I'm a freelance writer by day and a working jazz musician by night, and often I am able to combine my two lines of work. This blog is for posting gigs & various rants about music and life in general.

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Location: Central Illinois, United States
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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Well. Saturday night and I've got the night off. Actually, that's kind of a good feeling. The past couple of weeks have been very busy and it's nice to be able to chill a bit. Of course, I have some work I really need to get done (my ezine is due out tomorrow) and a lot of cleaning around the house to do. This afternoon I tackled the windows and now there's a lot more light coming in. I might even save on the electricity!!

Had some very nice gigs this past week. Two with my group and one with the Swing Daddies. I'm thankful to know some very excellent and accommodating musicians. I say this because my bass player and good friend, Andy Crawford, of the past several years will soon be leaving. He and his wife are going into the Peace Corps and will be in Guatemala for the next 2 years. Andy is a wonderful bassist and guitarist, and he will be missed in the local music community! His wife Erin is also a great friend of mine--she's one of those folks who makes you laugh and feel good about yourself in general. Hopefully the two of them will return somewhere near the area after their experience!

But back to the accommodating musician thing...Tim Brickner has been wonderful in that he learned several new tunes--and they aren't all easy!--in preparation for these gigs. He's a busy guy but hopefully he'll be available for other gigs in the future. Don't have anything set up yet but I'm working on securing a couple more Fat Jack's dates (in Bloomington) and maybe a Shoppes at Grand Prairie gig or two, if the person who books those gigs will ever return my (and Kevin's) phone calls.

And in case I forget to do this later, the gig schedule for next week is:

Thursday, August 4 @ Panache, 7:30 - 10:00 pm
Me, Kevin (piano), & Doug Falk (bass)

Friday, August 5 @ The Hotel Pere Marquette, 5:00 - 7:30 pm
Fulton Street Gang

Will update in the event anything changes. Enjoy the weekend!

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Monday! Tried to make today productive, and it worked, somewhat. Got caught up with a few things for the writing biz, but not as much as I had hoped. I've got a few projects on the front burner, and luckily none of them, for once, were needed yesterday. Tomorrow I'll be better. There's much to do!

The weekend was super busy. Took Friday afternoon off and went to a White Sox game with Kevin and his folks. I haven't been to a "real" ballgame in years...since I was about 12 or 13, I think. That one was in Pittsburgh. Things have changed! Now there's a ton of activity...skydivers; fireworks; a giant screen that constantly shows replays, player stats, animated airplanes and pizzas racing (don't ask); and Frank Sinatra impersonators. I swear, folks don't go for the ballgame; they go for the food and the other activities! But it was fun. Enjoyed myself thoroughly.

So, after this all-American evening we got home around 1:30 am. Had to be in Peoria to play for the Farmer's Market at 9 the next morning. Ugh. Fortunately, the skies were blue and the temps cooled down from the previous week, so it was fairly easy to get moving. Rehearsed with my group in the afternoon and played a gig on Sunday in--you guessed it--Peoria. As much as I love living in B-N, sometimes I wonder why we moved here. Since we drive to P-town at least 3 times a week anyway.

So, this week is somewhat calmer. I'm looking forward to the gig on Thursday at the CEFCU stage...my group is playing as part of the summer jazz series. We've got some fun tunes worked up...some Yellowjackets and Kenny Garrett stuff...modern. It will be fun. Also a Swing Daddies gig occurs on Friday. Times/dates:

Thursday @ the CEFCU Stage, Peoria Riverfront (7:30-9:30)
Cassie Hart & Friends

Friday @ the Contemporary Arts Center (5:30-7:30)
The Swing Daddies

Both gigs should be fun. They're for listening crowds, and hopefully we'll appeal to the masses.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Whew! The Midwestern summer is here--hot and humid, and the air conditioner is running full blast. I don't think I'll be heading outside today until I head to Panache to play. Speaking of which, tonight will feature Larry Harms on piano, Randy Emert on bass, and myself on sax. And you never know who may stop by to join the fun! The gig isn't really designed to be a jam session, but when music friends come out it's always nice to have them play.

I just occurred to me that I can use this as a posting schedule of gigs, too. So here's the update for the weekend:

Thursday, July 22
Panache (Peoria), 7:30-10:00 pm

Friday, July 23
Fulton Street Gang @ the Hotel Pere Marquette, 5:00-7:30 pm
I'm taking the night off, but the illustrious David Hoffman will be there on trumpet with the rest of the gang.

Saturday, July 24
Kevin & Cassie Hart @ the Peoria Riverfront Farmer's Market, 9:00am-noon
Piano & sax jazz

Sunday, July 25
Cassie Hart & Friends @ the Shoppes at Grand Prairie, 2:00-5:00 pm
Featuring Kevin Hart (keyboards), Tim Brickner (bass), Greg King (drums), yours truly on saxes & flute

Now, let's see if I remember to do this regularly. :-)

Busy weekend! Maybe there'll some interesting stories to reveal. If there are, I'll be sure to report them here.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

So, I discovered that there are some folks who really *are* reading this, and so I need to be better about updating. Sorry, guys! :-)

Let's see, it's been a crazy coupla days. My sister is getting married this weekend, and this week the festivities began. Since the only time we females in the wedding party could get together was during the week, we had her bachelorette party in Chicago on Tuesday night. What a time! Dinner at Ed Debevic's (the place where the wait staff is rude to everyone) and drinks at Coyote Ugly. Both places were interesting. I learned that I can't drink like a college student anymore since I was out of commission ALL DAY yesterday. Ugh. I forgot how terrible hangovers could be. My dear ol' dad called with a remedy, something to do with orange juice, tobasco sauce, and parsley. Or something of that nature. Of course, just hearing him suggest such a concoction made me scramble for the bathroom again. Thanks, Dad.

Last weekend the Swing Daddies had a gig at the downtown Normal Sugar Creek Arts Festival. Was very, very hot--I think I lost about 10 lbs. of retained water--but the crowd seemed to enjoy us. The GLT radio folks were very complimentary and it might lead to more gigs that they will be sponsoring. (Check it out...89.1 fm on your dial if you haven't already.) The group was: our fearless leader and MC, Dan Diefendorf on drums, Springfield-based guitarist Sam Crain (we played a couple of his tunes...check out his website in my previous post), my talented husband Kevin on keyboards (also a tune-writer), and myself on sax. We've got some more gigs coming up, I'll try to be more regular with my posts and mention them here.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

I've been a bad, bad blogger. Haven't posted in a few weeks. My only excuse is, I suppose, that I've been busy. It's da truth!

We made our annual trek to the Iowa City Jazz Festival this past weekend. Despite a rainstorm that resembled a small monsoon on Saturday, we had a great time. Several folks from our area went, too, including my folks and Kevin's. It was inspiring to see two entire days of musicians of that caliber. I'll admit I did't dig all of the groups, but even the ones I wasn't too fond of expressed excellent musicianship. My favs: Steffon Harris and Blackout, the Yellowjackets (even though Mintzer was absent this time), Patricia Barber, Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana, and Tarrell Stafford.

I'm pumped up to play again, and I even got the ol' horn out of the case the other day and *gasp* practiced!! I've got a festival gig this weekend with the Swing Daddies (Sunday, 2:00 pm, downtown Normal) and I'm ready to play.