Tuesday, August 29, 2006

August 28th: Man, I needed that!

First of all, major props to our homeboy Andre Agassi for winning his opening match (his final tournament before retirement) at the U.S. Open tonight 6-7 (7-4), 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (8-6), 6-2. When I left the house for The Palms, he and Andrei Pavel were tied at one set each and on serve in the 3rd set. Go, dude!

Band was cookin' tonight. From the opening bars of "Just Kiddin'" I knew it was gonna be therapeutic. I so needed that, just hate that I had to leave before the second show. Back from Florida yesterday, jet lagged out the wazoo and right back into the day gig buzzsaw today.

The eminent, virtuoso jazz guitarist Robert Conti came to hang tonight. Turns out Robert and I share some Philly / Jersey shore musical roots; we're the same age and were both playing Jersey shore gigs (he in Wildwood, me in Seaside Heights) during the same summers, and we'd each go to hang at the after-hours jazz clubs in Altantic City. Probably saw each other and never knew it back then in the early 60's! I am so delighted to finally come to know him. Robert is an absolutely stunning jazz guitarist (flash enabled video link) -- and a very nice cat. Pics below of [1] Robert and his friend, jazz drummer Eugene Balog and [2] another of Vegas's notable music cats, Lou Martinez. Great to meet you guys.

Also tonight I got to meet vocalist Carlo Driggs, formerly of Paul Revere and The Raiders, and with whom I also share a bit of tangential history via my Seattle era and Merrilee Rush (I toured with Merrilee in the 70's). Dr. Lenny the Lopez introduced us. Great to have you here, bro'.

Great to see everyone tonight. And, Jim, thanks again for all your work on the survey! I got a few decent band shots this evening.

I love these cats. I simply cannot recall 14 more talented and nicer people all in one place at one time. And the sentiment extends to all of you Santa Fe fans, you all that "get it."

PS- I've started another blog, related to my day gig: physicianoffice.blogspot.com. Note the difference in lingo, LOL! When in Rome...

UPDATE: Found a bunch of pics last week while cleaning out my parents' house in Florida, stuff going back to even before I was born. Below, baby blogger-to-be BobbyG.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Jazz Legend has departed

MAYNARD, R.I.P., my Man

When I was in high school in the early 1960's in New Jersey, us garage band cats (Johnny and the Embers) wuz' playin' Chuck Berry et al, but we were seriously listenin' to and diggin' the likes of Jack McDuff, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Stitt, Johnny Smith, and Maynard Ferguson, etc. In fact, we used to sneak into Birdland in Manhattan on fake IDs to grovel before the magnificence of Maynard (such may account in part for my reflexive horn Jones for Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns). MSNBC has the story of Maynard's passing up at the moment. Click here.

Rest in Peace, good Sir. You have inspired legions of serious players.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back on the red-eye

Hi, everyone. Hate that I'll miss you all Monday night at The Palms. Somebody, please, fill in for me, gimme a writeup via email and send me some pics and I'll update the blog remotely (and give you a byline). I'm back in Florida to do my next-of-kin thang again. Been up all night, left LAS at 11:50 pm, just got here (MLB) and headed for the SunShoppe in Melbourne (click for the link to my last post from here), where they have great food and drink and free WiFi (live music too in the evenings. Place has become my local hang). Picking up my sister (coming in from Michigan) in a few hours. We'll be here all week takin' care of bidness. I get back Sunday the 27th.

Man! The humidity, you could drown just breathing too hard. I been in the desert too long now, don't do humidity anymore (got no choice this week, though).

UPDATE: About a month ago I posted some personal concern and anguish regarding the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah (see "More Healing Needed" from July 15th). Well, I got an email with some pics from my Israeli friend Mike the other day. Below is one of his son, who is an IDF tank commander at the ripe old age of 21 (taller dude standing on the road in front of the tank, arm around his crewmate).

This pic was shot by a news photographer up in Lebanon shortly after the cease-fire went into place (click the pic to enlarge it). Mike and the family have been through a ghastly month of worry, not knowing anything about the boy's whereabouts or condition. Look at these dudes! They're just kids! I am so relieved at this news. I so hope the people in this region will someday live in peace and healing. Dunno, man...


Got an email yesterday from a cat up in the Pacific Northwest, about his 12 piece band known as "5 Guys Named Moe" (he's been lurking at our blog all this time). Check out their website, listen to some of their music samples (and view the video clips). Yeah, it's a campy "show band" thang, but, hey...looks like fun, and good players.


Jazz jam again tomorrow night at The Hurricane (see the links column). And, be sure to go hang at The Artisan Tuesday night to hear Jerry and Tommy Alvarado and Joel Richman et al doing what will surely be a cool new thing. I hate that I'm gonna miss that.

Also, be sure to go hang with Ronnie Foster and the guys on Thursday and Saturday at The Artisan. MickiJay told me they were tearin' it up last week, and doing some new material.


Below, BobbyG tosses in the ceremonial first dumpster bag as the 33 year era of Mom and Dad's house in Palm Bay comes to a soggy, sweltering close. Finding myself surprisingly unsentimental about all this. Just wanna get this done and get the hell out of this gawdawful place.

When I got here, there was no AC in the house (88 inside), and the city had shut off the water. $876 later, after an HVAC dude and licensed electrician, we had AC, and the city came out and turned the water back on (dunno about that one; the water bill was current). Then, the AC was no longer working in Mom & Dad's car (it just stays parked; she can't drive any more and he's in a nursing home), so, I took it to a shop to get it fixed so I could turn in my rental car. $232 and 3 hours later I'm 200 yards from my Mom's apartment at Glenbrooke, and Barney Friggin' Fife of Palm Bay PD Blue pulls me over and writes me for "expired tag" (Mother had paid it, but it never got put the plate, and, with everything going on, I just never thought to look, duh. We later found it in a pile of her mail. Expired all of 7 weeks, a major CODE RED. It's on the plate now, Barney). Fifester calls for backup, too (broad daylight on a busy main thoroughfare, lone whitebread 60 yr old male driver, real necessary), and a uniformed Fifette arrives forthwith, lights equally ablazing, and goes immediately into Major FoxTV "Cops" Officer Drama Queen mode -- "SIR! Stay by your vehicle!" and was then rude to my sister when she showed up with the newest insurance cards for the car after I called her on my cell to ask her to see what paperwork she could quickly find.

Rhymes with "Rich."

He coulda let me off with an admonition ("put the sticker on, OK?") after I'd explained what had happened, But, NO-O-O-O-O! One more piss-ant ($77.50) hassle to deal with. Imagine my suppressed expletives (I didn't give them the first milligram of crap either, opting prudently to be the very soul of amiable and contrite cooperation, pissed as I was).

They had me collared for a good half hour, two cops, burning up roughly one hour of taxpayer-funded FTE. Burglars and 7-11 stickup dudes, take note.

Having a lovely time in this dreary Port-au-Palm-Bay swamp. Can't wait to see y'all at The Palms Monday night. Coda: below, Mom and Dad (and my sis) last Sunday, their 62nd wedding anniversary. No Pop, I am not your brother.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Diff'rent night, same Healing: August 14th

Ahhh...life is always good on Monday nights when Santa Fe is onstage. Jerry had to go to the bench again, Dave Richardson was unavailable. No problem whatsoever. Just call Bill Zappia -- Music Director for Sheena Easton, and an arranger of considerable note -- to come in and read the book, no rehearsal necessary. Email Bill here.

Above: Jamie Hosmer is hot, 'eh, ladies? Cat can flat-ass sing! Below, Phil and Rob throw down.

Below: Roch and Pepe. Man! It's all so fine! The crowd was again howling at the excellence and energy. And Rochon yet again blew us away with one of his impossible bass rides during "We Are Nothing."

Below: The always delightful Santa Fe regular Mickey J was seriously diggin' it.

Below: Ran into Enrique last night. Haven't seen him in a long time. Dude is one fine, tasty guitarist and composer (and also formerly of Santa Fe). He's just finished a stint with the "Buck Wild" show at the Sahara. I first met Enrique when he was appearing at the Sunday jazz brunch at Gordon Biersch. Great to see you, bro'. UPDATE: Enrique sent me an mp3 of one of his self-produced tunes, "Cool Chile" (click the title). Very nice, indeed.


Guitarist par excellance Robert Conti had his people send me a comp copy of his new CD "To the Brink." I got it last night when I got home from the day gig, and put it on immediately. Thank you, Sir! I honestly don't think the phrase "Musical Genius" is an overstatement. Robert has chops inside of chops inside of chops, sorta like those ivory tusk ball carvings you see over in Chinatown in San Francisco. Bird (the late Charlie Parker) is reported to have once observed "first you learn your instrument, then you learn the music, then you forget all that shit and just play." Very few of us ever get anywhere close to such a level -- being able to play whatever comes to you, absent any apparent physical limitations. Robert is definitely there. I try to imagine Robert throwing down with Ronnie Foster. The room would probably explode. (Y'know, I'd put up money to make that happen, LOL!)

See my August 7th Steven Lee Group blog update for more about Robert (including a video clip). Scroll down. The "4's" video thing with Rocco Barbato will blow you away.

Note on the "To The Brink" CD: One take in studio, the entire thing. Robert's philosophy is that, if you gotta do re-takes, punch-ins and/or overdubs, it's not jazz. The studio session should be no different than a live gig. One take. Step up and show what you got (they sure did on this one).


Spoke briefly with Tommy Alvarado last night. A Tuesday night jazz gig at The Artisan is in the works (beginning on the 22nd, I believe, hate that I'll be in Florida). Tommy, the fabulous Joel Richman on drums, our Fearless Leader Jerry Lopez on guitar, and a couple other A-List cats (I'll get the names, shoulda wrote it all down last night, too much going on at the time). Will no doubt be awesome. If you've not yet heard Tommy Alvarado play saxes and sing, you don't know what you're missing. Cat is an Eminence. Get your bootie down to The Artisan next Tuesday (and Thursdays and Saturdays for Ronnie's performances).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Monday night, August 14th, the Healing continues

Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns are back on stage in The Lounge at The Palms Monday night at 10 pm. Without YOU we are nothing, so be there.

BTW- Bill Champlin update. I have by now repeatedly studied my recently purchased copy of Bill's latest Sons of Champlin CD, Hip Li'l Dreams, and it is totally, totally fine. The musicianship, the mastering, the arrangements, the singing, those lyrics!


Anyone can sit in, but you better bring your A-Game, 'cuz this is some serious action.


, our local PBS affiliate (channel 10) will today again air the Clint Holmes Show documentary they produced a while back
("An Evening With Clint Holmes"). Showtime is 5:30 pm. Another link here.

BTW, if you've not seen Clint's show live, you better do so soon. It is excellent. I've been to it twice. I'd probably go once a month if I ever hit a Lotto. Clint is da bomb. Another link here, R-J article about the PBS event. 8 pm UPDATE: I watched it (and taped it), it's great. I made a $120 pledge so I could get the autographed DVD, even though we're already KLVX members.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Props to Nathan Tanouye

Just got an email from a long-time family friend, Nate Kimball (former schoolmate bud of our son, Nick, and just about like another son to us), apprising me of developments with Fat City Horns trombonist and arranger Nathan Tanouye (under whom the talented Nate K. has studied at UNLV). More to come, but for now check this out. From the CD Baby notes:

The Russ Freeman Project "Crossings"
Nathan Tanouye and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection

In 2004, Carolyn Freeman, Russ Freeman's widow, decided that she wanted to produce a big band album featuring her husband's music. Knowing that Russ had always promoted younger musicians who had talent that he thought should be recognized she heard an arranger's work at a concert and decided to ask trombonist/composer/arranger Nathan Tanouye to arrange several of Russ's compositions for big band and then organize, rehearse and record the orchestra. She could not have made a better choice as is evidenced by the music on this CD and the enthusiasm that the professionals display in their performance of Nathan's charts. What started out as a fairly standard 5-saxophone, 4-trumpet, French horn, 3-trombone and rhythm-section big band grew into an orchestra that also included a vocalist, flutes, oboe, 10 strings, harp and percussion. Her discovery of vocalist Tyia Wilson performing at the Wynn Las Vegas ld not only to Tyia's inclusion in the recording project but also her employment as lyricist for "When Love Was Lost and Found" and "Safe At Home".The Orchestra, a mix of solid young and highly seasoned professionals, is outstanding both as an ensemble and soloistically. Tanouye has taken a group of superb 50-year-old compositions and arranged them in a fashion that preserves their original integrity while making them sound fresh and new. He has also added a composition of his own, "Crossings", which he dedicated to Russ Freeman; it also serves as the title tune of the album.

Check out the new Peacock Entertainment website for more. Play the video clip. Very cool.


Nathan Tanouye's website: www.nntmusic.com. Check it out. Lots of cool music samples there too. Busy cat. Nathan, when the hell do you sleep, bro'?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

No Santa Fe gig this week, BUT...

Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns will not be appearing at The Palms August 7th (bummer). They return a week from Monday (the 14th, schedule is on the links column to your right). I ask everyone, however, to show up in force on Monday night the 7th at 8 pm in Rock's Lounge at Red Rock Station to see and hear the incredible Steven Lee Group. Anyone who digs Santa Fe will appreciate this band equally, they are really fine. Check some of their mp3 samples here. I bought their CD "From The Ground Up," and I gotta tell ya, it's as good as anything I have in my collection. The sax man Rocco Barbato is totally A-List. They all are. See my prior post about the band here.

The Suits at Red Rock just informed the band that their Monday night gig has been canceled, in favor of Monday Night Football! Man...so, we all gotta show up en masse to show the flag for this fine band.


I stopped by The Artisan last night to see Ronnie and the guys. David Inamine (recently of the Wayne Newton show) was subbing on bass. Yet another Bad Boy player. Awesome. Great tone, and great technique, perfect mix of legato and staccato fluidity and percussiveness, with lots of perfectly timed breathing spaces. David stepped right up and delivered, no rehearsal. Jeesh...

BTW- Ronnie and I will throwing down the hoops today at 24 Hour Fitness Sport at Sahara & Buffalo today at 2 pm. The nascent-geriatric "Old School" posse, LOL!!!

UPDATE: HOOPS post-game wrap-up...

Ronnie Foster was rainin' 3's during half-court (we played for 2 1/2 hours, a mix of full and half court). He was also takin' dudes off the dribble to the hole and throwin' down his little baby-half-hook shot off the glass. They think they don't gotta respect the Old Man. Hah!

Also BTW/FYI, don't forget the weekly Sunday night jazz jam at the Hurricane Bar & Grill tonight with musical hosts Joel Richman and Tommy Alvarado. They will no doubt be throwin' down.


Cheryl and I brought a dear friend from Chicago, Brian (Shaw Group colleague of hers), to hear the Steven Lee Group last night. My daughter showed up also with a couple of her posse from work. Everyone was dazzled. Thanks also to Dr. Lenny the Lopez and Gabriel, as well as Michito Sanchez and David Inamine, for coming out (BTW- Michito tells me there's a Latin jam night in the works; stay tuned for details). A few pics from the evening:

Above: in particular, bassist Keith Nelson has entirely too much fun! He graced us with an absolutely killer bass ride that elicited prolonged, loud howls.

Above: Brenda is totally bad. I kept pokin' my wife's arm: "...'eh, 'eh...she bad, or what?" Y'know, if Dave Richardson ever can't make it to the Santa Fe gig, I know exactly who to call. Serious, serious chops. And, that voice!

Above: Rocco (That's all you gotta say).

This is one fine, fine band. Buy their CD. Worth every penny.

BTW- Rocco introduced me to jazz great Robert Conti last night. I am so blessed. They've just done a project together. I gotta hear it. Check out Robert's site, there's a wealth of information there.

BTW- Rocco has a sax training method DVD project in the works. I'm certain that will be awesome. I been thinkin' about buyin' an alto anyway to learn it (something I've wanted to do ever since grade school, when they blew me off and told me to do trumpet instead). I get so inspired by Santa Fe (and all these A-List cats I've come to know and respect so much), I'm gonna buy a flugelhorn soon to start woodshedding to get my reading chops together, but alto would be so much fun too, I told Rocco I'd like to be his learn-it-from-scratch experiment once his method is released.


OK, if this doesn't kick your ass, nothing will. Robert Conti just sent me some video links, OhMyGod!!

Check THIS out, Robert and Rocco throwin' down up-tempo jazz "fours" (Google video clip: warning, requires Flash). From the web page copy:
Jazz Guitarist Robert Conti and his regular sidekick Sax Ace, Rocco Barbato, trading round after round of blistering "Fours" during the recording session of the "To The Brink!" CD. That's Brad Wendkos of TrueFire fame behind the video camera. Billy Moran, Hammond B-3 & Aldo Bentivegna, Drums, Mike Sak, Engineer Tone Factory, Las Vegas NV, USA. www.RobertConti.com

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Jerry gets embarrassed when I go all effusive. But, I only speak to the truth here. The expression of his vision and leadership and the collective artistry we get to see on Mondays is simply inspiring. To manage to pull off a band of this magnitude and this devotion to excellence during an era of mobile DJs and duos with drum machines is utterly against-the-grain remarkable. I, for one, could not appreciate it more -- as oughta be obvious by everything I've put into the blog thus far.

The montage above is comprised of edits and a blend from three quick shots I fired off Monday night from my table (click the pic for full size). Below, a few more 7-31 shots -- Jerry's much older brother, Lenny, Nathan Tanouye, Johnnie Johnson, Mr. "Take My Heart Away" himself again, and a wide shot from my seat:

What a night!


Email I just sent out:

I just now got off the phone, a glorious conversation with my bro' Kurt Kolstad. He sounded wonderful, strong, and way cool.

The stem cell treatment is over, and looks thus far to be a total success. Looks like he'll be going home next Friday (he's still at the Thompson Cancer Center in Seattle). Still a lot of recuperating to do, but everything looks very good. Basically, they nuke your ass, taking your immune system all the way down to zero, then do a stem cell transplant to rebuild it from scratch. High-risk, extremely butt-kicking total isolation procedure.

Man! I am so happy. I am speechless.

I heard an interview on NPR several weeks ago with a well-known reporter who had been through the EXACT same lymphoma disease and treatment ordeal and is now totally fine. That gave me great optimism, and my hopes look to have been fulfilled. [bleeping]-A!!!!!

Thank you, Adrian and Jerry, for your interest in my man, my great friend whom you've yet to even meet, and for your prayers.

Joey, Pat, Cheryl -- YEAH!!!!



Last Sunday, Cheryl, Nick, and I took Danielle to the Jazz Brunch at The Artisan for her 36th birthday. It was really very nice, highly recommended. The music was that of sax player Martin Mancuso. I had seen him around a lot, both at The Artisan and at the Santa Fe gigs, but didn't know anything about him, except that he wears the baddest zoot suits I've seen in a while. Snappy dresser, this cat. Oughta be giggin' with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy! Pic of him with Billy Dee Williams below.

His thang entails a lot of broad-based novelty act stuff, and the cat can seriously play (video clip below). Check him (and those Mimosas) out at the jazz brunch.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Duhhh.h.h...what can I adequately say?

Marco Mendoza!
Jerry Lopez is a man of his word (and here I am once again straining to find adequate words to describe this performance). A night to remember, yep. Marco Mendoza, Joey Heredia, and Renato Neto tore the place down. We had an absolute crush of people, and they got all they could handle and then some. Much more later. Got a lot of pics. Thank you all for coming out to witness this incredible evening. Thanks also to the incredible Michito Sanchez for sitting in with the TRIO.

Unreal. Marco, Renato, Joey, Michito, and Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns: THANK YOU!

Of course, the night ended up in a major combined funk throw-down that totally blew it out (below):

I have so much updating to do in the wake of last night, I'm gonna be at it all week. More pics to come. First, lemme throw out some props to Jerry Lopez's brother-in-law Mundo Juillerat, guitarist in the Mamma Mia Show at Mandalay. Jerry had told me about him, and we finally met and spoke briefly last night, what a pleasure. Extremely nice cat. Yet another serious talent (I think my brain is gonna explode, I'm in musical Shock & Awe overload today, in addition to running on the fumes of 4 hours' sleep). And, Mundo is the cat who hipped us to Steven Pressfield's great book "The War of Art" (if you've not read it, buy a copy today!).

Much more to come. Oh, yeah, quickly. I gotta again say "thank YOU, Dave!" for the charts Santa Fe's Dave Richardson wrote for me last week on Paul Peterson's beautiful, poignant song "Don't Turn Away" (mp3 cut). There are some nuances in that thing beyond the basic progression and melody I was not gettin' very well. Got 'em now (workin' this tune up acoustically on my 12-string and lovin' it). Click here for more on Paul and the rest of the unbelievable Peterson family. I bought Paul's CDs and the Peterson Family CD. They are among my favs.