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Yellowjackets at Birdland April 25, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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Three months and two weeks after my previous visit to Birdland Jazz Club, I returned to see the band Yellowjackets perform. As with the Jeff Lorber Fusion, I went to the middle night of Yellowjackets’ five-night engagement, which coincided with the release of their new album, Cohearence.

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This was the second time I’ve seen Yellowjackets perform. The first time was also at Birdland on my 25th birthday, which coincided with their 25th anniversary. I posed for a picture after the show with original member Russell Ferrante, whom I had interviewed a month earlier on WCWP. The picture can be found here and the interview here.

Since 2006, original bass player Jimmy Haslip, and drummer Marcus Baylor, left Yellowjackets. Will Kennedy, who was with the band from 1987 to 1999, returned on drums, and Dane Alderson is now on bass.

So, let’s introduce the band:

Russ played piano and keyboard (not always at once):
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Bob Mintzer was on tenor saxophone…
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…and EWI (electronic wind instrument):
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Will Kennedy on drums:
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…and Dane Alderson on bass:
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All five nights had shows at 8:30 and 11:00. Here was Thursday’s 8:30 set list:

1. Spirit of the West
Originally heard on: Club Nocturne, 1998

2. Inevitable Outcome*
Originally heard on: Cohearence, 2016

3. Monk’s Habit
Originally heard on: Time Squared, 2003

4. Golden State
Originally heard on: Cohearence, 2016

5. Claire’s Song*
Originally heard on: Mirage a Trois, 1983

6. Even Song
Originally heard on: Run for Your Life, 1994

7. An Amber Shade of Blue
Originally heard on: A Rise in the Road, 2013

*-Bob played EWI

Now for various shots of each band member, beginning with Russell Ferrante:
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Bob Mintzer on tenor sax:
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…and EWI:
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Will Kennedy:
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Dane Alderson:
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Unfortunately, my view of Dane was mostly blocked by Bob, so I could only get this picture and the one earlier in this post.

A pair of wide shots:
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The end of “An Amber Shade of Blue”:
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After the show, I went to the merchandise desk and bought a copy of Cohearence. I also brought a copy of the Bob Mintzer Big Band’s latest album, Get Up!

I had Russ sign my copy of Cohearence. Even though I’m about 90 pounds thinner than the last time he saw me, he remembered me when I introduced myself. Ten years later, we posed for another picture:
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Next, I introduced myself to Bob Mintzer. We chatted briefly as he signed both Get Up! – I told him “Truth Spoken Here” was my favorite track – and Cohearence. Then, we posed for a picture:
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Russ and Bob weren’t the only people I spoke to that night. In the audience were my friends keyboardist Bill Heller and guitarist Chieli Minucci. I caught up with them before calling it a night and heading for home. It was a lively and energetic set, especially when it came to Bob and Dane’s call and response on “An Amber Shade of Blue.” I’m already looking forward to next time.

In the meantime, I’ve listened to Cohearence a few times since Thursday night and love it. My favorite track so far is “Inevitable Outcome,” which was part of Thursday’s set.

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My 2016 MLB Predictions April 3, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Personal, Sports.
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Previous MLB season predictions: 2015

(12/21/16 UPDATE: Results italicized in parentheses.)

The 2016 Major League Baseball season begins today. That means it’s time for my annual preseason predictions.

NL (National League) East

  1. Nationals (3) (2)
  2. Mets (Wild Card 1)
  3. Phillies (finished 4th)
  4. Braves (finished 5th)
  5. Marlins (finished 3rd)

NL Central

  1. Cardinals (1) (missed playoffs, finished 2nd)
  2. Cubs (Wild Card 1) (won division, 1 seed)
  3. Pirates
  4. Reds (finished 5th)
  5. Brewers (finished 4th)

NL West

  1. Giants (2) (Wild Card 2, finished 2nd)
  2. Dodgers (Wild Card 2) (won division, 3 seed)
  3. Diamondbacks (finished 4th)
  4. Padres (finished 5th)
  5. Rockies (finished 3rd)

AL (American League) East

  1. Red Sox (2) (3)
  2. Yankees (Wild Card 1) (missed playoffs, finished 4th)
  3. Blue Jays (Wild Card 2) (Wild Card 1, finished 2nd)
  4. Orioles (Wild Card 2, finished 3rd)
  5. Rays

AL Central

  1. Royals (1) (missed playoffs, finished 3rd)
  2. Tigers
  3. Indians (won division, 2 seed)
  4. White Sox
  5. Twins

AL West

  1. Astros (3) (missed playoffs, finished 3rd)
  2. Angels (finished 4th)
  3. Rangers (won division, 1 seed)
  4. Mariners (finished 2nd)
  5. Athletics

Playoff predictions:
NL Wild Card Playoff

Cubs defeat Dodgers (Giants defeat Mets)

AL Wild Card Playoff
Blue Jays defeat Yankees (Blue Jays defeat Orioles)

NL Division Series
Cardinals vs. Cubs: Cardinals win 3-0 (Cubs vs. Giants: Cubs win 3-1)
Giants vs. Nationals: Giants win 3-2 (Nationals vs. Dodgers: Dodgers win 3-2)

AL Division Series
Royals vs. Blue Jays: Royals win 3-0 (Rangers vs. Blue Jays: Blue Jays win 3-0)
Red Sox vs. Astros: Red Sox win 3-1 (Indians vs. Red Sox: Indians win 3-0)

NL Championship Series
Cardinals vs. Giants: Cards win 4-2 (Cubs vs. Dodgers: Cubs win 4-2)

AL Championship Series
Royals vs. Red Sox: Royals win 4-1 (Indians vs. Blue Jays: Indians win 4-1)

World Series (AL home field advantage via All-Star Game win) (home field correct; last time decided by All-Star Game; new Collective Bargaining Agreement says team with better record gets home field)
Cardinals vs. Royals: Cardinals win 4-2 (Indians vs. Cubs: Cubs win 4-3)

As you can see, I predict the two teams I don’t like will square off in the World Series for the first time since 1985. But unlike the last time, the team I’ve disliked longer, the Cardinals (since 2006) will prevail. (A classic World Series played out between the Indians and Cubs, both vying to end long championship droughts. The Indians hadn’t won the World Series since 1948; the Cubs hadn’t since 1908. The longer drought was busted as the Cubs prevailed, in spite of blowing a four-run lead in regulation in Game 7, then almost blowing a two-run lead in the bottom of the 10th inning after going ahead in the top of the inning. There was joy in Wrigleyville as, to quote Joe Buck on FOX, “the Cubs…have finally won it all!”. Hallelujah.)

I’m a pessimistic Mets fan, so it’s only fitting that I have them missing the playoffs. I was generous enough to predict second place, but not a Wild Card spot. (They ended up with the first Wild Card spot, but lost late in the game to the Giants. I didn’t watch, but I was disappointed. The fact the Cubs eliminated the Giants in the NLDS eased the disappointment.)

(I’ve decided to give up public preseason predictions for the MLB and NFL. Thanks for reading what I’ve posted.)