Showing posts from July, 2010

More Newcastle!

Last night I began the Yacht Rock festivities by ordering a Newcastle and declaring the possibility that I might get rip-roarin' drunk (to which Nick replied, "Like last night?")  I'm really not that bad.  I in fact did not get drunk, but I was buzzed for the entire night.  It was that kind of night--I hate to say it, but I didn't care.

The crowd was good (and good lookin'--wow!), and pretty appreciative of what we were giving them.  I was surprised at the end of the night that the final count was so high--in front of me there were times when it was thin.  The room must have turned over more than usual.

I was on a pair of great reeds last night and I could hear my monitor really well, so I just went for it.  Things like Baker Street got a little extra sauce;  maybe it was the beer?  I just had to do it.  Kind of givin' it all the finger.

On the other hand, my laptop (the old one) gave me the finger a couple of times!  Something happened a few times--the E…


Last night was Please Pleaserock Me at Smith's Olde Bar.
It was a low energy kind of night.  We've got to figure out a way to get more people to come through the door, I guess.  The crowd last night was ok, but they didn't give us much--it was almost like they were stunned by what they were seeing.   At no point did it feel like they were all the way with us.  I wish there had been a little more unabashed enthusiasm.
The first set I was not busy, so I spent most of my time focused on the awesomeness of Mark Cobb (who is awesome).  He was killin' it.  I haven't seen much of him because he's been out of town and Yacht Rock has been kind of slow at the moment, but he really kicked ass.  
Paul Poovey played trumpet with us last night (Jason Pellett is on vacation).  Paul was outstanding!  He walked in and played the gig with no rehearsals or anything.   Greg Lee played alto last night, and I think it made the tunes we did last night sound better.  Previously he had be…


I played a really easy solo sax/quartet gig in Chattanooga last night--a private party for a couple of hundred lawyers at the Hunter Museum.

The gig included Trey Wright (guitar), Louis Heriveaux (piano), and Kevin Smith (bass).  Dan Baraszu was originally on the gig, but he ended up playing with Will Scruggs for a CC Booker III gig (cool organ/sax stuff with David Ellington and Marlon Patton).

So the gig...I played solo saxophone for an hour in one part of the museum and the trio played in another.  After a break, we played the remainder of the time as a quartet.

These people were LOUD.  While the four of us were eating, the question was posed--why hire us?  I mean, these people didn't need background music.  They couldn't have cared less!  All we did was contribute to the volume.  I don't get it.  Anyway, we had fun in spite of them.  At the end of the night, one of the bartenders came up to sing "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys, so I ran like hell to get…

Typical Thursday

Yacht Rock played our usual Thursday night at the 10 High.  I have nothing more to was business as usual.  I had good reeds on both saxophones, and I integrated a better fingering for a piano part.  I wore one of my new shirts.
See--I told you I had nothing.

The Lucky 38

We had 38 paid attendees at the Yacht Rock Roller Disco.  Ouch.  After my personal triumph the night before, I came crashing back to earth.

What else can I say...I drank multiple beers before we began, and so I assume that the sound was only weird to me.  Ganesh filled in for Mark Cobb (!) on drums, and it felt like the gig was him and me playing in the Bat Cave.  The sound didn't get any better as I gradually returned to sobriety, though, so I think that's just the way it is.

Let's talk equipment problems, shall we?

1.  My effects pedal for my saxophone croaked.  Really, it was only the power supply that died.  It's an easy fix, and I think I only played saxophone on three songs, so it was no biggie, but it does mean a trip to the music store.

2.  My brass sound in my EWI rig (computer!) has gotten all out of wack.  I'm not sure how, but it just sounded terrible and splatty and distorted.  Fortunately I am days away from having my "Mainstage" version up …

Chris Burroughs Collective

I played a really cool with drummer Chris Burroughs at the only jazz club in Atlanta, Churchill Grounds.  I thought it was going to be a public gig, but it turns out it was a private event--somebody had rented out the room and hired us.

It's funny going into Churchill again.  Back when it started out, I used to go and sit in with a couple of friends (Dan Furman and Joseph Patrick Moore), back when the stage was in the front window.  Later on, I used to play at the jam session just about every week.  For a while, I was playing some gigs there as a leader.  At some point, I fell out of favor with management and they stopped hiring me.

Once they opened "The Whisper Room," I went to one last jam session there.  A few years after that, I stopped by one night and sat in with Joe Gransden.  Since then, I have not been in the room.

This being my third time, I would say it was charmed.  The gig also included Tyrone Jackson and Joel Powell (bass).  I had a wonderful time.  I was s…

Peg in Charlotte

Here's an audience video of us playing Steely Dan's Peg in Charlotte last Thursday.

Park Tavern

Yacht Rock played at the Park Tavern in midtown last night--part of the Summer Concert Series there.  This particular gig was our Reagan Rock show--all music of the early eighties.  We like to think of it as a continuation of the smooth seventies hits into the next decade.

This gig was insane.  It sold out--they were turning people away!  Very cool and very surreal.  Lots of people saw us for the first time.  More and more, I don't recognize hardly anyone in the audience.  The thing just continues to grow--business is improving!

Other than that, it was fairly uneventful.  There were a few rough spots, which was understandable considering we hadn't really played most of these songs since the Variety Playhouse gig.  I felt a little more mentally aware than I did in Charlotte--in other words, I didn't feel as crappy about my performance as the previous night!

We had a different sound guy than we usually see at the Park Tavern--last night was Kip Conner, who usually runs sound…

Alive After Five

The Yacht Rock Revue played Alive After Five in Charlotte last night.  It went pretty well.

We all met at the office around 10:30 AM, loaded up, and headed up I 85.  Along the way we had the usual stops for food and gas, and rolled in around 4 PM, I'd guess.  From there, we loaded in, set up (on a really nice outdoor stage), soundchecked and ate.
The gig was not too good for me.  I'm still trying to get used to the new keyboard;  the EWI had another moment of playing itself;  mostly I was mentally unavailable for the beginning of the gig!  I just couldn't get my mindset into what we were doing.  It was like I was spaced out, and I was trying to force myself to pay attention (with limited success).  While that was happening, I was thinking about things like "the split on this keyboard needs to be tweaked" and trying to play around that (and tripping all over myself).  The EWI started playing itself again--it was still registering breath pressure even though I wasn&#…

Let's Get Stoned

Tonight was the Rolling Stones tribute band, known as "Let's Get Stoned," at the 10 High.  For a first gig, it went very well.  We had some small errors, but we made it through the gig without any deaths, and we had lots of good moments.

For me, the gig was cool for two things.  First, (the awesome) Mark Cobb.  Tonight he was awesome because he was pushing and pulling on the beat in a couple of tunes, and I thought it was cool because he was doing it on purpose!, massaging the time ever so slightly back and forth but never losing control.  So impressive.  Mark Cobb is awesome.

I also really dug standing next to Fred McNeal, who really played the hell out of his guitars tonight.  He was so cool and so authentically rock and roll.  No crap from him--he knows the music so well, and his performance was right on target.  I started paying attention to him more last night at the rehearsal, and he really impressed me tonight.

Yacht Rock is in Charlotte, NC tomorrow night for a …

Trio gig

I was fortunate to play a trio gig last night with Tyrone Jackson and Kevin Smith.  It was supposed to be a four hour gig, but when we started at 6 PM, someone came rushing in from the other room and said that they were rehearsing for a big presentation and we would not be able to play until 7 PM.  No problem;  we can wait.  We played an hour, took a fifteen minute break, played an hour, and took a fifteen minute break. When we returned to play the last half hour (9:30-10 PM), the client said, "Great job.  You guys are finished."  Evidently, no one told us the event was ending at 9:30!  So...our gig ended up being only two and a half hours.

I tried to record again last night, but once again my recorder failed me.  It did not record the first set, and the second set was only half the stereo mix.  I think I've gotten my money's worth out of my old recorder.  Methinks it might be about time to upgrade.

Anyway, here's what I did get:

Friday Night in Nashville

Friday night Yacht Rock played in Nashville at the Mercy Lounge, opening for Space Capone.  The show was sold out--we've come a long way from our first gig in that room, which had maybe a hundred people, most of whom seemed to confused by us.

The gig was good.  No disasters to report.  It was really hot with all those people in there, and super loud--my amp could not keep up with the volume.

We spent the night (as always) at the Best Western on Music Row.  Pick's (the dive bar next to the lobby) was quite a scene at 3 AM.

I have a busy week coming up.  See you on the other side.


Last night Yacht Rock played our usual gig at the 10 High.  Not much to report from a band perspective--it was business as usual, and business was good.  Ganesh played drums, but Mark Cobb sat in on most of the first set.

For me, last night was the debut of my new (used) keyboard, a Roland Fantom X6.  I had no problems, other than one of my sounds did not have much attack, so I changed it.  Ooo...I was showing Dannells all the splits I'd set up, and somehow I changed the tuning of the entire keyboard!  Yikes!  Right before we started, I turned if off and turned it on again and things were fine.

Even better than the new keyboard was the Marshall cabinet behind my gear.  Last night I put my amp up there, and it changed the gig!  All of the sudden, I could hear my saxophone on stage.  For previous gigs it was down on the floor in the corner, and when I went out to play a solo it was very quiet.  If I tried to turn it up, it would feed back when I got back to the keyboards.  Last nig…

July 3 and 4

Saturday, July 3, I played a set with the Schooner in LaGrange, approximately seventy miles south of Atlanta.  From what I heard, we played for someone's twenty-fifth birthday.  All I know was that it was in somebody's backyard, and the house and yard were Southern Living immaculate.

We debuted two new songs--Diamond  Girl and Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do).  Both were a little shakey, but for a first attempt in public, they went fine.  I did my part, botching the solo on Arthur's.  As is usual with the Schooner, all my stuff was in the first set, so I got back home around the time they finished the gig.

I went to bed around 1-1:30 AM and got up at 5 AM.  We (Yacht Rock) had to be in Piedmont Park at 6 AM to load for the Peachtree Road Race.  We played as the crowds finished the race and the awards were finished, approximately 8:30 AM til 11 AM.

It was a terrific gig (other than the time frame!).  The sound was terrific;  the crew was pleasant;  the monitors w…


There's a lot going on this week/weekend, and I'm right in the middle of it.

Wednesday night, we played Please Pleaserock Me, which if you don't know is the Yacht Rock guys (plus Jason Pellett on trumpet) playing Beatles stuff and songs from their solo records.  It's pretty fun.  The gig is really easy for me...basically, I have horn section charts and we just read 'em down.  For some reason, I couldn't really get me head into what we were doing.  It wasn't disinterest so much as the blahs.  The gig went fairly well, and we had a decent crowd.

Thursday night was the Yacht Rock Revue at the 10 High--our usual Thursday nighter.  The place was packed, which is always nice!

I still had the blahs heading into this one.  The first few songs were a little "are we really playing?"  Mentally, I had not yet arrived.  Thus, I missed the return to the intro on Grease.  Nice.  It took about half a set to find a groove.

Ganesh Giri Jaya played drums (and Derec…