically playing in a cave.

The gig was for Have a Heart Foundation.  While we were setting up, a few speakers told their stories to the audience.  It was pretty incredible stuff.  While I was plugging stuff in, a woman told of how her son died in the hospital and gave away his organs (and he helped something like thirty people because of it).  The next lady got up and said that she was walking around with THAT GUY'S HEART!  Wow.  Amazing!

The sound on stage was not very good.  I don't know if it was because of all the concrete or the fact that the stage was hollow or just bad mix…


Last night was extra exciting for me--it was my big debut playing Lonely Boy with the A band.  Up til now I've only played it (twice) with the B band at Wild Wing Cafes way outside of the perimeter.  Since Nick was not there (Kevin Spencer subbing), we were able to add it to the set list.  It went really well, if I do say so myself!  The spot in the breakdown where'd I'd messed up last weekend came and went without a hitch (as we approached that part of the song, I was suddenly very aware of how much I was sweating!).  No problems, though.  I was pumped.  It was fun.  

On saxophone, I had one of those "do no wrong" kind of nights.  My solo on Biggest Part of Me was definitely one of the five best attempts I'd ever had at that song.  Everything I played sounded right and logical, and I had no technical hang ups.  I felt like I could have gone on another five minutes and still played meaningful stuff.  It was very cool.  
It's worth mentioning that Mark Danne…


Monday night I played with the Schooner on a gig for Sam Adams, brewer/patriot.  These gigs are super easy for me, because my only responsibility is to show up and play saxophone.  The Schooner guys pack all the sax songs into the first set, so I usually show and blow, and I'm home before the gig's over!

Once again, I played very well with these guys backing me up.  I could hear really well, and I just went for it on every song.  It was really fun.  The band sounded really good.  Shannon Pengelly in particular played some really rippin' stuff, especially on the second solo on Peg.  Yeah, man!

After my set, I stayed because they had free Sam Adams.  I drank at least a six pack.  I was very entertaining.

Saturday and Sunday

I found this clip of us playing Careless Whisper at the Reagan Rock prom .

Saturday night I played with the Yacht Rock Schooner (our b band), covering the second keyboard part as well as the sax/flute duties.  Also subbing in were Mark Bencuya and Greg Lee.  I asked Greg if it was difficult to sing without playing bass at the same time--I remember Sting saying that some songs are very difficult to perform if he is used to playing at the same time.  He said no--it was difficult to sing songs he's never sung before!

Since it was the Schooner, we got to play Lonely Boy, which as you might know is one of my personal favorites.  It's a fun song to play, and I like the fact that I get to be an essential part of the band on that one. The usual mode of operations is for Bencuya to handle the most essential keyboard part;  I am am much better suited to string parts and things of that sort which cannot derail the band when I suffer the inevitable disaster.  Lonely Boy is a rare moment wh…

Yacht Rock plays pool

Yacht Rock played a post-rehearsal dinner party at a place in Buckhead called The Pool Hall.  A pretty grungy place it was--no door to the men's room--you just walk around the corner and there's a urinal.  Nice!  The back room had four pool tables (only three functioning last night).  It's the kind of place where trash is dropped on the floor and picked up at the end of the night.

The stage was approximately thirty feet wide, but only about eight feet deep, so we set up shoulder to shoulder.  I assume Mark Bencuya played the gig, though I never saw him when we were on stage.  Actually, the set up was not bad.  I could hear everything ok.  I'm not sure how it sounded to someone walking the length of the stage.  You probably got a good shot of whomever you were standing near.

We played the same set list that we'd played the previous night.  Not much saxophone--I think I played sax on two songs in the first set and one in the second.  It was mostly keyboard with some …


Last night was the usual 10 High gig for Yacht Rock.  All in all, not a bad gig!  The crowd wasn't interested in what we were doing, and I think that kind of wore on us after a while.

We went through some of our Reagan Rock stuff again.  Still got it!

Full Tilt!

I did a gig last night with Full Tilt at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead, for the same people for whom I had played Sunday night.

The first set (the "dinner" set) was totally bizarre.  The keyboardist and bassist are a duo, and they would play the keyboardist's original smooth jazz tunes--the rest of the band was ignored or just expected to wander along with them.  Very strange.  The keyboardist would tell us the key, but most of the time it was not the correct key.  We finally played a standard (Wave), but they played it in C instead of D.  Fly Me to the Moon was on the setlist, and when we got to it, the bass player didn't play anything--the keyboardist played left hand bass.  It was a very frustrating hour and a half.  Lots of glissandi.  Bad news.

After we came back from the break, we went into the dance set, and things were much more normal.  What a relief!  I don't think I could have taken another hour of dinner music.

Here a few more Reagan Rock pro…

Sunday Quartet

I played a quartet gig at the Intercontinental Hotel last night.  Unfortunately for us, it was an outdoor gig--yet another opportunity to sweat profusely!  Other than the heat and humidity(which was only bad for the first hour), things were pretty good.
The band for this one was Tyrone Jackson on keyboard, Fuji Fujimoto on bass, and Kinah Boto on drums. For whatever reason, I felt like I was struggling to light a fire under Kinah.  I played with all the intensity I could muster, but I don't think he had much to say about it.  I felt at odds with the band--the more I tried to lead them in the direction, the more I was pulling against the vibe of the group.  Should I have laid back more and gone with them?  I don't know.  I didn't say anything to him because I would rather not tell him how to play;  rather I would expect him to listen to my playing and follow me (at least when I was playing).  Ultimately, the fault lies with me.  Either way, I was kind of frustrated.


Yacht Rock at the Variety Playhouse, Day 2

I'm back!

My previous post was probably a bit dramatic...I'm not dying, or folding, or in need of therapy.  Last night was the Reagan Rock Prom at the Variety Playhouse--our second night there, this time playing music from the early 1980s.

Writing in my blog about my disasters and frustrations is cathartic.  Once I put down how disappointed I was about Friday night, I felt much better and was able to focus on kicking ass Saturday.  I let it go.

So here we go...I got up around noon on Saturday and started cramming for the gig that night, mostly going over a couple of tunes that were bugging me:  the Top Gun anthem, True, andHello.  I headed over to the Variety Playhouse, set up, soundchecked, and practiced some more.  It was really hot and muggy in there, but I assumed they hadn't begun cooling the room yet.  

As we got closer to show time, we heard that the air conditioning was not working!  It was unbearably hot. Everybody was sliding around on their instruments, and we …

Yacht Rock at the Variety Playhouse, Day 1

Is it right of me to allow a 30 second brain fart on one song to ruin the good vibes of an entire gig (and several weeks of hard work that led up to it)?  Probably not, but it's still happening, and for some reason the anger and embarrassment will not release their grip.
A recap of the end of this week:
Thursday:  Yacht Rock played our normal Thursday night gig at the 10 High as a final tune up before we went into the Variety Playhouse for the weekend.  Things went very well.   By the time Thursday morning had come around, the anxiety about performing all of this material (and the potential disasters lurking inside each song) had reached sky high levels.  I set up my gear and worked through every song on the setlist, and by the time I left to go to the gig, I was almost comfortable.
We borrowed Jason Pellett from our Beatles tribute in order to create a horn section for some of the Yacht Rock stuff.  I made charts of anything where we could use him, and then killed a thousand trees pr…

Tuesday Quintet

Tuesday night was an amazing experience.  I played a quintet gig with four friends at the Aquarium, and every second of it was a joy.  The band was Dan Baraszu (guitar), Tyrone Jackson (keyboard), Kevin Smith (bass), and Marlon Patton (drums).  We played eight of my tunes (that, with a break, took up the two and a half hours of the gig!).
I could gush about how freakishly creative and musical each of my friends is, but I think the recording from the gig says it all:

I definitely need to use a camera instead of my crappy phone camera.

I have a HUGE weekend ahead, and I am woefully unprepared.  Tomorrow is going to be really bad.