Monday, May 29, 2006

TONIGHT, The Palms, 10 pm, the Healing resumes

You know the drill. Be there. Simply the best musical entertainment value in Vegas.

Oh, yeah! At first, we thought the crowd might be light, but the room filled up again to SRO, and they got what they came for -- and MORE! We were treated to the hot performance of former "Storm" cast member Christine LaFond of the band "Replay," who sat in to sing "Use Me."

Wish I had that performance on video. Yikes! Be sure to check out the Replay website for their schedule (and all the other cool stuff on their site) and go check 'em out. We wish them tons of success.

Below: our fearless leader belts out "Take My Heart Away." Jamie fried the synth solo on this tune (what's new, 'eh?). Great crowd tonight, roaring their amazement and gratitude. Ya just gotta love it. And, thanks to all of you who came up to me with your kind words about this blog. A labor of love, y'know. This great band just kicks my ex- road rat ass every time I hear 'em. I had to leave during the 2nd set (the day gig thang), to the shock & awe arrangement of "Living for the City." Makes it hard to go to sleep.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATES: Last night Jerry gave me a copy of the current issue of the New Mexico quarterly periodical "La Herencia," which features an incredible 4 page biographical spread of the Lopez family "Jerry Lopez: Doing Santa Fe Proud" (that's Jerry's Grandfather Nicolas Escajeda on the cover pic below, circa 1932). Really awesome, what a venerable family history. The photos of the very young performing Lopez brothers are priceless.

BELOW: Last night I promised Tommy Alvarado I'd be out this Sunday night to cover the jazz jam at the Hurricane for the blog. I am remiss in not having done so before now. Time to get off my lazy Sunday night butt and get out there.

Tommy (who is a monster veteran player and vocalist) and ace drummer Joel Richman host the jam every Sunday starting at 9:30 pm. Anyone can sign up to sit in, but you better bring your A Game. This is the Real Deal.

UPDATE: Among our Monday night guests, hearing the band for the first time, British filmmaker and digital animation artist Christopher Tolbert, owner of Lucid Frame, located in London, UK. We welcome you sir.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"BobbyG, this is Ronnie. Could you go pick up a friend of mine?"

So, Ronnie Foster calls me last night to say that a friend of his was gigging in town and wanted to come to The Artisan to hang after he got through. He might need a ride, and, if so, would I be able to swing by and pick him up, as a favor?

'Yeah, bro', no sweat, just lemme know.'

It was, uh, just the legendary David Sanborn, one of the Major Gods in the Pantheon of alto sax jazz, performing at the Suncoast this weekend.

Try to imagine the thrill, to finally meet this cat whose music I been diggin' for decades. As it turned out he didn't need a ride, and showed up on his own with his bassist Richard Patterson (below, with Dave at the Strand Theatre in NY in 2001, photo by Patti Stirk).

Our own A-List alto sax wizard Phil Wigfall came to hang and sit in with Ronnie and the band. Dave (who did not sit in) dug it. The band was cookin' as usual last night, and the place was jammed. Note, on the pic below, foreground left, percussionist Leddie Garcia sittin' in this week. Leddie is from Hawaii, and recently came to Vegas after a long stint gigging in Chicago. The cat can really play. If you know of any gig situations, give him a call, cell# (702) 635-6066.

David Sanborn, aside from being a monumental musical talent, is a very nice cat. It was an honor an a pleasure to meet him. His show at the Suncoast has a final night tonight.

BTW, if you don't already have a copy of Phil Wigfall's excellent solo CD "Cosmic Soul," I gotta give it another plug. You can order it from CD Baby. Worth every penny.

AGAIN, REMEMBER: the Healing resumes at The Palms Monday night at 10 pm. Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns! Be there.

MAY 29TH UPDATE: Wow, comped. What can I say? Except, 'thank you, David, and thank you Ronnie!' Cheryl and I hooked up with Ronnie Foster at David Sanborn's final show at the Suncoast last night. Jaw-dropping excellence, simply wonderful (and a very nice showroom). David told us they'd be back in August for four nights (the schedule says August 24th - 27th at the Orleans). It's a must-see. The band was unreal: the mighty Ricky Peterson (of the fabulous Minnesota Peterson family) on keys, Gene Lake on drums (yikes!), Richard Patterson on bass, and Nicky Moroch on guitar. A great evening. What a band! And, David, OhMyGod!

Remember, y'all, Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns return to the stage at The Palms tonight. Yes!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

OK, think BIG...

I been toyin' with this idea for a while now. The backstory: Three years ago Cheryl and I went on a short, glorious vacation down to Ventura, CA, and toured around through the Santa Ynez Valley wine country one day, just up NW outa Santa Barbara (locale for the overblown Oscar nominated movie "Sideways." I didn't really dig the flick that much, except for having been there).

We toured the Gainey Vineyard & Winery (great place, great wines), and they had these autographed pics on the walls, e.g., Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, etc., from shows that had gone down there. I thought, 'how cool is is that? What an awesome venue for hip music...'

A couple of pics I shot while we were there:

Last week Cheryl showed me this local mag ("89113") that had turned up at her office. It had an article about the Wilson Creek Winery down in the Temeculah Valley just south of Palm Springs, CA.

Well, guess that THEY do as well? A "Sunset Jazz in the Vines Concert Series." I suppose the more I look the more I will find of this very same thing.

The point (if not obvious by now)? What is a natural supremely hip demographic for Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, if not this kind of a crowd, upscale people who attend outdoor shows at the vineyards? Can I get an "Amen"?

No further questions, your Honor. I rest my case.

BELOW: the first graphic I mocked up when I initially had the idea. The "sponsors" are just hypothetical placeholders at this point -- just to illustrate the point. There are natural win/win constituencies to engage in a project such as this (necessary to fund what I would assume to be the considerable event-related logistics). This could be huge. Think about it, think about the major wine-producing regions of the world (do I have to spell it out? Europe, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand...). We start in California...

You gotta think BIG (it doesn't cost any more), or nothing big will ever happen. This idea actually goes beyond just our guys, but they in fact could/would be the anchor. Vegas could not have better ambassadors, for Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns exemplify the excellence that is Vegas entertainment, without a doubt.


REMEMBER: the Healing resumes at The Palms Monday night at 10 pm. Be there.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Montelago Village CineVegas gig

First of all, MAJOR props gotta go to Blaise Sison ("the Pineapple Connection," as Ronnie Foster calls him) for stepping up flawlessly to fill in for Rochon. Everyone I talked with last night agreed. Filling Roch's slot is a nearly impossible task, and Blaise totally pulled it off (all while playing one-handed a good bit of the time while trying to keep his charts from blowing into the lake. The wind was the only negative last night, some charts did make it into the lake). Blaise, we all salute you, bro'.

FYI: Blaise plays with Ronnie Foster routinely at The Artisan, 10 pm, Thursdays and Saturdays. If you've not been there yet, you gotta go hear them throw down.

Below: some pics from the event (ya gotta laugh; this CineVegas dude got on the mic at the start of the film festival pre-screening of "A Prairie Home Companion" to praise and thank "Santa Fe and The Big Horns" and "Monte Largo Village")...


: Ran into a cool SoCal based (Pasadena) fer-real salsa band while web surfing over on Craigslist -- Alberto Gonzalez's group "Salsa Caliente."

Very nice stuff, legit cats. Check out some mp3 cuts here and here. Anyone know of a venue for them up here in Vegas, contact Alberto here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I came home from the Santa Fe gig a while ago wanting only to post some pics and a bit of text about the spectacular show the band put on at Montelago Village tonight. Instead I've had to clean out a bunch of "graffiti" posts by some anonymous clown who first posted a comment talking some lame crap about a link to a site where you could learn to cheat at video poker. I removed it and warned this person to not do it again. The moron responded by "spamming" 35 more juvenile sarcastic posts throughout the comments sections of most of the posts that comprise this blog, going back to January. Consequently, I've had to enable "comment moderation" so that only messages I approve will get posted to the blog. I'm sorry if this inconveniences any of the Santa Fe fans who wish to leave legit comments. I'll try to post geniune Santa Fe commentaries promptly. If this jerk keeps at it, I WILL trap his/her IP address and take action.

- BG

Thursday, May 18, 2006

FAT CITY SATURDAY: save the date!

Bring a blanket. No chairs or coolers permitted. This will be a great show, tell everyone to come out. If you've not been out to Lake Las Vegas and Montelago Village yet, it's a beautiful place, and the outdoor concert venue is excellent.

A CineVegas event (click for details)

Friday 19th update, email from TonyQ

Hello folks

Sorry for the late notice on this one:

I am performing at Montelago Village tonight as part of the "Jazz at the Lake" series from 7:00-10:00 with the legendary Moody Scott.

Come on down and enjoy some blues and R&B.

All the best,

Tony Q.

The Chaz Man

Nephew Chasley, who has been staying with us since January so he could attend CCSN for a semester, left to return home to northern Alabama this morning. We are sad to see him go. A true gentleman (and a one-man wrecking crew on the basketball floor). Last night we were able to have him get to hang with Ronnie Foster and the guys at The Artisan one last time.

Paris, Chaz, Paris. Next stop, dude. I'm jus' sayin'...go for it. Cheryl and I (and the whole tribe) wish you the best. And, turn that Santa Fe CD up LOUD!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Update from Florida: Happy Mother's Day

It's 8:15 pm Saturday, I'm sitting the the Sun Shoppe Cafe in Melbourne, Florida (where they have free customer WiFi access). Been up since 6 yesterday morning. Took the Delta red-eye outa Vegas at midnight, got here by way of Cincinnati late this morning. As my Delta/Comair flight approached Melbourne, the small jet banked hard left, turning east toward the ocean over the Indian River, and I noticed a familiar site, one I’d not before seen from above. It was Patrick Air Force Base, its golf course visible just to the south and east of the main runway. My retired officer Dad’s main Hang (to the endless irritation of my “golf widow” Mother), where he labored mightily to break 80 during his long retirement (he got to 80 once), and where his driving career ended one day when he ran his car up over a curb in the golf course parking lot, hitting a transformer unit and knocking out the electricity at the base golf club for hours (I had to pull Mom’s car keys earlier this year, before she ended up taking someone out).

Flight 5115 continued out over the ocean, and then the aircraft banked lazily right into a swooping 180 degree descending turn that put us on course back in toward Melbourne on final approach just north of the causeway connecting Indiatlantic Beach to the mainland. Approaching the runway, we passed right by Holmes Regional Medical Center, where both of my parents have spent so much of the last ten years. I have come to know the place well.

As she requested, I brought Mom’s hi-tech walker to the rehab hospital. As I wheeled it across the parking lot, I passed a couple exiting the facility. We exchanged hellos, and I smiled and said “I’m practicin’.”

Spent most of the afternoon with my Ma, watching her go through PT in the rehab hospital down in Palm Bay. We'll hang for Mothers' Day tomorrow. To my wife and daughter: I regret that I won't get to also be with you on Mothers' Day, but know I am thinking of you both. To my sister: Carole, you have long been an awesome Mother. Miss ya. Happy Mothers' Day. To all of the Santa Fe tribe: make sure your Mothers get the major props they deserve this Mothers' Day.

Monday: went to hang with my Dad today at the nursing home. I don't know what keeps him going. He'll be 90 next month.

Bought a book at McCarran on the way outa town, "The Weather Makers" by eminent scientist Tim Flannery. A depressing, scary read in some ways. Finished it today. It's about the issue of "global warming," an issue about which the scientific community is by now in overwhelming consensus: we gotta change, or the human race is in for some serious, wide-scale, unprecedented misery -- sooner than we'd like to think. Highly recommended, very well written, in a way making it accessible to the general reader.

If you care about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit, you might wanna read this. My general policy is to keep politics out of this blog, but this is not really about "politics," this is about our collective future as civilized, prospering humans. We talk a lot here about "healing," but our planet is undeniably in need of some serious love and healing as well.

MONDAY UPDATE: short book excerpt:

“In 1961 there was still room to maneuver. In that seemingly distant age there were just 3 billion people, and they were using just half of the total resources that our global ecosystem could sustainably provide. A short twenty-five years later, in 1986, we had reached a watershed, for that year our population topped 5 billion, and such was our collective thirst for resources that we were using all of Earth’s sustainable production.

In effect, 1986 marks the year that humans reached Earth’s carrying capacity, and ever since we have been running the environmental equivalent of a deficit budget, which is sustained only by plundering our capital base. The plundering takes the form of overexploiting fisheries, overgrazing pasture until it becomes desert, destroying forests, and polluting our oceans and atmosphere, which in turn leads to the large number of environmental issues we face…

…By 2001 humanity’s deficit had ballooned to 20 percent, and our population to over 6 billion. By 2050 when the population is expected to level out at around 9 billion, the burden of human existence will be such that we will be using—it they can still be found – nearly two planets’ worth of resources. But for all the difficulty we’ll experience in finding those resources, it’s our waste – particularly the greenhouse gases – that is the limiting factor.” (pp 78-79)

Yikes. End of rant. Read the book.

NOTE: way cool "smooth jazz" FM station here in Melbourne now, 93.1 The Groove. A REAL one, unlike another I know of that inexplicably plays too much warmed-over MOR R&B. I've had 93.1 on in my rental car down here, diggin' it big-time. Major props, guys.


How cool is this? from the Cinevegas website:

"The CineVegas Film Festival will be hosting a screening at Lake Las Vegas on Saturday, May 20th. This screening, which is free and open to the public, is the first of its kind for CineVegas and will give festival fans a sneak peak of the 2006 festival. In addition, May 20th marks the official opening of the CineVegas box office and throughout the evening, a box office will be set up at Lake Las Vegas where tickets and passes to this year’s festival can be purchased.

The evening will commence at 5:30 pm with an electrifying performance by the band Santa Fe, followed by an invitation-only reception at Bistro Zinc at 6:30 pm. At 8:00 pm, CineVegas will screen its trailer for the first time, followed by the movie screening at 8:30 pm."

You better believe it'll be "electrifying." Be there. Tell everyone to come out, it's gonna be a great evening.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Palms: Save These Healing Dates!

THIS JUST IN: Jerry Lopez just informed me that a deal has been struck. THE Lounge at the Palms wants the band, but had already booked the room for other events periodically on Monday nights through year's end, consequently the Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns Monday night appearance schedule agreed to through the end of this year is:

5/29, 6/5, 6/12, 6/26, 7/3, 7/10, 7/17, 7/24, 7/31, 8/14, 8/21, 8/28, 9/4, 9/11, 10/2, 10/9, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/4, 12/11, and 12/18.
(Click the calendar to magnify, then right-click the image and save the jpeg to disk for reference if you wish.)
Also, from Jerry's email:

PS: The band will be playing in the Montelago Village near the water at LAKE LAS VEGAS on May 20th from 5:30 till 7:45 in the evening for a pre- Cinevegas show (two sets). More details later, but this might be a great time to bring someone to hear the band that can't make it late on a Monday night!! Know someone like that?

There are people out there that need healing!! We just want to bring it!

Your friend,

Jerry Lopez

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Each One Reach Two (or Three, or Four, or...)

OK, we gotta talk business for a while, bear with me, 'cuz y'all are an integral part of the path to ultimate success for our boys. Readers who come here obviously care deeply about the music and the future success of Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns. I posted back in January about a great book on the topic of the business aspects of music - see The "Future of Music by Dave Kusek and Gerd Leonhard. Ya really oughta buy a copy.

As I listen to the Santa Fe CD -- over and over and over and over and over... -- and Phil Wigfall's absolutely ass-kicking solo CD, and the works of Jerry's friends the Petersons, as I repeatedly go witness the guys throw down with the stunning Ronnie Foster, as I hope for steady gigs and success for Brother Lenny's new band Ritmo, etc., I keep thinking back to the insights provided in this book, along with all of the business financial and statistical modeling stuff I've learned since going White Collar after hanging up my axe 20 years ago (weary of schlepping crap gigs for fifty bucks a night. Not a lot has changed in the ensuing 20 years). So, I'm just gonna rant for a bit here, and I welcome any feedback.

Let's think about the online sales venue CD Baby for a sec. As of today, they tout the following:
  • 131,959 artists sell their CD at CD Baby.
  • 2,322,378 CDs sold online to customers.
  • $26,769,371.77 paid to artists.
OK, impressive aggregate Big Numbers, but that breaks down to an average of about a puny $203 in sales per artist. Now, maybe in terms of gross percentage return to the artist it's a better deal than any artist would likely get from the lifetime-servitude, one-sided, serfdom contracts typically offered by music labels, but I'll bet that most of the artists selling their music via CD Baby have yet to recoup their production costs (to be fair, I'd have to see the distribution of CD Baby payouts to artists -- e.g., maybe in unit and dollar deciles -- to better assess who's doing how well there).

In the traditional record business model, you turn over the marketing of your music (and, typically, the copyrights in perpetuity) to people who overwhelmingly don't give a shit about you -- you're just one more "product" in their account workload, and if you fail to catch fire pronto, well, you are toast (but we'll retain ownership of your copyrights, thank you).

Kusek and Leonhard, however, argue that we are returning to a music business model increasingly based on direct artist-to-audience long-term relationships. A fashionable buzzword here is "Viral Marketing." All of which got me thinking about the applicability of a math example I've often used on my students in my "Critical thinking" classes, to get them thinking about some of the ways in which numbers can be misleading (the core principle of our Nevada economy, haha!). Assume, then, betting just one dollar on a sports event. If your team or player loses, you double your bet. If there's yet another loss, you double your bet again. And, so on until he/she/they eventually win and you recoup and finally win some money...

OK, consider the following tabulation. What lengths of losing streaks could your wallet withstand?

LossBetCumulative bet

Had you started this way betting on the 1976 NFL Tampa Bay Bucs -- initially betting simply $1 -- you'd have been out $32,767 by the end of their 0-14 season if you'd stayed with your plan (assuming you had that much dough to fritter away). How about the hapless 1972-73 NBA 76'ers, who endured, in that one season, losing streaks of 13, 14, 15, and 20 games. Probably bankrupted a bunch of gamblers in the process.

The flip side

"Each one reach two." Pay it forward. The reverse of the betting loss scenario, under the same exponential math principle. What would likely happen if each of us Santa Fe crazies spread the love and healing to just two people (I know this is already happening ad hoc), and each of those two did likewise, and so on and so on, and kept it going...? Well, I put some stuff in a spreadsheet, and then saved it as a web page here (I hope you can view it, let me know). There are 3 tabs. The tab labeled "Exponential sales" displays a scenario that assumes [1] each of us reaches two others in turn, and [2] of those, let's say -- conservatively -- 10% of those reached overall will buy Santa Fe product, and that [3] the blended CD + DVD price of units bought is $35 (discounted from the $20 + $30 full price). Under this model, 20 iterations of "each reach two" would get us to $7.3 million in gross sales.
(Now, you can fiddle with my numbers to your hearts' content by just downloading the Excel spreadsheet here. Change the gross unit price, change the % expected to buy, -- change the "each one reach" to 3 and see what happens. Pretty amazing.)

The question then becomes: how do we share the wealth with those doing the person-to-person viral marketing for the band so that [1] they can just work on their awesome music full-time (which is what we all dream about them getting to do), and [2] not have to sell their souls to some corporate entity that would put their financial interests dead last (which our guys would never do anyway)? Some of us (uh, yours truly) will evangelize this band with no incentive other than our own admiration for what they continue to pull off, going totally against the economic grain. But, in general, those who help make an artist a success ought share in that success. People respond to incentives. I'm open to suggestion.**

UPDATE: Here's a simple scenario. Assume '"each one reaches two" on average, and of those two in turn -- again, on average -- you get one CD sale per iteration (ignoring the DVD for the moment for simplicity), so the "expected value" (probability times the payoff) is 50% x $20, or $10 per contact.

Iteration N, each iteration Cumulative N Potential
Expected sales, cumulative
0 1 1 1 $ 10
1 2 3 2 $ 30
2 4 7 4 $ 70
3 8 15 8 $ 150
4 16 31 16 $ 310
5 32 63 32 $ 630
6 64 127 64 $ 1,270
7 128 255 128 $ 2,550
8 256 511 256 $ 5,110
9 512 1,023 512 $ 10,230
10 1,024 2,047 1,024 $ 20,470
11 2,048 4,095 2,048 $ 40,950
12 4,096 8,191 4,096 $ 81,910
13 8,192 16,383 8,192 $ 163,830
14 16,384 32,767 16,384 $ 327,670
15 32,768 65,535 32,768 $ 655,350
16 65,536 131,071 65,536 $ 1,310,710
17 131,072 262,143 131,072 $ 2,621,430
18 262,144 524,287 262,144 $ 5,242,870
19 524,288 1,048,575 524,288 $ 10,485,750
20 1,048,576 2,097,151 1,048,576 $ 20,971,510
21 2,097,152 4,194,303 2,097,152 $ 41,943,030
22 4,194,304 8,388,607 4,194,304 $ 83,886,070
23 8,388,608 16,777,215 8,388,608 $ 167,772,150
24 16,777,216 33,554,431 16,777,216 $ 335,544,310

Twenty iterations of "each one reach two" at a 50% expectation gets you to a million units sold, grossing ~$21 million. How do we directly compensate those (the fans) who could make this happen without the usual costly intermediaries such as record labels, distributors, bricks & mortar stores -- and their online counterparts? Ask yourself, do you know two potential devoted Santa Fe Fans who each have two friends with the same tastes and appreciation for excellence? (hell, I can think of twenty right off the bat) Now, in the conventional record label model, the Suits and their supply chain middlemen would take nearly all of that $21 million. In fact, you might end up owing the label money even after selling a million+ units. Happens all the time. There's gotta be a better, workable, and just way. The potential worldwide market for Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns is huge.

I don't pretend to have the answers (just yet). But I think about this stuff all the time. I would love to see this band tour the world to spread their stunning music and healing goodness far and wide.

Together, we might just help make it happen.
** some of you might recognize one mechanism here as akin to that of "Multi-level Marketing." But, in that model (and its unethical and illegal cousin the Pyramid scheme), those who get in early make big money off those getting in later (called the "downline," where you ostensibly get of cut of the revenue generated by everyone you bring in, and everyone they bring in, in turn all the way "down the line"), with the last to get in making nothing at all (and maybe losing their asses). That's not what I'm envisioning. I'm trying to come up with a viable business model that is a win-win, one that greases the considerable financial and logistical skids for Santa Fe to be a worldwide success (and selling physical product will continue to be a big part of that). What the guys do is a rare and precious phenomenon. I don't want to see it end any time soon. I'm sure y'all are with me in that sentiment.
MONDAY MORNING OFF-TOPIC UPDATE: I just had the deliriously cool pleasure of again running several hours of full-court hoops with jazz pianist par exellance Ronnie Foster, yesterday at 24 Hour Fitness Sport at W. Sahara & Buffalo. I have never been around a more consistently pleasant and genuinely friendly man. Ronnie seems to know everyone in the gym, from the young kids to the old school dudes, and he exudes such happiness and good will that I have to wonder whether it's a reason that, when we're together on the court, I never seem to see/hear the usual trash-talking and angry arguing that is so irritatingly common in pickup ball. A great role model. Bro', I salute you.

Please do go hang at The Artisan on Thursdays and Saturdays starting at 10pm to hear Ronnie and the guys burn it up. Props to Drew Zingg for the fine guitar subbing for Jerry last Saturday, and also to Etsuko Mader, again filling in excellently for Jamie Hosmer.