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David Benoit at Tarrytown recap May 24, 2010

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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Saturday night, my dad and I drove an hour (plus scattered delays) up to Tarrytown to see David Benoit perform at Tarrytown Music Hall. It was the first time I’d seen David since December 2008 at IMAC, six months before it closed.

David B. was accompanied by David Hughes on the electric bass…

…and Jamey Tate on drums:

The set list began with four songs from David’s just-released “Earthglow” album, with a fifth song later in the show:
1. Will’s Chill
2. New Creation
3. Downtime
4. Sneaky As A Cat
5. Mountain Dance
6. Your Song
7. If I Were a Bell
8. Blue Rondo A La Turk


9. Cast Your Fate to the Wind
10. Kei’s Song
11. Every Step Of The Way
12. Waiting For Spring
13. Cabin Fever
14. Freedom At Midnight (The Schroeder Variations)
15. Beat Street
16 (ENCORE). Linus and Lucy

David talking to the audience between songs:

Afterward, there was a meet-and-greet next to the stage. David and I briefly caught up with each other and had this picture taken:

It was great to see David B., David H., and Jamey again. It was also nice to meet fellow fan Bonnie Schendell of SmoothViews in person. (Bonnie interviewed David in this month’s SV issue.)

6/3 UPDATE: Bonnie reviewed the Tarrytown concert for the June issue of SmoothViews.
The first paragraph:

It’s always a great feeling of anticipation when you are going to hear new music from an artist played live for the first time, especially when the CD that has been in your rotation for several months has blown you away. You hope and pray that hearing it from the stage will be just as powerful and emotional. Well, I was not a bit disappointed by David Benoit.

The rest of this post contains scenic pictures taken on the ride to and from Tarrytown.

We begin on the Hutchinson River Pkwy. at Exit 12:

We got off at Exit 13 for the Cross County Pkwy.:

Exits 5 and 4:

On I-87, the New York State Thruway, Exit 5:

Exit 6:

Exit 7:

Exit 7A:

Exit 8:

Exit 9:

Driving up U.S. 9:

The Music Hall was on Main St.:

The view of the Hudson River from where we parked, two blocks away:

Heading home, I shot some more pics.  Here’s Exit 9 on I-695/I-295 in the Bronx:

On I-295 in Queens, Exit 4:

On I-495, the L.I.E., Exit 30;

Exit 31:

Exit 32:

Exit 33:

Exit 34:

Exit 36:

Exit 37:

And Exit 38:


SJFS 2010 recap May 5, 2010

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography.
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Last Saturday was the day of Jay Rowe‘s 8th Annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars concert.  As always, the concert benefitted the Milford Public Schools’ Music Department.  I’ve been to half of the eight.

Unlike the previous three years, I did not stay overnight at the Hampton Inn.  My parents and I drove from home to the Chili’s on U.S. 1, then to the Parsons Complex Auditorium, then back home.  This was probably the best SJFS ever.

It all began with Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions warming up the audience and getting out many thank you’s.

Then, it was time to welcome Jay Rowe:

“I’m a lucky guy,” he said, “because I get to play with some of the best musicians in the world.”  He was “humbled” by their and our support.  There were plenty in the audience from and near Milford, but there were also people from Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia…and of course, Wantagh, New York.

Backing up Jay was Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

And Steve Scales on percussion:

Also performing, on the guitars, Chieli Minucci:

Ken Navarro:

Nick Colionne:

And Rohn Lawrence:

On the saxophones, Bob Nunno, the feature teacher:

Paul “Shilts” Weimar:

And Mindi Abair:

With that, here we go.

SONG #1: Bumpin’ On Hollywood (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: “Red, Hot & Smooth,” 2006
Featured musicians: Rohn Lawrence, Shilts, Bob Nunno

Shilts stuck around for the next song.  He told the audience, and Jay, that he was “honored” to perform “for this great event.”

The song he played was…

SONG #2: Look What’s Happened (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “HeadBoppin,” 2006
Featured musicians: Shilts, Rohn Lawrence

Rohn had a guitar solo…

…and Jay had a keyboard solo:

Next, Jay introduced “one of my favorite guitar players in the world, one of my favorite producers in the world, one of my favorite songwriters in the whole wide world, and most importantly, one of my favorite people in the whole wide world…”

Ken Navarro!

Ken brought out Mindi Abair:

Mindi let us know we’d be “having so much fun tonight,” and that it was “great to have so many great artists to play with; so many great artists to interact with; so much great music.”

SONG #3: Smooth Sensation (Ken Navarro)
Originally heard on: “Smooth Sensation,” 1997
Featured musicians: Ken Navarro, Mindi Abair

Next up was…

SONG #4: On My Way To Somewhere (Ken Navarro)
Originally heard on: “The Grace of Summer Light,” 2008
Featured musician: Ken Navarro

What would Smooth Jazz for Scholars be without Dancing Eric in the audience?

Back on stage…

Ken: “This was the first time that the five of us have ever played that song together.  That’s how good these guys are.”  Agreed.

Ken welcomed Chieli Minucci to the stage:

SONG #5: The Buzz (Ken Navarro)
Originally heard on: “Dreaming of Trains,” 2010
Featured musicians: Ken Navarro, Chieli Minucci

“The Buzz” was a tribute to guitarist Buzz Feiten.

“Chieli Minucci.  ‘The Buzz!'”

Now, it was Chieli’s turn.  “How’s everybody doin’?  We got a full house tonight.”

Jay: “All ‘cause of you.”

SONG #6: Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers (Chieli Minucci; written by Stevie Wonder; Jeff Beck cover)
Originally heard on: “Renaissance,” 1996
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci, Ken Navarro, Mindi Abair

“I need Ken Navarro!  Where’s Ken?”

“I need Mindi!”

Jay: “The first official standing ovation of the 8th Annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars concert.”

“How amazing was that?  Sometimes, magic happens.”

“So, is it all right if I keep Chieli out here to rock the house with me?”

And Rohn Lawrence came out, too:

The next song was “a song I wrote kind of as a fun jam song”…

SONG #7: High Five (Mindi Abair)
Originally heard on: “Come As You Are,” 2004
Featured musicians: Mindi Abair, Chieli Minucci, Rohn Lawrence

From “High Five,” we went right into…

SONG #8: Mojo (Mindi Abair)
Originally heard on: “Stars,” 2008
Featured musicians: Mindi Abair, Chieli Minucci, Rohn Lawrence

A musical call and response by Chieli…

…and Rohn:

Another standing ovation!

Next up, a Special EFX song based on “Sambuca Nights,” a song on their debut album.

SONG #9: The Night Is Ours (Chieli Minucci & Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Without You,” 2010
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci

Time to introduce Nick Colionne:

SONG #10: No Limits (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: “No Limits,” 2008
Featured musician: Nick Colionne

SONG #11: Hurry Up This Way Again (Nick Colionne; The Stylistics cover)
Originally heard on: “Arrival,” 1996; “Just Come On In,” 2003
Featured musician: Nick Colionne

Yet another standing ovation!

SONG #12: Nature Boy (Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Confidential,” 1989
Musician: Chieli Minucci only

Chieli dedicated “Nature Boy” to his late Special EFX partner, percussionst George Jinda:

Before the next song, Jay wished Steve Scales a belated Happy Birthday:

Time for Lamone Andrews:

SONG #13: Foolish Heart (Journey cover)
Featured musicians: Lamone Andrews, Rohn Lawrence

Another big guitar solo from Rohn, who will have played together with Jay for 31 years as of October:

SONG #14: High Flyin’ (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: “Just Come On In,” 2003; “Keepin’ It Cool,” 2006
Featured musician: Nick Colionne

SONG #15: Everyone Loves Mia (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: “Red, Hot & Smooth,” 2006
Featured musician: Ken Navarro

Jay wrote “Everyone Loves Mia” for his mother, Mia DiStasi.

“Thanks, Mom,” Jay said after playing it.

“Please welcome back Mindi Abair.”

After Jay “played such a beautiful ballad,” Mindi felt she “had to swing the pendulum back the other way.”

You could consider this next song “stadium jazz.”

SONG #16: Bloom (Mindi Abair)
Originally heard on: “Life Less Ordinairy,” 2006
Featured musicians: Mindi Abair, Chieli Minucci, Rohn Lawrence

In lieu of lighters, audience members waved their cell phones:

“I see those cell phones.  Milford can rock out.”

For the next song, Jay brought out the Foran High School Select Ensemble Chorus and Horns.

SONG #17: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Michael Jackson cover)
Featured musicians: Lamone Andrews, Foran High School Ensemble Chorus, Foran High School Horns, Bob Nunno, Mindi Abair, Chieli Minucci, Shilts, Rohn Lawrence

Lamone told everyone to get out of their seats for this one.

The Select Ensemble Chorus, under the direction of Theresa Voss:

One more song to go…

SONG #18 (Finale): Staten Island Groove (Down to the Bone)
Originally heard on: “From Manhattan To Staten,” 1997
Featured musicians: Shilts, Ken Navarro, Chieli Minucci, Rohn Lawrence, Mindi Abair, Bob Nunno

“Go Shilts, go Shilts.”

And that’s it!

Another Smooth Jazz for Scholars is in the books.

That leaves us with the meet-and-greet.

First up, Ken Navarro:

Mindi Abair:

Chieli Minucci:

Nick Colionne:


I had to get a shot with Kevin McCabe:

And finally, Jay Rowe:

Thank you so much to Jay, to Kevin, to Chieli, Ken, Mindi, Rohn, Shilts, Nick, Bob, Dave, Trever, Steve, the city of Milford, and all involved in making the 8th Smooth Jazz for Scholars the best one yet.  See you next year!

6/13 UPDATE: Ken Navarro wrote about SJFS at his blog on May 18:

… I recently played the Smooth Jazz For Scholars concert in Connecticut with Jay Rowe, Chieli Minucci, Mindi Abair, Nick Colionne and Shilts. There were so many highlights in the show and it may very well have been the best one so far (this was the 8th annual Smooth Jazz For Scholars show!). One of the highlights for me was performing my song “Smooth Sensation” with Mindi Abair guesting on saxophone. I seldom have sax on this song and so it’s fun to introduce a new sound into the mix of a song I have played literally hundreds of times. But the real treat was hearing how Mindi found a part within my arrangement which added a new dimension. This was a challenge due to the fact that there was so much music to be rehearsed during the sound check that Mindi and I did not get a chance to rehearse the song with the band (Jay Rowe on keyboards, Dave Livolsi on bass, Trever Somerville on drums and Steve Scales on percussion). So, Mindi and I found a quiet place backstage and I taught her the melody and the form of the song. Mindi is a “let’s go for it” musician and I was quite impressed with her ability to quickly absorb the song and her totally positive attitude. Some musicians would have declined to perform a new song without a full rehearsal but not Mindi! She played great on it and took this hit song of mine to a new place.

Another cool moment for me was guesting on Chieli’s version of “Cause We Ended As Lovers”. I love that song and the way Chieli plays it and we had some special moments together on it. And Chieli returned the favor by guesting on a new song of mine from “Dreaming of Trains” called “The Buzz”. And he played wonderfully on it too as we traded melodies and improvised off of each other.

As always, Jay Rowe kept all of the music together for all of the “star” musicians. I don’t know how Jay pulls off this magnificent event year after year and my hat is off to Jay. There were close to 1,000 people at the show and much money was raised for the music departments of the schools in Jay’s home town of Milford, CT. …

SJFS 2010 recap still to come May 2, 2010

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography.
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As I type, I’m still editing pictures from last night’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars concert.  Once I finish, the next step will be to select the best ones and upload them to the blog.  Then, the writing part.  The recap should be up by next weekend; hopefully sooner.

Thanks for your patience.

5/5 UPDATE: The recap is up.