Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dark Monday night


(Warning: BobbyG's irascible opinion to follow) The [bleeping] light grid was out again tonight (for about the 3rd or 4th time), this time for the entire three-hour show. Here's the deal: The Palms outsources The Lounge lighting hardware and service to a local Big Swingin' vendor, Encore Productions. So, if there are no lights at showtime, hey 'it's not my job' for the Suits at The Palms. And, if you can't get a timely and effective response from Encore, well, you're SOL. The light grid in The Lounge -- such as it punily is relative to professional Vegas standards
-- is controlled by a laptop computer that links to the various front parcans (all wonderfully-aimed four of them, wow) and robotic swivel backlights via a single USB cable. This laptop was locked up, whereabouts unknown, and apathetically out of reach tonight. So, here's what The Lounge looked like for the entire evening.

I was all ramped up to kick major onstage photo ass tonight, after the week I've just had. It was not to be. Frustrating. What-ever.

Our awesome friends MOSAIC sat in and tore the place up as usual. We welcome their newest member, Heath Burgett!

Then, toward the end of the first show, Jerry introduced Michael Grimm, who will be filling in for Lenny for the summer beginning next Monday. Jerry made Michael come up and do Ray Charles' "You Don't Know Me" solo, guitar/vocal, to introduce him to Santa Fe fans not already hip to him.

Michael blew everyone away. Monster talent. Perfectly presented via Jerry's astute judgment. The house roared in stunned disbelief. Could not have been a better introduction.

My wife loves this kid (as do I). She wants to kidnap him and bring him to the house and just cook Southern for him, LOL!

Best line of the night: Taylor Michaels leaned over to Cheryl and said "I know you'll understand this. I just got pregnant while he was singing." LOL. Below, Elisa Furr (she's now hooked) and Taylor Michaels.

The upside for me tonight was that I got to listen to the band more, and given the lack of visuals, the musical impact was that much more intense for everyone. It was an awesome night musically. These cats remain unfazed by any adversity. Ya just gotta love it.

I'm goin' to bed. Still kinda jet-lagged from Florida. More thoughts tomorrow. Thanks to all for showing up. Thanks also to our bro' the fabulous Michito Sanchez for adding his unreal percussion artistry to the band last night sittin' in.


Regarding my post-gig maybe-shouldn't-have-had-that-last-glass-of-wine tirade above: I just want things to be right for the guys. These are our city's premier players, doing what they love, for all of us, at very little in the way of monetary compensation. They bust bootie for us all the time, and have recently suffered a terrible loss with the theft of their gear (my reaction to that outrage is essentially unprintable). They don't need the additional annoyance of a chronically and randomly subpar performance environment, particularly in a high-end place such as The Palms. End of rant.

Below: Sean of MOSAIC hangin', and then below that, Michael Grimm, Sean, and Heath out by the bar during intermission.


(Above: Dion and the late Bo Diddely) Yesterday I was enroute to Pop's new nursing home, and had NPR's "Fresh Air" on the radio. It was a replay of Terry Gross interviewing Dion (the "Runaround Sue" cat from the 50's & early 60's, i.e., "Dion and The Belmonts"). A simply wonderful interview. From the website copy:
Singer and songwriter Dion says that his latest project was inspired by a visit to Fresh Air. The acoustic CD, Bronx in Blue, has Dion exploring the blues music he heard during his youth.

In the late 1950s, Dion and his band the Belmonts topped the pop charts with hits like "I Wonder Why" and "A Teenager In Love," which earned the singer teen-idol status. Dion split amicably with the band in 1960 and continued to write Top 10 hits — "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer" — until the British Invasion changed popular tastes.

Now in his 60s, Dion continues to produce, write and sing new material under his iconic single first name (he was born Dion DiMucci). He lives in Boca Raton, Fla.
Stream it here. Cat has a most interesting story, particularly nice for those of us from the NYC area, and who grew up in that era. He's a lot deeper than you might have ever thought if all you knew was his legacy 50's music rep. Really nice to see that's he's still in the game.

Props, bro'.

BTW- you can get his new CD here via Amazon.com.

Update: so, I'm still checkin' out Dion's website, and, he's comin' to Vegas, June 8 - 10, at the Suncoast.

Dude, you gotta stay over and hang with Santa Fe.


Conti just sent me this: Mickey's ToonTown Tuners Sax Quartet Quintet performing "Four Brothers" on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World.

Also, again on the way over to Pop's new nursing home digs this morning, I listened to most of a very cool KNPR interview with Clint Holmes and his new show ("Just Another Man") Director Larry Moss.

Clint is a class act. Click here to listen to the interview (Dave Berns' "State of Nevada," mp3). Well worth your time.


Grady Nichols and Bill Champlin performing "Amazing Grace" from the "In The Fullness of Time" TV Special.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

Tonight we will again gather in happy friendship to bask in our love of the healing music that is our awesome ongoing gift from Jerry and the guys. But, please give a good bit of reflection today on the price that continues to be paid to make such things possible. I shot that picture three years ago at the D-Day cemetery in Normandy. Whoever lies beneath that cross in France was utterly precious to someone.

Given that I had an uncle in that invasion 63 years ago and a Dad who left a leg behind on Sicily, I have always been acutely mindful of the terrible sacrifices our countrymen and women have repeatedly made, and continue to make so that we might live in freedom and peace at home.

See y'all tonight.

- Bobby


We went to see Ronnie Foster at MJ's last night. They had a ton of cats show up. I don't have time at the moment to cite everyone. Check Steve Tuminello's "Music Seen" site, he has posted much more detail (Cheryl and I had to split early). Great job, BTW, Steve. Below, a few pics I managed to squeeze out of the still-sucky lighting (I had to bail to flash a lot, which I hate, 'cuz they always look so amateur).

Above: Patrick Lamb of the Gino Vanelli show. What a nice dude, and excellent player!

Above: It is simply great to see our bro' Ron Camire back on the stage after his knee job. Below, a horn section jam riff, with the awesome Chiqui Garcia on percussion, and Duke Jones along with Ron on brass.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

BobbyG is back

I've been gone a week to Florida again, this time to get my Dad and transfer him to a nursing home here in Las Vegas. Thanks mucho to my bro' Dave Siefkes for blogging last Monday's gig, which I hated to miss. I'll be back at it Monday night. Meanwhile, a couple of quick catch-ups. First, Phil Wigfall's new band Urban Renewal will be appearing tonight at the Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza at 6 p.m., and then next Friday (June 1st) at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheatre (7 p.m.).

Also, don't forget our Brother Ronnie Foster:

Also, I got an email from sax man TonyQ apprising folks of his new CD release Jammin' Out West. Tony's a very nice cat. Fine player with great tone and feel.

An email I got from Santa Fe's Dave Richardson:

I've been meaning to give you a heads up about this for a while, but I always space it. Every now and then I do a contemporary jazz gig with the Jim Spoto band at Envy the Steakhouse in the Renaissance Hotel, which is on Paradise, just south of Desert Inn. Anyway, we're playing on Sunday from 11am to 3pm, and the band is comprised of Jim Spoto on saxes, Adrian Garcia on bass, Don Meoli on drums, and myself. One of the finest rhythm sections I've ever been a part of. So if you're back in town and have a free minute, stop on down -- it's a lot of fun.

Thanks, Dave

I'm almost done with that mess down there. Mom is next after I get through with this adventure.

When I got to Dad's nursing home last Saturday, I gave him this hat I'd picked up at McCarran:

Despite his dementia, he did happily remember every day that I'd told him we were going to Vegas. Below, Mom and Dad in their painful twilight.

I shot that latter picture the other day. He's been in that nursing home since October, 2001. He'll be 91 next month. Below, my parents' wedding day some 62 years ago:

Complicating matters on this trip was that my Mother is now once again in the hospital, and having a difficult time. The other day we thought she was dying. They transferred her back from rehab to acute care where the doctors finally got a handle on her condition, and it looks like she's gonna be OK this time. My sister and I ran ourselves ragged all week tending to both of them.

We got him to the airport yesterday at 5:30 a.m. Florida time, and I brought him to Vegas on Delta. We had to go through Atlanta, changing planes. He's wheelchair-bound, having lost his right leg in WWII. He's the last surviving brother of five who fought (only he and my now-deceased Uncle Warren survived the war years). I'd be writing all day to fill y'all in on this trip, but I don't have time. Gotta get back over to his new digs.

It was amazing, and went better than I'd expected. Below, the Happy de-Camper sitting in First Class on our way up to ATL.

He just babbled his usual repetitive no-memory questions at me the entire way. As we were disembarking in ATL, this woman who'd been sitting in the row behind us whispered in amazement at me "you are SO patient!"

What can I say? He's my Pop. He deserves nothing less.

More later. Gotta run.


Went and hung with my Dad for a few hours. Looks like his adjustment will be easier than I'd feared. He was happy to see me. Started right in the on the endless "get me out of here" complaint he always repeated down in Florida. Some relatives of another resident assured me that "they all say that." Staff said he'd had a good start, no problems. What a relief.

Above: Pop is fascinated with that scanned collage I made of some of his old WWII clippings. He sat and looked at that thing over and over and over today during and after lunch. His new Roomie is an elderly gentleman from Cuba, Luis. Very nice man. I Google'd some images of Cuba this morning and printed them out on my photo printer and took them to him. He was so delighted. Cool.



Cheryl and I went to see Phil Wigfall's brand new group Urban Renewal last night at the Sammy Davis Jr. Plaza, got a few shots (below, Phil, Etsuko Mader on keys, Joe Malone on tubs, and bassist Eric Runquist):

They'll be performing again next Friday at the Clark County Government Center amphitheatre. Come check 'em out if you can. Fine, fine players, all.


This afternoon, between nursing home trips, we went and caught a couple of sets by Jim Spoto and his group (Adrian Garcia, bass, Dave Richardson, Keys, and Don Meoli on drums) at Envy the Steakhouse at the Renaissance Hotel on Paradise.

Beautiful venue, but no stage lighting, so these shots are the best I could manage. I'd seen Don before, gigging with Ronnie Foster, but we'd not met till today. Very nice cat, great player. I'd never met or heard Jim Spoto before, delighted to do so today. Another fine player and gentleman. Check out his website, buy his CD. BTW, guys, Chick Corea's "Spain" was smokin'. Adrian's bass lines were just beautiful (I love that cat).

We're gonna go see Ronnie Foster tonight. Steve Tuminello called me to say that Blaise and the rest of the Family Stone Experience cats were comin', as well as some of Gino Vanelli's players. Oughta be a great hang.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Healing Has Begun

After a week that saw the band have a lot of equipment stolen... tonight... The Healing Has Begun.

What energy and emotion!

Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns were on fire!

Filling in for Bobby G. was a real honor (It's going to be hard to give up that great seat in the front row).

Here are some of my pictures from the night...

There were plenty of celebrities in the audience...

It's 3:22 Tuesday morning.

I'll post some more later today.