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Rippingtons Smooth Cruise recap 2 July 28, 2011

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Yesterday, I went to Chelsea Piers’ Pier 61 for the weekly summer Smooth Cruise aboard the Spirit of New York.  I was aboard the Rippingtons‘ 6:30 cruise.  This was my second Rippingtons Smooth Cruise.  The first time was in 2009.  And overall, it was my fifth Ripps concert.

Before we get to the sights inside, let’s focus on the outside.

As the ship passed Lower Manhattan, we passengers caught a glimpse of the half-completed Freedom Tower (9/11 UPDATE: The tower is officially known as One World Trade Center):

Further north, the Empire State Building:

The Spirit’s bridge:

The East River view of the Freedom Tower:

Statue of Liberty:

Back at the pier:

Now, the inside story.  The ship embarked at 6:43 and the concert began a few minutes later.

Lenny Green, host of Kissing After Dark on 98.7 KISS FM, warmed up the audience and then welcomed the Rippingtons to the stage!

Russ Freeman, the bandleader, was on guitar:

Bill Heller on keyboard:

Jeff Kashiwa on the alto saxophone…

…and EWI (electronic wind instrument):

Rico Belled on bass:

And Dave Karasony on drums and percussion:

Côte D’Azur
Originally heard on: “Côte D’Azur,” 2011

2. Modern Art
Originally heard on: “Modern Art,” 2009

3. Postcard From Cannes*
Originally heard on: “Côte D’Azur,” 2011

4. Mr. 3
Originally heard on: “Let It Ripp,” 2003

5. Aspen
Originally heard on: “Curves Ahead,” 1991

6. Le Calypso
Originally heard on: “Côte D’Azur,” 2011

7. When It Feels Good (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: “Back in the Day,” 2009
Jeff pointed out that a 24-second snippet of this song can be heard in the background in one scene from Larry Crowne, the new movie starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

8. Avenida Del Mar
Originally heard on: “Life in the Tropics,” 2000

9. Sainte Maxime
Originally heard on: “Côte D’Azur,” 2011

10. Snowbound**
Originally heard on: “Curves Ahead,” 1991

11. Black Diamond*
Originally heard on: “Black Diamond,” 1997

*Jeff on EWI
**Jeff on EWI and alto sax

Russ and Rico got the audience clapping to start “Côte D’Azur”:

Bill’s vocoder finish to “Modern Art”:

The stage view on closed-circuit TV one deck below:

Bill’s solo on “Mr. 3”:

Jeff walked through the audience for the first half of “Aspen”:

Bill used the “skating rink organ” setting on “Le Calypso”:

And Russ played slide guitar:

Russ looking right at me:

Dave’s drum solo came in “Avenida Del Mar”:

Jeff played both the alto sax and EWI on “Snowbound”:

Jeff put the alto sax down for “Black Diamond,” going with the EWI:

The end of the set:

The bow:

Before the show, I said hello to Bill and Rico, and we posed for this picture:

And afterward, I stayed behind the camera for this pic of Russ and Bill:

This was the best Smooth Cruise I’ve been on in recent memory.  Thanks to Russ, Bill, Jeff, Rico, and Dave for another great show!  And thanks to an area of high pressure for providing nice, comfortable (or at least not as humid) weather.

This recap is dedicated to my cousin Steve who turned 18 yesterday.

8/2 UPDATE: Katherine Gilraine attended the 9:30 cruise and wrote about it (and three other shows) at her blog:

Spirit Cruises: The Rippingtons

With Cote D’Azur out and on sale, I couldn’t miss it. The Rippingtons have always had a reputation for producing wonderful material, and when Russ Freeman brings out his inner rocker – just stand back, that is all.

Last week’s Wednesday night was no exception. I boarded the ship, and when Russ Freeman broke into Cote D’Azur’s title track, it was on. Jeff Kashiwa, a strong saxman in his own right, also had a chance to shine with his current hit, When It Feels Good. Me being picky me, I listened into Jeff’s style, and have to admit that his is more than palatable. Straightforward, but easy on the ear, strong and direct – all the marks of what I like in my horns.

That cruise, though…I can’t put it into words. Somewhere between Black Diamond and the NYC skyline at night, I reaffirmed just why I do what I do: the traveling, the jazz, the writing… It makes me feel utterly alive.


Tim McCarver auto-tuned July 19, 2011

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Commentary, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Sports, Technology, TV.
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During the last commercial break for the 8PM Eastern airing of last Friday’s The O’Reilly Factor, there was a promo for the MLB on Fox.  In the promo, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are to be auto-tuned during their broadcasts to appeal to a younger demographic.  Tim follows through, but Joe refuses:

This promo has been running since the start of the season, but Friday was the first time I saw it.  I initially posted it to my Facebook wall, but decided to post it here, too.  As I said in my previous post, I find auto-tune hilarious and always get a kick out of it, especially if spoken word gets the auto-tune treatment.

Mindi Abair on Happily Divorced!; auto-tuning on Hot in Cleveland July 9, 2011

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Jazz, Media, Music, TV.
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Last week, I began watching the new TV Land sitcom Happily Divorced.  Wednesday night, the show’s fifth episode aired, “A Date with Destiny.”  Mindi Abair appears in one scene as the saxophonist in Judi’s (Tichina Arnold) band and another scene as an extra.  Check TV Land listings for a rerun of this episode.  It happens about 19 minutes in.

Happily Divorced was preceded by Hot in Cleveland.  Wednesday’s episode, “Battle of the Bands,” featured the four main cast members–Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, Betty White–singing into an auto-tune wireless microphone.  I find most voice alteration (pitch/speed modulation) funny, especially auto-tune.  So, I got a kick of the auto-tuning in that episode.

11/27 UPDATE: Cablevision recently added the TV Land HD channel.  So, I got to see “Battle of the Bands”–and many other episodes airing this weekend as part of a marathon–in HD for the first time.

235 Years! July 4, 2011

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Uncategorized.
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235 years ago today, the United States of America was born.  Here’s to another 235, and then some.  God bless the men and women serving and protecting our country.

11:44 PM UPDATE: Here is saxophonist Mindi Abair‘s rendition of “America the Beautiful”:

Home video projects July 1, 2011

Posted by Mike C. in DVD, Personal, Video.
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Last Fall, I captured old home videos of mine to my computer through Windows Movie Maker as AVI files.  The videos were shot between 1994 and 2007.  Unfortunately, WMM captures AVIs with 32 kHz audio rather than 48.  So, for the last week and a half, I’ve been re-rendering those AVI files in the 48 kHz format.  It’s a good thing I have Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 (yes, a long name).  I went through each of the 30 VHS tapes, 40 VHS-C masters, and 12 MiniDV masters one at a time.  I imported them into Vegas, Vegas built a 48 kHz audio proxy, I normalized the audio, and rendered.  That took me from last Tuesday through this Monday.  I didn’t stop there.  I captured many MiniDV tapes that I didn’t officially consider home videos.  This included:

  • Video of my late chocolate lab Cocoa
  • A final project I made for a video production class in my last semester at C.W. Post
  • Raw video (most not used) of my senior project, a documentary interview with Joe Falco, a now-retired FDNY firefighter who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s South Tower
  • The finished senior project
  • An updated version of the senior project that I made two years after graduating
  • Converted VHS tapes of car video brochures between 1994 and 1998 (I was obsessed with cars at the time and collected printed and video brochures.)

As I write this post, I’m preparing DVDs of my late grandparents’ home movies that I remastered last Fall.  The program I’m using is Sony DVD Architect Studio 5, which came with Vegas 10.