Showing posts from July, 2012

Sunday Fun

So yeah…I dragged ass out of bed and went to my AM church gig.  More of the same kind of vibe (or more correctly, lack of vibe).  We kind of threw together some hymns and worked through a sixteen page chart, and then one after that that was probably around ten pages.

The performance was OK.  Tommy Dodd (of pedal steel fame) was there again, so he and I were sharing "fill" space, and the music didn't have that much space to begin with.  I felt really disconnected from what we were doing.  We did one song with a percussion loop.  The vocalists sang to the slap they were hearing off the back wall and the rhythm section played to a click (all on headphones).  I was in the middle, I guess.

We finished the service, and everybody in the band EXCEPT me was invited to play the second service (a repeat of what we'd just done).  One of the other guys asked if I got the email about staying and I said no, but then I had to ask the band leader, who shot me down.  Ouch…that was a…

Melting Point

Yacht Rock was back in Athens for two sets at the Melting Point--part of an 80s prom event.  We played forty-five minute sets beginning at 10 and midnight, alternating with a DJ.  Easy stuff!

The Melting Point is not the easiest room in which to play.  The stage is small, and the room is very wide but shallow--you could throw a tennis ball from the stage and hit the back wall.  It has a balcony, concrete floors, and glass windows.  The sound on stage is loud!

The crowd was really into it, which made it really fun.  Big cheers for everything we did…or maybe they were screaming in pain because of the volume.  I know that when I took a sax solo, the sound man would bump me up and it was probably the loudest thing in Athens at that time.

I played much better.  No boneheaded stuff like the previous night.  I think I'm getting over my fear of the Africa solo.  We played True for the first time in months, and I still have that solo under my fingers. Why?  Of all the things to be glued in…

Just Like Johnny Colla

Since I mentioned it a few posts ago, I will begin with one of my signature moments of last night's Yacht Rock:  I forgot to turn my sax microphone on, just like the guy from Huey Lewis and the News.  And I felt just as stupid.

Yacht Rock played our monthly show at the Park Tavern to a whole lot of people (last month was over 2,000, but they vowed to cap it because the June show was more people than the bars or restrooms could accommodate).  I made lots of stupid mistakes like the microphone thing;  played things in the wrong octave (talking about the bridge of Baby Come Back and the chorus of Good Thing AND the synth hook on My Life).  I sucked real bad because I was very, very stupid.

The second set was much better for me.  I didn't screw up the solo to Africa, though I was holding on for dear life.

My new alto mouthpiece is awesome.

Tongue and Groove

Yacht Rock played a benefit last night at Tongue and Groove.  Three quick sets--it went by fairly quickly, and we were finished at 9 PM.

The break:  Tongue.  And Hooves.

The world's worst DJ hastened our fastest load out ever!  In forty-four minutes, we had all our gear (including the PA) out the door and in our vehicles.  It was like packing up in the rain.

CBS in the Morning, Huey in the Evening

7 AM load in at CBS Better Mornings Atlanta yesterday morning!  The Yacht Rock Revue was assembled for a promotional appearance, touting The Greatest Yacht Rock Revival in the Universe (August 18 at Park Tavern).

We've played several of these, so it's not really a big deal anymore--I don't think there are any nerves involved.

We did a few quick segments (going to commercial), an interview, the weather, and two longer segments (Maneater and Can't Wait for Summer).  Here's the latter:

CBS Atlanta 46

Pretty cool!  Too bad my solo at the end didn't make it.  Actually, maybe not.  I didn't play anything worth hearing again.

After that, I went home and taught lessons.  Yuck.

Wednesday night, Yacht Rock took a field trip to Chastain to watch Huey Lewis and the News and Joe Cocker.  Good stuff!  Huey played all his hits;  Joe had a better front of house guy.  Huey had three sax players (and an obnoxious trumpet player);  Joe had one.  Huey had a bari and two tenor…

No Sleep Till...

Ugh.  It's a week of not sleeping at normal hours for me.  Sunday morning, I was up early (after getting home late) to go play my church gig.  In between the AM and PM gigs, I worked in the yard.  That night, I stayed up until 4 AM working on Yacht Rock tunes for a Tuesday rehearsal.  I got up Monday morning at 10:30 and continued working for most of the day, finally going back to bed at 5:30 AM.  Tuesday.  I got up three hours later and went to my rehearsal.  I came home just before 2 PM, ate lunch, and went to bed.  I woke up at 8 PM, ate supper, and did some stuff (worked on reeds, packed clothes and gear for tomorrow morning, took a shower).  I'm headed off to bed now (2 AM),  but I'll be up at 6 AM to play CBS Better Mornings Atlanta.  7 AM load in.  Ouch.  I'm totally out of my groove.

Church Gigs

Sunday…church gigs.

My AM church gig featured The Georgia Spiritual Ensemble.  They were fantastic.

My PM church gig was pretty good.  No problems.

Actually, there was a problem with the lectern microphone.  It runs through the church system and not my mixer, and for some reason it was not on.  After the first reading, the reader was looking at me, so I went in the back, found the mixer.  It was definitely getting signal.  I turned the volume knob up, and the band started distorting, so I put it back where it was.  Somehow, that fixed the lectern microphone, too.  I am a genius.  Dave saves the day.

Busy week ahead!

Cafeteria Wedding

Yacht Rock played a wedding yesterday at the Botanical Garden.  We were in the Day Hall, which is really just a high school cafeteria without the fold up picnic benches.

I guess we were more Constantly Awesome--some Beatles, some Yacht Rock, some bar covers (Honky Tonk Women, American Girl).  Not much to report…the usual wedding stuff.

I've developed some kind of serious mental blockade against the first few notes of the Africa solo.  It could be anything, and then three beats into it, my hands snap to the right place, and the rest is fine.  That first note, though…I can't find it to save my life.

Tonight's break:  Botanical.  Garden Salad.

SX Recording

I recorded today for Ben Allen, who is producing a record by the Belgium band SX.  The song was called Beachmaster--sort of an 80s thing.  I was copping a previously recorded sax part which followed the vocals.  Mark Cobb has been laying down drums for them for the past week.

Really, I thought I'd be better at it.  I had my chart and I was ready to go, but still took me forever to nail the phrasing of the chick and the time feel of the original sax.  Way longer than I thought it should.  I thought I'd be quicker at it.

So it goes…I was in and out in under an hour, and everybody seemed happy with it.  Success!

Minority Report

I played a salsa gig last night…my last one ever?

I have mixed feelings about salsa gigs.  I get to play a lot, I like the music a lot, and it's not a wedding reception/micromanaged event, but it's kind of a rule that the circumstances surrounding the gig will be ridiculous.  This one proved to be no exception.

I have done five gigs with this band, and for every gig I have had to write charts for everything (with the exception of one tune that carried over from the first to the last).  It's usually about a dozen tunes, and I'd guess that I spend, on average, an hour per chart.  For this gig, I wrote ten charts.  Three songs were changed at rehearsal, so I wrote three more charts.  On the gig, the singer couldn't remember the words to a song, so we skipped that one.  So that's four charts (and four hours spent) that we didn't use.

I showed up at 9:15 PM.  We did some kind of sound check.  It was a mixer and monitors tied into the house patch situation (we us…

Organ Trio!

I finally found an opportunity to do an organ trio gig with David Ellington!  We'd done a duo thing at a restaurant last December, and we talked about playing some more, but it just never seemed to come together.  I got a call about doing a jazz gig and then doing one of those House Live gigs with a DJ right after that, and they wanted to have the percussionist for House Live also play on the jazz part.  Sax, drums, and keyboard sounds like organ trio!  Yay!

So…here we are!  Ellington on organ, Phil Smith on drums, and me, trying to keep the Microsoft people happy by playing impossibly quiet in the acoustical nightmare that is the High Museum atrium.

David Freeman Organ Trio-July 18, 2012 by David B Freeman

The House Live gig was easy…supposed to be two hours, but nobody showed up for the first half hour…thankfully, because I was not in the mood.  My alto mouthpiece played great, though!

Athens Recording

Yacht Rock was in Athens finishing up last week's recording project at David Barbe's studio.  Rewind!

Sunday:  I played my two church gigs.  The AM church gig had no horn section--just me.  It also featured a guest vocalist from Nashville.  I guess the music department is doing different things (weekly) while the main pastor is not around.  The previous week featured a bluegrass band (and therefore, none of us).  Anyway, this chick sang about half of her stuff to tracks, so we stood around a lot.

P.S.  Singing to tracks in front of people is karaoke, even in church.  Totally weird.

The PM gig was fine.  Lots of vocalists.  I was tossed a solo on a tune on which I had no intention of playing, and I played two really horrible wrong notes before I found the key.  It felt like F, but they were in F#.  Ouch.

Monday:  Big day at work!  My day to record for the new Yacht Rock song.  We first laid down the trombone parts (with a guest trombonist, though I did write the chart).  I think…

Piedmont Park Quartet

I played a jazz quartet gig yesterday morning at the Green Market in Piedmont Park.  We made lots of fans--I gave away all my homemade DVDs and business cards.

The band was comprised of Louis Heriveaux on keyboard, Kevin Smith on bass, and Chris Burroughs on drums.  Everybody played pretty well, though 10 AM is really early to start a jazz gig.  I felt like I couldn't get anything going, and I tried to inspire the other guys to play more aggressively (which would hopefully get me going).  In some spots, it definitely sounds like we're at odds with each other--I'm going nuts and the band is really playing it cool.  In the second set, I think we got a little more together.  I always feel like I'm failing when the band doesn't read my playing as I think they would;  maybe I need to go with everybody else instead of trying to drag them in a different direction.

Here's audio:

David Freeman Quartet-July 14, 2012 by David B Freeman

Odds and Ends

It's been a pretty low key week for me.  Here's a quick wrap up:

Sunday:  my AM church gig was cancelled, but I still had the PM gig.  It was pretty solid;  Beth sang with the group.  I had a good sax solo on one tune.

Tuesday:  I have a salsa gig coming up next week, and we had a rehearsal.  Usual stuff…I wrote out maybe fifteen tunes, only to show up and and find out that three of them we were no longer doing, but they chose three more, so now I've got to write three MORE charts.  At about an hour a chart, that's not cool.

Jose Manuel Garcia is playing piano for this gig.  I hadn't seen him in a long time.  He's a super nice guy and a terrific pianist.  Check out his website!  Good stuff.

We also have a really good bassist, using one of those Ampeg baby basses.  He really knew all the tunes well.  I was thankful that he kind of ran the rehearsal--no bullshit from that guy.

Thursday:Yacht Rock rode out to Athens to do some work on our originals at Dave Barbe'…

Summer Tour, Part 2

Back on the road!

Wednesday:  the Yacht Rock Revue got up waaaaaaay early (for me) and flew to Baltimore to pick up our gear, all right where we left it.  From there, it was onward to Washington DC for our next gig.

The show in Washington was at Kastles Stadium, which is a tennis stadium right on the Potomac River.    It was broiling--really uncomfortably hot.  We shared the (thankfully covered) stage with an opening band, and neither they nor the audio company knew quite how to get their stuff together, so even though we were a little late getting there, we stood around and sweated for a while before things finally got moving.  Thinking about it now, I'm kind of surprised that one of us (in YRR) didn't get annoyed enough to start telling everybody else what they needed to be doing.

We waited in an air conditioned portable office.  Short on seating, but it beat standing in the heat.

The show was pretty lukewarm.  I don't think we played poorly--in fact, the playing part was…

Summer Tour, Part 1

Yacht Rock is in the middle of a pretty big (for us) east coast tour.  Here's what's happened so far:

Wednesday:  we left Atlanta and drove all damn day to Washington DC.  Lots of driving, napping, and talking.  We made a lunch stop somewhere in the Carolinas, which turned out to be great. Most of us hit a Whole Foods.  I bought twenty bucks worth of fruit and two slices of pizza.

We stopped in Richmond for supper at a place called Millie's Diner--super good food and cool people.  They had those at-the-table-jukebox-selector things.  Thelonious Monk was on there!  I played both--Monk's Dream and Trinkle Tinkle.

The band spent the night in the same crappy hotel that we had stayed in on a previous trip.  Our room smelled like they'd bombed it with five gallons of carpet cleaner.  Bad stuff.

Thursday:  one nice thing about staying at the same hotel is that we knew where to go for coffee.

More driving…eventually, we made it to the Lincoln Tunnel, where we encountered a t…