Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I had a rough trio gig last night.  Tyrone Jackson, Nadav Spiegelman, and myself were booked as a trio for background music at a corporate dinner.  Great, right?  I've probably played five hundred of these--we do our thing, they eat, everybody's happy.

We began with my tune Under a Tree:

You might notice while the piano and bass are soloing, I am in conference with two ladies (agent/hand holder people).  The lady who hired them (who in turn hired me) is freaked out.  Basically, she doesn't like what we're playing and wants to know what else we can do…like…I don't know…blues was thrown out as a different genre, to which I countered that it's going to sound like a jazz trio playing a blues.  Then it went to pop music, whatever that means.  This one stumped me.  Obviously the instrumentation severely limits what we're capable of doing, and who knows what pop tunes we might know between us and be able to pull off.

The best we could do was to play the very common jazz songs that freak out lady would recognize.  Next up was Georgia on my Mind.

From there, I played it like it was wedding band first set, so we hit Route 66, Just the Two of Us, Girl from Ipanema, and What a Wonderful World.  That pretty much sucked all the energy and enthusiasm out of the band.  We continued on for a set and a half like this, bored out of our minds.  In the middle of the second set, we started easing back into stuff we wanted to play, and by the third set we were into the Joe Henderson tunes (Shade of Jade, Inner Urge, and Punjab closed out the evening).  That was really fun.

Better luck next time!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Athfest 2012

Yacht Rock headlined Athfest 2012 in Athens, GA last night.  Great crowd, good weather, nice size stage, easy load in;  bad sound, bad sound, bad sound.  We set up in a hurry (in front of everybody), plugged everything in, and the sound guys couldn't get it together.  It was one of the most awkward line checks ever.  The entire audience got to watch as the crew tried to figure out what microphone they'd just plugged in to what channel.  Not good!

Once we got off and running, the sound guys let a couple of microphones feedback just slightly through the entire set.  One was my vocal microphone, which I unplugged after three songs.  The other…we'll never know.  Obviously, they didn't.

In other news, I couldn't play the horn lick on Rosanna to save my life.  I was 0-4.

Mark Dannells had an atomic flip out after he messed up his solo on Can't Wait for Summer.  Briefly, I wondered if he'd be able to play the remainder of the gig.  After he'd kicked every piece of equipment, he was ok.

I figured out where the microphone is on my phone, so I pointed it away from the drums and towards me.  Less crash cymbal and more saxophone.  You might also be able to hear me cussing when I screw up my piano part.  The solo was not necessarily any better than Friday night.

 Takin' it to the Streets (Athens) by David B Freeman

Home by midnight.  Not too shabby.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Park Tavern Fun

Yacht Rock played our monthly gig at the Park Tavern last night to 1,600 fans.  The show sold out early in the afternoon, but they sold a bunch of walk up tickets at the door.  I'm not sure exactly how that works, but it was PACKED.

Great crowd, great gig!  We did a chronological set, beginning in 1972 and ending in 1984.

Takin' it to the Streets showed up on the set list for the first time in months.  The set list maker does not care for this song.  Naturally, I like it.  We rarely play it.  It seems really silly to me that a couple of obvious yacht rock songs (Baker Street being another) are rarely performed because someone in the band doesn't care for it.  How is any song on our setlist better or worse than any other?

 Takin' it to the Streets by David B Freeman

We slipped our originals in there.  They seem to be getting better, though I sucked on the horn section part.  Thinking in two keys will do that to you, I guess.

 Can't Wait for Summer by David B Freeman

We have a bunch of shows between now and the next Park Tavern gig (July 27).  See y'all out there!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bon Voyage!

The Yacht Rock Revue closed out our four year residency at the 10 High in Atlanta last night.  Has it already been four years?  We're moving on because our schedule is so packed, we can't make it most of the time.  Rather than show up every five or six weeks for our house gig (to ever dwindling crowds), we decided that it was time to let it go.

Naturally, the send off party was super packed.  I went upstairs on the break, and there was STILL a line of people out the door of the Dark Horse waiting to get in.  That's pretty neat.  I can only think of one other "line out the door" night.

The crowd inside was, of course, jammed in there.  I wish they'd given out breath mints at the door.  Lots of very appreciative people--they all made it seem like we were never playing again.  Maybe they misinterpreted Jim's Last Waltz poster?  I even said to somebody, "Why come down in this dirty basement when you could see tomorrow at the Park Tavern?"

While I was standing around waiting for the show to begin, some girl asked me if I straighten my hair (I had my wig on).

"No.  It's naturally straight."

"Do you put gel or anything in it?"

"No, just shampoo and conditioner."

Uhh…the show on stage was a lot of fun.  The special guests were all prepared, and everybody played well.  Jordan Shalhoup got up and played a few section things with me, and I thought those were really cool.  I didn't get a chance to ask Nick (since he was closest to my amp), but I bet Silly Love Songs sounded really neat with multiple saxophones.  Jordan and I were pleased with ourselves.

And then it was over, and we packed up just like every other time in the past four years, dragged stuff out to the parking lot, and drove away.  So long 10 High!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Bird

I played only my AM church gig yesterday (I took the PM gig off).

This gig was not good.  The tunes were a weird mix mash of oom-pah songs with a generic latin tune in the middle.  I don't think they hung together well.  Things we did in rehearsal (introductions and endings) did not make it upstairs to the service.  Plus, the charts weren't very good--one was in the wrong key (untransposed) and another needed editing (some rhythmic things that didn't fit).

Worst of all, though, was our sub sound guy, who had all kinds of trouble.  He couldn't unmute some of the stage microphones, and he got yelled at my the senior minister because he couldn't turn on the lights.  The biggest problem was that he couldn't make the headphone amplifier work, so the electronic drums and electric bass were inaudible for everybody on stage (including the drummer and bassist).  They were also muted in the horn monitor.  Unfortunately, they were coming through the main PA, so had to play in time with the piano, but ignore the slap of the drums in the house.  Not fun.  It was a wreck.  The latin tune, in particular, was an unnecessary challenge.

I heard that the husband of one of the vocalists was so angry with the sound that he went down to the tech guys after the service and flipped them the bird.  Wow!

Obviously, nobody was happy.  I bet there'll be hell to pay this week in the staff meeting.  Maybe it will finally be enough to get things running more professionally.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Second to last Thursday 10 High gig for Yacht Rock.

We had a pretty full crowd last night.  They were a bit ambivalent, particularly with regards to the stage banter, but most people stayed all the way to the end--it makes the gig so much easier when there's an audience!

The band played well, and we had a really good time.  We had Daniel Morrison on drums and Kevin Spencer and Ganesh Giri Jaya subbing.  The only really rough spot to me happened towards the end of the first set--I played some big time bullshit on Takin' it to the Streets, and then we crash landed on the ending.

I've been screwing around with the levels on my EWI stuff, and I think I've now gotten my ENTIRE rig totally out of wack--things were all over the place last night (mostly too loud).  I think I really annoyed Hans.

No Jim Reindel this week, but we did get a Chris Cox showing, which has it's own thing.

One more week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

One of the Guys

I played my two church gigs yesterday…usual stuff.  No problems at either one.

After the second one, I headed over to the 5 Spot for the Marsapalooza, a benefit for Steve Florczykowski and Tafee Patterson to offset legal fees involved in the adoption of their son Mars.  Will Scruggs organized the entire event.  Good music and a good hang (because of Will and Steve's combined musical associations, it was mostly people from Event Performance and Kingsized).

For me, it was super cool because I got to hang out for a little while with some of the other horn players in town--I got to be one of the guys.  Will and I hung out off and on the whole night.  Paul Poovey was hanging out and I got to talk to him for second.  I talked to Gary Paulo for a little while (we have the Indiana U. sax studio connection).  John Sandfort (who was super awesome playing with Paul Garrett's horn band Bumpin' the Mango) and I hung out for a half hour afterwards talking/complaining about saxophones, and then we moved over and talked to Tom Gibson, and then Kevin Lyons came over, and Paul Garrett was next to him.  It was so neat, and it really meant a lot to me that even though we don't play many gigs together, I can still be part of the community.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Yacht Rock played a wedding last night at the Cherokee Town Club, one of the stuffiest country clubs in town.  Gigs like this are a great way to pay my mortgage, but usually not very exciting.  This one proved to be no exception.  We did what we could to entertain ourselves, and got the hell out of there as soon as possible.

At the same time we were occupying the ballroom, the Gentlemen of Swing featuring my friend Vinnie D'Agostino were playing a tiny wedding in a room upstairs.  It was great to hang out with him for a minute.  His second kid is headed off to college.  We are getting old in a hurry.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Druid Hills CC Party

Yacht Rock played a member's party at the Druid Hills Country Club last night.  We were right on the pool deck…I wondered if we'd be sitting in the sun until late in the evening, but the building we were up against shielded us well.

There's always the danger with a bunch of rich people on their home turf that the crowd will turn into super douchebags as the alcohol takes over, but we totally lucked out--everybody was cool all night.  No problems.

Before the party had ended, they'd already booked us for the same party next year.  See y'all next time!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Reindel's Dance a Thon

So…we're counting down to the final Yacht Rock show at the 10 High.  Last night was decent all the way around--the band played well (for the most part), and the crowd was above average.  Everything was cool.  Daniel Morrison played drums with us and played very well.

After the break, Jim Reindel arrived and commenced dancing like a nut in front of Pete and Monkey.  First with one girl…

Around the pole...

and on to a more infamous girl…

And then he wiped out…

That's how the night ended!  Get us out of here!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

House Live, Indy Jones

I got back from the latest Yacht Rock trip, swapped out gear, and headed off to Ventanas for a House Live gig. It was supposed to be a three hour gig, but an hour of overtime was added.  Yay for the money, boo for the brain!  After about two and a half hours, I couldn't find ANYTHING.  Four hours was tough.

To make matters worse, my soprano was not working correctly.  The bar behind the right hand (the three right hand fingers pick up the bar, which closes the key about the top right hand finger) was messed up…or the adjustment screws for hitting the bar were messed up.  Anyway, my soprano was not happening.  I fiddled with it some, but I didn't play it much because of that.  I just had the horn worked on a couple of weeks ago, and I can't imagine why it's so far out now.

After a night of sleeping in my own bed, I had a recording session today for Indianapolis Jones.  I played tenor on one tune and bari on another.  Cool stuff!

Hamburgers, Fireworks, and Golf Tour

Yacht Rock went on the road last weekend on a string of highly profitable private gigs.

Friday:  Savannah!  We stopped somewhere along the way at a hamburger place, right across the street from the first Chick-fil-A.  Not the greatest hamburger.

Anyway, we crossed the bridge and played a gig at a golf club in a permanent tent.  This one was for Lawyers and the Women Who Love Them.  I'd say they were a pretty bland crowd (as you'd expect), but the gig was easy--two sets and we were out of there.

They did some kind of speeches/awards thing before that, so we hung out in a conference room/meat locker.  You could go outside to thaw but the bugs seemed to massing for an attack.

Fireworks over the river!

Saturday:  Columbus, GA.  We crossed the state to get to our next gig, stopping in Macon to eat a hamburger (my third day of this meal) at a nifty restaurant downtown.  Macon looks like it can't decide whether or not it's going to close up shop.

Columbus was a huge wedding--600 guests and 8 PM til 1 AM for us.  The venue was really pretty--daddy brought his checkbook for this one, and the people were really cool (except for the fat girl from Wisconsin) and really good looking (except for the fat girl from Wisconsin).  We had bad band food (but no burgers).  Later on, Greg and I sampled the desserts and discovered just how good chocolate covered bacon can be.

The gig was four sets--50 songs all together.  We did a couple of songs as an encore before it all ended, and they probably would've given us anything we wanted to keep going beyond that.  Thank you, but no.

Sunday:  Florence, AL.  We got up late and boogied over to Florence to play a 10th anniversary party at Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club for The Healing Place, a charity for children.  You can read about it here.  Any gig would be easy after the marathon in Columbus.  We loaded into a tent, set up, soundchecked, and ate BBQ.

fireworks over the golf course!

The first set was no problem--low key and low energy.  Before the second set was to begin, we got word that bad weather was headed our way, so we packed up everything and moved indoors with just a few pieces--drums (no toms, one cymbal), bass, guitar, one keyboard for each of us, one sax, and two microphones, all running through one monitor back towards us, and one main speaker.

It looked like it could be rough, but the "throw and go" of it gave us the adrenaline boost to make for a really fun gig.  Plus, when we finished, we were mostly loaded out!

No rain until we got to the hotel, but it was quite a show when it passed through town.

Up early on Monday and we headed home!  We left Nick so he could play a round.  Keep your base wide!