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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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh so dreary
I can't help it. I'm feeling lethargic and unmotivated. I blame it on the weather. The past 2 days have been dark and drippy. All of last week was the same. We did get a break over the weekend but that just wasn't enough for me.

But I'm fighting the dismal-ness with all my might. After all, it isn't as if I don't have anything to do. Still working on finishing up a couple of brochure projects, my Ezine is due out next week, the Jazzscope is coming about, and of course now I've got 2 blogs to maintain. And my other career, ya know, the music thang, can always use work.

Inner rhythms
Been banging on the drumset in the basement a bit. See, I always wanted to play drums as a kid--my metal Snoopy lunchbox made a great snare drum (I did manage to save enough allowance to buy a real pair of sticks) and my sister's variously-sized toy blocks served as a replacement for the full kit (excluding cymbals) I never had.

By the time I was old enough to join band, though, my parents tried to convimce me that the flute was a much nicer instrument and besides, all my friends were playing flute! So I signed up for the woodwind, and truth be told, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Took private lessons and everything, then decided I wanted to join jazz band in jr. high so I took up the sax. In college I discovered jazz and I haven't looked back since. But I never lost my longing to play drums, so...I married a drummer! Ha. Take that, Mom & Dad...now I can play whenever I want. And you don't even have to listen to me :-)

Anyway, the kit is set up in the basement so every now and then I go down an pound on it a bit. I actually have a few specific things I'm working on...got ahold of a couple of Kevin's teaching sheets, so my bossa novas and a few samba-type things are coming along nicely. And of course, who doesn't like to rock out now and then? I'll attempt a few pseudo-funky grooves (I'm sure I sound as white as can be...but who cares? It's just me listening) for fun. (No complaints from the neighbors yet, so we're doing just fine.) I got rhythm. It's the coordination thing I'm concerned with.

Blogging around
Did a search on jazz blogs just now. I don't think there are that many out there but I did find a few for your browsing pleasure. Of course, they won't be nearly as entertaining as mine...ha.


Both are significantly brainier than my beloved JazzWriter. Of course.

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Monday, October 25, 2004

Blogging squared
So I've launched a second blog, this time for business purposes. Thought it might be a good way to offer additional info about my writing biz as well as various tips and such. Actually, I really need to define the purpose of this blog before I add to it (there is now one measly entry...but feel free to view here). This is a part marketing, part...well, a way to make me write regularly, even during slow weeks. Sorry, no music stuff will appear in the new blog.

Guatemalian greetings
The Crawfords have put up an online album with some great pictures. I'll attempt to make this link active but it's all HTML code and I'm not sure that it will transfer well here.

Andy says he's not been thinking too much about music (he's busy learning Spanish and other sorts of cultural things!) but did mention that he's considering having a marimba built once he and Erin arrive at their permanent site for the next couple of years. Cool.

This week's gigs
This week it's just Thursday at Panache and Friday at the Pere. Doing a quartet on Thursday, with myself, Kevin, Dan "Sweetie" Diefendorf, and Doug Falk. Should be fun. I hope the crowd is a bit larger than last week. After 2 folks joined us in the second set last time, there were more band memebers performing than people in the coffee shop! (employees not included) That's kinda sad. BUT the folks there were appreciative. Maybe they felt sorry for us?

More later, if I get time to post.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Makin' up for lost time
3 days in a row...3 posts. Here's this week's gig schedule:

Thursday, October 21 @ Panache
with Trefan Owen (guitar) and Jamie Jenkens (bass)
7:30-10:00 pm

Friday, Oct. 22 @ the Hotel Pere Marquette
with the Fulton Street Gang
5:00-7:30 pm

Saturday, Oct. 23 @ the Rhythm Kitchen
with the Swing Daddies
7:30 - 10:00 pm

Support live music!

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Attention Musicians!
Just wanted to post a link that all musicians should read. Lots of good, practical advice here, for leaders, sidemen, and everyone inbetween. It's by Ken Watters, contributor for AllAboutJazz.

Read & enjoy!

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Sunday, October 17, 2004

A post...finally
Apologies for neglecting to keep this blog updated. Things have been really busy and unfortunately, the regular postings have received the short end of the stick in the process. So sorry!

Actually, I did post something last week. It was kind of long and ranting...and the next thing I knew it disappeared before I tried to post. That's probably a sign...I wrote it after a gig and I was complaining about ettiquette and I'd hate for anyone to identify himself/herself (ya right, like there are more than 2 people reading this...and I'm confident that they don't even know this thing exists) but you never know. I don't like to make anyone mad. But if you cant vent in your own blog where can you?

Very excited about it being a Sunday today. I have no real obligations...got to finish the Payton article (it's written but needs a final bit of clean up before sending it on) and I thought I'd fertilize the yard. Yesterday I used my new edging tool to define the flower beds and garden...this $10 tool works like a charm! Very little man---er, woman---power used and it seems to be holding together all right. Plus my hosta bed and the garden look great. Now I just need to get some mulch down and it'll be ready to go for the winter. Much thanks to the This Old House crew for showing me how to do it properly.

Homeowner plugs the "original" makeover show
That's my new favorite show, by the way. The This Old House hour on PBS. Actually, the spinoff, Ask This Old House, is even better...people write in and the most knowledgeable member of the crew pulls up in the trailer and helps people fix stuff in their homes. I've learned a lot and my new goal is to find a way to get these guys to my house and be on the show. I have a few problems I could present...my front windows that have condensation between the panes, a strange impression appears on the ceiling in the hallway...I'm sure if I looked I could find other minor problems. But being a homeowner, meaning I have to spend money to fix stuff (no landlord to call!), I don't go looking for problems. Fortunately, Kevin is very handy and if he doesn't know how to fix something off the bat, he's the patient sort and will take the time to figure it out. Bless that man!

And go to the TOH website if you haven't yet. It's got all kinds of cool stuff...tips, a rundown of older shows, a discussion forum, and a webcam on their current renovation project, an old farmhouse in Carlisle, MA.

Finally...music update
Don't have my calendar on my right now but I'm pretty sure the only gigs to mention for the week are the usual...Panache on Thursday and the Pere on Friday...and a Rhythm Kitchen gig on Saturday. But I'll double check the schedule and post accurate information later this week.

Until then, enjoy your Sunday. And get outside and take in the beautiful colors now before they're lost to heavy frost, chilly temps, and--gasp--snow!!

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Catching up
This week (and last, and the week before...and, frankly, the entire month of September and now early October) has been crazy. I've been working hard to meet deadlines, which normally isn't a problem, but since I've been juggling about 4 projects at at time seems to become increasingly more difficult. I'm pleased to say that I have yet to miss a deadline, and most of my work is turned in early. Part of doing good business--for me--is keeping my word and submitting deliverables within the agreed-upon timeline. No exceptions.

Well, except for one. This exception is the Payton article for WP, but that wasn't really my fault. I had a tough time getting in touch with the agent, and by the time I was able to conduct the interview I had two other hot projects in my lap. I also had contracts for these projects, so they took priority. But I intend to work on the Payton profile this weekend.

I hope. It's Kevin's birthday Sunday and we're celebrating by going to hear the Dave Holland group at the College of DuPage. What better way to celebrate a jazz musician's birthday than to treat him to the sweet ear candy of other, highly respectable jazz musicians? We'll have a great time...I'm looking forward to it. And it's not even my birthday!

Lessons in jazz
I don't mean "go learn this lick in all 12 keys" type-lesson. I mean ettiquette. Allow me to elaborate.

I've been mulling things over for some time about music and ettiquette. (Would make a great article, dontcha think?) I may not be the most exciting or knowledgeable jazzer out there, but there are a few things I think I have a handle on. I'm not naming names, because I know we all do things sometimes that kind of annoy others from time to time. But I'm going to pick two things to gripe about right now:

1. When you come to someone else's gig, it's good to wait to approach the bandstand until you're invited to play. Don't just stand up there with the group the entire night, horn (or guitar, or whatever) in your face, and play ALL night. Unless you're invited. By the bandleader. Especially if you don't really understand how to follow the form of a tune. And if you don't know how to trade fours (4 measures to the drummer, 4 to the others, preferably in solo order) or eights (same thing only with 8) etc. just sit it out. Please.

2. For Pete's sake LISTEN. Don't cut someone out of a solo if they start playing first, or cut them off if they aren't done. Ever. This results in bad karma for the group. I get uneasy when it happens to someone else, even if I'm not playing. How difficult is it to listen? Pay attention? You are not there to make music by yourself--you're there to make music as part of a group.

These sorts of things seem to crop up all the time and I don't mean to sound grumpy, but aren't these the most basic elements of music? Heck, you don't even have to know that much about music to abide by them.

Anyway. For a good rundown of musician tips, check this out.

I'm off my soapbox now.

It's kinda late to list gigs (I forgot to get back to that earlier in the week) so just know that tonight the Fulton Street Gang is at the usual hang. Tomorrow night's a private party. Sorry, you're not invited! :-) But you can crash if you want...if you can figure out where it's at!

Have a great weekend all.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Hello World!
Yes, that means you. And anyone else that isn't reading this, but should be. Ha.

I'm real busy but wanted to take some time to post a bit o' info here today. First, I need to give an update on the Nicholas Payton interview. We talked last Wednesday. He's a super nice guy. And very articulate. He's got definite views about jazz and the youth today...he's an advocate of education and music and holds very positive views about communicating his thoughts to kids today. I've transcribed the interview and when I have time, I may post a few quotes here. Anyway, I hope to write up the profile piece this week and eventually it will appear in WP.

I've got deadlines galore this week so I need to get back to work. 2 brochures and the above-mentioned article. The weekend's gig schedule is forthcoming...watch for it!