Warming Up

Warming Up

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Miscellany

Hey, sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. But I also think I needed a break from extra responsibilities. It’s summer, right? Gigs to play, food to grill, beer to drink, kids to play with, yard work, house work. Well, I haven’t done too much of those last two, but you get the point. Nevertheless, I will try to be more current with Outside Pants, at least for a little while until summer takes me on some sojourns to far away exotic places (like Pittsburgh and Vermont, and possibly Montreal). For now, I don’t have anything super exciting for you, so here’s some Monday Miscellany.

To get me focused for this post I am listening to a great CD: Bill Frisell, Kermit Driscoll, and Joey Baron “Live.” An awesome record that I first heard in the late 90’s while on tour with Fathead. Thanks to keyboard player (and multi-talented) Jeremy Dyen for introducing me to Frisell’s music. I’ve been a fan and almost collector ever since.

I had a great gig on Friday night with PhillyBloco. We played at World Café Live here in Philly, and for a summer show we did pretty well – about 450 people came out and they ALL danced their butts off. The band played well, especially on the newer Brazilian tunes we’ve been doing. I was really hoping to bust out my distortion pedal for this gig, but when we tried it in the soundcheck there were some  electrical current issues that were creating feedback.

But I did learn that what I should do next time is bring my Roland GP-8 effects processor which has an XLR input which will negate those current issues. So look out, next time we play I’ll be making some non-trumpet-sounding joyful noise.

Summer reading has been a little light so far, but I am concurrently reading two awesome books right now. And once I am done with both I will definitely write a more in depth post about these books because so far they have been really enjoyable and entertaining. The first book “Last Stop: Carnegie Hall” is the only biography in existence of the great, longtime New York Philharmonic trumpet legend William Vacchiano. This guy was an old-school monster. He is proof that hard work pays off. A little talent and a little luck also helps, but there is no denying that this guy worked for perfection. And he achieved it. Every day for more than forty years. Vacchiano was a gift to the world. The other book I’m reading “Hit Me, Fred” is the autobiography of trombone legend Fred Wesley. You’ve heard Fred before. You know in those James Brown tunes where the Godfather says “Play it, Fred! Hit me, Fred!” and then the trombone player takes a solo? That’s Fred Wesley. Funk master. Reading this book I’ve learned a lot about life on the road back in the day. And I’ve discovered how much Fred wanted to be a jazz player – and how much he disliked James Brown! Really fun read. Not sure what I’m going to read next, but I think I might see if my library has the new Dan Simmons novel.

And here are two links to two blogs I’ve discovered somewhat recently – new additions to the blogroll. Really great reading. First, is Jazztruth which is written by pianist George Colligan. Colligan posts regularly and his posts are always enjoyable (at least for me they are) but what makes this blog so special is that Colligan is a heavyweight. Though his might not be a household name, he’s been in the trenches with the very best of the best for years. And he’s sharing some of that upper echelon knowledge with his readers. And on top of that, Colligan is a really good writer. Better than some people who write for a living, I think. He’s also a very good interviewer. And his interview subjects are his peers which is also a reason to check out Jazztruth. And Colligan has a sense of humor. Check out his most recent post about the (supposedly) upcoming Miles Davis movie. Pretty darn funny.

The other blog I’ve really been enjoying lately is jazz writer Ted Panken’s “Today is the Question.” Panken posts regularly and he puts up a lot of the musician interviews he’s done over the years. A recent Vernell Fournier interview was fascinating. Panken is a solid writer who really, really knows his stuff – makes for some interesting reading, for sure.

And here’s a picture of my family after a recent dinner with my mom and my Aunt Maria who were both visiting last week. Good times! It's not the best picture of each of us, but we have so few family pictures...

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