Saturday, February 28, 2009

Esperanza Spaulding at the White House

It was Stevie Wonder's Gershwin Award night, to be sure, but this is just too unbelievably fine.

Go here for her MySpace page. Young woman is a musical genius. All of 24.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mid-week update Feb 26th

First, this news in the Las Vegas Sun:
Elite jazz quartet to perform Sunday
By Jerry Fink · February 25, 2009 · 6:12 PM

For less than the price of a CD jazz fans can hear live music performed by a quartet of elite Las Vegas musicians this weekend. The Hammond B-3 Quartet makes its debut concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Winchester Culture Center.

“There’s a possibility we could keep this going if we get a good response Sunday,” says Ronnie Foster, one of the nation’s premier Hammond B-3 organists. “I love all the players in the band.”

With Foster are Calvin Brooks on guitar, Bobby “Boppin’” Barnes on tenor saxophone and Jess Gopen on drums.

Foster was a member of George Benson’s band for many years and recorded with the likes of Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Chet Atkins, David Sanborn, Sheila E., Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lee Ritenour, the Temptations, Stanley Clarke, Robbie Robertson, Earl Klugh, Stanley Turrentine and Grant Green.

Brooks performed for President Clinton as part of Aretha Franklin’s band and worked with singer Lou Rawls and with many of the stars of Motown. He has recorded four albums, including the highly-praised “Jazz Standards Recorded Live,” made at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Barnes was a key figure in the Detroit jazz scene before retiring to Las Vegas and Gopen is a member of Ronnie Foster's other quartet.

“We’ve all played together off and on for years,” says Foster, a native of Buffalo, N.Y. Foster, who has been performing and producing records for more than 30 years, is known as a talented funk and soul-jazz keyboardist.

He learned classical piano as a child but as a teenager became a jazz pianist and eventually began playing organ as well.
  • Who: Hammond B-3 Quartet
  • When: 2 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod Drive
  • Tickets: $12 general admission, $10 for members of the Jazz and Guitar Societies
  • Information: 455-7030

Very cool.


Recall seein' that blimp rambling around town for quite a while now?

I saw this story about the new "M Resort" while hangin' with my Ma at the nursing home last night. It opens this Sunday night, I-15 south at St Rose Parkway exit. Be interesting to see how they fare in this lousy economy.
M Resort dares to be different
Casino creator hopes to carve out a niche in recession by getting right what struggling giants got wrong

By Liz Benston
Wed, Feb 25, 2009 (2 a.m.)

Built on a hill with a dramatic view of the Las Vegas Valley, the M Resort features a television studio for live cooking shows, an on-site pharmacy, a rooftop restaurant, the world’s largest mother of pearl ceiling and a modern design of inlaid wood and cantilevered glass.

But eye candy won’t sustain the $1 billion M Resort, which started construction two years ago when Las Vegas was booming and opens Sunday on the southeast corner of St. Rose Parkway and Las Vegas Boulevard South amid a recession with no end in sight.

While competitors grew into corporate giants by taking on billions in debt and building luxurious properties, Anthony Marnell III was taking notes on the dark side of the spending spree. He saw hotels with automated methods of communicating with customers.

He saw gambler swipe cards, points programs and loyalty club kiosks proliferate. He saw rising customer service complaints. He saw gamblers upset by reduced-odds table games and slot machines. He saw outrage over $15 martinis and $90 steak dinners.
His resort, he said, would be different...

Click the title to read the entire article. There's no specific information on the M Resort website as to the extent of live music they're gonna have.
I drove by last night and shot these (below):

This is all their website says on the "entertainment" page:
"Enjoy live music and rock out poolside in our Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza, with breathtaking views of the desert night sky as the backdrop. Celebrate with friends enjoying a glass of fine wine in our spectacular wine cellar. End the night at our rooftop restaurant and lounge, hundreds of feet above the Las Vegas Strip, surrounded by stunning views of the twinkling lights below. Whatever mood you’re in, we have the spot for you."
We shall see. Wish them the best. Their little slogan is "Built by locals for locals."

This Head Honcho
Anthony Marnell III looks like he'd get carded on the way in, LOL! (everyone's startin' to look young to me, haha).

I may have to run by for the opening, check it out. It's not far from my house (I live in the Paradise & Windmill 'hood on the south side).


Stevie Wonder Honored By President And All-Star Lineup At White House
By: Judy Rosen

It was all about Stevie Wonder at the White House last night (Wednesday, February 25th) as a star-studded lineup gathered to help honor the music legend with the Library Of Congress Gershwin Prize For Popular Song. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, speaking at the East Room reception of 150 invited guests, spoke about how much Wonder's music has meant to them through the years. The president said, "I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."

Upon receiving his prize, Wonder had nothing but praise for the president: "But what's really exciting for me today is that we truly have lived to see a time and a space where America has a chance to again live up to the greatness that it deserves to be seen and known as through the love and the caring and the commitment of a president as in our president, Barack Obama."

A star-studded lineup of singers performed tunes from Wonder's vast songbook, including pop legend Paul Simon, country singer Martina McBride, jazz vocalist Diana Krall, R&B singer-songwriter India.Arie, singer-comedian Wayne Brady, hip-hop star Will.I.Am, and gospel duo Mary, Mary.

Wonder opened the evening with "Sir Duke." At the end of the night, Wonder took the stage for a medley of hits including "Superstition," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," "Isn't She Lovely," and "All About The Love Again."

Presenting the award, Obama said: "It is my extraordinary privilege to present the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to an artist who has stirred our hearts and our souls for a generation. Whose music knows no boundaries. An inspiration to us all. Please give it up for Mr. Stevie Wonder."

The show airs on PBS stations tonight (Thursday, February 26th). Check local listings for times. The show will be available for viewing online on February 27th on and other local PBS websites.

Cool. Here are the KLVX broadcast details:
In Performance at the White House
Stevie Wonder In Performance at the White House: T #1501

Air: Thursday, February 26, 8:00 pm on Vegas PBS Channel 10
Future Airs: 02/27/09, 1:00 am Vegas PBS HD 10.1 Digital; 02/27/09, 1:00 am Vegas PBS Channel 10; 02/28/09, 2:00 am Vegas PBS Rewind 110 Cox Cable; 02/28/09, 8:00 am Vegas PBS Rewind 110 Cox Cable; 02/28/09, 2:00 pm Vegas PBS Rewind 110 Cox Cable; 02/28/09, 8:00 pm Vegas PBS Rewind 110 Cox Cable

Broadcast In: English

President Barack Obama presents the Second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to Stevie Wonder at this special concert in the East Room of the White House in celebration of African American History Month. The concert features a tribute by top performers singing the songs that propelled Wonder to the ranks of international stardom. In addition to Stevie Wonder himself, performers include Tony Bennett, Diana Krall. Will I Am, Kathleen Battle and more. The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was created by the Library of Congress to honor artists whose creative output transcends distinctions between musical styles and idioms, bringing diverse listeners together, and fostering mutual understanding and appreciation.

Run Time: 00:56:46



OK, I watched the PBS show. No Wayne Brady. What's up with that, I wonder?

They did feature Esperanza Spaulding, though, O.M.G! This young woman is totally amazing. The clip from her performance tonight isn't up yet, but here's one of her on Jimmy Kimmel (she played upright tonight).


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feb 23rd gig at The Palms

Wow! As promised, Santa Fe did four new originals tunes -- in a row, after opening with the Fat City Horns sectional intro to "Esta Noche," followed by Jamie's "Higher Ground." The new stuff is off the hook fine.
  • "Pack It Up" (Jerry Lopez)
  • "Indian Summer Day" (Dave Richardson)
  • "Love Jungle" (Dave Richardson)
  • "Into The Light" (Nathan Tanouye)
Time to get in the studio. The new CD is gonna be unreal.

They've rehearsed these tunes once together, but I didn't hear anything weak or tentative, just thundering, explosive, exquisite excellence on yet another unfathomable level higher (Doc Severinson level horn charts, slammin', stompin' herd-of-elephants rhythm section, and screaming vocal leads and harmonies). After the second tune, I just looked at Jerry and said "dude, I don't even smoke, but I need a cigarette after that!"

Ya just had to be there. I am tasered yet again.

Our bro' Garrett Hypes subbed again on bari. Jerry noted that he'll be doin a gig at Sunset Station on March 5th with the Lon Bronson Band, which will feature some of the Tower of Power players.

What a cool guy. And, a "target-rich environment" for a photographer. Love to shoot him. The blue bari is way hip and unique.

Wayne Newton's
MD Scotty Alexander sat in on guitar on "Wishing Well" and tore it up. I'd never heard him before. Fine player, he is (way interesting rap sheet too. Click his name for his website and check his bio).


So, lessee, the lineup of tunes for the new CD looks to be (minimally):
  • "Pack It Up"
  • "Indian Summer Day"
  • "Love Jungle"
  • "Into The Light"
  • "Si Te Vas"
  • "What'cha Gonna Do With That Greazy Thing?"
  • "This Time"
  • "Land of My Sun"
  • "When The Curtain Goes up (the bullshit stops)"
It will be one superb product, guaranteed. Jerry Lopez is every bit the meticulous artist-engineer-producer in the studio that he is performer and leader on stage.

More shots from a great night:

Another nice crowd tonight! Thanks to everyone for comin' out. I think everyone really dug it. I know I did.

Those new tunes, man...jeez...

Remember, we are dark next Monday, [bleep]. The Palms catering department had scheduled some private event in The Lounge (without checking with the new E.D.), so we won't be back 'til March 9th. Also remember that the Zowie Bowie show is moving from Red Rock to The Lounge at The Palms starting March 6th (Fridays and Saturdays).

UPDATE: Below, my to-the-point Photoshop reflection on the debut of the new tunes (and the band in general):


Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Time Jumpers, our Nashville Brothers and Sisters

An email blast from Jerry Lopez yesterday:
Check these guys out. It may not be your cup of tea (I love it), but these guys are the crème de la crème in Nashville, peerless musicians who get together every Monday night and HEAL. I just finished watching a beautifully produced DVD of theirs. There are many of us out there, in different flavors, in different settings, but musicians that bring it without the bullshit.
Yeah, he is not kidding. Check at this recent NPR interview:

'eh? Source is KPLN, Nashville Public Radio.

It would be way cool to have these peeps perform one night with Santa Fe. I just know our crowd would love 'em, despite it being a whole 'nuther music style. They are truly of the same spirit.

UPDATE: They appear Monday nights at The Station Inn in Nashville.

Y'know, I was looking at the band's website. [1] These cats are, uh, seriously in need of a photographer who knows what to look for and how to capture it; [2] my beloved in-laws live about 90 miles south of Nashville, and; [3] I have old music buds in Nashville (Jellyroll, Gary Loyd, Mark Douthit)...


UPDATE: go here to view some live gig DVD samples. Yeah, these peeps are the "country music" Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, no doubt. I'm gonna have to order that DVD.


We went to see our bro's last night at the Hilton (I left the camera home; didn't want to get in any "No Pictures" scrapes with Security. The shot above is one I took at their arts benefit show at Harrah's back in July). The showroom was about full, and they blew the house down, surprise, surprise. Troy told me afterward they were about to head out on another cruise ship gig, and would be gone for several weeks. But, after I told him that the guys were gonna debut four new originals for the upcoming CD tomorrow night, he sounded like they'd have to come hang tomorrow before they split.

BTW, thanks, Linda and Gabe for the tix (Keenan went with us), and for the House Seats subscription!

See y'all tomorrow night. I'm gonna go hang with my Ma at the nursing home, then come back and watch the Oscars tonight. Tired. Been studying & working on a new post for my "other blog." LOL, the title is "The Dukes of Moral Hazard." More stuff about the economic crisis. Speaking of which, I saw this on ABC News this morning:

America's Top 15 Emptiest Cities
These Once Boom Cities Are Now Quickly Turning Into Recession Ghost Towns

Feb. 22, 2009—

Call it a modern-day tale of two cities.

For decades, Las Vegas, ripe with new construction and economic development, burgeoned into a shimmering urban carnival. Detroit, once the fulcrum of American industry, sagged and rusted under its own weight.

These days, it's the worst of times for both.

Las Vegas edged Detroit for the title of America's most abandoned city. Atlanta came in third, followed by Greensboro, N.C., and Dayton, Ohio. Our rankings, a combination of rental and homeowner vacancy rates for the 75 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, are based on fourth-quarter data released Feb. 3 by the Census Bureau. Each was ranked on rental vacancies and housing vacancies; the final ranking is an average of the two...

Yeah, and I see in the R-J today that housing values in my ZIP code declined 28% in 2008. Like, whatever. Just glad I don't have to sell right now.


This popped up while I was logged in to MySpace.

Count me in the 7.4% that got it right, first try (no, it's not 16). Ya just gotta slow down, step back, and look closely. Yeah, there are 16 little ones, but then there's also the triangular outside border, and a number of subsidiary non-overlapping and overlapping triangles (larger than the smallest ones but contained within the bordering triangle), all total ____.

Email your answer. Your secret is safe with me. Or, reply via anonymous comment here on the blog.