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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Sunday, January 30, 2005

sunday morning coffee

This weekend has been quite the whirlwind, and it doesn't show much promise of slowing down anytime soon. Played gigs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and I have to head to Galesburg tonight to complete the jazz cycle. This will be fun, I'm sure, as it's sort of a reunion with some college pals. I just wish it wasn't a 1.5 hour drive each way and that the gig didn't go until midnight. I've got to haul rear to whip a couple of articles into final form today, and clean up the Feb. issue of the Jazzscope newsletter, AND get my own ezine (for the writing biz) together. Ever feel as if there just aren't enough hours in the day?

Got a comment the other day on my guestbook from a fellow jazz fan with an excellent blog of her own: Jazz Explorations. There are some great recollections of performances here...I especially enjoyed the recount of a performance by Roy Hanes. I've seen him a couple of times, too, and have to agree that his demeanor on stage is somewhat odd. (What's with the cowboy getup, anyhow?) Anyway, I need to write back to this blogger and let her know that I, too, am enjoying her postings. I just need to get all of this WORK out of the way first.

And so work I shall. See you back here later in the week. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend and stay warm, dry, and happy.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

weekend gigs

Don't have much time to post but I wanted to get the gigs online for anyone who may be interested!

Tonight @ Dominic's (Peoria), 7.30-10.30 pm
w/ Kevin Hart (vibes) & Jamie Jenkins (bass)

Saturday @ Dominic's, 7.30-10.30 pm
w/ Kevin (piano) & Dan Diefendorf (drums)

Sunday @ Seminary Street Pub (Galesburg), 8 pm - midnight
w/ the Defrenstration Quartet

Should be good times with a variety of musicians. Sorry I didn't get last night's Panache gig posted. We had a great time despite the small crowd (who says that's a bad thing, anyway?) and were paid an unexpected visit by a friend of Dave Hoffman's, also a former Ray Charles trumpeter, who just happened to be in the neighborhood. He made it in time to play the final tune of the night with us.

Have a great weekend. Once I get this article I've been working overtime on finished I'll have some updates and such.

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Saturday, January 22, 2005

hello cold world


Yes, that's a greeting but it's also a reminder to myself to check out the Hello! feature for Blogspot. Apparently you can upload pictures w/o them having to be posted online somewhere first. It'd be nice to put up a few pics every now and then, especially now that I've got the digital camera. Been taking lots of pics at gigs, mostly Panache and a couple of Kevin's Rhythm Kitchen performances.

Weather update: COLD and snowy. Apparently much of the Midwest got dumped on last night but we here in Central IL are just seeing a few flurries and a lot of wind.

I hope the inclement weather elimniates itself before next week, as I've got a lot of driving to do for gigs. Of course none are in town--I'll be going to Peoria 4 times and Galesburg once. This town is absolutely horrible when it comes to live music. I can't figure it out. A few jazz gigs do exist, but there is virtually no support for any of them. Even though we've got the only radio station with a 24-hour jazz format (WGLT) in practically the whole state, Chicago included. And even though there are 2 universities and 1 community college in town. It's sad, really. There are a lot of good musicians locally and they really deserve greater amounts of appreciation.

Big news: The Yellowjackets are coming out with a new album on March 25. Bob Mintzer said on the YJ fan forum: We're excited about the Altered State cd. It may be the best Jackets cd yet. That gets me pretty excited, too! Their last CD was great (TimeSquared) and the double disc they issued under their own label -- recorded live--was awesome as well. They'll be at the Bistro in St. Louis in May, and Kevin and I plan on going. Talked to Greg, the drummer in my quartet, and he's interested in checking them out too. Should be a fun time. The countdown begins!

Stay warm everyone. Check back again soon.

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

gig tonight

Gotta get this said before tonight...I'm off to a meeting and doubt I'll have time to post later.

Jazz tonight at Panache with yours truly (sax), Dave Hoffman (piano) and Jamie Jenkins (bass)
7.30-10.00 pm

Panache has a new website! Check it out.

Hope to see you out n' about!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

help! my garage smells like pee!

So it's a cold, blustery Tuesday night. I'd love to curl up on the couch in my flannel pajamas and watch another Gilmore Girls DVD but I've got a bit more work to do (cantya tell?). I'm researching one article and gathering info on another for a magazine assignment. Read more about the former here.

Also, I've gotta keep my "day" clothes on because when Kevin gets home we have to haul carpet out to the curb. Long story.

We've been wanting to get some carpet remnents for our home office spaces. Kev also wants to score some carpet for the drum room at Knox. We thought we came across a winning situation the other day when we drove by a house where the owners had piled several large rolls of old carpet at the curb. I vaguely remembered seeing a "for sale" sign in the yard (weeks ago) so I figured the new owners just wanted a new look and decided to remodel a bit, starting with new carpet. So we lugged the frozen rolls into the van and unloaded them in the garage when we got home. Thought we'd be able to cut them to size once they thawed out. From what I could tell, everything looked pretty good.

Until the next day. As soon as I walked into the garage the next day it hit me...and I realized that the owners got new carpet because their pets obviously destroyed this one. Help! My garage smells like pee! LOTS of pee. I'm sure these folks are grinning at the unsuspecting carpet(baggers) hunters that wandered off with their old, smelly floor coverings. Yuck.

Anywho, thanks to our bad we've gotta get this stuff out of the garage TONIGHT. I can't stand it anymore and besides, the garbage guys come tomorrow.

And tomorrow, the garage doors will stay open. I don't care if it's -20 degrees. That space has GOT to air out.

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

for lack of a better title

Whoo-hoo! A "real" person signed my guestbook! I say "real" b/c the first two posts were done my me as a test to see if the thing even worked. Thanks for checkin' in. I hope to hear from more of you! You can say whatever ya want...tell me my blog is the best thing you've ever read (yeah, right) or let me know that it stinks...just steer clear of 4-letter words please. My tender eyes might not be able to handle it.

My email pal in MD sent me a few more of his original tunes, plus a tape of his band playing two of them. Haven't listened to it yet because the tape deck isn't hooked up. But I'd like to read through these tunes soon. I think it's great that many musicians are kind enough to share their compositions with others. I love playing friends' tunes...it's nice to play something different (as much as I love Stella by Starlight it's healthy to run through a fresh song every now and then) and it's good for the audience to hear something different. There are a lot of local folks who write great stuff...I'm trying to play more of their tunes on gigs these days. So thanks for sharing, everyone!

Panache was considerably slower this past Thursday. The kids have gone back to school and the weather is cold, and I think a lot of people just don't want to leave their house. I don't blame them. I considered calling off the gig this week as it was snowing heavily earlier in the day. But it quit by 3 or so, and it was a wet snow so it melted fairly quickly on the roads. We had fun, anyway. A couple of people were even playing attention--we made $3 in tips. At first I thought we only raked in a buck, but two $1 coins were resting at the bottom of the tip jar. I paid 2/3 of the trio $1 each and gave the remaining single to the staff. Some nights you win big, some nights you win small. Doesn't really matter...since the "reformation" the gig is always fun. I sure don't do it for the money!

Got a gig tonight at the Rhythm Kitchen and a Monday night gig as well...some private thing. Don't know what it's for though. Might be a MLK celebratory dinner...if it is, I'm sure we'll be the only white guys in the house.

So local folks, if you're out and about tonight stop by the RK and catch the Swing Daddies! Location: Water Street, downtown Peoria. Time: 7.30-10.30 pm.

Hope to see you there.

And please, sign my guest book! :-)

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

time busters

As if my eyes aren't buggy enough from staring at a computer screen all day, I'm sure I've made them worse by watching 4 straight hours of Gilmore Girls episodes. (Got season2 DVD for Xmas and I'm indulging myself.) And now I'm on the computer again WHILE watching GG.

Sometimes, a girl just has to chill. And tonight's my night.

The rest of the week is filled with meetings and such. I'll have to think when I attend those. And gigs. I'll probably have to think a little then, too.

Speaking of which:

Thursday @ Panache w/ Trefan Owen (guitar) and Jamie Jenkins (bass), 7.30-10.00 pm

Friday @ the Pere Marquetter w/ the Fulton Street Gand, 5.30-7.00 pm

Saturday @ the Rhythm Kitchen w/ the Swing Daddies, 7.30-10.30 pm

Hope to see some folks out.

Gotta get back to Episode 11!

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Monday, January 10, 2005

gray skies, frowning at me

Seems like every entry here gripes about the weather but *whine* it's so shi*%y out!
We haven't seen the sun for about two weeks and it's been cold, icy, snowy, and rainy. All at the same time. I'm ready for spring!

Got my first gardening catalogue of the season. Last year I ordered $80 worth of stuff and only the hostas lived. I accept fault, partly, for the refusal of my caladiums to break the soil's surface, though. I originally planted a half dozen under a smoketree, which ended up with verticillium wilt and had to be removed. When I went to dig up the caladiums, I ended up cutting right through two of them (oops). So those I didn't think would live. (I was right.) The rest, save one, didn't grow at all.

So this year I'm not sure I want to go the catalogue route. I can, however, get $20 worth of plants free with a $40 order, so maybe I'll go ahead and spend the $20, get $20 worth of free stuff, and take a chance. I noticed a mailbox layout/seed package that looks pretty nice. Perhaps I'll give it a whirl.

I have a bit more work to do this afternoon for the writing biz, then I'm gonna drag out the horn and blow a little. I've been playing some soprano lately, something I've usually only done on ocassion in my group. Been bringing it to Panache every so often. There are a couple of tunes we're doing that the sop lends itself to nicely: "Question & Answer" by Pat Metheny and "Morning" by Claire Fischer are the two I'm working on. The hardest part about playing sop and alto is if I end up transposing first on alto and then on sop, or vice versa, I have to try to remember to transpose everything accurately. I see why it's mostly tenor players who double on soprano regulaly...they're both Bb instruments! It is a bit rough on the brain switching from Eb to Bb when reading from a C part. But that's good for me, right?


Gigs for the week will be forthcoming in a day or two. Please check back!

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Panache this week

I'd love to ramble a bit about how icky the weather is (freezing rain & expecting snow later) and about various thoughts in general, but there's work to be done and I'd better get to it.

Did want to post some gigs, though.

At Panache in January I'll be playing with:

Jan 6 - Dave Hoffman, Jamie Jenkins
Jan 13 - Trefan Owen, Jamie
Jan 20 - Larry Harms, Jamie
Jan 17 - Kevin Hart, Mike Nellas

Music is from 7.30-10:00. And we're going to be better about starting on time this year.

Also on Friday this week the Fulton Street Gang is back at the Pere Marquette from 5.00 - 7:30.

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Sunday, January 02, 2005

happy new year!

Well it's here. 2005. Seems it was just yesterday we were cruising the aisles at Wal-Mart, buying up duct tape and bottled water in preparation for the (falsely) predicted Millennium bust.

As many of us do each year, I've made a few New Year's resolutions. They are:

Kick butt with my writing biz . More specific goals are listed on a my bulletin board but I'm sure they won't interest you folks, so no mention of these here.

Get more gigs! I'm staring at a pretty blank calendar right now, save Thursdays & Fridays (the regular gigs). Got a couple of Swing Daddies dates lined up, and I'm in the process of booking some weekends at Dominic's, which recently re-opened. But beyond that, I got nuthin'.

Practice more. Regularly. It's amazing what happens when one practices. You learn stuff. YOu sound better. YOu feel better, even if you don't really sound better. You get more confident. It's an all-around good thing.

Learn more tunes. I mean really learn them. I think I have a mental definiency that won't allow me to memorize changes and stuff, because even though I've played, say, "Beautiful Love" a thousand times, I still can't play at my best w/o the stupid changes in front of me. I'm torn now between spending my time trying to memorize the thousands of tunes that everyone around here plays or really, really trying to play good stuff while reading changes. If I were a great musician this wouldn't be an issue. But I'm not, so it is.

Work out regularly. I've been a member of the ISU Rec Club since we've lived in B-N (3.5 years) and I hit the gym about 1 or 2 times each week. I need to be more diligent about this, 3 times would be ideal. Now that I'm 30 I'm sure my metabolism will be slowing down and cellulite, love handles, and tummy flab will begin to invade. Some of this already has. Yuck.

Of course I have other resolutions. Some are a bit more personal and I won't post those here for the world to read. Some I'm sure you won't care about at all. Heck, you guys probably don't care about the stuff I've mentioned here! Don't blame ya.

That's it for now. Enjoy the last day of the first weekend of this new year!