Friday, June 30, 2006

July 3rd: Mark your calendars

It's gonna be crazy Monday night, given that Tuesday is a holiday. I can hardly wait. I don't have to get up and go to work the next morning, so I'm totally gonna hang 'till after the last note of the night.

RONNIE FOSTER UPDATE

I stopped by The Artisan to see Ronnie and the guys last night (Jamie Hosmer on keys, Gabriel Falcon on drums, Drew Zingg on guitar, and Adrian Garcia on bass) for a short while. Took a few casual shots and did a quick montage. 'eh? (click the pic to enlarge)

Lo and behold: in today's Las Vegas Sun is a two page article starting on page 1 of the Sun (within the R-J) -- a very nice article about The Artisan. Quoting the article by the Sun's Jerry Fink, "...the big draw is Ronnie Foster, who performs from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays at the Artisan. Foster's main gig for the past four years has been playing keyboards backing Clint Holmes at Harrah's. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Foster recorded several funky albums as a bandleader and has been a sideman for the likes of George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack and Jimmy Smith. He started doing local shows with his own group as a sideline, and DaSilva persuaded them to come to the Artisan about two months ago..."

The hardcopy article is way cooler than the online version. I first wrote about the Artisan gig back in April. It's a great hang. Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A bit off-topic: My 1970's Seattle hang


Dunno, maybe y'all will find this interesting (hope so), a bit of BobbyG background.

More than 30 years ago (man! I'm gettin' old), while I was living in and gigging around the Seattle area, we too had a beloved local band that people enthusiastically flocked to see and rave about,
with many top Pacific Northwest players from other groups routinely among them (similar to what we witness now with respect to our Santa Fe). Now, this was a different time, and different genre. "Gabriel," as they were known, comprised a five piece group with no horn section (3 fine lead singers, though), and were only mildly, tangentially into the funk thang. It was, after all, the relatively sedate Seattle, where local black music was more straight-out blues focused. In fact, when I initially moved up there from San Francisco shortly after Sissy was born in June, 1968, my first gig was with a local blues band known as "The International Brick" (guess what that referred to. Hint: 2.2 lbs, compressed and wrapped in plastic, hopefully containing some good buds and minimal stems and seeds). The lead singer was this rotund, defensive tackle size, amiable, bearded, wild-'fro black dude, "Tiny Tony," who was a sometimes off-key -- but always exuberant -- Taj Mahal cat who could inhale a bomb the size of a cigar in one toke (the smoke would hang in his beard like Bay Area fog in the Presidio), and then just improvise and sing whatever soulful shit came into his head for a full 45 minute jam set. 'Man, what the hell was in those brownies? And, hey, don't Bogart the roach!'
"...Papa was lookin' for a hobby
So he went to see B.B. King.
He drank some apple juice in the lobby,
Now, Papa's doin' a whole new thing..."
- Sons of Champlin. "Papa Can Play" -

Well, OK, hmmm...(acid flashback?)..., back on topic. Gabriel morphed up outa the Tacoma area, and took the Pac NW by storm. They eventually signed with ABC Records (if I recall the label correctly; my LPs are in a box out in the garage, I'll have to dig 'em out and check) and cut 3 albums:


"This Star on Every Heel," 1974
"Sweet Release," 1976
"Gabriel," 1978
Asked to characterize their music, I'd have to say "imagine a cool mix of, well, lessee, Eagles, Beatles, Beach Boys, and Stevie Wonder." They cut a lot of their album material in Neil Rush's studio in Seattle, on a 2" 30 ips 16-track AMPEX deck running Dolby in a control room containing a 24 channel board and a bunch of Macintosh tube power amps in the outboard rack that made it feel like a sauna sometimes (I have an old 35mm slide in a box somewhere of Sissy sitting there at the board coloring while we were recording stuff, gotta find that and scan it). Neil was Merrillee Rush's husband and manager (the Grammy nominee "Angel of the Morning" chick, with whom I would tour in the mid '70's).

So, a few blast-from-the-past Gabriel mp3 cuts for ya (Mike Kinder on drums, Gary Ruhl on bass, Terry lauber, acoustic, lead & steel guitars, Frank Butorac, acoustic, lead guitars, vocals, and Stacy Christenson, keyboards and vocals):

Terry Lauber (guitar, vocals): "Fly Away"
Frank Butorac (guitar, vocals): "Li'l Darlin'"
Stacy Christenson, keyboards, vocals): "Santa Cruz"
Everybody singing: "Making Her Cry"

Like our Santa Fe, they sounded on stage just as they did on their recordings. And their stage presence was every bit as energetic and funny as Late Night With Letterman.

After the band broke up (they never could break through, despite writing, playing, singing, recording, and touring their butts off for years, scraping by), Terry went on to produce a solo CD (Terry is a fine artist and producer): Here's the title cut, "Only a Matter of Time"

I loved these cats. In fact, the bass player, Gary Ruhl, and I remain fast friends (we gigged together up there off and on prior to his Gabriel stint, some of my fondest memories). Dude is cosmic. One of the nicest people you'll ever meet. They all are. Hope you find this little diversion worthy. BTW- Terry sells a CD that compiles all of the tunes from the 3 Gabriel LP's.

My 1970's Seattle hang

More than 30 years ago (man! I'm gettin' old), while I was living in and gigging around the Seattle area, we too had a beloved local group that people enthusiastically flocked to see and rave about, many top Pacific Northwest players from other acts routinely among them (similar to what we witness with respect to our beloved Santa Fe). Now, this was a different time, and different genre. "Gabriel," as they were known, comprised a five piece group with no horn section, and were only mildly, tangentially into the funk thang. It was, after all, Seattle, where local black music was more straight-out blues focused. In fact, when I initially moved up there from San Francisco shortly after Sissy was born in June, 1968, my first gig was with a local blues band known as "The International Brick" (guess what that referred to. Hint: 2.2 kg, compressed and wrapped in plastic, hopefully containing some good buds and minimal stems and seeds). The lead singer was this amiable, rotund, wild-'fro black dude, "Tiny Tony," who was a sometimes off-key -- but always passionate -- Taj Mahal cat who could inhale a bomb the size of a cigar in one toke, and then just improvise and sing whatever soulful shit came into his head for a full 45 minute jam set. 'Man, what the hell was in those brownies?'

Gabriel morphed up outa the Tacoma area, and took the Pac NW by storm. They eventually signed with ABC Records (if I recall correctly) and cut 3 LP's:

"This Star on Every Heel," 1974.

"Sweet Release," 1976

"Gabriel," 1978



Lunch at Lotus Garden

Jonesin' for some Chinese, I went down the street from the office today to the Lotus Garden on Rainbow near the 215. Uhhhh.h...yo..., I think I got Jerry Lopez's fortune cookie by mistake. My Bad, bro'...

- BobbyG

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

SRO again, wild standing-O's

Well, Jerry told me he was himself in need of some healing tonight. Mission accomplished. I gotta assume from the love that poured forth out of the audience, and from the look on his face as the first show concluded, that he got what he needed (I know the crowd did!). The band torched the standing-room-only audience during the first set. "Ain't That Peculiar" was a raging herd of stomping elephants drunk on funk. Jamie fried us with "Higher Ground." Jerry's "Take my Heart Away" blew it out totally, for the first eruption of a standing ovation. Then the band followed that up with a thermonuclear throw-down of "Living for the City" that made the whole house completely crazy.

Above, orange shirt, that's twin brother Tyriq subbing for bro' Johnnie Johnson tonight. Ya just gotta shake your head at the talent (and the energy), man. Unreal. I hope the Suits are gettin' it by now. This is Vegas at its finest.
(BTW: to whomever upgraded the lights, thanks, much better.)

Below, digging the band (left to right), my man the ace singer and photographer Bobby Black, the fabulous Ryan Ralph of the new "Pasion" show (
www.ryanralph.com) next to him, two unnamed yummie beauties next to him, the stunning Celest Lero of "Pasion," and her (GQ in his own right) friend whose name I also did not get.

Below, tenor wizard Rob Mader gets it on. The Fat City Horns were a six alarm fire tonight. And, Eric Tewalt was again subbing seamlessly on bari sax. Great job.

Man, those charts...there are no words. Mr. Walking Thesaurus 99.9th percentile Verbal Dude here is outa adjectives and analogies (and that doesn't happen much).

More later, the day gig looms, and I got hell week this week at the office, major friggin' deliverables tomorrow, and back to back bi-state conference calls. 'Sleep hard and sleep fast, BobbyG...'

7:04 a.m. Update: Groan. Ugh. Hmmmm...."ut, uh, uhhh..., hey, hey, ut, uh, uhhh..., HEY-h hey.
Ut, uh, uhhh..., hey, hey, ut, uh, uhhh..., HEY-h hey..."

AIN'T THAT PECULIAR?

Honey you do me wrong but still i'm crazy about you

Stay away too long and i can't do without you
Every chance you get you seem to hurt me more and more
But each hurt makes my love stronger than before
I know flowers go through rain
But how can love go through pain

Ain't that peculiar
A peculiar ality
Ain't that peculiar baby
Peculiar as can be

You tell me lies that should be obvious to me
I've been so much in love with you baby til i don't wanna see
That things you do and say are designed to make me blue
It's a dog gone shame my love for you makes all
Your lies seem true
But if the truth makes love last longer
Why do lies make my love stronger

Ain't that peculiar
A peculiar ality
Ain't that peculiar baby
Peculiar as can be

I cried so much just like a child thats lost its home
Maybe baby you think these tears i cry are tears of joy
A child can cry so much until you do everything they say
But unlike a child my tears don't help me to get my way
I know love can last through years
But how can love last through tears...

- MARVIN GAYE

Conventionally, non-original tunes performed by a band or artist are called "covers." Majorly inadequate characterization with respect to our guys. They rip the covers OFF the tunes to expose and then act upon the unlimited funk potential underneath (groping about here to recover my analogy/metaphor inventory, LOL!).

'eh?
__________

Here's what I had to miss last night, Mosaic, sitting in during the 2nd show, I'm told (now appearing with George Wallace at the Flamingo):

"Mosaic is a six man, vocal collaboration bringing a new face to a cappella music. Definitely not a boy band, Mosaic uses no instruments in creating a style all their own. Mosaic has something for everyone from funk and soul to jazz, big-band and hip hop. The merging of different genres and styles of music combine to form a sound that is universally appealing to all audiences. Finding a way to blend Frank Sinatra, Enigma, Beck and even a drum machine, you won't believe what you hear from these talented men. Performing from underground clubs to packed arenas across the globe, audiences are continually impressed and entertained by their intricate harmonies, industrial urban grooves and outlandish on-stage antics."

Dang!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Funk, Jazz, and Salsa Runneth Over...

I bumped into Rob Mader this evening at Ronnie Foster's gig at The Artisan, where the unreal Bonny B. was sitting in on drums tonight. Bonny Bonaparte has a music rap sheet a mile long, and is now with Spyro Gyra. Wow, did he ever throw down! Rob said "you oughta see him with his huge full kit. He sounds like two drummers and a percussionist all in one. And he sings lead, too." Bonny was all smiles while playing, too, like 'hah! I can play anything that comes into my head, and be right on the dime all the time with the band. This is too much fun.'

So, Rob proceeds to tell me that's he's gotta cut out after a couple of tunes because on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 11 pm, he and Gil Kaupp play in a salsa band called "Latin Breeze" at the Gold Coast, in the showroom where "Forever Plaid" appears earlier in the evening. Well, naturally I gotta jump over and check it out. Yeah, man, the Real Deal. They are so fine. Twelve members, five horns (2 reeds, 'bone, and 2 trumpets). Great percussion, great vocals. Nice room, great sound mix. I am so glad I stopped by.

Soy irlandés. ¿Por qué amo esta música del salsa tanto?

It's been a good day. I am blessed.

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE

Jerry Lopez just sent me this beautiful link, A Parent's Wish. Turn your computer sound up and view/listen to it, and then pay it forward. It really echoes sentiments I hold true, but don't always live up to when I let things get me down. My parents are both quite old, ailing, and failing. I wrote a bit about it back in May. My wife's parents back in Alabama are similarly beset by the inevitable consequences of aging. We both spend a lot of time doing drop-everything red-eye flights back east. In fact, my Cheryl is in Alabama right now helping her parents, and my Sister Carole is down in Florida tending to our Mom to give me a bit of breathing space. Ten years ago my Daughter Sissy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we spent more than two years helping her fight before she finally succumbed. Sometimes I get very weary and depressed at my seemingly endless next-of-kin gig. I know I am not alone in such a role, by any means, so, later with the Pity Party, BobbyG. Still, sometimes I get to feelin' pretty friggin' crazy.

Whenever I need a lift, I can count on Jerry Lopez to provide it. Thanks, bro'.

FYI- SANTA FE & THE FAT CITY HORNS BACK ONSTAGE

Don't forget. Monday night, June 26th, 10 pm, the Healing resumes in The Lounge at The Palms. See ya there!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pasion Premier update: another show tomorrow at 8 pm, check it out!

I just got back from the Saturday afternoon Premier performance of "Pasion," (which I posted about last week) at the UNLV Doc Rando Recital Hall. It was worth it just to hear Jerry on the Spanish and steel string acoustic guitars, but the rest of the cast was equally awesome. The vocals were beautiful. Close your eyes while Ryan Ralph sings, and you start thinking "Josh Groban," I swear. His duet with Celeste Lero will make you misty-eyed. Lead cast member Darin Bradford has monster classical piano chops, and, according to the program flyer, "holds a third degree black belt in Shorin-ryu, a third degree black belt in White Dragon Kenpo, second degree black belt in Hapkido, second degree black belt in ATA Tae Kwon D, and fought professionally as a Muay Thai kick boxer." OK, in my world we address such people as "Yes, SIR, whatever you say, SIR!!" The beautiful show choreographer and cast member Stefanie Jacobs (below, with Darin) was inspiring to see in dance. And buff!! Man, there wasn't a milligram of body fat within 50 miles of that woman. Yikes!

Below, Jerry takes his post-Premier bow. He looked like he came straight off the set of "Deadwood," hair wonderfully slicked back, wearing that full-length black coat and boots, attenuated only by the beautiful blood-red silk or satin shirt. One more Premier performance tomorrow night at 8, UNLV Doc Rando Recital Hall on Maryland Parkway on campus, free parking just to the north in the side street lot on the west side of Maryland. The show is really worth seeing (admission is free).

All this show needs is an appropriate set design and great pools of dramatic lighting. The music and performances are wonderful right outa the chute. Major kudos to the Creator/Director Vic la var Peterson.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

NO gig tomorrow night

Click the pic to enlarge. LOL!
BTW, Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Save the dates! The Vegas Premier of Pasión!

From the website:

"Pasión
is a new form of stage production. Creators Vic la var Peterson and Darin Bradford have titled this new idea a “concert/story”. This new and exciting way to convey ideas from the stage combines virtuoso mastery of piano, voice, dance and guitar along with movement and martial arts. To the first time viewer, this show will seem like a concert, but it’s more. The music is set inside a story. And the performers are characters who establish themselves through their incredible ability to convey passion with their instruments.

Two preview performances have been scheduled. The first on the 24th of June 2006 at 4pm and the second on the 25th of June 2006 at 8pm. Both shows will take place at the Doc Rando Recital Hall in the Lee & Thomas Music Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

If you're planning on attending one of the performances, please RSVP to pasion@hollywoodproductiongroup.com or call 323.445.4612."

In the cast? None other than our Fearless Leader, Jerry Lopez!

We need to get out and support this. RSVP now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

June 12th: THUNDERING show tonight!

I don't know who had more energy, the band, or the audience. OhMyGod! A crushing first set. Wild, screaming crowd. After a while they could no longer remain seated. Spontaneous outbursts of enthusiastic dancing erupted aound the room. It seemed like the entire cast of the now sadly closed "Hairspray" show came for some much needed healing. Mom was there -- Senora Lopez. What a delight. Every time Jerry or Lenny would cuss onstage, I leaned over and yelled "MOM!!!" She'd laugh, and reply "I can't understand what they're saying..."

Copped a few decent pics tonight. Below: Gil, Johnnie, Jerry.

Below, the awesome bassist and total gentleman Adrian Garcia, his friend Kimberly, and Jerry during intermission. Check out Adrian's way cool new website (click his name). Excerpt from his fascinating bio:

"I was born in Havana, Cuba in March of 1958, a very interesting time in my native country. The son of Alejandro and Maria, I was exposed to music from the very beginning. My father, my hero, was Cuba's premier trombonist and my mother, an angel on earth was a teacher and played the piano. My older sister, Xenia also played the piano.

Since I can remember, I have been hopelessly in love with music and the bass guitar. Come to think of it, the only thing that surpasses my love for music is my love for my Lord Jesus Christ and my love for my family..."

"Shout out for joy to the Lord, all earth; Burst into jubilant song with music" -Psalm 98:4

Speaking of bassists, Rochon blew the house away during his ride in "We are Nothing." Y'know, Roch plays solos that most advanced guitar players couldn't cut. Dude is simply amazing. (BTW- Gabe's percussion solo and Pepe's drum solo in "We are Nothing" were friggin' killer)

UPDATE: Brad Cordle

Saw Brad Cordle last night and got his new bidness card from him. He's gonna get me the specs on his new westside gig, and I will post the info on the blog. This cat can flat-ass sing. Jerry and I totally agree on that point. I got to hear him one night over at The Orleans. Stay tuned for details.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

ADRIAN GARCIA'S NEW WEBSITE


VERY cool website. Adrian is a superb player, and a beautiful soul.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Diff'rent night, same Nast'

Interesting evening last night. Two subs in the Fat City Horns. Flawless. Jerry has a deeper bench than UCLA football. Congratulations to Nathan on the new baby, and congratulations to Jerry Mera (bari sax) -- did I correctly hear 'ran off to get married'?
Strokeland Records' Andy Ebon was at the gig last night. We got to hang Saturday night at Ronnie Foster's gig at The Artisan, and again last night at The Palms. Delightful cat, I really have to thank Jerry Lopez for hooking us up. Interesting bio of Andy here.

Sad news: I saw guitarist Drew Zingg last night at The Palms. He told me that "Hairspray" (his show gig at Luxor) is being shut down as of this Sunday (it's in the R-J on page A3 this morning). Drew appears Thursdays and Saturdays at The Artisan (10 pm) with Ronnie Foster. Do come by, and hear some fine guitar playing (Drew is the former music director for Steely Dan. Need I say more?).
_____

More sad news:

PHOENIX (Associated Press/ MSNBC)- Billy Preston, the exuberant keyboardist who landed dream gigs with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and enjoyed his own series of hit singles, including “Outta Space” and “Nothing From Nothing,” died Tuesday at 59.

Preston’s longtime manager, Joyce Moore, said Preston had been in a coma since November in a care facility and was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale Saturday after his condition deteriorated...

Rest in peace, bro'.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Hurricane force jazz forecast for Sunday nights

It's worth the trip to The Hurricane down on South Bermuda Road just to hear Tommy Alvarado throw down. Monster sax dude and incredible vocalist. Really nice cat, too. Great sense of humor, very friendly. A gentleman, and an awesome player.

The host band for the Sunday night jazz jam is comprised of Tommy on tenor, alto, and soprano saxes, Joel Richman on drums, bassist Chris Gordan, and Rob Cooke on keys. They are all excellent. Below, my new friend Dave Jaeger sat in on tubs. Dave is one A-list cat.

Below, fine singer Genevieve belts it out. Check out her website. I got a tune I want her to consider doing.

The weak stage lighting made it difficult to get good shots in available light. Below, Genevieve with Frankie Scinta.

Trumpet player John Allen sitting in below, jamming hot rendition of "A Night in Tunisia."

Lotta other cats were starting to roll in just about the time I had to leave (the day gig thang). They do this every Sunday evening starting about 9:30. Please do check it out. Very cool session. Here are some movie clip links (.mov files) to the jam: click here, and here.

REMEMBER: Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, tonight at 10 pm at The Palms.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jazz jam at the Hurricane Sunday night

Every Sunday night starting at 9:30 pm a lot of fine performers show up at the Hurricane Bar & Grill to sit in. Tommy says they been packin' 'em in lately.

I will be there tomorrow night to report on it for the blog. Be there. It's on the south side of town, on Bermuda, just off St. Rose Parkway. For directions, click here.

Also, FYI, esteemed jazz veterans Stanley Clarke and George Duke are performing in town this weekend, at The Orleans. Word is that they'll be coming to hang at The Artisan with Ronnie Foster after their gig. I will be there, for sure.

RONNIE FOSTER GIG UPDATE:

As promised, George Duke and Stanley Clarke showed up at Ronnie's gig. I didn't get to meet them, as the crowd was elbow-to-elbow, and people were gushing all over them. Ronnie's band was cookin' last night. Adrian Garcia was again on bass. He plays SO fine! Below, a pic from the couch, up close and personal.

We thought Stanley and George were gonna sit in, but I had to leave, so I may have missed it (they were having a bite to eat in the Artisan dining room when I cut out). My 12 year old Grandson Keenan was in the finals of his latest tennis tournament, and I had to be at the Hilton to see it at 11 this morning. He torched it! Winning in 6-0, 6-1.

Keenan ended it with a rocket ace that had to be 100+ mph. Man, that serve! (click here, pic montage of the Grandson last December, age 11, at the USTA Claremont Nationals. Proud Grandaddy.)

OK, on to the jazz jam at The Hurricane in a few hours...

And, don't forget tomorrow night with Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns at the Palms.