Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Everyone please be safe in celebration. Wishing you all a successful and happy 2009. And, Happy Birthday today, Cheryl!


We went to see Michael Grimm's early show at Green Valley Ranch and then just came home. Watched the midnight fireworks on TV and then just went to bed. My niece April got in from Michigan yesterday morning, to surprise Aunt Cheryl. Cheryl goes back to Walnut Creek this Sunday, and April will be here 'til Jan 10th. She'll be at the Santa Fe gig Monday night.

Our 2008 blog traffic tallies up at 36,629 page views by 14,282 individual visitors, and our December 2008 visitor traffic is up 85% over December 2007 (1,586 / 850).

The blog continues to grow. Please pay it forward. Each one reach at least two, and urge them to reciprocate.


Excellent band. Try to get by and check 'em out. We'll probably go tomorrow night.


I think they must have expanded the Brew Pub at The Monte Carlo, I don't remember it being so big. The stage is all the way down at the end of the room, which puts the band pretty far away from the crowd. They have a computerized stage light grid, but pretty much used it in "disco dancing mode" last night -- swirling robo-strobe fresnels in cadence, no spots aimed on the individuals, and the overall illumination is not that good. Tough photo environment. Odyssey is a fine band, though, well worth a trip to hang (warning: parking at MC totally sux).

Interesting sound setup: no monitors, everyone was wearing earpieces. Surely they don't have them custom-fitted for everyone in every act that comes in there. Howard told me he had a difficult time hearing episodically. No amps either; everything is direct-patched to the Front of House.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tonight, the last hang of 2008 at The Palms

We close out the year with one last fiery throw-down in The Lounge at The Palms. 10:30 pm, no cover, no minimum. Ya never know who might show up to play and sing with the cats. Be there. NOTE: Rocco Prestia of Tower of Power had been slated to sit in, but has been down with a bad cold this week, and has to fly out at 5 in the morning, so we're gonna do his hang next Monday.

BTW, John Wedemeyer will open the show for Jerry tonight.

Cat is smooth as silk in addition to his Bad Boy chops.


Below, the calm before the percussion storm...

John Wedemeyer smokes it once again on guitar. He tore up the rides in "Brother to Brother" and "Rosanna."

Of course, our bro' Dave Hart (one of our other repeated guest Bad Boy guitarists) tried to be helpful earlier in the day. Jerry forwarded this to me:

I wrote these helpful hints on John's Facebook wall. lol


Just few helpful reminders Re sitting in with Santa Fe tonight:

1) You're not accustomed to Jerry's rig, and the sound and response may not be to your liking. Your usual techniques won't work at all. DO be worried, but not TOO worried.

2) Although you may have prepared, onstage nervousness could cause you to get totally lost. Turn your guitar down and smile.

3) Anyone from Herbie Hancock to Sting to Allan Holdsworth could be in the audience. Don't get distracted. I, along with every musician I can round up will be sitting right in front of you, cheering you on.

4) Make sure your appearance is perfect. Be aware of each strand of hair, and any dust that might fall onto your clothing. If necessary, carry a lint remover with you onstage.

5) Avoid making the dreaded "Guitar Face" at all cost. If necessary, wear a mask ala Buckethead.

6) Remember, all eyes and ears will be on YOU! You will ultimately be totally judged by this one performance. Don't blow your only chance!

There was a bit of "guitar face" tonight, but not much
. And, Dave, you're one to talk, LOL!

Other notable tunes tonight: "What'cha Gonna Do With That Greazy Thing?," "Oh, Nena," "Wishing Well," "Come Back Home," "Salvation," "Higher Ground" (with a bass ride by Rochon that took the roof off the room), "Soul Trilogy," and "We Are Nothing" (which ended the show, replete with jaw-dropping extended solos by Gabriel and Joey).

Faux pas of the night: Lenny, totally caught up in reverie in the 14-alarm fire of "Brother to Brother," shouts out to the crowd "Pepe Jimenez on drums!" after the drum ride segment. Dude, don't be embarrassed, that's an utter compliment, it had all the energy and chops and feel of the CD cut. It transported all of us that know the track to that very moment. Pepe? Joey? Are we not blessed?

More shots...

Below, shooting between two music stands, trying to get a fix on Rochon.

Above: framing Joey's face in his kit...


Above, I tried to get the Lopez brothers in the same shot (during "Come Back Home"). Not enough depth of field given the light for complete focus.

Above, Jamie makes eye contact with my Cheryl during "Higher Ground." Yeah, man, I am so glad to have her home for the Holidays. And we had such a fine time tonight.

We wish all of you a safe and joyous New Year celebration. Be careful out there.


Freddie Hubbard, jazz trumpeter, dies at 70

[LA Times] Freddie Hubbard, widely regarded as the most gifted jazz trumpeter of the post-bebop '60s and '70s, died Monday at Sherman Oaks Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 70...

Cat was most def one of my musical heroes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

End of year weekend update

Nice artwork. This oughta be a great hang. Christine LaFond and her fine group "Odyssey" next weekend (Jan 2nd & 3rd) at the Monte Carlo Brew Pub, 10 pm. I'll have to go cover it for the blog.


At about 1:45 into this clip, you see our friend and killer sax cat Rocco Barbato and some of our guys from Santa Fe who are in the show. A backstage look...

Pretty cool.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Wishing everyone a safe and blessed Christmas with your loved ones. My heart goes out in particular to the many, many families who now experience a permanently empty seat at the table as a result of loved ones of theirs who gave their all in defense of our privilege of being together in peace and security. Below, Arlington National Cemetery this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec 22nd at The Palms, post-gig report

The opening Flamenco show was met with increasingly roaring howls of delight from the crowd, and ended to a wildly appreciative standing-O. It was so fine! My only regret was that it was not lit up. They had to put them on the "dance" floor in front of the stage, which meant almost wholly shooting with flash, given that it takes an act of Congress with a supermajority to re-position those stage lights.

The I'm getting a very late start tonight, it's 3:10 a.m., and I'm just now looking through my shots. I went to Pepe's late gig over at "Boomer's" on Sirius after the Santa Fe hang (wow, are they ever throwin' down!). Will post incrementally.

Song of the night? Had to be
"Come Together" (in close competition with "When The Curtain Goes Up," I guess). The groove in "Come Together was way relaxed tonight in tempo, which gave it this heavy, nasty thump. They brought both Nathan and Phil out front for rides.

The new stage arrangement is nice, although it now puts Jamie over in the dark on the left (about where Jerry Merra or Eric Tewalt used to stand). Fat City Horns are now in a straight line in the back on a riser, with Joey on the kit down front right behind the front line).

More pics from the evening:

Below, Tony Davich once again incinerates "You Don't Know Me."


Sirius just east of Valley View. Basically a sports bar (no stage lighting whatsoever, turn camera to "night vision goggles"), but bless them for having live music, and this kind in particular. Pepe Jimenez on drums, David Inamine on bass, Fred Schreuders on guitar, and Michito on percussion. They call the band " ISLA." Serious fusion/funk/jazz throw-down, man. Serious.

I hope this can draw and keep going. These cats are taking no prisoners. Powerful stuff, man.

Awright, my friends, It's way late, Cheryl's Comin' home tonight at 6:35, and I gotta cop a few Zzzz's before jumping back on my 2DO list prior to her arrival. More thoughts tomorrow as time permits.