Tuesday, July 04, 2006


OK, look, I really am Mr. Walking Thesaurus 99.9th percentile Verbal Dude. When I first entered college at age 34 at Tennessee (16 years outa high school), I took the CLEP exam (College Level English Proficiency) and scored 45 points above the national 99th percentile (LOL! got me out of a year of Freshman English).

But, Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns LEAVE ME FUMBLING & SPEECHLESS! What a night! BobbyG gots a bad case of adjective atrophy, analogy amnesia, and metaphor miasma.

Ya gotta love it when your hopes and expectations are exceeded. We were SRO with people queuing up along the ramp railing 15 minutes prior to "lift-off" (props to the Space Shuttle just now on a safe launch, BTW):

Jerry wasted no time blowing us all away. After warming up the Fat City chops with "Just Kiddin'" he launched the band right in to "Living for the City." Man, that horn chart will rearrange your vertebrae and your brain cells! It was pedal-to-the-metal from there on, no letup. We were graced by the eminent presence of Mr. and Mrs. Cleto Escobedo, Jr. Cleto plays in the band on the late-night ABC Jimmy Kimmel Show, where his son (Santa Fe alumnus) Cleto Escobedo III is the Music Director. Theirs is a totally inspirational story of dedication and love. I am humbled to meet Mom and Dad (below, with Jerry).

Jerry had told me there would be some new material on tap. Wow. Bill Champlin's "Same Old Song" (from the "Burn Down the Night" CD) was brilliantly done. It's nice to see that they keep pushing ahead with new stuff, in light of their crazy busy show and production schedules, and what's really cool to me is that, in addition to new tunes, you'll hear places where they make little hip changes to existing arrangements. Continuous improvement -- and, to see whether you're really paying attention! For example, the horn ensemble setup to "South American Sojourn" (one of my CD favs) was new, and was beyond excellent. Gil told me that he'd bought the chart, which had been arranged by Prince's trombonist, Michael B. Nelson. He's gonna send me a PDF copy so I can post some of it on the blog.

5:15 p.m. update: Here it is, wow! Thanks, Gil...

Folks, these men are professionals. Do not try this at home. LOL!! This chart is written in D Major for trumpet, making it concert C relative (click the image to enlarge). Man, I used to play trumpet a bit, and I gotta tell ya, I'd have to be woodsheddin' this chart for months to get a handle on it. And, I'd have to be checkin' my skivvies after goin' for those E's above staff in measures 11 and 15. "Uhhh...Gil, tell ya what, I'll take the lower line, bro'..."

BTW- We also gotta give major kudos to Cirque's Marc Solis (Mystere) for subbing on bari & flute last night. Flawless.

My pics mostly sucked last night (I am no Bobby Black). There were problems with the light grid, and I could not get good focus hand-held in the lowered light. BTW- The amazing and totally sweet Christine LaFond of Replay came in to hang, and promptly got put to work again. And, she again brought the house down.

I wasn't the only one having tech headaches. In addition to the lighting woes, during the second show the power to the band's amps and the sound system failed completely in mid-song (geoscientists at Cal-Tech report getting Richter Scale seismic readings coming from Pepe's kick drum and Rochon's bass afterburner. I think we blew a breaker). What'cha gonna do? No problem. Jerry just calmly picked up his acoustic, sat on the front of the stage a la Kenny Loggins with Jamie and brother Lenny, and carried right on unplugged, doing "Come Back Home" to the subsequent standing-O delight of the hushed crowd.

A totally awesome night. We hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day. Major thanks to my new friend Taylor Marsh, nationally noted political blogger and talk radio host, for joining us last night ("Taylor, I TOL' ya...") and for giving us props on her blog this morning.

Finally, I gotta salute my ailing hero 90 year old Dad (and his fer-real Band of Brothers, all but him now departed) for his having given so much in defense of our American Independence (click the pic). Pop, I love ya (and, no, I am not your brother).


Some perhaps worthy closing thoughts today excerpted from the eloquent and perceptive words of writer Steven Pressfield, author of "The War of Art," apropos of the exhaustive (and seemingly commercially Quixotic) effort Jerry Lopez and his posse put into Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns:

The Artist’s Life

“Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end, the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution Give us what you’ve got.”

These exquisitely skilled musical artists and gentle souls make the world a significantly better place every time they mount the stage. They unfailingly Give Us What They've Got without reservation or ulterior motive. That's why I do the little I do for them, with no expectation of anything in return (and, trust me, I'm just gettin' started). The doing is my reward. And coming to know them and all of you that love their passionate, assiduously honed art, that too is my reward.

- BobbyG


Anonymous said...

What a moving bunch of articles. I had a feeling you came from good stock!

BobbyG said...

Thanks, that's very kind of you.