Friday, December 6, 2013
It's just about in the center of the city, this private club where we get to play some blues, some jazz, some rock, really anything we want. It seems that we always take it a bit safe, but then it is a country club and we have been known to play Radiohead. How safe is that? This night we were joined by Pete Orenstein on piano. As his website www.peteyo.com proclaims, he did indeed throw sparks like a great wizard. Inside, as we have been all year long, the grand piano is there for his use. Nice and easy. We didn't sing this week, since Walt wasn't here. Setup was brisk and the level was nice. We stuck to standards, with a few rock numbers for eager crowd. It was notable that we had some dancers at the very end of the night. The hot number: that ol' greasy blues from organist Jimmy Smith Back At The Chicken Shack. I gotta say, when that shuffle is feeling just right, it's the most perfect tune in the world! Mark nailed it with utter conviction. Folks know that simple motif and respond to the groove. Great to end on a high note with the staff and guests proclaiming our keen sense of pacing! Who knew?
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I was summoned by Adrian for the opportunity to get there on the stage at Bella's for the 2nd-to-last "Lefty Hosted" Jam session. He's been hosting for 3 long years and some change now - is that right? It turned out to be another of his great theme nights, this one being the music of Steely Dan. Yes, how could I refuse? We had just played some of these songs recently, so the plan was to go with the same three choices: Do It Again, Peg, & Josie. Robert played on Peg, letting me have the other two. I honestly haven't played Do It Again very much. Randy Chapman sings it in the key of Em, but very few attempt to sing it in the original key of Gm, with that high G to the A in the melody. Walter Becker was the bassist on that album, Can't Buy A Thrill. His playing is perfect (why wouldn't it be), and I especially like to note how he alternates playing the low G for 2 bars, then an octave up for 2 bars, then back down again in Do It Again. It didn't make sense to me when I first listened to the bass track, but it's perfect for the part. It was great to see so many other musicians and to reconnect somewhat with the scene.
I will try to update this posting with some names and other good stuff. It's a big ordeal... check back in a few weeks, perhaps for that.
I played Robert Henson's cool new pawn shop prize: a Steve Harris Precision bass. The seller had it labeled as a Steve Martin bass, so he got it for a steal of a deal. It is a great bass with a "mirrored" pickguard and a nice, fat neck. It feels a lot different than mine, that's for sure. Nice sound and a very cool blue finish. Here are some really nice pics taken by some real photographers from the night.