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, December 27, 2004


A quick note about a new feature, o' devoted readers. I've received a couple of comments on this blog, which is cool (most recently, someone from Argentina. Awesome!). But I thought I'd add a guestbook too, just for fun. Check the link just above the most recent post title to view guestbook or to have a say about something. Or anything. Just be nice, ok?

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the day after the day after

Happy post-holiday #1, all. Whether you celebrated Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Christmas or otherwise, I hope you had the opportunity to spend time with the folks you care most about. I know I did.

Holiday #2 is just around the corner and it's one that, to my knowledge, everyone celebrates regardless of his/her belief system. And that would be the new year.

I have no gigs lined up for this festive occasion, which on one hand is too bad, because New Year's gigs generally pay very well. On the other hand, I don't really like to be on the road when three quarters of the folks out partying are driving themselves around, so not having to work is actually ok. Kevin and I have managed, during the past several years, to either take the same gigs on New Years Eve or to take the night off completely together. This year we're both free. And that's just fine with me.

I'm in the process of setting up both January and February at Panache. Since we've got a groove going with personnel, I figure it'll be easier to set up 2 months at a time and not have to worry about another month sneaking up on me and realizing that I don't have a group put together for the next week. Well, this may still happen but it won't happen as often. Baby steps, my friends...baby steps.

Anyway, as soon as I have the lineup established I'll post it here. This week is good to go, however:

December 30 at Panache with Mike Nellas (bass) and Kevin (piano)
7.30-10.00 pm

Hope to see some of your smiling faces there. :-)

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

penultimate gig of 2004

That's right, the next-to-last gig of this year (for me, anyway) is this Thursday at Panache. We'll feature Dave Hoffman (piano/trumpet) and Jamie Jenkins (bass) along with yours truly. Usual time (7.30-10.00).

Speaking of Panache, I need to thank the staff (John and girls) for making last night special...it was my birthday (the big 3-0) and Kevin arranged for the Panache crew to provide an absolutely huge and yummy cake. And thanks to the band for sounding great as always (Kevin, Myke, Dr.Bob, Jamie) and to all the friends & family that made it out to support the music and to wish me well as I begin to embark on the next decade of life. Thanks to Jane, who, as our new tradition has it, brought me both graduation AND birthday cards (our little joke) and to my folks, who were present and were as supportive as ever (they've got it rough...not one but TWO kids who pursued music...one of which who also married a full-time musician...we'll never make enough dough to buy the mansion-like retirement home you deserve, sorry :). And to those who sent a few b-day greetings via email & voicemail (Peg, Sam). And of course to my wonderful husband, who is truly the sweetest person in the world and makes me feel special, like it's my birthday every day of the year. Love ya all!!

So more music notes...I mentioned some time ago a recording session that I took part in a few months back. You can download and/or listen to some files from the upcoming CD at Springfield's finest guitarist's, Sam Crain, iSound website. I believe the first several tunes are from the new CD. I'm on "Trail of Suds" only, Kevin is on most everything I think. Sam wrote all the tunes. He's really a wonderful composer and talented all-around musician. I need to make a point to start playing more of his stuff. Anywho, take a listen, folks. If you like what you hear, he'll soon have the CD available on his CD Baby website.

Time's up. I'm at Latte Time Coffee Shop, taking advantage of wi-fi technology as I download a new virus scan program. PC Cillin expired and I'm too cheap to buy the full version post trail period.

Happy holidays to all!

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Monday, December 20, 2004

best buy scares me

Wow. Just returned from about 2 hours of shopping and I'm incredibly worn out. It's amazing how waiting in line can really make you sleepy. And why? All you do is stand there. Inspect your fingernails, maybe. Do a little dance every time some screaming kid throws a fit in the middle of the aisle because he/she doesn't belong to you.

Waiting in line isn't strenuous or anything, but it tuckers you out just the same. It tuckers me out, anyway. I'd take a nap, but that just seems like a waste of time. And since I dedicated last Thursday afternoon and all day Friday to holiday preparation--frantically working to finish my homemade holiday gifts and glued to my kitchen churning out dozens upon dozens of cookies for friends--I really feel as if I need to get some work done.

So here we are, back in blogosphere. I guess this could be considered, indirectly, work. After all, I'm writing, and I'm a writer. And one of the purposes of this blog is to promote gigs, as I'm also a musician. So taking into account the creativity it takes to write this stuff (stop laughing, now) and factor in the professional PR aspect and *ding*! We've got a winner. I must be working now, after all.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Week before Xmas jazz

Wow, that last post sounded really grumpy. I don't really hate Christmas, I swear!

Gigs for the week include:

Thursday, December 16 @ Panache w/ Larry Harms (piano) & Jamie Jenkins (bass)

Friday, December 17 @ the Hotel Pere Marquette w/ the Fulton Street Gang

Friday night there are some other gigs going on in Peoria, too:

- Barb Boyles & Roman Paul at Dominics, 8-11 pm

- The Ligionares (reunion gig)at the Rhythm Kitchen from 7:30 - 10:00 pm

I'm going to try to check out these gigs after the Pere is over. Good friend, former college roommate, and fellow jazzer Nikki is coming to town for dinner and entertainment. Maybe we'll raise some hell just like the good ol' days...except for we're older now and I don't know about her, but I'm certainly out of shape re: the party scene. After all, I'm turning the big 3-0 next Tuesday and can no longer tolerate the recklessness of my youth (I'm getting ooooold). But Nikki, well, she's been teaching at Knox and knowing the camaraderie of the music students--it's one big, happy family--she's been keeping in practice at least a bit more so than I. Then again, the poor girl is balancing a full schedule of teaching and doctoral work, so she probably hasn't had much time for extra-curricular activities as of late.

Hope to see folks out this week/end!

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

spam spam spam spam

I wish there was a little music note icon that I could use here...but since there's not (at least, not to my knowledge) please just sing the title to the tune of Monty Python's "Spam" song.

I say mention this after checking the junk mail folder of my hotmail account. While hotmail has been increasingly better about filtering trashy emails, I still see quite a few from spammers with ingenious names such as big:di:ck and bigger:man. Of course they are trying to sell me organ (not the musical intstrument this time, guys) enhancers...but can't they see one simple problem: I'M NOT A GUY. Therefore, their product will not help me. Not no way, not no how.


Tis the season and finally, since we put up some lights outdoors today, I'm beginning to feel a bit more in the seasonal spirit. Or maybe it's because we just got done watching "A Very Brady Christmas." Hokey show, but for anyone who watched the Brady Bunch growing up, you'll appreciate the familiar humor.

So the outdoor lights are up. The inside decorations are still to be, but hopefully that'll be taken care of this weekend. Then there are Xmas cookies to bake and holiday cards to fill out and of course, shopping to do. This is one thing I don't especially like taking care of this time of year. Of course it has to be done...and I do love giving gifts. I just hate shopping for them. It isn't so bad if I know exactly what I want to pick out, and can just run in the store, grab the item(s), and run right out. Problem is you can't do that now. There are so many people in ALL the stores--malls (mauls)--on the road--and everywhere else. Nothing is simple.

Kids are sitting on Santa's lap and screaming. Blends perfectly with the holiday carols blaring mercilessly through the speaker system.

Women are leading their significant others thorugh the aisles, and the men are carrying gigantic boxed items in their arms. They are too manly to pick out a shopping cart and insist on toting everything themselves. It's a good workout, they say, smiling fondly at their puny biceps. Problem is, they can't see where they're going and end up running into carefully stacked store displays as well as other people. The girlfriend, or wife, whatever the situation warrants, is so excited about grabbing another item off the shelf that's just perfect for Uncle Jimmy that she forgets to give her man directions. Hence the subsequent crash into the Planter's holiday peanut display, and the crap all over the floor, and the bruises other shoppers wind up wearing when they step on a stray peanut and end up, #&& first, on the floor.

Malls play the same 10 holdiay tunes over and over and over. Not so bad for us mere shoppers, but for the store employees, well that's a different story. (I used to work at Famous Barr. I know.) Their eyes glaze over and they turn to the inquisitive shopper with a crazed(and frankly, quite frightening)look. They've lost their sanity and they really don't care to help you out at all. They just want you gone. They hate Christmas. And who can blame them?

Ok, so I sound like the biggest Scrooge in the world. Please note that I don't really hate Christmas. I quite like it, actually. I just fear public places this time of year. So, I think I'll stay home tonight, boil up a bit of hot chocolate, and put up the tree with my husband.

Cozy Saturday, eh?

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Flyin' high

No, you silly-heads. I'm not really high. I'm just feelin' pretty good right now. And how, you might ask, can you be so upbeat on such a dark, dismal, drizzly, mundane Monday?

Well, since you asked...

I just netted a new assignment (writing-related, or editing, rather) which puts me even closer towards my income goal for 2004. I've been in the biz full-time now for just about a year, and I tried to set my financial expectations fairly reasonably. If I don't reach my goal for the year, I'll still come mighty close. So of course I'm pumped about this, and I'm ready to double that in 2005!

Also, the workday is drawing to a close and I'm taking time for some fun stuff...updating my blogs and my website. Just got a great testimonial from a client--wrote a letter for her last month--and she had some really nice things to say about it. Check it out on my writing blog to see what she had to say.

The weekend was good. Played my first Xmas party of the season on Saturday and it went well. (Thanks, Sweetie, for the gig.) Didn't goof too badly on any of the holiday tunes...even though I haven't played them for a year. It was a nice warm-up for the party Kev and I are playing this coming Friday.

Um...let's see, what else? A new online pal of mine from Maryland recently sent me an original tune...Camp Clave by Bobboj (I'll use his screen name just in case he doesn't want anyone to know who he is...pretty drastic technique, though, since there are just 2 or 3 folks who admit to reading this thing). Haven't had a chance to play it with a group yet, because I keep forgetting to bring the lead sheet with me to a gig. This Thursday we'll try it. I've already stuck the sheet in my folder and will have it with me. Thanks, and I'll let you know how it goes, Bobboj!

Wednesday: Swing Daddies are at Fat Jack's this Wednesday from 7-10 pm. Come out if you can and catch us!

Dan Diefendorf - drummer, leader, and gigmeister extrordinaire
Kevin Hart - organ style keyboard thingie
Treffan Owen - local gee-tarist from B-N
moi - on the sultry sax

Thursday: This week I've got Kevin and Jamie with me at Panache. Should be a fun time. Jamie is doing great and everyone likes playing with him.

Friday: Catch Dave Hoffman with the Fulton Street Gang on Friday at the Hotel Pere Marquette, 5-7:30 pm. I'll be blowing holiday tunes in Champaign that night.