I learn so much from these guys: Dave Merrill, Ed Kelly, Jay Alcorn and Scott Davis. Don’t let the grey hair fool you: these guys are badass musicians. They are also incredibly kind.
Freestyle Variety Band, Des Moines, Iowa http://freestylevarietyband.com
I’m on the Board of Advisors for Girls Rock! of Des Moines. Girls Rock! is a fantastic program for girls ages 10-17 to learn about music, songwriting and performing. This year’s camp was a success and we’re planning next years camp. Stay tuned for more details.
Jazz In July: Des Moines, IA. I’m playing at 3:40 with my good friends in One Nite Stand. We’ve been rehearsing a variety of tunes we’re sure everyone will enjoy. Songs by Bob Reynolds, Christian McBride, John Scofield, David Sanborn, Jaco Pastorious, Grover Washington Jr., and many more! Stick around after our set because my friend Gabriel Espanosa takes the stage at 6:30.
New video from Cleo’s Apartment. This track was recorded last year and the video was made by Mikiel Williams. Among the 1000 photos, keep your eye out for a bald tenor saxophonist: that’s me!
Saturday November 3, Bob Reynolds master class and Jonah Smith & Charlie Hunter at Bombay Bicycle Club in Des Moines.
Now that the election is over, I can tell you about my weekend. It started on Friday with a gig with Freestyle. Every year for the past 27 years, Freestyle has played during an auction to raise money for Hospice of Iowa. This year, $12,000 was raised!
Saturday afternoon, Bob Reynolds presented a master class at Reiman’s Music in Des Moines. I snapped a photo of him warming up. Having studied with him for the past two years, I was familiar with a lot of things he had to say but I still learned something: “Always play with intent.”
Following the master class, I headed back to work a few more hours at GC. Right as we closed, two guys walked in. They said they were with P-Funk and just wanted to look around. George Clinton and P-Funk were performing at Val Air Ballroom. It turned out to be the drummer and his runner. So, while we cleaned up the store, we got to listen to P-Funk’s drummer warm-up on a drum kit for about 20 minutes. It’s random things like that that make the job cool.
I headed to Bombay Bicycle Club at 8pm. Jonah Smith and his band were doing their soundcheck when I got there. After the soundcheck, I spoke to Bob Reynolds and we discussed the challenges of mic’ing a saxophone and the difficulty of communicating with a sound-guy about how you want your saxophone to sound in the PA. Just before 9, Jonah’s band started their set. I had never heard the band before. They sounded great! Soul tinged Americana. Fender Rhodes, Tele, P Bass, jazz kit and lots of vocal harmonies. Bob joined them near the end of their set.
I don’t have any pictures of Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola playing. It’s not that I wasn’t close enough. I was side-stage standing next to Bob. It’s just that I was so dumbfounded and amazed at what he was playing that taking a picture didn’t really cross my mind. They way I’ve described it is my face hurt from smiling the entire time and my head hurt from trying to figure out how he plays a seven string guitar. In case you’re not familiar with Charlie Hunter, he plays bass lines, comps chords and plays solo lines all at the same time. And while he’s doing all of that, he’s verbally joking with Scott, the drummer, and making funny faces. You have to see it to believe it. After Charlie played, I went across the street and ate breakfast with Bob and Jonah’s band. I still had an hour drive home after that but meeting new people and hanging is always a pleasure.
Sunday was a normal day at GC. I was very happy to get home that night and sleep.
Monday was awesome! A co-worker hooked me up with a parking spot close to where Obama was speaking in downtown Des Moines. I had dinner with my wife and son and we headed downtown. So to recap, my son got to meet Michelle Obama when he was six and at age 10, got to hear Barack Obama speak AND hear Bruce Springsteen sing! The photo in my previous post is the only one I have. The extra street lights were so bright that the other photos did come out well. There are plenty of professional photos from that night on the web. It was very cool to be with 20,000 people in support of President Obama the night before he was re-elected.
I just finished listening to Stone Sour’s new album. I tried twice earlier today but interruptions prevented me from really enjoying it. Following the debates, I retired to the Man Cave and listened to it all of the way through. It’s a great album. It’s heavy but doesn’t miss the mark like so many heavy albums do. I like it because the songs aren’t predictable. There’s a lot of depth on this album. The instruments are recorded extremely well. I’m looking forward to hearing Part 2.
So, what’s going on with me today: I’m back on Twitter after a much needed vacation. It turns out I’ve missed some events like Christian McBride performing in Des Moines. Super bummed about that one. I wasn’t in the loop about the Stone Sour show announcement at Wooly’s. Both shows sold out before I could do anything. I did learn about Bob Reynold’s master class at Rieman’s music on November 3rd and that same night Charlie Hunter is playing at BBC with Amos Lee opening. I’m super excited about that day. I also found out that Branford Marsalis is performing in Ames on November 11th!
In technology, one of my LaCie hard drives stopped working yesterday. The one with my recordings, Native Instruments’ libraries and all things Music Software. Oh well. My saxophone is safe from getting lost on a hard drive.
I’ve bought my ticket and I’m making plans for my trip to The Netherlands and Belgium in January. I’m going to hang with my niece in Utrecht for a week and then meet up with my wife, who is performing at the European Clarinet Festival, in Ghent. I’m taking my tenor and I hope to jam with as many musicians as I can while I am there.
I’m going to get back to practicing. xoxoxo
I’ll be there!