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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Monday, August 30, 2004

The final days of summer are approaching. Next Monday is Labor Day, a date that has our gullible little brains believing the following rules: "hot weather, bye-bye," "bust out the sweaters and dust for moths," and "banish your white shoes."

None of which is true. At least, not in the Midwest. Although the summer has been cool there very well may be a surprise week or two of humid air that sends us scrambling to chuck on our air conditioners again. Ya never know.

But I digress.

Said goodbye to two very good friends last week. The Crawfords, our Guatemala-bound pals, left on Friday for their 2-year stint in the Peace Corps. It's strange to think that we will not see them for 2 years (and 2 months) at all! They will be missed, but I sincerely hope they experience the best of whatever it is one experiences in South America on such a trip. I know they will truly make a difference in the lives of those they work with.

My September issue of WriteTips (Ezine) comes out Tuesday. If you haven't signed up yet folks, do so! I've been working long and hard on it each month and trust me, there's lotsa good stuff in there for the types who want writing & marketing tips for biz.

And back to the music. Got 2 students now at the music store. One is a flute student and the other is a beginning sax player. The sax student will be fun. The flute student...well, I'm a bit worried. I said I'd take on beginniners since nobody else was teaching flute. First lesson was last week and she pops out her Advanced Rubank book. Granted, she had only worked through a few exercises but sheesh...I'm not even sure I made it to the Advanced before I switched to sax! So, I bought the book too and will try to stay a step ahead. If things get too tough I may have to bail...it's nerve-wracking for me an unfair to someone who really wants to learn. We'll see how it goes. Duets are good. Gotta get a good flute duet book.

Gigs open to the public this week:

Thursday, September 2
Panache with Dave Hoffman (piano & trumpet) and Doug Falk (bass)
7:30 - 10:00 pm

Friday, September 3
Hotel Pere Marquette with the Fulton Street Gang
5:00 - 7:30 pm

I may write again before the end o' the week.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Rain. Rain. Go away.

Actually, even though it's rained many of the last several days I'm not too broken up about it. My grass is turning green again. Ya!

Speaking of rain, the Swing Daddies gig was cancelled last Thursday due to the weather. I guess it actually ended up being pretty nice later that night, but about 2 hours before we were supposed to start all sorts of bad weather reports were going around. So, sorry about that, those of you who came out/wanted to come out but didn't because of the rain. Might be a make-up date in September, but we're not sure yet.

It's really great that the Peoria Park District, WGLT, Central IL Jazz Society, and CEFCU are sponsoring live music again this summer. The venue is awesome. It's free, families can enjoy it, and the weather has been, for the most part, excellent. It's a perfect way to spend an evening if you like live music. Let's hope the sponsorship continues next summer.

The gig schedule is minimal this weekend, but I do have a couple of dates:

Thursday, August 26 @ Panache
with Kevin (piano) and Mike Nellas (bass)
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Friday, August 27 @ The Hotel Pere Marquette
with the Fulton Street Gang
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

I should mention that the gigs I post here are for public performances only. Don't want anyone crashing wedding receptions or anniversary parties, or the like. Not that you guys would even consider that....

Lightening is picking up again and I'd better skee-daddle before it knocks out my computer!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Before these gigs pass us by, I'd better post them here:

Thursday, August 19 @ on the Peoria Riverfront (CEFCU Stage)
The Swing Daddies
7:30 - 9:30 pm

I do believe this is Andy's very last gig in town before he leaves for Guatemala. That's reason enough to come out, no?

And subbing for me at Panache the same night:

Larry Harms (sax) and Stephen Anderson (piano)
7:30 - 10:00 pm

I'll be taking weekend gigs off due to a very special 50th Anniversary Celebration: congratulations, my dear in-laws! But you can hear Dave Hoffman with the Fulton Street Gang on Friday night at the Hotel Pere Marquette (5:00 - 7:30 pm).

Oh, and since I'm now plugging the AAJ site, check out what blogger Bret Primack has to say about politics and jazz. There's some interesting stuff here.

See everyone real soon.

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Monday, August 16, 2004

I'm so angry.

I just had a beautiful, descriptive, interesting (for once) post typed out and somehow I deleted the entire thing. Mind if I scream? YYAAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!!

That's better. I'll continue in abbreviated form, I suppose. As much as I'd like to sit here typing overanalyzed, meaningless bits of information, I really can't spend all day in front of this blog.

I started this post b/c I wanted to plug my new article on AAJ. As mentioned in my previous entry, I signed up as a contributor the other day and over the weekend I revised a piece I wrote on the Iowa City Jazz Festival (previously published in the Jazzscope newsletter). Got a message today from the administrator that it had been accepted and is now available for viewing on the site. Take a look if you are so inclined, dear readers.

I'll post more here later describing the worthy upcoming events o' the week--it's gonna be a busy one--but for now I really need to get some actual work done. I have a profile article to piece together and I have to track down some testimonial providers for a publicity package I'm putting together. Sometime this week I also need to get with Band-in-a-Box and start getting inside Sam Crain's original tune, Trail of Suds. He's asked me to play that song, as a guest, with him on his current recording project. Have I mentioned that I'm probably the most wimpy musician on Earth since I love performing in public but am terribly frightened of having myself captured, forever, flaws and all, on CD? But I'm honored that he's asked me to do this and I want to make sure I do the tune justice. It's a great up-tempo bossa nova tune of sorts and it's a lot of fun to play.

So, I'll be back with a complete schedule of events for the week. Oh, and Doug...thanks for admitting to reading this thing, and drop me a comment sometime! :-)

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Found an interesting website the other day called All About Jazz (AAJ). It's full of articles, interviews, musings, and more and is true to its name...it's definitely all about jazz. Apparently anyone can submit articles, so I signed up to do so. I don't have anything ready yet, but I thought an overview of the Iowa City Jazz Festival might be a good place to start. The festival is probably the best-run event I've ever attended, and top name acts headline each year. The setting is beautiful and the people are super nice. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to be a contributor to AAJ. I'll try to get motivated to write something this weekend, maybe.

It would be awesome to actually interview some national jazzers. A lot of clubs, like the Jazz Showcase in Chicago and the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis, are perfect venues for sitting down with the performers for a chat. Problem is, there are usually a bunch of people gathered around also waiting to talk with the featured musicians. So I guess I'd have to go by the book and schedule a meeting with musicians' booking agents. Which would be ok. Some one-on-one time with Kenny Garrett? Or the Yellowjackets? Or Kenny G? (Just kiddin' on that one :-)

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I'm gung-ho today. Two posts in 1 day.

Just thought I ought to mention a few music friends because August seems to be the week of birthdays! So, here's the list:

Happy slightly belated birthday, Larry Harms! (8/9)

And happy birthday to Sam Crain! Read his other b-day wishes on his guestbook. (8/10)

And very happy (early) birthday to Dave Hoffman! (8/16)

My Dad's is also coming up on 8/19...he's not a musician but one of the best music supporters (as opposed to athletic supporters) ever...at least he has always supported his kids. Thanks, Dad! (and happy birthday)

Hope I got these dates right--I'm not looking at my calendar right now. :-)

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Thought I'd post the gigs o' the week before I forget. I'm also trying to remember to provide links with directions/bio information in case any of you dedicated readers want to learn more. Come out if you can!

Thursday @ Panache with Dave Hoffman (piano/trumpet) and Randy Emert (bass)
7:30 - 10:00 pm

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

And Kevin's group is at Fat Jack's this Wednesday
7:00 - 10:00 pm

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Finally, I feel modern. Got set up with a couple of cell phones this weekend. We've been talking about doing this for about...oh, forever...and made the effort on Saturday. Now we can discard the old one--probably the only analog phone still in existence--and use these cool new flip phones with color screens and way more gadgets that we'll ever need. I don't need to do email with my phone, I just wanna make a few calls every now and then. Take pictures with my phone? Thanks, but my (equally out-of-date-as-the-analog-model) 35 mm camera will do that. But I will admit, these extra features (even if they aren't activated on these particular phones) are kinda neat.

Other than that, the weekend was fairly uneventful. Saturday was gig-less, so we shampooed the carpets. Sunday the Swing Daddies played at the gate for the Cheifs game. That was a neat gig. The new ballfield is really nice. And right smack dab in center field is a great view of downtown Peoria. Pretty cool.

I just finished an afternoon of editing and I'm getting ready to head to a *gasp* in-town gig at the Crestwick Country Club. It's short and early and pays well for a Mon. night. Toodles....

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Warning: Sandals can be dangerous weapons of knee destruction!

I say this because I just ripped the $&%* out of mine as I unfolded my legs from my leisurely ah-I'm-done-with-work-at-my-desk-for-the-day position. One leg tucked under the other, no pressure on any one area, no restrictive blood flow to contribute to ugly vein growth. Only when I untangled myself from this pretzel-like position the buckle of my sandal caught my knee and I now have a glaringly red (and still seeping) half circle branded on my skin. When I look at it, it seems to be grinning at me. Trust me, I'm not grinning back.

I was going to write about my semi-productive day...I finished one editing project and picked up another, caught up with some bills and forms due this week, made an attempt to follow up with a few potential writing clients (which means I left a lot of voice mail messages), set a lesson time for a new sax student, and confirmed a gig for next Monday. Sounds like a lot, eh? I still didn't meet my goals for the day, though. I really wanted to get going on an article that's due next Tuesday for B2B magazine and I wanted to get cracking on some brochure content. I didn't get any writing done, but at least I cleared the ol' desk off and will have tomorrow free for the creative juices to flow. Right now, all that's flowing is blood from my stupid knee.

Better go find the peroxide.

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Sunday, August 01, 2004

Had some free time today and I was doing a bit of web surfing. Got curious about the whole blogging concept. Where did it come from? Why is it so popular? Here's an interesting article I found about the history of blogging. Read it if you're interest has been piqued.

Also I found a jazz site that's pretty informative: All About Jazz. There are tons of interviews, columns for musicians and jazz fans alike, and a discussion board. Lots good stuff here. You can even look up musians birthdays--I discovered that David Baker, Hank Crawford, and Frank Zappa share mine--December 21.

Anyway. It's a cool site.