/ tuesday, august 26, 2008
Long 9-10 days. Flew to Boston on Sat. Aug. 16, went to Larry Baione's
place in Cambridge about 7pm. Starting to get really tired and only
the first day. Next morning guitar sessions auditions so to berklee
by 8am, audtions until about 2 or 3pm, had dinner with larry and
rick, back to larry's about 8-9pm. Next day start of guitar sessions;
good bunch of students and I picked some new tunes for the ensembles
like herbie's eye of the hurricane and billy drummond's dubai. starting
to feel really tired though and sore throat. worked on the ensembles
during the day, berkleeonline at night. weather incredible though,
70-80° during the day and cool at night. went running by the
river chuck, over to the gym. for a couple of days anyway, then
the sore throat getting worse and eventually a cold. tony gaboury,
incredible musician and incredible person, drove all the way to
boston from portland on friday to pick me up - we then proceeded
to drive to bath, maine and play with steve grover and chris van
voorst van beest on the street for the bath music series. they are
recording a lenny breau tribute and we played through a lot of those
tunes, some of them fairly difficult. played some of steve's tunes
as well and they were amazing. really fun to play with those guys
again. next day drove to bar harbor to play at the bar harbor jazz
festival with same band. about 3 hours each way so a very long day.
bar harbor really beautiful. got to hear the ned ferm trio with
kim cass who i played with a couple of years ago at berklee. really
wonderful trio with a great concept. ned lives in copenhagen half
the year and is on tour the rest of the year. maine sure has spawned
some wonderful jazz musicians. back to berklee via amtrak on sunday,
got to school about noon, worked on the video crap for the shoot
on monday, graded online assignments. feeling pretty bad at this
point, cold really kicking my ass but nothing like the cold back
in february which i think was the flu. slammed through the video
on monday, graded more assignments, went to the gym and felt a lot
better after exercise and a sauna. got to hang with rick peckham
for a bit and that's always a great thing. off to sleep-place by
10pm, up at 5:30, off to Logan, plane on time, on my way home; finally.
steve and tony in bath, maine
backstage bar harbor fest
brittany (sound), steve, chris in bar harbor theatre gig
bar harbor from parking lot
amtrak pic (from isight)
from berklee office
on the lucky star but I finally notice after countless trips (see
pic) that in Boston we tie up to lucky gate 13.
lucky gate 13
I knew it! Boston is unlucky. Been a long couple days. Jetblue to
NY but then took the LIRR instead of the A train which might have
been good except when I got on the B67 bus at Flatbush to 19th st.
in brooklyn i was going the wrong fucking way (got on wrong stop)
which added an extra 45" or so which made my trip door to door
from JFK to 352 about 2 hours. Next day was incredibly hot and muggy
and just got the last seat on the lucky star to boston (must remember
sundays are really busy from ny chinatown) and could not stop sweating.
Very weird but not my fault. NY so hot and muggy like being in a
very smelly steam room - much like the Boston Tennis and Racquet
Club; cheap because of Berklee discount but really funky, mold dripping
from the steam room roof, broken sewer lines often - the smell,
oh, yeah, the smell is funky. But I digress. Finally on the totally
full bus, very heavy rain all the way to boston, bad traffic, bad
smells of many kinds although not much moldy smell, mostly fried
food, the broken Lucky Star bus toilet, something dead on board
which luckily could fit in a garbage bag (placed in bag by reluctant
driver). Red Sox are playing so mass transit a nightmare in Boston
(fucking T! - 2 cars? what's up with that?), way overpriced B&B
with it's own smells and funky toilet. Left Brooklyn at 1pm arrive
B&B at 8pm, expensive sushi at Whole Foods, etc. Caught a few
hours sleep, to Berklee by 6am, video recording delayed until 10am
(actually 11am) by transit problems of others, finally started,
45" break, finish 4:30pm, off to the Lucky Star (see pic) at
5, depart 6pm for NY in rush hour traffic. Changes at Berklee, very
tough video recording, lots to do in Brooklyn and only one long
day, driver surly (I'll call him snarly), boston and environs depressing,
just want to be at home, etc. What shall we (royal we? - nope) do?
And it hasn't even really started yet. In 2 weeks Boston, Austin,
Dallas, Denton, Austin, San Antonio, Austin, Boston, Austin. And
that's the first two weeks of travel time. In the words of The Fly,
help meeeeeeeeeeeeee. And some annoying whistle from somewhere on
this bus, driver crazed and angry, bad karma abounds. But too tired
to care. Wish I had another cheese n' cracker snack packet like
I had at south station in boston. no luck, next stop roy rogers
in connecticut to waste 20" then new york chinatown and no
food in apartment. maybe a deli sandwich.
Stopped in Connecticut at Burger King as Lucky Star is wont to do,
earlier bus broken down, many angry passengers fighting to get on
my NY bound bus - anger, heat, uncomfortable seat, bad smells, my
front row seat now much smaller with large Asian woman sticking
her elbow way into my personal space (remember proxemics?). Finally
to Brooklyn about 11pm - only 6 hours after leaving berklee.
Tuesday brooklyn, clean apartment, grade online assignments, clean
some more, grade some more, email, etc. Wednesday, up early, more
cleaning, long trip to JFK via F train, A train, Airtrain, Jetblue.
Only an hour late taking off so I guess that's good. Good for now.
Wanna go home.
you know the driver talks the entire time
east broadway run down - wheee!
23, 2008 / austin
wanted to get some thoughts down. Bruce Hall and John Hebert were
in town for a few days and it was illuminating. How can such good
people be such good players? It seems to me the nicest people are
the best players. But it was a wonderful experience (for me anyway)
to have them here. All systems go, no overweight (continental) on
the bass coming or going, tacos every meal, a wonderful memorial
concert to Bruce's brother Doug on Saturday with Paul White and
Randy Zimmerman who both played their respective asses off: it was
a good hang. Hebert wanted tacos at every meal so we hit El Chillito,
El Jefe, El Regio, Central Market, etc. and it was all killing.
It was so...much...fun to play with Bruce and John and so very,
very easy. Big ears. Before that played with Steve Schwelling and
Brian Martin on KUT as a trio playing Doug Hall tunes and that was
fun although tough. Tough tunes as a trio. John Aielli was the host
and a really nice person as was engineer Cliff. Played a trio set
with Steve Schwelling and Brian Martin on Saturday and that was
great but the gig we played at Sao Paulo's was much better, I think.
Hard to hear on Saturday at Central Market and not intimate. The
gig was really fun. Long, but fun. The trio set with Steve and Brian
was tough enough then I had to deal with Doug Hall tunes. I arranged
them for quintet and I think the arrangements sounded okay but I
would have preferred to tweak them and really bring out what doug
was trying to say. It's a tragedy that he's gone but also a celebration
of all that he contributed to the world while he was here. Such
a wonderful person and such a great musician. Jessica was wonderful
as usual - totally supportive, incredibly fun to be around and just
a beautiful person - inside and out. We took Bruce and John to Barton
Springs and that was good - I haven't been there since we got married
2 years ago. Sunday Bruce and John recorded over a hundred examples
and exercises for a new online course I'm doing and as far as I
know, that turned out well. I keep thinking I'm going to check the
pro tools tracks and they are going to be blank.
Trying to finish that Berkleeonline class, played on the radio with
Paul White with Kory Cook - really nice guy, gotta do the PW gig
at Elephant Room on Thursday, prepare my video scripts for the shoot
in boston on Monday for the new jazz Guitar II course, grade online
assignments, take Hebert out for more tacos, stay cool, play on
occasion, deal with stress and middle age, not drink too much, return
emails, practice, write, have a nervous breakdown... same old. Old
being the key word. Out to New York on Saturday, Boston monday via
Fung Wah, back to NY monday night (Fung Wah), Austin on Wednesday
noon. It's gonna suck but it will get done.
steve and brian at kut
quintet central market
trio central market
recording online session at haney dr.
john aielli kut taping lull
a great trip to New York with Jess. Long ride on the Belt with Spencer
to start (why won't he take Eastern Parkway?) and not much sleep
the night before so the first night we just stayed in. Next night
went to hear Sebastian Noelle with Satoshi Takeishi, Loren Stillman
and Thomson Kneeland at the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn and they were
killing. Satoshi was just tearing it up but everyone sounded great.
Saw Michelle Gentile, Eric Halvorson and Bruce Hall and that was
really nice. Went to see the waterfalls under the Brooklyn bridge
and by Govenor's Island. Had a drink at the Bridge Cafe in town.
Went to Coney Island (really hot day). Played at Dave Pietro's wedding
and got to play with Jeff Coffin, Thom Christensen, Scott Neumann,
Dave Bixler, Mike Holober, Paul Croteau, Leo Cioglia, Adriano, and
Dave played My One and Only Love for his new wife Jackie and sounded
amazing. Early flight next day back to Austin and played a couple
of nice gigs with Ephraim Owens, Chris Maresh and Kyle Thompson
and some trio gigs with Chris and Steve Schwelling. Now getting
ready to play a memorial concert to Doug Hall next week. Bruce Hall
and John Hebert are coming to town to play and I'm excited about
that. Got my drum set together (finally) and it sounds really good.
Slingerland's from the 60's.
noelle, loren stillman, thomson kneeland, satoshi takeishi / tea
brooklyn bridge waterfall
cyclone / coney island
played a couple of nice gigs last week. One recording with Jason
Roberts at Ray Benson's Bismeaux
studios. Jason is a great fiddle player and I only got the call
because Mitch Watkins had back surgery which is a drag for Mitch
but it was really fun - Mitch would have killed it. Great studio,
great players and I got to meet Ray Benson and see all his guitars
and grammys and stuff. He's got 6 grammys lined up in his office.
Then I played with Stan Killian in San Antonio doing mostly his
originals. Eric Rivas played bass and he was slamming - Clyde Adams
drums also killing and Stan sounded great, too. A lot of fun although
something was going on with my guitar where it kept getting louder
and quieter. Made it kind of a drag dealing with that and the drive
was a bit long but otherwise, really fun. I haven't been keeping
up with this journal because I've been so busy trying to write the
new online course and playing gigs and sessions but hopefully I'll
be better about taking my camera to gigs and writing here occasionally.
Been very hot in Austin and my car A/C has been out of commission
so driving around really sucks. Must fix that next week.
only four days?
convite - mexico city
check @ DIM
had some good gigs with maggie and stan (com voce). flew to baltimore
and played at an die music - nice turnout. ate a lot of pizza, hung
out with maggie, stan, chris maresh and kyle thompson. next day
drove to new york to play up in white plains, kyle using my gretsch
set. the set sounded great! first time on a gig with it. next day
55 bar for the early set. for some reason the 55 has no liquor license
these days so everyone would go next door to kettle of fish to drink
on the breaks. it was so much fun playing with chris and kyle. they
both sounded wonderful. Steven Barber was in town and Chris, Klye,
Adrian (kyle's wife) and I had a couple of beers at the Corner Bistro.
Steven came to the gig at the 55 and he was really gracious. What
a nice person. back to brooklyn and up at 5am to catch the 7am chinatown
bus to boston. how many more weeks of this? got some gigs this week
that will be fun: john fremgen with mitch watkins at the elephant
room, sao paulo's with joao, and trio with steve schwelling. there
is a memorial for doug hall on sunday. i can't believe he's gone.
then next week going to mexico to play with agustin bernal and gabriel
puentes. that will be a lot of fun.
stan, kyle, chris baltimore
chris, kyle white plains
to report. Been sick, been traveling, been teaching. Not sure how
much longer Berklee will need my services. Been in New York about
a week, played with some friends and heard Peter Bernstein at Smoke
with Jimmy Cobb. Peter Bernstein! Wow, he's getting even better.
So happening. Going to Baltimore next week to play with Com Voce
and that will be fun. Going to Mexico 2 weeks after that to play
with Agustin Bernal and Gabriel Puentes and that will be fun as
well. But cannot wait for Berklee to end and the mass transit to
end as well. Can't wait. About 4-5 more weeks of this.
Listening to Kurt Rosenwinkel's new recording and it's amazing.
Listening to Jonathan Kriesberg's trio recording and it's great,
too. Brad Shepik, Dave Allen, Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas... so many
great guitarists. Also been checking out Holdsworth's jazz CD with
"How Deep is the Ocean" and I love that. Scofield, Grant
Green, Wes, Benson...jazz guitar is getting a bit crowded.
Flight is only about a half hour late tonight. It'll be good to
be home—finally. Got some work done in Brooklyn but not enough.
This flu won't seem to let go.
Played a nice concert at Berklee with Rick Peckham, Marcello Pellitierri,
Bruno Raberg and Jim Odgren. They all sounded wonderful and it was
really great to play with Rick Peckham again. It's been too long.
Somehow I get the feeling that that was the last concert I'll ever
do at Berklee.
you know, i feel like i'm back in my whining mode. things are actually
really great. i've got a job (for the time being), get to play from
time to time, got a wonderful wife, a car that runs, an amp and
guitar (maybe more than one of each) that function, I get to listen
to joe henderson, wes montgomery, sco, all these great players,
all the time, i get to play with donny mccaslin, eric halvorson,
don falzone, alexis cuadrado, people like that. as far as i know
my main health complaints are teeth that need fixing, a cold, GERD,
and somewhat high blood pressure (from all the coffee), nothing
major. i've got a gig today. this particular plane might be on time.
stuff like that. life is good. but, still, i feel like the people
who read this enjoy my rants so I'm going to include the next part
anyway, even though I should probably leave it out. but it was kind
of a tough commute.
yesterday it started
okay. not great but doable. i had made it through the first week
at berklee although i felt a cold coming on about 1pm on the second
marathon day of teaching. yep, definitely a cold. packed bag, made
it to logan by 5:30, plane's on time, boarding, my guitar stowed
up above, aisle seat, settled in then: ta da! "well, folks,
got some bad news for you. there is no good news this time."
uh, oh. ground stop delay at both logan and jfk. 2 hours later,
still at logan, the flight attendant leaning over me saying "sir,
do you want to get off in this plane and back into the godforsaken
shithole of a town called boston - we're not going to hold your
connecting flight in New York and you being on the plane reminds
us how bad we really are." why, thanks for asking, miss, but
i believe i'll just mosey, as they say in texas, on to new york
and sleep in a bed rather than in the airport, as idyllic as it
may be. by the way, can I get cab fare, a voucher, an apology, anything,
for what promises to be an odyssey into the first circle of the
inferno. "i don't believe so, sir. how about you just hunker
down in your seat and I'll try to hit you with the garbage bag every
time I walk by?" (insert big flight attendent fake smile here.)
well, okay, if that's all you have, I'll take it. in the end I put
up a huge stink and was vindicated with an $8 breakfast voucher.
take that, jetblue! I'll show you who's boss around here. touche!
got to jfk @ 10:15 pm about 2 1/2 hours late, 1 1/2 hours after
my flight, on time for once, had departed for austin. I took the
subway to brooklyn arriving 1am, slept until 4:30am, back on subway
arriving jfk 6:45am, back on plane to austin about 8am. this is
the life. that voucher got me a clif bar and a coffee. touche! now
in exit row trying to avoid human contact.
gig today with alex coke, duo, way down south, right after rush
hour so have to give myself 1.5 hours to get there. small rodent
still gnawing my insides not helped by daytime cold reliever that
causes anxiety, stomach distress, freezing cold feet, dry skin,
nausea but on the bright side - disorientation. I can almost hallucinate
that i'm back in galveston with my wife, walking on the beach in
the warm summer sunshine. Almost...there...almost....Nope, isn't
working. More cold pills might do it. Hey, I've got Vicodin in my
bag for the teeth thing!!!!! Naw, would never be able to play the
gig. This cold crap may possibly tiredness as well although averaging
4 hours a night for the last 4 nights might contribute. More like
really tired but still have the jitters. What about that for a nickname?
"Jitters." "El Groucho" is more appropriate.
"Snarly" Think I'll do some actual work at this point.
oh yeah, back on the 7am flight to jfk. wheeeee. the holiday is
over - almost. going to ny to do a recording with don falzone, eric
halvorson and donny mccaslin and to do a gig at the 55 with com
voce. spent the christmas break traveling, doing some nice gigs
and going to the dentist. i'm getting so much gold in my mouth that
i'm worth more dead than alive. just like jimmy stewart in "it's
a wonderful life." guess i'm at the end of the movie now but
instead of running through bellows falls i'm running through the
airport screaming at the stores: "hello, austin java, hello
longhorns store, hello ABIA sponsored bookstore, hello pancho's
you old shithole you - how are the breakfast tacos today!"
the dentist sees me coming and just jumps for joy. you know it's
not good when in the middle of my second 5 hour session in the chair
the dentist and hygenist are whispering over me "oh, my, that
doesn't look good." i guess that back around the turn of the
century when i got my fillings dentistry just wasn't as evolved
and every tooth that has a filling, and there are a lot, need crowns.
gold crowns - which seem to cost more than a small car. root canals.
gum grafting. i'm going to need to do a lot more gigs. speaking
of gigs, had a wonderful gig last friday with eli haslanger at the
elephant room. john fremgen, angelo lambesis, eli, and the wonderful
drummer j.j. johnson. man, jj sounds really freaking good. also
had a really nice trio gig with steve schwelling at central market
and some fun trio and quartet gigs with joao vargas and kevin witt.
last night played with joao and kevin at the elephant and mitch
butler made it back from north carolina just in time to do the gig.
That was so much fun.
So, made it to brooklyn--eventually. Spencer had to take the freaking
Belt and there was of course a traffic jam on the long overpass
from the verrazano to the brooklyn bridges. I know you don't want
to bang up your car, Spenser, but come on! After an interminable
drive, finally there. Hour later rehearsing with Don (masta-don),
Donny (mega-don), and Eric (no nicknames for me and Eric).
eric at rehearsal
had a day off in which I graded online assignments and had dinner
with Bruce Hall and Dave Scott and Sarah (don't know her last name)
at a really good Mexican place in Sunset Park. Thursday and Friday
we recorded at Erics/Diego's studio in Sunset Park. You can see
how excited the Dons were on the playback.
megadon & mastadon
okay, no more stupid don names
Saturday I graded yet another batch of online assigments, bless
them - every one, and then went to hear Alexis Cuadrado at Smalls
with his band. Had a magic moment listening to Mitch sing "lately"
to a lady in a fur coat. Real fur. I didn't know women still wore
them. Mitch looking into her eyes and singing "I've had a neckful
of kisses" while wearing a funny hat, his violin slung over
his back, sitting at the bottom of the Smalls steps. Then they had
a nice duet on "The Way You Look Tonight" but Mitch had
to take the bridge. They sounded amazing - really beautiful. I'm
talking about Alexis and crew here, not the Mitch/fur lady duet
although I must admit Mitch sings pretty well! My plan was to go
hear Adam Rogers at the Jazz Gallery afterwards but I was just too
burnt and I F-trained it back to Brooklyn. Sunday I had a really
nice gig at the 55 bar with Maggie and Stan from Com Voce and with
Alexis and Rogerio (nice drummer). Alexis was nice enought to give
me a ride back to Brooklyn. Oh yeah. Now I'm on the Lucky Star halfway
to Boston, ready to dive back into teaching. Kind of like a beautiful
swan dive off the top of a tall building. Actually, considering
my Fung Wah-ness, more like a belly flop off a tall building into
the street. The Fung has increased it's prices to $20 for a trip
to Boston. Whoa! I woke up in Brooklyn at 5am feeling like a small
rodent, perhaps a marsupial, was slowly gnawing it's way out of
my stomach. That feeling hasn't changed much in the 7 or 8 hours
since then and I've got a long way to go before the day is over.
I start teaching tomorrow but a lot more assignments to grade and
miles to go. It's 20°F in both Brooklyn and Boston and I just
want to be in Texas. Now back in Boston and the first thing I see
on Mass. ave is a pool of frozen vomit. Why is there so much vomit
on the streets of Boston? It's cold as, well, as a frozen pool of
vomit. Yahoo tells me it's 25° and feels like 15. Students are
back. Gotta listen to a few hundred mp3s now.
brad and alexis at smalls
55 bar last night
alexis driving us down 7th ave manhattan back to brooklyn
uh, rain? sleet? nasty weather anyway