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jetblue / 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. can't wait.

steve and tony in bath, maine

bath gig

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

JFK/Brooklyn/Boston/Brookly/JFK/Austin July 25-30

Back 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!

july 23, 2008 / austin

Just 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 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.

watermelon man

john aielli kut taping lull


June/July 2008

Had 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.

sebastian noelle, loren stillman, thomson kneeland, satoshi takeishi / tea lounge brooklyn

brooklyn bridge waterfall

cyclone / coney island



austin - 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.

mexico - only four days?


el convite - mexico city


pablo/gabriel/agustin hotel


mexico city

pablo/muna el convite



el convite

mexico city

sound check @ DIM

hotel room d.f.



lucky star 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.

fdr drive


stan, kyle, chris baltimore

chris, kyle white plains

white plains

brooklyn 5am

55 bar

Not much 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.

snarly 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.

immutable commute
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

We 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

On 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




journa lmay. '08 - april 2010

journal feb. '07 - april. '08

journal sept. '06 - feb. '07

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