Monday, February 16, 2015

Early December - A Big Move for Johnny

Most of you faithful readers know I've moved from the old homestead,  Moving truly sucks and its especially hard to pack up after living in a house for 12 years.  I used to move almost every year or so.  I moved down to Georgia with all of my belongings in my Chevy Nova.  Now it's certainly more complicated.  I'm still in Marietta, just barely.

While all of this was going on during the first week of December, I still got out and played a bit.  Billy Batts at Capital City Club and then Sweetwater Junction at Spring Hill Country Club down in Tifton, Georgia.  Tifton is way down south, about twice as far as Macon or Warner Robins.  I drove myself as I had a church gig at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection the following morning and then an evening gig at Johnny's Hideaway with trumpet John D. Marsh and his band.  I whiled away my drive home listening and learning a couple of tunes for that gig.  The country club was rather country, but very nice.  The turnout for this dance was a bit thin, but we made the best of it.  A few stuck it out until our final bow and begged for more.  I had fun at least.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Steely Dan Jam at the Velvet Note, November 30, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Crosstown Traffic: Billy Batts Ensemble Is Always Worth the Trip

A Platinum Performance at Berkeley Hall Golf Club: A Beautiful View in Bluffton & How About That Ice Bucket?

This was a road trip that I did my best to prepare for.  Given all that I was going through in retrospect, I did fairly well.  Looking back weeks later, I would say we were lucky.  We being our saxophonist Anton and our keyboardist for the night, the multi-talented Allen Cook.  They rode with me in the Odyssey.  It has it's inherent noises and issues but we made it there and back just fine.  Allen commented on a pull to the left, which I had noted as well.  It turns out that I had a hole in the front left tire (for quite some time, actually).  I think it took a very cold morning and a long drive to Norcross to bring it to my attention with a swift reduction of tire pressure.  At least I was not travelling per se with others in a time-sensitive situation.

We got to the venue a bit early, but better early than late.  I set my gear up and waited for soundcheck.  No worries.  Glad we could have as few minutes to chill.  Early is so much better.  We were outdoors in an open-air tent that was very nice but chilly in the evening.  The view of the golf course and lake behind us was spectacular.

Ice in the urinals... a new way to stay fresh

Third Party at Pastis in Roswell

It's always a thrill to be a part of this fun quartet on a Friday night.  The place fills up with folks young and old looking for a good time.  Glen Perdew leads us through a non-stop jam of funk, rock, and R&B.  This time out he stumped me when someone asked for Skin Tight by the Ohio Players.  I've since worked on it, but it doesn't want to stay in my head.  I do remember us getting through the Eagles tune I Can't Tell You Why.  Another that I have since come to be ready for is Barry White's It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me.  Tunes like that serve to remind me of the classic role that bass holds in pop music.  I hear other players interjecting way too much in my opinion.  I have been told that other musicians just want to hear the root from the bass.  If it's a motif that just repeats over and over, well, that's what we do.  That's what all of the band is doing, and Jaco wasn't on the session.  Laying it down is what makes the song chug along.  Adding fills that most players want to stick in doesn't improve the tune.  It can rob the essence of the groove and draw unnecessary attention to the bass, which detracts from the vocals and other rhythm instruments.  Something to think about.

Glen, Randy, and Derek just glide through the tunes effortlessly.  They are seasoned pros and I struggle to keep up.  That said, I managed to hang and not embarrass myself with my R&B shortcomings.  Certain  tunes I have spent some time with, others I get lucky on.  Glen calls them as he sees them.  Funny that if I work on a song, it will not get called.  Murphy is a strange animal.

Derek had a cool new look.  He likes to keep it interesting.  I could learn from him.

Just a dancer in close proximity