Sunday, July 30, 2006

REMINDER: Monday July 31st

Monday, July 31st in The Lounge at The Palms, Santa Fe hosts their special guest friends THE TRIO, 3 of L.A.'s most eminent, world-renowned musicians:

Recall my prior FYI post of July 12th. Now, if you been hangin' around Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns for any length of time, you know by now that anytime Jerry has guest performers, you can count on our band bein' ramped up to the firewall. It is gonna be one explosive, SRO evening. Below, Marco:

Below, Joey on concert tour in Europe last summer with the legendary Steve Lukather of Toto.

Below: Renato on the cover of Keyboard Magazine. Renato performed on Prince's Musicology tour.

Let us recall the words of our Fearless Leader, Jerry Lopez:
"These three incredible musicians put out as much energy and as much music as all 14 of us in Santa Fe, and we want to share them with our awesome music-loving audience. We know that you will love them as much as we do. It's going to be a night to remember."
Be there. Music starts around 10:15 pm.

UPDATE: Jerry Lopez, video clip from his stint on the Jimmy Kimmel Show last week with Cleto and the guys. Try this YouTube link I just posted. Or, (update), click the embedded YouTube image below if you can see it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bill Champlin Update

OK, Bill just emailed Jerry apprising him of his new website, which I am linking in here straight away. Bill already has had the webmaster put links on his new site to Jerry's site and to this blog, so we simply must reciprocate ASAP.

For those of you who have been hiding in a cave for the past 40 years, and don't know who Bill Champlin is, well HE IS SIMPLY THE MAN! I've been following his stuff ever since I lived in San Francisco in the 60's. Bands I played in covered Sons of Champlin tunes (in fact, I'm workin' up a semi-acoustic arrangement of the Sons tune "Rooftop" right now). I have all of the old Sons LPs. This cat is a national treasure. Most pop music fans know him as the soulful razor-voiced lead singer on many Chicago hits, but he goes WAY, way beyond that. Spend some time on his site, and buy his work. Bill, lovin' the new website, my man.

The Sons of Champlin are back, with a new CD, "Hip Li'l Dreams." A must-have (click the link, there are mp3 samples available online).

And, uh, oh yeah: Bill's 1996 "MayDay" CD. Who played on this one? Check it out, LOL! Yeah! Now, I haven't heard this one yet, but my life-long bud and former bandmate JoJo over in Monterey, CA just did, and said it's fine, fine, fine. Gotta get a copy.

Bill Champlin: Vocals, Hammond B-3, Guitar
Greg Mathieson: Keyboards
Jerry Lopez: Guitar, Vocals
Rochon Westmoreland: Bass, Vocals
Eddie Garcia: Drums
Tamara Champlin: Vocals
Tom Saviano: Saxophone, Keyboards

And, oh yeah, the fruit don't fall far from the tree:

Wow. Check out the tune "All My Might" in particular. In fact, there're 4 cuts on his MySpace site, all them them way cool. Here's the link to his (Flash8 enabled) website. "Papa Can Play," and so can his boy. And, then, last but most certainly not least, there's MOM!

Unreal, the talent.


Jerry just got this email from Bill (he'd asked Bill for a blurb for the Santa Fe band website "Raves" page):

"...Here goes something for the big band.
'The Santa Fe big band is a project that needs to happen. A horn thang with some real focus on singers, songs and just great soloing. The arrangements are what we like to call "STOOPID". The players are scary and the singers are, well you all know what I think of the Lopez family and all the mofos that work with them. "They be completely Baaaaaad." I'm hoping to come in on one of our off nights or after one of our shows and hear some of my songs the way they're supposed to sound. To sing in front of this squad has got to be intimidating, I can't wait. (Guys, whip me, beat me, make me write bad checks.) See ya' all in October. Check out this band. It's what all the "Horn Bands" should be but rarely are. See ya' there. Bill Champlin.'
That oughta' get you thrown off the internet. See ya' soon, Bill.

Thanks again for just bein' you, B.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Steven Lee Group, at Red Rock

OK, the Mayor of Fat City is outa town, doing the Jimmy Kimmel show all week, and the Horns are sadly silent tonight (and my honey is once again out of town). What's BobbyG to do? Well, ya go to Red Rock Station, on the advice of Ron Crews, to the Rock's Lounge to check out The Steven Lee Group.

These cats are fine! Yikes. Yellowjackets / Spyro Gyra, etc quality. A few mp3 samples here and here and here. We are so blessed with superior talent here. Check out their website. Buy their CDs (I know I will). Below, my frigging one decent pic of the night (batteries failed, and my spares were no good either, musta picked up the wrong set). Steve plays his ass off, as does everyone in the band.

BTW: I had to good fortune to see the venerable Tommy Alvarado at the gig. What a nice cat (and a great, great sax player and singer). If you haven't yet been to the Sunday night jazz jam he hosts at The Hurricane (link on the links panel on the right), you are missing some serious action.

UPDATE: Rocco Barbato...

The sax player in the Steven Lee Group is just too cool. Click here for his website (Flash-enabled, BTW), and here for a nice article about him.

Serious Bad Boy. BobbyG be Diggin' it!


Just got my copy of the Steven Lee Group "From The Ground Up" CD from CD Baby. Not [bleep]ing ya, this stuff is excellent! We sat down to supper tonight and listened to the whole thing. Cheryl said "I can't wait to go hear them." Go to their website, and if ya order their CD, they provide you with a link where you can download a whole 'nuther CD worth of mp3 live performance cuts (which are equally fine). I am one happy camper right now. They recorded this CD using Bob Lentini's SAWstudio application. See First-rate, absolutely first-rate.

The fabulous Jeanne Quinn did the cool CD artwork (PDF file), and did their website, too. What an artist she is! This is one fine, fine product everyone who loves good jazz and funk should own.
Not [bleep]ing ya.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reminder: no gig at the Palms this Monday night

Jerry Lopez is doing the Jimmy Kimmel Show this week in L. A., so The Lounge will be dark Monday night.
But, don't forget, the band will be back with a vengeance on the 31st, with the Marco Mendoza TRIO as featured guest artists. Be sure to spread word, it's gonna be excellent.

I went to Brendan's Pub in the Orleans last night to see the Cordle-Scott band (front line below: John March on guitar, Brad Cordle on vocals, Tim Scott on bass). Room was slow, which is a drag, 'cuz these cats are fine, fine players. They'll be back quite a bit through the end of the year (see Tim's web calendar). Check 'em out. Brad Cordle is a monster blues singer. Man! What a voice.


I dropped by The Artisan last night to see Ronnie and the guys. Well, Gabriel is out of town, so Ronnie called Joel Richman on short notice (below) to sub on drums. Great choice. Joel fit right in seamlessly, just like he'd been gigging with them all along. Cat really plays fine. They fried the first set, to major cheering. Michito Sanchez again sat in on percussion, too. Great night. The joint was packed.

Joel, along with the esteemed Tommy Alvarado, hosts the Sunday night jazz jam at The Hurricane, where you can routinely see and hear a stage full of A-list players. New cats in town: this is the place to go to meet & greet and show your chops. Speaking of fairly new players in town, last night while at The Artisan I met and hung with drummer and vocalist Ron Crews, who came to Vegas after a long show stint in Orlando. Great to meet you, Ron.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


OK, the band has usually begun the first show with the instrumental tune "Just Kiddin'" (the musical equivalent of gym rat stretching exercises, I guess, but, done with a 12-pack of Red Bull). Then, a few weeks ago they sprung a surprise on us mid-show in the form of a horn section "a capella" ensemble piece entitled "Intermission." Gil told me he'd bought the chart, which had been arranged by Michael B. Nelson, formerly of Prince (and many others; more on him and his crew momentarily). Well, the past two Mondays, the band has opened the night with it, then immediately segue'ing into "South American Sojourn." Definitely gets your attention, and sets the bar.

Today I asked Jerry if I could get an mp3 cut of it ASAP (had I been thinking back on Monday, I'da brought my laptop to the gig and asked Sonny to patch me into the board, and I coulda pulled it right onto disk). Well, Jerry promptly sent me back -

(I am able to play it both in QuickTime and the iTunes player. You might have to save it to disk and then launch it in the right player if your browser chokes and spews garbage characters.)

I suspect this little cut is not The Fat City Horns (I don't hear the trombone), but just a mockup Jerry did for me to show the piece and transition. Trust me, they play it live right on the money and then some.

Michael B. Nelson? Jeesh. "Hornheads." Click the name, visit their website (particularly the Flash version if you have Flash capability). Recall the mind-blowing "Mosaic" sitting in recently? Hornheads are the horn ensemble equivalent. Wow. You can get their CDs via CD Baby. I am placing my order tonight.


jpeg note: I think I faded my graphic a bit too much (click the horn collage pic above at the top of the post to view in full). I simply Google'd "trumpet," "flugelhorn," "trombone," "alto sax," "tenor sax," and "baritone sax" respectively and saved a useful image sample of each. I then "cut" them out of their backgrounds one by one, threw about a 20% "soft edge" and 30-50% "transparency" effect on each cutout, dropped 'em all into a blank white background 1024 x 768 pixel "canvas," moved 'em around, drug in the "Intermission" jpeg I'd extracted from the PDF file Gil had sent me a couple of weeks ago, messed with it a bit -- fading it way down and tilting it, then dropped in a bit of "Broadway" font text which I hit with a touch of 3-D and a drop-shadow. Took all of about maybe 30 minutes. Just a quickie. I can do better. I'm using the ancient (and discontinued) Microsoft PhotoDraw on an old HP P3 Windoze 98 box. I think I'm gonna buy a brand new Mac (and Photoshop) and get real here. May go to Fry's this weekend and shop a while. Already priced the stuff at

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

We've now been written up by the L.A. Times blog

Check this out...

The Movable Buffet:
Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz

Very nice of you. Great piece, Thanks, Richard!
and, thanks for taking the cool pic,
Sarah Gerke for The L.A. Times.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Without YOU, we are nothing


I thought about handing out a paper & pen survey at the gig, and I may still do so (but that'd be kind of a hassle for everyone), but, I am asking all of you to respond here in the comments. You can do so anonymously. I know y'all are out there checkin' the blog. Please, give us some feedback:
  1. What's your favorite Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns tune? (original or cover)
  2. Would you buy a Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns t-shirt?
  3. Would you buy a Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns baseball cap?
  4. Would you buy a Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns poster?
  5. Would you buy "Fat City Sauce" or "Salsa"? (assuming we made sure it was kick-ass good)
  6. What other ideas would you recommend for "stuff"?
  7. Have you bought the CD?
  8. Have you bought the DVD?
  9. If you had to pick just one, what tune would you like the band to work up?
  10. Who are your other favorite artists?
  11. Who would you like to see "sit in" as guest artist(s) with the band?
  12. If we got "our own room," -- i.e., perhaps a "four-wall" deal where we were taking the sole financial risk, or even more of a traditional showroom gig where there's normally a cover, what would you be willling to pay in order to support this band?
  13. Relatedly, what would be a reasonable fee to "become a member"? The idea being you'd pay for a membership card (annual?) that gets you in without a cover, but that you could loan to a friend when you couldn't make it? Is that even of any interest?
  14. Is there anything you'd recommend for improvement?
  15. What is your age?
  16. Gender?
  17. Do you live in Vegas?
  18. If not, where do you live?
  19. Also, if you're from out of town, how often do you come to see the band?
  20. Answer any other question(s) I've failed to ask. Just whatever's on your mind when you think about this band. Without you, we are nothing. Talk to us.

So, Pepe is throwin' down big time during his drum solo in "We Are Nothing," and where are the guys? Partyin' in the dressing room...

Below: a bit of a different perspective, on the drum riser...

Rochon Westmoreland (below) leaves 'em speechless yet again.

Gabriel Falcon is a percussion machine! Below Gabe, Phil Wigfall lays into it. I am not kidding ya, you need to buy Phil's Solo CD, it is way, way excellent.

Below: Gil, Rob, and Jamie, respectively.

What a band! I got more pics, but I gotta crash now. More later. Remember, we want to hear from y'all, please give us your feedback (see above). Below, one last lick here: How 'bout I drop a little watercolor action on this front line shot? 'eh?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Coming soon, for the discriminating musical and gustatory Jones.

Like, yeah, of course, we'll do all the usual ancillary stuff: t-shirts, caps, posters, calendars, whatever. That's a no-brainer, ya gotta do all that. But, well...stay tuned, gonna get some recipes whipped up and packaged. Hmmm...How about our own microbrew product? "Santa Fe Cerveca [TM]"? (OK, imagination getting outa control here).

Don't forget: the healing resumes at 10:15 pm tomorrow night, July 17th at The Palms. Join us.


A letter Ronnie just got. Yeah, bro'!!

Congratulations, Ronnie Foster.

On behalf of the
Black Music Academy Association Of America, our Hall of Fame inductees, honorees, our programs and our supporters, we proudly inform you that you have been officially NOMINATED by our selection committee of music executives, radio station programmers, music journalists, fellow musicians and entertainers to receive a


Your nomination is a very special honor because your peers and music professionals hold you in the highest esteem in submitting your name for selection. We are especially proud because you have made a great contribution to the legacy of music, and through the BLACK MUSIC AWARDS everyone will recognize your accomplishments.

The LAS VEGAS SOUNDS OF SOUL MUSIC AWARDS will be held on Sunday, August 13, 2006 inside Cashman Theater in Las Vegas. This formal attire event will be one of the most exciting, informative, and gala activities in Las Vegas, as we roll out the red carpet for our nominees, honorees, special guests and celebrity hosts.

You have been nominated in the following categories:



Saturday, July 15, 2006

More healing needed

I hereby move that all world leaders, in particular those in the intractably violent Middle East, be rounded up, brought under guard to Vegas, and remanded to sit and listen to Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns for 24 horns straight. Nothing else seems to be working.

This latest sad crap is too personal for me. My early '60's New Jersey high school garage band sax player, Mike
("Johnny and The Embers"), is now an eminent clinical psychologist who emigrated to Israel some 20 years ago. A couple of years ago he and his son Dov came to the States and visited with us here in Vegas. They are the nicest, loving people. Dov plays guitar and is way into music.

Dov (who doesn't look at all old enough) is now a tank commander in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). I watch the news now with great apprehension every day. He's just a kid.

Just to be clear: I am neither reflexively "pro" ar "anti" anyone over there (with the obvious exception of pukes like bin Laden and his posse). One of our dearest friends going back decades is an attorney of Lebanese descent. I am simply pro-healing, pro-peace. I posted this page several years ago as my nation prepared to invade Iraq. I am simply heartsick at the way we humans continue to treat each other when we fail to get our way.

Yeah, I know; it's complicated. Let there be healing, in each of us.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 31st, Save The Date!!!

A message from Jerry Lopez

On Monday night, July 31st, Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns will present THE TRIO: Marco Mendoza, Renato Neto, and Joey Heredia as our guest artists.

They have been a source of inspiration to me and many of the Santa Fe band members for years! In fact, our presentations of the songs "Higher Ground," "Livin for the City," and "I feel good" are all songs that we took from their "Live at LaVeLee" Album and then adapted to our band. But the basic arrangements are theirs! And, the Michael Ruff arrangement of "Come Together" was originally performed and co-arranged by the TRIO, as well as Michael's song "We are Nothing" (Got me on my knees)! Marco and I go way back to the early 80's in Las Vegas and I've been close with Joey for at least 15 years now, as well as with Renato.

These three incredible musicians put out as much energy and as much music as all 14 of us in Santa Fe, and we want to share them with our awesome music-loving audience. We know that you will love them as much as we do. It's going to be a night to remember.

Marco, Joey, and Renato

Notes from BobbyG

My man Brad Cordle is appearing this week at Brendan's Pub in the Orleans with the equally awesome Tim Scott. Check 'em out! Brad is one excellent singer. Support these cats.

Smoothgroovers update:

Our UK friends have set up a web portal, see Yeah, very cool. I, for one, totally dig their philosophy:

The Smooth Groovers Review Podcast has been out since Oct 05. In addition to Smooth Jazz we love Jazz-Funk, Funk, Soul and Disco oldies and include these in our podcast too. Amazingly we get about 20,000 hits per month for our podcast - We're just some folks getting together for memories and more! ...

Life is too short, we need to respect each other and aim for harmony and equality.

People who believe that true celebrities are those that care for each other and who give service to humanity selflessly NOT ones that want their faces on the broadsheets or in glossy's showing off their mansions!

Those that agree that 'To become enlightened, we must first become a light'!

Lunchtime update:

Just got a nice email from one of our east coast Santa Fe fans (thanks, Bette). In her email footer is a link to the following, way worth noting:

"The Ricky Martin Foundation advocates for the well being of children around the globe in critical areas such as social justice, education and health." ... "
As advocates of children’s rights we focus our work in benefiting this most vulnerable population around the world by supporting structured, equal opportunity initiatives that will secure children the right to be children, and provide them a more promising life."

P.M. Update

My good friend Steve Tuminello hipped me to a band comprised of some of his pals (incuding a cousin) from Louisiana, Stormy," now appearing at The Stardust through July 16th.

Shoot, let's go check 'em out and give 'em a Vegas locals' welcome. Laissez les bon ton roulette!

A brief policy suspension

I know, I know, I said 'no politics on the blog,' but this is just too funny (mp3 audio):

The GOP'er's Lament
(to the tune of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA")

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday, July 10th, another special night

Tonight the healing continues, starting at 10:15 pm.. The incredible six-man a capella group Mosaic is coming to throw down as our special guests. Check out their awesome flash website,

Uhhh....duhh...blab...blub...Y'know, it's friggin' pointless to even try to describe the excellence of what I've just witnessed tonight. The band was ramped up to 'incineration.' The crowd was goin' clinical. And, Mosaic just leaves you shaking your heads and lexically-mangled speechless. You can't tell there are no instruments (hmmm...saves a lot of cash on axes and amps!).
They sat in and treated us to three mind-bending tunes. A Category 6 vocal hurricane, these cats. They're here at the Flamingo with George Wallace through the 15th (I think). You simply gotta check their website. Then buy their CD. I know I will be doing so.

Below: nailed a pretty fair shot of the fabulous Johnnie Johnson whuppin' ass on guitar during "System of Survival." When Johnnie throws down that funk rhythm guitar, widespread cases of Happy Feets are inevitable.

A great night tonight. The two new Bill Champlin tunes, "Satisfaction" and "Same Old Song" were kick-butt intensely fine (that cat is my all-time hero).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Uh, Oh, I think I just got a new job

They asked. Repeatedly. You just can't refuse such a request. It's an honor and a privilege. We all want to world to come to know and love them as we do. I will bust bootie to make that happen.


Cheryl and I went to hang with Ronnie tonight at The Artisan, hooked up again with the delightful Taylor Marsh and her husband Mark. The band was smokin'. I'll put up a few pics in the morning. Michito Sanchez was sitting in on percussion tonight. A Major Bad Boy. Cat can really play. He has a cool website, too, check it out:

Update: Below, Michito and Blaise (welcome home, dude) throwin' down last night at The Artisan:


Monday night, July 10th, with Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns is gonna again be wild. Mosaic will be sitting in. You gotta check out their website, to get an inkling of what you're about to experience. Spread the word, it's gonna be another over-the-top night brought to you by Jerry Lopez and the gang.