Sunday, April 15, 2007

Apres gig

Apres(can't get this American-ass keyboard to do the accent over the e)is of course French for after or following. After the gig.

Spent a full 8-hour day today in conjunction with a basically 3-hour gig an hour away. Okay, 2 hours in transit, 3 playing, leaving 3 hours for dinner. Actually I ended up having dinner twice: at 5pm scarfing down a McDonald's 2 cheeseburger n' fries meal(since I didn't think they were feeding us at the gig)and then again at 7:30 when we found out they were feeding us after all. Steak, baked potato, green beans. I don't think I'll be hungry for awhile.

Well, 2 meals notwithstanding, a fair amount of sitting around. But then again it was a political function(Democratic fundraiser)so there was a lot of talking. Just goes with the territory.

Today's gig was in Beardstown, Illinois- home of the great vibraphonist(nee`marimba player, so one of the residents told me)Red Norvo. I had known that, but forgot until I got there today. There's a sign right as you come into town. Cool. According to my website, I've played there, but don't remember any particulars.

I remember the Red Norvo Trio from my Dad's Jazz Encyclopedias, though am not sure in all honesty that I've actually heard them. But I am familiar with the playing of their guitarist Tal Farlow via a couple of his recordings. Hafta dig up an old Red Norvo Trio recording or two, I'm sure they'd exist on CD. I know also that Tal Farlow wasn't Red Norvo's only guitarist, only I can't think of who the other player was. Damn!

Worked with a singer tonight: vocals, guitar, piano bass & drums. Noisy-ass room. Particularly good piano player, whom I've worked with only once before. I like working with players like this- with, in the Great Jazz Dojo, a few more stripes on their belt(if not a completely different color)-as it challenges me to play harder. Mainly, in that regard, I just tried to let go more in the playing, just avail myself to the music and what was coming out of me in the process.

I guess that's the news of the day. Long-ass day, but enjoyable. I'm normally pretty selfish about my Saturdays, since they normally follow five often stressful workdays, but this has been a vacation week. So this Saturday expedition follows five relatively stress-free days, and is thus much more of a fun ride. Well, it all starts up again on Monday, as far as the stress. But they pay me for it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

PC? Me??

Actually I hate the whole idea of political correctness, the whole punctilious anality of it: well you're supposed to do it/say it/think it/ this way. On an individual basis though, I do try not to hurt feelings. Like Jonathan Swift, I love people but often can't stand mankind. Anyway, let me see if I can come to the point here.

For a number of years I hosted a weekly poker game here at chez Roundly. Much jocularity, as would befit such a gathering. Everybody seemed to have their own personal witticisms for the game(mine for instance was renaming "Texas Hold-em" as "Shit in the Middle"), and one individual would always use the Engrish for Club Flush when the hand came up. Crub Frush.

And we'd have a big ol' Caucasian laugh over that one every time. When this individual passed on rather suddenly, I decided to write him a tribute piece. Titled, of course, Crub Frush. Started to write it on a few occasions, never really got too far. But still vowed to turn it out sometime or other.

Over the past month or so, I've gotten some e-mails which made me rethink all this. One was from Hong Kong, someone who'd downloaded half a dozen of my tunes and was asking permission to play them(?). I never did find out exactly what that was about, but just told him, "sure, go ahead and play them" as far as all that. Very flattering- I was tickled!

The other was from someone in Japan, who has 4 of my CDs, and was asking for recommendations on which others he might like. I wrote right back and mentioned a couple 3 I thought would be a good fit. Again, I was very flattered.

In this latter e-mail, from Japan, I was kinda sympathizing with the person's linguistic difficulties as far as communicating in English( some of it was nicht zu gut, even though I could tell what he was trying to say). The differences between the two languages is like apples and oranges, so you might as well be speaking Martian.

Somehow, Crub Frush just didn't seem so funny anymore. Really more cruel than anything. Something I wasn't sure I wanted the two people who'd written to me to see as a tune out there, let alone others who might stumble across it. I do have a tune called Nippon Funk*, which someone from Japan stumbled onto and bought 3 copies of! So whatever I send out there, I'd like it to be something which will be a happy surprise when someone finds it.

So I may well send a dedicated tune out there to my deceased pokerpal of a couple-or-so years. But I'll have to come up with a different title. One that'll play better in 2007.

*from the CD In Your Dreams, available at

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

Well the novelty will wear off I'm sure, but for the time being I really enjoy my bacon n' cheese sammich as a morning meal. On workday mornings,it's usually just coffee for me(got the 2 4-legged residents to feed anyway), but on these days off, gimme my b n' c sammich please.

Hope I didn't come down too hard on jazz whistlers and the like(see previous blog). What gets me about those guys though is that they seem to take themselves so damn seriously! They always seem to have some heavy connection someplace else as far as their career--well if so then what the hell are you doing here?!!

All I'm saying is just relax that shit. Pursue your art but have fun with it. There is a jazz harmonica player who comes down to some of my things and does not have any kind of agenda: he's just trying to get better at what he's doing, just like me or anybody else. No heavy connections in Chicago or DC or anywhere(though I think he might know some people in Glenarm...), no record contracts or tours or any other fabricated stuff.

And he always asks if he can sit in. The answer's always yes, but it is good to be asked. Our jazz whistler would just sorta walk up on the stand and join in, which useta irk me and really irk our bass player.

Okay then. That's my two cents. Actually I could credit my harmonica pal by one more: not only does he ask to sit in, he doesn't play through everybody else's shit when he does join us. Sorry to kvetch like this, but that's one thing that pisses me off about most harmonica players- they tend to play the whole time, with little regard for what's going on around them.

Where was I going here? Nowhere in a hurry it would seem. Anyway, if I were at work we'd say another day in Paradise. A shitty, iron-gray day, bright but without sunshine. I'm sure there's more despair in the air down at the office.

Sort of a gloomy day at the homestead, at least as far as the weather, but my ass is still on vacation- and for the whole week! Got enough food and drink for 3 animals' consumption for at least the balance of the week,plenty of viewing material on video/DVD(including a new Spongebob DVD!). So we're set.

Normally I write this drivel on my usual-and-customary musician site at but for some reason can't get into the admin page to write anything. Thank goodness for these alt-blogsites. Really, I should probably just keep the newspage to just that. News. Do my rambling here.

Well thanks for reading through this hoo-hah. For purely musical stuff, go to my regular site at, again, even though there's nothing new in the news since last week. So this is the place to check in for the time being. More as it happens, or at least occurs to me...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Misc Instruments

I get a kick out of 'novelty' instruments, but do recognize their plight. First, I guess you'd say there's a degree of novelty as far as how to thus classify instruments. So instruments with differing degrees of novelty are going to have quite different sets of rules..

The Tuba is a standard instrument in either the Orchestra or Concert Band but a bit of a novelty as far as being a solo instrument, particularly in jazz. Thus jazz Tuba solos tend to stand out a bit. I knew a guy in college who as a jazz Tubist, and could play some shit. His solos always got big applause though, largely due to the novelty of solo jazz Tuba. He used to get pissed off about it, wishing people could appreciate what he was playing more than the big-ass axe he was playing it on. Such was his dilemma.

What a rough life..

Then you have your true novelties, such as your jazz whistlers and the like. We had a jazz whistler in the area for awhile who used to sit in on various folks' gigs. Supposedly had some heavy connections in Washington DC or someplace and moved on.

I'm sure like many pursuits, jazz whistling can be done with some degree of artistry and expression. And I can see someone pursuing it wanting to be taken seriously. But you still would really need to have a sense of humor to succeed as a jazz whistler, just to withstand the jokes:

Okay I see you can play jazz. But what about the standard whistler literature: Andy Griffith, Bridge over the River Kwai?

So as a whistler, what kind of range do you have? Can you get into the Canine frequencies?

Who are your influences?

Do you come from a whistling family?

Okay, you get the idea. Of course, the ultimate degree of novelty(with the Tuba being low and the whistler significantly higher)is the air-guitarist. Strangely enough I've never met, for instance, any air-clarinetists or air-saxophonists. Well okay, the air-saxophonists would be wise to start on air-clarinet first but that's beside the point.

Someplace. Anyway, I once had someone play Jimi Hendrix-style air guitar at a gig, while I played Jimi Hendrix-style guitar standing behind my amp. It was fun. Not an ounce of seriousness.

There is a bar I used to frequent around that time, and unfortunately missed a couple of live ones on one occasion. They were telling the bartender about their band and some songs they'd written. "Oh yeah- so what do you play?" the bartender asked them. "Oh I play air-guitar and Kenny here plays air-bass."

And they were serious! Not an ounce of humor. I think I'd have lost it at that point, which surely would've pissed them off. Well hopefully in keeping with their art, they'd just throw air punches.

Not with my luck.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The POETS Club

POETS is an acronym for 'piss on everything, tomorrow's Saturday'. It was thunk up by a co-worker(we work for the State, where acronyms abound), and is celebrated most every Friday, particularly those which precede a day of leisure.. Embarking this time on not only a whole weekend, but a whole week besides that. My first actual vacation period since last November. Getting roughly 3 weeks a year, it's roughly a quarterly event taking a week off from the rigors of daygigdom.

I just noted that this is also my last post since November. Well if people would read this fucker I might write in it more often. Then again, it's tough to keep up several blogsites at once. Your stuff doesn't always fall conveniently into all your designated blog category slots- at least usually not enough to keep them all afloat. Something always sinks. I also have a movie blog( )which has grown a few cobwebs over the past few months. Got a few stray things to write in there as well over this next week or so.

The POETS Club celebration usually(though not always)involves a bit of the barley mixed into the proceedings. In other words, me tapping on the computer keyboard and swilling a beer or two. At present, am nursing #2 of 4 Coronas in the fridge. May or may not ingest all 4, but possibly one more after this.

Maybe it's just me, but there's something about that third beer. You have just enough alcohol in you to mellow you a bit, but not enough to make you stoopid. I once proposed marriage on this exact amount of beer in me, which went something like this:

ME: So how'd you like to be Mrs Sam?
HER: Okay, so how many beers have you had?
ME: Two and working on a third.

And the rest is history. She accepted, we got married, stayed married for awhile, got divorced. It happens. Jeez, how I got on this tangent I haven't the foggiest. Maybe 2 beers is enough to make you stoopid...

So, embarking on some time off here. Lotsa practicing this week, and hopefully some home recording. If so, and it's decent, I'll put it up here: , where I currently have a couple things from various CDs( for that stuff). But I like to mix it up on MySpace, vary the material. Had some recent home-studio things up there for a couple weeks.

My regular newspage on my regular 'musician' site( )is for some reason inacessible from my home computer, so this is the place for what were my 'newsentries'. Here I guess they're called blogs. But it's the same stuff, just on a different channel. At least for the time being.

Well, that third beer beckons at this point. Hopefully I won't do anything dangerous, like run out in traffic or propose marriage. Thanks for tuning in here. More as it happens.