Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jamestown at The Blue Martini, and other news

BTW, I didn't know that Tyriq also plays guitar. But, neither am I surprised.

Well, if you wanna hear a fine-looking, tight funk band with great vocals...

This ain't the best venue, at least on a weekend. The place is huge, and was jammed. With a visibly and eardrum-assaulting non-music agenda. It's a chic shoulder-to-shoulder silicon and steroidal peacock strut, a spiked heels fertility festival -- the proverbial meat market. The ambient background crowd noise had to be 80 dB or higher.

And, Im tryin' to recall whether I've ever heard a worse house sound system. The (underlit) stage is back behind a bar, and there's an oval array of small overhead P.A. cabinets horizontally affixed above the bar. The sound was a mush of low and mid-range Hz, within which the vocals were maddenly buried. Maybe the house will get a grip on the sound situation, but this was frustrating.

I'm glad the cats have this debut gig, but I hope to see them soon in a venue that will do justice to the talent.


After we split from The Blue Martini, we bopped straight across the 2nd level to Louis's Fish Camp, just to see what was goin' on. There we found a 4 pc blues group, led by Junior Brantley, and featuring Cheryl Justice on guitar (below). Very nice. I was not previously hip to them.

(That's not my pic, btw)


Cuz Jojo apprises me of sad news:
Hi BG,

Just read today that our old Homeboy, the great acclaimed blues organist, Jimmy McGriff, passed away at 72 in a NJ nursing home. I remember going into Newark with Clay and Ward to see him a few times, in small up-close clubs. He studied with Jazz great Jimmy Smith, but was never considered a jazz organist. More in the style of Blues/R&B like our fav, Brother Jack McDuff. In 1962, he had a hit with the Ray Charles tune, "I've Got a Woman" that actually launched his career. Might want to mention it in the blog. Talk to ya, Jojo :-)

James Harrell McGriff was born on April 3, 1936, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, birthplace of many of jazz's greatest organists. He started playing piano at the age of five and by his teens, was also playing alto sax and upright bass. His first group was a piano trio, which found him playing bass in the band. When he joined the Army, McGriff served as an MP in Korea and settled in on a career as police officer for Philadelphia's finest, a gig which only lasted a little more than two years.

Music kept drawing McGriff's attention away from the police force. His childhood friend, organist Jimmy Smith, had begun earning a substantial reputation in jazz for his Blue Note records (the two played together once in 1967) and McGriff became entranced by the organ sound while Richard "Groove" Holmes played at his sister's wedding. Holmes went on to became McGriff's teacher, friend and, on two occasions in 1973, his sparring partner for two Groove Merchant records.

In April 1960, McGriff made the switch and started playing organ. He was greatly influenced by the energy and dynamics of organist Milt Buckner and the diplomatic aplomb of Count Basie. But such local pianists as Sonny Gatewood, Howard Whaley and Austin Mitchell held his favor too. McGriff formed a combo that played around Philadelphia and often featured upcoming tenor sax player, Charles Earland, who soon switched permanently to organ when he saw how much fun McGriff was having at the organ. During this time, McGriff also accompanied such artists as Don Gardner, Arthur Prysock, Candido and Carmen McRae who came through town for local club dates.

In 1961, McGriff's trio was offered the chance to record an instrumental version of Ray Charles's hit "I've Got A Woman" by Joe Lederman's Jell Records, a small independent label. When the record received substantial local airplay, Juggy Murray's Sue label picked it up and recorded a full album of McGriff's trio, released in 1962. The album also turned out another huge hit in McGriff's "All About My Girl," firmly establishing McGriff's credentials as a fiery blues-based organist, well-versed in gospel soul and fatback groove...

Click here for his full bio and discography.


Our amazing jazz guitar bro' Robert Conti gigged with Jimmy McGriff. See the segment from 1:36 to 2:08 in the clip below.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29th updates


Minnesota's First Family of Jazz, The Petersons, to play The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Matriarch, Jeanne Arland, and her children Linda, Billy, Patty and Paul, along with grandson Jason and Nephew, Tom will perform 2 shows on June 10th, at 8:00 and 9:30.

The Peterson Family was recently inducted into the Midwest Music Hall of Fame where Matriarch, Jeanne Arland, was also given a Life Time Achievement award for her work in the music industry. The Petersons are coming off their respective tours to perform at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles for the very first time as a family. This show features members of the family who sing, play several instruments and simply leave you with a feeling of wanting more. This internationally acclaimed family is not to be missed and you will be amazed at all of this talent from one family.



Friday and Saturday May 30th & 31st, at The Blue Martini at Town Square, 8 pm.

You know it's gonna be kickin'. Let's get a big turnout.


Ran into this pretty hip website ( while searching for a day gig.

Part of their rap:
Cooler aims to make everything you buy part of the solution to global warming.

We do this by making it easy to learn the impact of your shopping on climate change and to take direct action to reduce it. Cooler brings together the world’s best-known companies and environmental organizations to provide trusted and transparent ways to stop pollution, to generate jobs, and to invest in a clean energy future...
Check 'em out.


LOL! I sent the link to Conti.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 26th gig at The Palms

Another slammin' night. First, we gotta say an effusive "thanks" to our good friend Steven Lee Cowart for sharing his awesome talent with us at the start of the show tonight, filling in 'til Jerry could get over from Wayne Brady. They jumped right off into hot stuff like "Brother to Brother" and "Rosanna." Steven was all over it. Mighty, mighty fine.

Please do buy a copy of his Steven Lee Group CD "From The Ground Up," it is killer. I have it, and it is one of my favorites (BTW, there's a cut from it on my podcast #4, "Friends of Santa Fe, Volume 1"). Some notable props:
"This is a great CD and a great band. Steven Lee has captured the essence of the Smooth Jazz genre but manages to push the boundaries which keeps it interesting. There's a little something for every music lover. Check it out....."
- Harvey Mason

"If you like Smooth Jazz, this CD is a must for your collection! Great songs and great performances!"
- Jay Graydon

Steven and his wife and musical collaborator Brenda are currently in the Sunset Strip show at the Las Vegas Hilton.

I didn't get many shots tonight. Cheryl had some dear friends & former day gig colleagues come to the show, so I told her to just hang and I would do the CD sales table. Below, Cheryl, Mary Lou, and Peggy, havin' a great time.

Subbing for Rob Mader tonight on tenor was Jay Rasmussen. Seamless. The charts went down just fine.

Yeah, man, great job on tenor. Below, Tony Davich nailed "You Don't Know Me" tonight off the scale, and he lit the place up with "Soul Trilogy" too. What a voice.

Below, a few random pics...

Lotta stuff comin' up this week. Tyriq and his band "Jamestown" start at The Blue Martini this Friday at 8 pm (Town Square, by the airport on the south Strip at Sunset). No cover.

Stay tuned for more updates. Also, don't forget about the upcoming Santa Fe South Point Saturday night gigs starting June 14th.

Thanks to everyone for coming out tonight. Great crowd once again.

BTW, our sistah Elisa Furr asked me to note that her husband Carl is now running for Congress in the Nevada 3rd district, so here's the link to his campaign site. Not an endorsement (we're apolitical here), just an FYI as a favor to Elisa.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day weekend reflection

As many of you know, I finally lost my Pop just shy of three weeks ago. One year ago today I flew him out of Melbourne, Florida to Vegas on Delta, by way of Atlanta (what an adventure that day was, LOL! Above, Pop in the MD-80 1st class cabin outa MLB). I am so grateful to have had the past year in close proximity to him. (April and I then went back down to Florida and fetched my Ma on July 15th. I continue tend to her closely, in fact later today I'm gonna try to get her to agree to get out of the nursing home for at least a ride in the car for a while.)

My Dad and all of his brothers (as well as his brothers-in-law) all served throughout WWII. Pop left a leg behind in Sicily after crashing his glider one night.

(Dementia, man: One day this past year he tells me "I crashed my glider in Korea, and I've been in this hospital ever since." Right, Pop.)

When I first saw the movie "Saving Private Ryan" I thought "man, this is way too close to home, yikes..."

Last year I put together a short Ken Burns'ish video clip to quickly show off one aspect of my take on Nathan's arranging talent (I think the cat could/should be scoring films; this music is of his "Crossings" original tune). I'll re-post it, apropos of this holiday.

I shot those stills of the D-Day cemetery in Normandy four years ago. Incredibly moving experience, that place.

On Memorial Day, amid your leisure time, devote at least a moment in reverential reflection toward those who have and who continue to pay the terrible price of defending freedom. When I hear some local news TV talking head lamely wishing everyone a "Happy Memorial Day," I lament that we've made this largely just one more 4-color ad insert Dollar Daze Blowout!!! day off.


Almost done, just gotta lay in the V/O. "Friends of Santa Fe, Volume Two." Thirteen cuts, ten artists: Michael Ruff, Tim Scott, Marco Mendoza, Ronnie Gutierrez, Mike Gutierrez, Enrique Corro, Darryl Williams, Tim Leinhard, Ricky Peterson, and his brother Paul Peterson.

Looks like there will necessarily be a Volume Three as well. So much great material.

Other news: Steven Lee (below at The Springs Preserve opening last year) will graciously open the show tomorrow night subbing a few tunes for Jerry 'til The Lopez can make it over from the Wayne Brady Show gig. You don't wanna miss this cat.


More detail (e.g., links & stuff) on the cats and the tunes to come...and don't laugh at my lame-assed Irish pronunciations of salsa titles.


The cats and the cuts:
Total podcast length is 1:06:45 (~91 meg mp3 file). The intro and exit chase excerpts are, of course, from the Santa Fe 2005 live CD tune "Just Kidding."

Enrique is the only cat lacking a web presence (the link from his name is to a scan of his card that I did). He needs to at least put up a MySpace music page, his stuff is so good.


If you've watched any TV lately, you may have seen this beautifully done TV commercial for "ColdPlay."

Interesting that they're going exclusively iTunes on their new release.

Friday, May 23, 2008

News you can use


Too many schedule conflicts. We all regret this development.

A few pics from Thursday night at Ronnie Foster's gig at The Ice House:

Above, new cat Chris Clermont subbing on guitar. Yet another fine player.

A word of unsolicited advice for the FOH cat: Take the bass drum way down in the P.A., and decrement the bass guitar as well (and re-EQ it w/more upper-mid). The low end was an unbalanced, chest-thumping, obliterating mush. Ronnie has a great voice. Be nice to actually hear it.

Below, apropos of nothing, a shot of the City Center construction, off southbound I-15 on my way home.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yellow Brick Road

I initially learned of Yellow Brick Road (YBR) back when I first met Jerry and the guys over at Palace Station in the fall of 2005, where YBR was sharing the stage in the lounge on a different night. Everyone raved about them. Unfortunately, I never did get over to see them. Then, one night sometime later Cheryl and I were gonna hang and see them over at Boulder Station, after Michael Grimm had done an opening set there one time and we'd gone to support him. YBR ran so late getting started that we bailed, too tired to wait around.

Finally got to see and hear them tonight at Green Valley Ranch. Totally badass. If you've not checked 'em out, do so, you'll dig 'em, even if the "classic rock" thing ain't your deal. They are:
  • Brody Dolyniuk, lead vocal, guitars, keyboard, and harp
  • Mark Cole, lead vocals, guitar
  • David St. John, bass, vocals, mandolin
  • Todd Rogers, keyboard, guitar, vocals
  • James Sloan, drums

Here's an mp3 clip Brody sent me to use, a sample montage of some of their tunes:

Brody has a totally effortless voice and seemingly no top end on his range. Monster singer. Like, totally with the frigging best in his genre. Cat is loose and funny, very showy, very personable. Below, he popped on the shades and was hammin' it up. It gave me a Tom Cruise Risky Business Moment.

Funny. I was halfway expectin' him to break out the BFD's, white socks, and Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll," LOL!

These cats are all over it, man. I will certainly be back to hear 'em again. Some pics I shot tonight:

Yeah, man. I'd emailed Jerry, told him I was goin'. His reply:
YBR. Yes indeed, great band, great guys. You'll dig it!
The talent in this town is just so fine.

Speaking of talent, Ronnie Foster's "Funk's Way" is onstage again tonight at The Ice House. Ronnie's email shout-out:
ALERT: We may have a very very Special Guest This Thursday, he might show up, there's a good chance, but don't want to JINX IT. all I'll say is that he is a very well known GUITARIST VOCALIST that I worked with for many years keep our fingers crossed. if he does show up show him the utmost respect.
He can only be talkin' about George Benson.