my life as a professional musician: saxophone, flute, clarinet, and EWI
Blind Willie's Again
Scott Glazer invited me to once again play with his group Mojo Dojo at Blind Willie's tonight. The band also included Mike Ewbank on keyboard, Nick Johnson on guitar, Darren Stanley on drums, and John Sandfort on saxophone. We read some new charts (two I remember off the top of my head: Wah Wah by George Harrison and Blind Willie McTell by Bob Dylan), which left us chuckling amidst the ensuing chaos. Not a big crowd tonight (at the beginning and end of the night, we outnumbered them), so very few got to see us fake our way through Cream's White Room, with Scott trying to read the lyrics off a phone that wouldn't stay open. Oops!
Anyway, Sandfort killed me again. One of the best sax players in Atlanta. Maaaaaaaaannnn...I was doing my best to keep up with these guys.
Cool gig of the year for Yacht Rock: we were invited to play a birthday party for about a hundred people at a house (manor?) in Windsor, GB, just outside of London. Built into that was a couple of days to overcome the jet lag/hang out in London. Vacation time! I was able to bring my family to experience the trip.
Wednesday: we took an evening flight directly from Atlanta to Heathrow. No changing planes (some of the guys took a flight that had a connection in JFK and were delayed for hours).
I watched two movies: The Post and Hostiles. Both were excellent.
Thursday: We landed in England on an hour or two of sleep, took an expensive cab ride to our hotel, and then headed off exploring.
Thursday evening, the entire band took a field trip to Royal Albert Hall for a special concert--the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir performed the score to Close Encounters of the Third Kind as the movie played on the big screen. The room was breathtaking. The sound was bea…
Monday evening, I got a random email asking me about playing a gig Tuesday night at City Winery here in Atlanta. I'd be playing tenor, flute, a little bit of piccolo, and some bass clarinet backing Alejandro Escovedo. Sure, I said. No idea who Alejandro was. The gig was a performance of his album A Man Under the Influence, and also an opportunity to raise awareness about Hepatitis B and C and the link to cancer (he is a Hep C survivor).
Here's the record. I guess you'd call it alt-country? Whatever it is, it's really good. This guy has a great voice and these songs are extra cool.
I met up with the music director and a local violist and cellist for a run through. After working through the music, we had soundcheck (I'd forgotten how long it takes to soundcheck with wedges, even with your own sound guy), a meal, and then the opener began.
I drew the unfortunate spot on stage between two guitar amps. Brutally loud. I didn't hear much of my flute. That's Mitch …
Yacht Rock put up big audience numbers this past weekend, with a sellout in Nashville (600 people), and two nights at Conner Prairie in Indianapolis (4,350 and 5,580). Impressive, no?
Thursday: We're still looking for the right room in Nashville. This room sounds great, but it's kind of small--we need a thousand seater with a good vibe. In the mean time, we play here--Top Golf in Nashville (they call the music room The Cowan). Load in, soundcheck, and then we hit some balls and hung out with our Nashville buddy, Jerry Roe.
We'd been off for almost two weeks, so things were a little rusty. I definitely had a few spots where I hoped that muscle memory would save me. For the most part, it was a pretty solid show, though.
The crowd was so-so. The people across the front line were, by and large, unenthusiastic, which didn't help us with the energy. Maybe 'cause it was a Thursday? Lots of blank stares. Not sure what was up with that.