Showing posts from November, 2010

The Usual Sunday

I got home from the trip to Athens at something like 4 AM, unloaded the truck, and went to bed around 4:30 AM.  Ouch.  I was up three hours later to chug some coffee and head out to church gig number one.

Church gig number one was the typical circus that I've described in the past few weeks.

The service began a half hour later (10 AM), and last week I asked if rehearsal would be a half hour later.  Yes was the answer I got.  Of course, I showed up at 8:30 this week and they were knee deep in the music, making me look late.

Other than that, it was the typical one song of this, one song of that, one song with a choir I'd never seen before, one song with handbells.  I didn't get any preparation emails earlier in the week this time, so there was nothing I could have done differently.

I've been wearing my glasses to this first gig so that I don't have to force my contacts into my face so early in the morning, and once again I noticed how much I need my peripheral visi…

The Melting Point

Yacht Rock played in Athens at The Melting Point last night.  A great gig!  The sound was wonderful and the room was really cool.

We met up at the office and headed out of town, stopping along the way at our favorite gas station.

The stage was kind of small, but we were able to make it work.  The sound was great!  It was a really good volume on stage, and I really dug that I didn't have to turn up that much because I could hear myself in the house.  Yeah!  The sound guy--Mike--was very good and paid attention to us.  All the solos got a good bump in volume.

I got kind of worried when I set up and we tried my line and got nothing--same thing as at Andrews!  Mike fixed it, though.  It was a problem on his end.

Ganesh played drums with us.  Danni covered for Greg Lee.

My only major flub of last night was the breakdown on Lonely Boy.  It was a reverse brain fart!  I was going along and not really thinking about what I was doing, and right at the break where everybody but me drops out…

Main Street Exiles at the Star Bar

Main Street Exiles played a gig last night at the Star Bar, opening for Nine Inch Neils.  The opened for us.

NIN were really good.  Much like Yacht Rock, they are able to use the kitsch factor to win the crowd over.  I mean, they got the whole Star Bar to sing along to Sweet Caroline, I Am I Said, and Song Sung Blue.

Our set was kind of rough.  We jumped up on stage, line checked, and started playing.  No monitors or anything.  Tony decided to leave the bass cabinet on the opposite side of the stage from where he usually is, so I flipped and stood next to Freddy.  We used a different drummer (Donovan Babb, who played very well).  Cox's microphone kept coming unplugged.

Here's the problem with all that--the songs are really loose to begin with, and Cox needs everyone to be in the right spot so he can be loose, and we need to be able to hear Cox clearly in order to know where he's going in the song.  Instead, all I could hear was Freddy's guitar (which sounded great, but.…

Turkey Eve

Yacht Rock played Turkey Eve at Andrews Upstairs/8 Traxx Disco Wednesday night.  Sold out!  Very cool.

The sound continues to be a problem in that room.  When I arrived, the stage looked like a tornado had just passed through.  Cords were everywhere and a monitor was face down.  The sound guy was kind of putting it all back together.

I was not a fan of the sound guy.  Right from the start, I made a recommendation about where to put one of the monitors (in front of Greg and Bencuya), and he continued moving it further to the side (right where I set up my keyboards).  When I said something like, "That's not going to work," his response was "That's the way it's going to be."  I bit my lip and helped Ganesh load in gear.

Once I started dealing with my own equipment again, I set my keyboard stand behind the monitor in question, and the sound guy moved it, insisting to me that we keep an open path across the stage.  Moments later I saw him pick up Ganesh'…

Church Gigs

I did my two church gigs yesterday.

The first one continues to not quite be organized.  Yesterday was better...we finished the rehearsal early, but then the leader said "Oh, we forgot to go over the offertory song!"  No big deal--he passed out a chord lyrics sheet with chords.  As the soundguy was rewiring the piano microphone (with the lid on the grand piano wide open), the leader said to me "Take the melody," except that I usually put my music on the piano, so I was trying to see it up on top of the pipe organ (which I guess was kind of futile anyway since there was no music, only words and chords).  Then, as I figured out the key of the first song, it segued into a second song with which I was not familiar.  "I've got to have you on melody for this part."  OK.  A couple of thoughts:

1.  If this is going to be an instrumental song and you want me to play the melody, why are you giving me lyrics and not sheet music?

2.  If you knew you wanted to do t…

The Band in the Bubble

We played the infamous (for me) frozen EWI gig again last night.  Fortunately, the weather was much better, and I had no equipment issues.  It was still a little chilly when we began, but this party was full of people that dug the band, so as soon as we began people came out to the tent and warmed it up.

I kept waiting for my EWI to freak out.  One thing I did notice--when I would switch it on, it would get stuck on this "screen."  It would make no sound.

I would then turn it off and turn it back on and get the normal screen.

After the tent got pretty warm, it would turn on directly to the normal screen.  Weird, huh?

Mark Cobb was pretty amazing last night.  He was super groovy.  When he's that "on" everybody sounds better.  Awesome!  I remember thinking "Goddamn he's good!" about three songs into the night.

We played three sets and we done by 11:30.  Actually, I had shut down all my stuff and taken the reeds off both mouthpieces when it was decid…

Cold Beer

Yacht Rock played a gig last night at Sweetwater Brewery--a surprise 40th birthday party.

The low last night in Atlanta was somewhere in the low 40s.  Pretty much as soon as the sun went down, it got super cold.  My hands were hurting by the end of each set (we began around 9:45 and finished at midnight).  Painful.

I was really concerned about the EWI freezing up--it happened last year (actually, it's the same gig we're playing tonight!).  No problems, but it was in my head.  Instead I had to deal with the ol' "acoustic instrument played outside when it's 48 degrees" thing--you know, push the mouthpiece in an extra quarter of an inch!  Not fun.

The musicians' union should have some sort of rule about not playing outside when it's this cold at night.  Really--if Sweetwater had just added sides to the tent, it would have made all the difference in the world.  I guess they weren't thinking about me.  Would I have to join the union to get them to en…

Thursday Again!

Yacht Rock played at the 10 High last night--our usual house gig.  We fared well.

I run my saxes, EWI, and two keyboards into a small Mackie mixer.  From there, the main goes to my powered speaker, and the aux channel goes to the house.  That way, I have independent control from what I'm giving the sound guy.  If he wants more, I can give it to him without disturbing what I've got coming at me.

The Nord keyboard that I am using is going into the third channel on my mixer, and because it's a quarter inch cable, the gain knob does not come into play.  This has always bugged me--the first two channel quarter inch inputs can be affected by the gain.  This matters to me because the output on the Nord does not by itself put out enough signal to reach unity gain (I'm sure the non musician people are drooling by now--sorry!).  Last week it dawned on me that if I could get that line to end in an XLR plug, I could use the gain, and then I could bring the level up to where it nee…

Bach Partita

I recorded myself last night practicing the Bach Partita in A minor.

I had a couple of goals in doing this.  First, I wanted to listen away from the flute and hear if what I was doing musically was working.  For instance, all that stuff on the second page of the first movement--say 2:45 til 3:30--not making much sense to me now that I hear it.  My articulation in the fourth movement is still pretty crappy, I must say.  I'm also trying to breathe more quietly (but still take in air), and it seems like it's getting better.  Sometimes I catch myself faking a breath but not really inhaling--maybe I'm resetting my embouchure?  I don't know.

My other big plan is to confront the psychological issues of knowing that I am being recorded.  For some reason it doesn't bother me on my little jazz gigs, but stuff like this is different.  I can feel myself playing for the recording.  The voice in my head begins writing a critique before I'm finished the first phrase!


Kick it Up for American Water!

I played a private gig for a bunch of public water commissioners last night at the High with Tyrone Jackson and Kevin Smith.  I guess that's how you'd describe them--CEOs of water companies?  Tyrone asked the bartender for three bottles of water for the band, and the guy said, "Not tonight!  These are tap water people!"

We were in a different room from last week, but the same acoustics applied.  We tried to get them to let us set up across the room,

but instead they set us right against the tables so they could use the keyboard later on in the night.

The gig began with solo saxophone, which seemed kind of dumb because the rest of the band was right next to me.  I thought it'd only be a song or two, but it somehow stretched into an entire HOUR of solo saxophone.  The crowd finally made their way to the tables and sat down, and we transitioned to trio.  From there, we played about an hour and fifteen minutes.

I don't think any of us played particularly well.  Th…


I did my usual two church gigs yesterday.

The first gig was even more chaotic than usual.  The band accompanied a group of adults called "Triumph" (they sounded like an amateur theatre group) and a children's choir.  On top of that we had our own usual stuff to do.  The first song was kind of a wreck--it was one of those songs where the meter of the song changes with the words (basically it was in three with an occasional bar of four), and the drummer kept turning the beat around because he couldn't get a clear answer about where on the lead sheet  the phantom bar of four was located.  The bass player transcribed the audio for the song earlier in the week, only to find out that we weren't using that version.  It got pretty tense there for a minute.  I laughed it all off--good thing I'd gotten plenty of sleep for a change!

I hate to be apathetic about the gig, but I figured out a while ago not to put too much preparation into this gig--they mp3s they email out…

Back to Back to Back

I did two gigs Thursday and one Friday at lunch.

Gig 1:  I played a trio gig at the High Museum with Tyrone Jackson and Kevin Smith.  The usual private event.  Playing in the High atrium always sounds really good because of the natural reverb, but it's also the curse--if you push the volume at all, the wash of sound buries the crowd.  We were asked twice to bring the volume down;  for that room, I'd say that's a victory.

Kevin and Tyrone are just flat awesome.  I haven't had any jazz gigs the past few months, and it's felt like an eternity since the three of us got together.  I definitely want to try and do a new recording with them some time in 2011.

In the mean time, here's what I recorded last night:

I tried sushi (for the first time) because it was there and it was free.  It tastes fishy.  I didn't like it.

We had to go overtime, so I went running out of the High and straight to the 10 High.

Gig 2:  I played the usual Yacht Rock gig at the 10 High.  It…

GE Part WR17X11705

You're probably wondering what I've been doing this week.  Not playing gigs!  It's been an incredible year of work, and this just happens to be a slow week.

Last night I did some recording for a guy...he sent me the charts and an mp3 and I recorded flute and clarinet parts for him.  I like doing it this way--recording at home.  I think that's the way a lot of projects will come about in the future, especially with guys who are organized enough to have music written out for you.  I always like that!  It's much easier than having someone sing something to you and then say, "harmonize it!"  Better yet is the "just play what you feel."  I could definitely be doing that from home!

It was easy, too.  I just dragged the mp3 into Logic, made a track, plugged in my microphone, and away I went.  Technology is awesome.

My other major accomplishment was in fixing the ice machine in our refrigerator.  That'd be GE part WR17X11705 (the ice auger).  Cost m…

House of Blues, Orlando

Yacht Rock played Monday night at the House of Blues in Orlando.  It was a very cool gig.  Playing a gig in a room like that makes feel like a legitimately pro musician in a way that playing in hotel ballrooms can never equal.  Even though it was a private event, the sound crew was very cool and very professional, and they know that they are there to help you kick ass.  They will try to give you what you want, be it your own monitor mix, help setting up your gear, whatever.  It's really cool--I mean, most of my gigs, we're treated like servers, so to have a almost a personal assistant was neat (and weird--I'm so used to doing stuff on my own, it's hard to remember to expect someone else to do the heavy lifting!).

Going back to Orlando itself was a flash flood of emotions, even though we were on the opposite side of town from where I grew up.  I lived in the northern suburbs of Longwood and Altamonte Springs from sixth grade til high school graduation (except for six mon…

40 Watt!

Last night (Saturday), Yacht Rock played our first gig in Athens--at the 40 Watt!  Pretty cool way to start out!

The club is cool...really, Athens is just cool.  It was like being back in college, but without all the crushing stress of being in college.  Add Athens to my list of places I want to live after I retire.  Maybe it's just that I miss being able to walk around town.  No can do in the suburbs.

So...the gig went well.  The sound was great.  It seemed dimly lit, but who's to say--I had sunglasses on.  Despite this wonderful write up in the Flagpole, I didn't play much saxophone on the gig--maybe three songs, and two of those were "parts" songs instead of sax solos.  So it goes.

We were followed by Krush Girls--which was a pair of guys who were a DJ.  Really, it was one guy who was a DJ (of the digital variety, I should point out, for the vinyl purists), and another guy who just made lots of hand gestures.  I guess they were good;  I really can't tell.…