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8 Albums from 1992 August 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music.
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In the third episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection, I look at eight albums from 25 years ago, and also share my memories and experiences listening to the songs. You’ll be hearing more of that in future episodes.

Links from the video description:
The Rippingtons, “Weekend in Monaco”: https://www.amazon.com/Weekend-Monaco…
The Rippingtons’ website: http://rippingtons.com/

After Five Jazz, “Expressions”: https://www.amazon.com/Expressions-Af…

Bob James & Earl Klugh, “Cool”: https://www.amazon.com/Cool-Bob-James…
Bob’s website: http://bobjames.com/
Earl’s website: http://earlklugh.com/

David Benoit, “Letter to Evan”: https://www.amazon.com/Letter-Evan-Da…
David’s website: http://benoit.com/

Larry Carlton, “Kid Gloves”: https://www.amazon.com/Kid-Gloves-Lar…
Larry’s website: http://larrycarlton.com/

Spyro Gyra, “Three Wishes”: https://www.amazon.com/3-Wishes-Spyro…
Spyro Gyra’s website: http://spyrogyra.com/

GRP All-Star Big Band, “GRP All-Star Big Band”: https://www.amazon.com/All-Star-Big-B…

Ken Navarro, “The Labor of Love”: https://www.amazon.com/Labor-Love-Ken…
Ken’s website: http://www.kennavarro.com/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins, from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

1970s Debut Albums August 7, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music.
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In the second episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection, I showcase six debut albums in my collection from the 1970s, released in a three-year span.

Links from the video description:
Earl Klugh, “Earl Klugh” (1976): https://www.amazon.com/Earl-Klugh/dp/…
Earl’s website: http://earlklugh.com/

Lee Ritenour, “First Course” (1976): https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ritenour-F…
Lee’s website: http://leeritenour.com/

David Benoit, “Heavier Than Yesterday” (1977): https://www.amazon.com/Heavier-Than-Y…
David’s website: http://benoit.com/

The Jeff Lorber Fusion, “The Jeff Lorber Fusion” (1977): https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Lorber-Fu…
Jeff’s website: http://www.lorber.com/

Spyro Gyra, “Spyro Gyra” (1977): https://www.amazon.com/Spyro-Gyra/dp/…
Spyro Gyra’s website: http://spyrogyra.com/

Pat Metheny Group, “Pat Metheny Group” (1978): https://www.amazon.com/Pat-Metheny-Gr…
Pat’s website: http://www.patmetheny.com/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

6 Albums from 1981 July 31, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music.
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The premiere episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection is now up. For it, I chose six albums from 1981, two with Joe Sample. Enjoy.

Links from the video description:
Dan Siegel, “The Hot Shot”: https://www.ebay.com/sch/Music/11233/…
“Nite Ride/The Hot Shot/Oasis” (without “Valdez in the Country”: https://www.amazon.com/Nite-Ride-Hot-…
Dan’s website: http://www.dansiegelmusic.com/

David Sanborn, “Voyeur”: https://www.amazon.com/Voyeur-David-S…
David’s website: http://davidsanborn.com/

Spyro Gyra, “Freetime”: https://www.amazon.com/Freetime-Spyro…
Spyro Gyra’s website: http://spyrogyra.com/

Joe Sample, “Voices in the Rain”: https://www.amazon.com/Voices-Rain-Jo…

The Crusaders, “Standing Tall”: https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Tall-…

Yellowjackets, “Yellowjackets”: https://www.amazon.com/Yellowjackets-…
Yellowjackets’ website: http://www.yellowjackets.com/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins, from “Anything for You”: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

A day at two museums and one park July 21, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Education, Film, History, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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One day last July, my friend Lori Downing and I toured the Fire Island Lighthouse. On Wednesday, our destination was Corona, Queens, to tour a pair of museums. Our first stop was the Louis Armstrong House Museum on 107th Street, followed by the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. In between, we walked through the park to see two relics from the 1964 New York World’s Fair: the abandoned New York State Pavilion, and the Unisphere. That part of this post includes home movies my grandfather shot at the fair, as well as recollections from my aunt Randy and Hank Neimark.

It took an hour and a half to get to our first stop due to heavy traffic on the Long Island Expressway (I-495) and Grand Central Parkway, and limited parking spots near the house. We parked a block away on 108th Street.

It would be 20 minutes until the next tour, so we walked through the garden…

…and looked at the pre-tour exhibits:

Photography was not allowed during the tour, but was allowed everywhere else.

I’m familiar with “What a Wonderful World,” but not enough to know it was recorded in 1967. That means this year marks its 50th anniversary:

The gift shop at the entrance:

The tour began just after noon. Our guide was Elaine, a museum docent that lives only 12 blocks away. She brought us back to the exhibit room for a short introductory DVD. It was then that I learned his name is pronounced phonetically, as in “Lewis,” not “Louie.” After the DVD, Elaine guided us to the house.

Everything in the house is nearly as it was when Louis’s wife Lucille died in 1983, 12 years after his passing. Even the doorbell, which Elaine rang before we walked in, was original.

After walking in, Elaine guided us to the living room, which included portraits of Louis and Lucille, lavish furnishings, and a Spinet piano (which he didn’t play).

Louis and I have something in common: home speech recordings. His medium was reel-to-reel tape; my media were cassette and microcassette. When I was younger, I would record myself, either talking about what I’d been up to recently, interviewing family members, or co-hosting a “radio show” with my cousin Chris. That last one was also recorded on video. While we were in the den, Elaine played a few examples of Louis’s speech recordings. As we learned later in the tour, he also recorded singing and trumpet improvisation from home.

The next stop was the downstairs bathroom with bathtub. The wall and ceiling were all mirrors. After that, it was on to the dining room, which led into the kitchen. Floral wallpaper adorned the walls and part of the ceiling. The cabinets and dishwasher were blue while the counter, sink, and dual oven (with six gas burners) was white. A can opener was built into the wall along with a compartment with paper towels, foil, and plastic wrap. Adjacent to the kitchen was a smaller dining room, which served as Louis and Lucille’s bedroom while Lucille’s mother lived with them and stayed in their bedroom.

The tour headed upstairs where the aforementioned bedroom and recording room were located. The bedroom had a double-size bed with drawers on either side, paintings of scenery hanging on the walls, Mylar wallpaper, a lamp, and a chandelier. The Mylar wallpaper carried into the spacious bathroom and closet. The recording room had reel-to-reel tape decks, amps, a record player, radio, shelves of records and tapes, a desk, and a portrait of Louis painted by his friend Tony Bennett. Bennett signed it with his real surname: Benedetto. Actually, the tapes and records are housed at Queens College, but will move to the Education Center that is going to be constructed across the street from Louis’s house.

That concluded the tour. I didn’t list everything that Lori and I saw and were told by Elaine, but I feel I’ve shared enough. I highly recommend taking the tour. Plan your visit here.

When we got back outside, Elaine suggested we pose with Louis’s cutout. She said it was necessary to gesture as he did:

Lori suggested taking one with Elaine:

In the gift shop, I bought a sticker, pin, picture postcards, and a DVD of an American Masters documentary from 1989: Satchmo: The Life of Louis Armstrong. Some of the interviews were filmed in the living room.

Before we left, I signed the guest book:

Lori and I walked back to her car and we drove to the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

As I noted at the top, we walked through the park first. On our way to the Unisphere, I got a great view of the New York State Pavilion:

The Unisphere:

Lori walked toward the fountains, but I stayed behind; I didn’t want to get wet:

A different angle:

A closer look at the New York State Pavilion:

I even caught a quick glimpse inside the pavilion right before the gates were closed:

They were open because New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the interior earlier in the afternoon.

Lori was fortunate enough to attend the 1964 New York World’s Fair, as did my grandparents, parents, and my parents’ siblings. My maternal grandfather, Arthur Rose, brought his movie camera to the fair and captured what he saw. The film, along with all of his home movies, was transferred to VHS 30 years ago. Six years ago, I transferred the VHS tapes to an external hard drive and then to DVDs.

Here is what my grandfather captured:

I also posted the film to Facebook, which garnered nothing but positive feedback and memories. My aunt Randy Stephen (née Rose), who was in the film, had this to say:

That was really wonderful, Mike (although I can just imagine how many times grandma must have yelled at grandpa for his camera work 😝)! I do remember going to the World’s Fair a few times, although I was only 6 or 7 at the time. The kid going crazy in the beginning must have been Bruce Goldberger, since I saw his mom, Ann, in the movie, as well. They were our neighbors in [the] Colony Park [section of Freeport].

Hank Neimark – a fellow alumnus of LIU Post and its radio station, WCWP – was there, too:

Michael Kosmin (Charter WCWP-FM guy) and I, claiming that we were doing radio reports on the ’64 World’s Fair, managed to get rides on the Goodyear Blimp. We contacted Goodyear PR, got permission over the phone, and with Nagra in hand headed out to the now abandoned Flushing airport. Of course we weren’t on the air yet, butcha know…. What a thrill. Over Manhattan, over the bridges, and over the Fair. We hitched on to the blimp twice.

Thank you to Hank and Aunt Randy for your stories.

Before heading into the Queens Museum, I heard a plane flying overhead – likely approaching nearby LaGuardia Airport – and quickly photographed it:

Founded in 1972, the Queens Museum is housed in the New York City Building, a pavilion built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and used again for the 1964 fair. In between the fairs, it was the home of the United Nations General Assembly for the U.N.’s first few years of existence. (Sources: Building History | Queens Museum, Queens Museum Wikipedia entry)

Lori and I looked at a few exhibits in the museum, starting with another relic of the 1964 World’s Fair: the Panorama of the City of New York:

I had to sharpen the pictures below since they came out blurry.

I didn’t have to sharpen these:

World’s Fair Visible Storage:

This houses memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs.

Nine: 2017 Queens Museum Studio Program Exhibition:

Our second museum trip concluded with the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass:

After I bought a book of World’s Fair postcards in the gift shop, Lori and I returned to the car and she drove me home. There was heavy traffic going back, too, so it took another hour and a half to get home. The traffic gave us plenty of time to talk and listen to the jazz CDs I brought with me.

I had a wonderful time at the museums and in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Thanks again, Lori. Until next year.

Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection premieres July 31! July 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, New Age, Personal, Video.
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It’s official: Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection will premiere on my YouTube channel on Monday, July 31! Each week, I will showcase select albums from my collection of over 1,200 jazz and new age CDs.

Unfortunately, out of fear of copyright claims, I will not be including excerpts from the albums in each episode, but I will link to Amazon, CDBaby, and eBay listings in the descriptions below the videos.

Here are the first four episode titles:

  1. “6 Albums from 1981”
  2. “1970s Debut Albums”
  3. “8 Albums from 1992”
  4. “2000s Debut Albums”

Watch the trailer video below:

Thanks to Jay Dobbins for the music, “Wishing for Something” from his Anything for You album, that I used in the trailer and will be the title music for the show.

Be sure to subscribe to my channel, and if you want, click the bell icon to be notified when new videos are posted.

SJFS 2017 Night 2 recap May 8, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Horse Racing, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Phone, Photography, Sports, Thoroughbred, TV.
13 comments

Other SJFS recaps: 2008, 2008 meet-and-greet, 2009, 2010, 2011, 20122013 Night 1, 2013 Night 2, 2014 Night 1, 2014 Night 2, 2015 Night 1, 2016 Night 1, 2016 Night 2, 2017 Night 1

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit continued Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Chieli Minucci (“key-L-e min-OO-chee”), Steve Oliver, Nelson Rangell (soft g), and Steve Cole.

I was only able to get 3 1/2 hours of sleep, although I may have gotten an hour or two more when I thought I was half asleep.

At 6:45 AM, I stretched and went down to the Hampton Inn fitness center to exercise. Running on the treadmill was tough. My body was used to the treadmill at home and I could only manage a broken 2.4 miles (meaning I took a lot of breaks) before giving up and moving on to weightlifting. (I had a better handle on the treadmill yesterday morning, running 5 miles with less breaks.)

Later in the morning, I went to the lobby to drink hot chocolate and mingle with musicians and fellow jazz fans. First, I ran into Mark Abrams and his wife Phyllis. Then, I had a long, engaging, intriguing conversation with Nelson Rangell. My mother Lisa was in on the conversation for a little while. As a went to pour my second cup of hot chocolate, I met Steve Oliver, who was pouring a cup of coffee. I told him I’d been a fan of his music since I first heard it on The Weather Channel in 2002. He was pleased to hear that.

While my parents spent the afternoon at Mohegan Sun, I edited pictures from Friday night, chose the ones to include in the recap, uploaded them to the website, and placed them in the rough draft. When I was finally finished, I killed some time walking from Hampton Inn to a couple of stores on Boston Post Road (U.S. 1). I didn’t buy anything, but at least I passed time before dinner.

When my parents returned, we drove up Boston Post Road to the Olive Garden in Orange. I ate minestrone and cheese ravioli with meat sauce. Delicious.

It was 7:15 when we arrived at Veterans Memorial Auditorium back in Milford. I watched a replay of the Kentucky Derby on my iPhone since I forgot about the race. Always Dreaming won by 2 3/4 lengths.

At 8:00, the dream of Saturday night’s concert became a reality. Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz got things started with a welcome and thank yous:

After Kevin introduced Jay Rowe’s house band, he introduced Jay himself. His band was made up of Rohn Lawrence on electric guitar, Dave Anderson on bass, Trever Somerville on drums, and Steve Scales – who graduated from the University of Bridgeport earlier in the day – on percussion.

We’ll get to pictures of the band and headliners after you see the…

SET LIST
1.
Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

2. Daybreak (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Global Village (Special EFX) (1992)
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci (acoustic/electric guitar), Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals)

3. High Noon (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: Positive Energy (2002)
Featured musicians: Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals), Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar)

4. Lavish (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Deep as the Night (Special EFX) (2017)
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci (acoustic/electric guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

5. Vonetta (Nelson Rangell; Earl Klugh cover)
Originally heard on: Soul to Souls (2006)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar)

6. Another Star (Nelson Rangell; Stevie Wonder cover)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)

7. Turning Night Into Day (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Turning Night Into Day (1997)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Steve Cole (tenor sax), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)

8. Thursday (Steve Cole)
Originally heard on: Spin (2005)
Featured musicians: Steve Cole (tenor sax), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar), Steve Oliver (electric guitar), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

9. Going in Circles (Steve Cole; Friends of Distinction cover)
Originally heard on: Pulse (2013)
Featured musicians: Steve Cole (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

10. Chips and Salsa (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: 3D (2004)
Featured musicians: Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals), Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar, vocals)

11. Sunlight Within (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: Global Kiss (2010)
Featured musician: Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar, vocals)

12. Mirage (Steve Cole)
Originally heard on: Turn It Up (2016)
Featured musicians: Steve Cole (tenor sax), Nelson Rangell (flute), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

13. Sonora (Nelson Rangell; Hampton Hawes cover)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995) (alto sax); My American Songbook, Vol. 1 (2005)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling/piccolo), Steve Oliver (acoustic guitar), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)

14. Katy’s Groove (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards); Foran High School Advanced Vocal Ensemble, directed by Theresa Voss

15 (Finale). Cruise Control (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Butterfly (Special EFX) (2001)
Featured musicians: Everyone

Here are the pictures, starting with Jay Rowe:

The end-of-solo glide:

Rohn Lawrence:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Chieli Minucci on electric guitar:

Acoustic guitar:

Steve Oliver on acoustic guitar:

“Guitar symphony orchestra” intro to “Chips and Salsa”:

“Olé!”:

Electric guitar:

Vocals:

Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Flute:

Chimes, at the beginning of “Sonora”:

Whistling on “Sonora”:

Piccolo:

Back to whistling:

Steve Cole:

Steve Oliver and Chieli:

“Tayyy-yo!”:

Chieli and Nelson:

Steve Cole and Nelson:

Nelson, Steve Cole, Chieli:

Steve Cole’s “wall of guitar” for “Thursday”:

The Foran High School Advanced Vocal Ensemble, directed by Theresa Voss, vocalized on “Katy’s Groove”:

The finale: “Cruise Control”:

Jay had many people to thank, but Rohn wanted to thank Jay:

With that, the 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars was complete.

I had another engaging conversation with Nelson the following morning as I began editing pictures. I finished editing them on the drive home, which only took an hour and a half. Until next year, Milford.

SJFS 2017 Night 1 recap May 8, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Video Games, Weather.
13 comments

Other SJFS recaps: 2008, 2008 meet-and-greet, 2009, 2010, 2011, 20122013 Night 1, 2013 Night 2, 2014 Night 1, 2014 Night 2, 2015 Night 1, 2016 Night 1, 2016 Night 2, 2017 Night 2

On Friday and Saturday nights, keyboardist Jay Rowe hosted the 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut. The concerts benefit the Milford Public Schools music department. Friday’s headliners were Will Donato, Nick Colionne, Jeff Kashiwa, and Rick Braun.

It was ten years ago April 28 that I attended SJFS for the first time, making this my 11th year in attendance. Like that first time, my parents came with me.

We left for the Milford Hampton Inn at around 2:30. It had been rainy and windy all day, but the rain let up and wind diminished about a half hour into our drive. Unfortunately, we encountered heavy traffic throughout, especially in Connecticut.  Under normal traffic, we’d be at the hotel in an hour and 45 minutes, but the drive took nearly twice as long this time.

Perhaps as a good omen, the Watercolors channel on SiriusXM played “Smooth Ride,” the title track from Jay’s latest album:

Watercolors was on throughout our not-so-smooth ride. I also spent the first half of the ride breaking in my new Nintendo 3DS XL. I played a couple of 3DS games – Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 (just the time trials) – as well as two DS games – Mario Kart DS (again, only the time trials) and You Don’t Know Jack.

After checking in and settling in to our third floor rooms, we made our way to the home of Smooth Jazz for Scholars: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, located in the Parsons Government Center. Along the way, we ate dinner at Wendy’s.

At 8:10, the show began, as Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz welcomed the audience and thanked sponsors:

The show opened with performances by West Shore Middle School general music students, directed by Chris Kalafus:

…and the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jessica Shearer:

Then, it was on to the main event. Jay Rowe’s house band consisted of Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on guitar, Dave Anderson on bass, Trever Somerville on drums, and Steve Scales on percussion. Pictures of the band and headliners can be seen below, but first…

SET LIST
1. Bumpin’ on Hollywood (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot and Smooth (2006)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Jonathan Law/Foran High School horn section, Rick Braun (trumpet), Will Donato (alto sax), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

2. Funkability (Will Donato)
Originally heard on: What It Takes (2010)
Featured musicians: Will Donato (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar)

3. New Life (Will Donato)
Originally heard on: Will Power (2005)
Featured musician: Will Donato (alto sax)

4. When You Love Somebody (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: Influences (2014)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (guitar, vocals), Jason Grant (drums)

5. The Journey (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: The Journey (2016)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (guitar), Jason Grant (drums)

6. Movin’ Up (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Play (2007)
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

7. Do It Again (Jeff Kashiwa; Steely Dan cover)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar)

8. Notorious (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Body and Soul (1997), Sessions: Volume 1 (2006)
Featured musicians: Rick Braun (flugelhorn), Will Donato (tenor sax)

9. My Funny Valentine (Rick Braun; standard by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)
Featured musician: Rick Braun (vocals, muted trumpet)

10. Everything is Alright (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Around the Horn (2017)
Featured musicians: Rick Braun (trumpet, vocals), Rohn Lawrence (guitar, vocals), Jay Rowe (keyboards, vocals)

11. Morning Call (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: The Journey (2016)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (guitar), Jason Grant (drums)

12. Supersonic (Will Donato)
Originally heard on: Supersonic (to be released July 2017)
Featured musicians: Will Donato (alto sax), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

13. Hyde Park (The “Ah, Oooh” Song) (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Another Door Opens (2000)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), audience (“ah, oooh”)

14 (Finale). Grazin’ in the Grass (Rick Braun; Hugh Masekela cover [a.k.a. “Grazing in the Grass”])
Originally heard on: Shake It Up (collaboration with Boney James) (2000); Sessions: Volume 1 (2006)
Featured musicians: Everyone

As promised, here are the pictures. We start with the “Bumpin’ on Hollywood” horns:

Jay Rowe:

Rohn Lawrence:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

After “Bumpin’ on Hollywood,” Will Donato went to the lobby to start “Funkability.” He worked his way through the audience, picking out my friend Kelly along the way to the stage:

Now, the on-stage shots:

Tenor sax on “Notorious”:

Nick Colionne:

Vocals on “When You Love Somebody”:

Working through the audience on “Morning Call”:

Spotting my camera:

Striking a pose:

I gave him an approving thumbs up as the audience laughed.

Jason Grant was on drums for Nick’s songs:

Jeff Kashiwa:

Rick Braun on flugelhorn for “Notorious”:

On hitting the last note: “I can do it!”

He did:

Muted trumpet for “My Funny Valentine”:

Regular trumpet for “Everything is Alright”:

Rick also sang “My Funny Valentine”:

…and “Everything is Alright”:

Rohn backed him up:

And so did Jay!

Will and Rohn:

Jeff and Rohn:

Rick and Will:

Rick and Rohn:

Will and Jeff:

The finale: “Grazin’ in the Grass”:

Jay had some closing remarks as the song wound down:

The last note:

Before I left for the night, I caught up with Will Donato and we posed for a picture:

It’s always nice to see him. He’s been very complimentary of my work, and was when we spoke Friday night. It goes without saying that I’m fond of his work, as well. When I posted on Facebook yesterday that I was back home, he left the following comment:

Mike! It was so great to see you! You always make me feel so welcome when I travel back east! I respect and admire YOUR talents! WD

Reading that now brings a smile to my face.

A recap of Saturday night’s show can be seen here.

Smooth Jazz for Scholars 2017 dates/lineup December 22, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
1 comment so far

Keyboardist Jay Rowe has announced the dates and lineup for his 2017 Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert series. The announcement came earlier this week on Facebook:

… reserved seating tickets are on sale now for the 15th annual Smooth Jazz For Scholars benefit concerts to be held on 5/5/17 and 5/6/17. Tickets cost $40 each for 1 night and $70 for 2 nights. The artist line up for 5/5/17 is Rick Braun, Nick Colionne, Jeff Kashiwa and Will Donato. The line up for 5/6/17 is Steve Oliver, Steve Cole, Chieli Minucci and Nelson Rangell. The show will be held at the Parson’s Complex 70 West River Street Milford, CT. 06460. Doors open at 7pm showtime at 8pm. Send check or money order payable to Smooth Jazz For Scholars Inc. P.O. Box 3723 Milford, CT. 06460. Call 203-874-4150 for additional assistance and questions if needed. Thanks.

Yes, Smooth Jazz for Scholars is in its 15th year. It will be my 11th year in attendance; my 10th anniversary. This will be the first time SJFS is held in May since 2012, the last year the event was only one night.

It’s the first time at SJFS for trumpeter/flugelhorn player Rick Braun and saxophonist Will Donato. Can we expect Rick and Will to play through the audience on songs like “Cadillac Slim” (Rick) and “New Life” (Will)? What whistle song does Nelson Rangell have in mind? Why have I made a habit of asking questions in these lineup posts? Two out of three questions and more will be answered in early May. And I’m happy to report that SJFS will not conflict with the 2017 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony. That will be held on April 1; no foolin’.

Friday, May 5
Rick Braun
Nick Colionne
Jeff Kashiwa
Will Donato

Saturday, May 6
Steve Oliver
Steve Cole
Chieli Minucci
Nelson Rangell

Location:
Parsons Complex
70 W. River St.
Milford, CT 06460

Tickets: $40 for one night, $70 for two nights

Reserved seating tickets can be purchased by check (like I will) or money order payable to:
Smooth Jazz for Scholars, Inc.
P.O. Box 3723
Milford, CT 06460

For questions or additional assistance, call:
(203) 874-4150

I leave you with recaps of the first and second nights of the 14th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars.

5/8/17 UPDATE: This year’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars is complete. Recaps can be seen here and here.

Acoustic Alchemy at Iridium on my 35th birthday November 20, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Food, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Weather.
3 comments

Other Acoustic Alchemy recaps: June 2008, October 2010, June 2012

11/24 UPDATE: I forgot to note that this trip to see Acoustic Alchemy at the Iridium came ten years to the date after seeing Yellowjackets at Birdland on my 25th birthday. I referenced that trip back in April.

Thursday night, on my 35th birthday, I took a trip to the Iridium in Manhattan’s Theater District to see British contemporary jazz band Acoustic Alchemy perform. It was my first time back at the venue since October 2012, one week before Hurricane Sandy.

Following Chieli Minucci and Special EFX at the Long Beach Jazz Festival in September, I learned through fellow audience members that Acoustic Alchemy would be playing at the Iridium two months later, on November 17 and 18, to close out their U.S. tour. My birthday falls on the 17th, so I bought a ticket for that night. There were two shows each night, at 8:30 and 10:30. As usual, I chose the early show.

Since I would be on my own at the Iridium, birthday dinner and ice cream cake with my family was moved up to Wednesday night. My parents, sister, and I ate dinner at Margarita’s Cafe, a Mexican restaurant in North Wantagh:
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Ice cream cake was waiting back at home:
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We usually get Carvel cakes, but this one was from Friendly’s. It tasted just as good.

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I spent much of my 35th birthday afternoon responding to “Happy Birthday” wishes on Facebook. One of my friends, radio personality Don Tandler, quipped in his wish that I’m no longer in the young demographic, which is 18 to 34. I got a chuckle out of that.

At about 4:10, I took an extended walk from my Wantagh Woods home, to make up for not running, to the Wantagh LIRR station and bought an off peak round trip ticket for Penn Station. I boarded the 4:59 train and arrived an hour later. I responded to more birthday wishes on the train.

I was told the Iridium door wasn’t opened until 7:30, which meant I had a lot of time to kill. Rather than take the 1 Subway train to West 50th Street, I walked all the way from Penn Station to the club.

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The walk took twenty minutes. I stood outside for about ten minutes before figuring out I could wait inside at the bottom of the stairwell.

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I was first in line.

Once staff began letting ticket holders in, a few minutes before 7:30, I chose a seat at a center table right by the stage.

While waiting for the set to start, I took a picture of the monitor as this upcoming event image was on screen:
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8:30 arrived and the show began. The image below was posted to Acoustic Alchemy’s Facebook page a few minutes in:

You can see me, camera in hand, right by the stage. You’ll also notice the stage has been renovated since my last visit.

Acoustic Alchemy was made up of Miles Gilderdale on electric guitar:
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…and acoustic guitar:
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“The Detroit Shuffle” vocal medley:
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Filling in for Greg Carmichael was Nate Najar – a native of St. Petersburg, Florida – on acoustic guitar:
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Rounding out the band was Gary Grainger – out of Baltimore, Maryland – on bass:
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Vocalizing on “One for Shorty”:
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Gary’s brother Greg on drums:
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…and Fred White on keyboards:
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There were ten songs on the set list:
1. Homecoming
Originally heard on: Reference Point, 1990; Arcanum, 1996; Live in London, 2014

2. Overnight Sleeper
Originally heard on: Natural Elements, 1988; Live in London, 2014

3. Mr. Chow
Originally heard on: Red Dust & Spanish Lace, 1987; Arcanum, 1996

4. The Detroit Shuffle
Originally heard on: American/English, 2005

5. One for Shorty
Originally heard on: Roseland, 2011; Live in London, 2014

6. Clear Air for Miles
Originally heard on: Back on the Case, 1991

7. Ariane
Originally heard on: Blue Chip, 1989; Live in London, 2014

8. The Beautiful Game
Originally heard on: The Beautiful Game, 2000; Sounds of St. Lucia, 2003; Live in London, 2014

9. Catalina Kiss
Originally heard on: Blue Chip, 1989; Arcanum, 1996

10 (Finale). Kidstuff
Originally heard on: The Beautiful Game, 2000

Here are wide shots, starting with Miles’s high notes on “The Detroit Shuffle”:
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The finale – “Kidstuff”:
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The last note:
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“Thanks so much, guys!”:
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There was a meet-and-greet after the show. I let Fred White know on Facebook, in the days leading up to Thursday, that I was coming, so he was happy to see me. The feeling was mutual. It was also nice to see Gary Grainger, who I first discovered through his appearances – and Greg’s, as well – on many Ken Navarro albums. I had a female audience member take our picture:
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My camera’s lens focused on the wall rather than us, which happened in a few attempts at a picture the night before at Margarita’s. Since time was short, I didn’t have that audience member take us again. I told Fred, “I’ll get it in editing.”

Thank you to Miles, Nate, Gary, Greg, and Fred for their musical 35th birthday present. I had a blast.

And thank you to everyone that passed along birthday wishes the day before, on, the day after, two days after, and even three days after my birthday.

Jeff Dunham at Carnegie Hall October 22, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
Tags: , , , , ,
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(10/26 UPDATE: I have censored the few curse words that were in the recap.)

(10/23 NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Jeff’s show ran “about 70 minutes.” I have corrected that to read “2 hours and 13 minutes.”)

I was in Manhattan for the second night in a row yesterday. Thursday, I was down in Greenwich Village to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Yesterday, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Pictures weren’t allowed during the show, which was part of Jeff’s Perfectly Unbalanced Tour, but I took my plenty before and after. I had to use my iPhone 6 because mobile devices were all that were allowed.

This was my fourth time at Carnegie Hall, but the first time in the Stern Auditorium. My previous three trips were to see pianist Lisa Hilton in the intimate Weill Recital Hall.

Jeff Dunham and his crew made their way to Carnegie at around 4:30. Jeff posted live video of the walk to Facebook:

About an hour after that streaming video, I left the house for the Wantagh LIRR station. It was the last day of a warm and humid air mass. Nonetheless, like Thursday night, I wore my green spring squall jacket in case of rain. There was nary a drop; only fog and mist when I returned six hours later. There had been rain earlier in the day, but while I waited for the 5:59 train for Penn Station, Wantagh was in between rain bands. The band to the east must have been intense because there were impressive cumulonimbus clouds:
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Low cumulus clouds set in starting in Queens, appearing dark against the setting sun.

There were New York Islanders fans on the train through Jamaica. They changed there for the Atlantic Terminal train to Barclays Center where the Islanders went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.

The train arrived at Penn Station at 6:55. From there, I took the E train to West 53rd Street and walked four blocks to Carnegie Hall.

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Once there, the crowd had to wait until 7:30 for the Stern Auditorium doors to open. After getting a bottle of water, I got to my balcony seat. Trivia, social media posts, and pictures were shown on the monitor:
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The ceiling:
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There was a welcome announcement at 8:03 following by three intro videos at 8:06. Since they’re from Jeff’s YouTube channel, I’ve included them below:

After an auto-tune montage, the show officially began at 8:16. The voice of Achmed the Dead Terrorist announced Jeff and he walked on stage. I looked at him on the monitor most of the time since I was so high up.

I took ten pages of notes in a 7 x 5 notebook. Below are some of those notes. I’ll try not to give too much away.

Jeff’s opening act:

  • Informal election vote: Hillary – cheers, Donald – more cheers
  • Why he’s a ventriloquist
  • Family – daughters, Audrey, twin boys
  • How Jeff and Audrey found out they were having twins, Jack and James
  • The twins’ birth
  • Changing diapers in NICU
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby pictures – meme photo (“I CAME OUT OF YOUR WHAT???”), then actual photos: their first birthday, Jeff holding them like dumbbells, at Disneyland
  • Left stage, came back
  • Videotaping show to include message to sons when they’re older

After the opening act, it was time to open the boxes and bring out the characters. Walter came first:

  • “Oh, shut the hell up! (mocking laugh)”
  • Joke about New Jersey
  • How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “Uber.”
  • Joke about auditorium appearance
  • Sick of election garbage – doesn’t like either candidate – like going in for colonoscopy
  • Cut to a video:

  • “You know, folks tell me that I should run for president”
  • Wife
  • Life after death
  • “If Trump becomes president, José’ll be out of the show” (a reference to José Jalapeño on a Stick)
  • Being an older parent
  • “Say good night, Walter.” “Thanks, everybody!”

Before bringing out the next character, Jeff announced that his next special will be taped in Dublin, Ireland, in May for Netflix. It will debut in August. The theme will be family. Jeff found out he is of Irish descent. To that end, a new character he tried out at Carnegie Hall was an Irish baby he was trying to get adopted:

  • Big head
  • Adult voice with brogue
  • Influenced by the other characters (“I keel you” from Achmed)
  • Much smarter than apparent age
  • Cursing (from Peanut)
  • Mother gave him up for adoption
  • Vaccination/shots – “Gin, rum, vodka”
  • Can’t walk, but can pub crawl
  • “All the drunks just think I’m a leprechaun”
  • “And that’s the new baby!”

Bubba J:

  • “I’m doin’ pretty good!”
  • “…watchin’ NASCAR and drinkin’ beer”
  • Twins
  • Wife
  • Running for president
  • “Press the flesh”
  • Debate/da bait, defense/da fence, Syria/Siri
  • Fracking: “Me and the wife are down to once a month”
  • “Say good night, Bubba J”

Peanut:

  • “Dat’s goooooooooood!”
  • (singing): “New York…..”
  • “Two infants at your age, how the hell did that happen?!”
  • Running gags (toward Jeff, into mic): “’cause you’re old”, “’cause you’re an a**h***”, “’cause I’m an a**h***”
  • Porn riff (“chicka-chicka-wow-wow”) – baby-related dirty talk
  • Caffeine zaniness – “It’s great!”, “Yes!”
  • Coffee enema
  • Lost a shoe – “No, dude, I found one”
  • Peanut fell off and his mouth was stuck open – after a few minutes of incoherent speech (“ahh***”), Jeff closed it
  • “Jeff-fa-fa”
  • “Nnnnnnyeow!”
  • Spoke to two men in the front row
  • Hearing aid joke (pretending to cut out)

Achmed the Dead Terrorist:

  • “Most beloved terrorist throughout the world”
  • Achmed’s origin story – tried out Dead Osama a year after 9/11, six blocks from Ground Zero – crowd loved act – retooled as Achmed starting in Spark of Insanity
  • “Greetings, American infidels!”
  • Usama Bin Laden is “dead dead”
  • “Do you know me, infidels?!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you (2x)”
  • “Achhhhhmed”
  • “It’s not funny!”
  • “Silence! I keel you!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you”
  • Achmed’s many kids: “…and Steve”
  • Games
  • Life story: “Once upon a time, (boom!). The end.”
  • Presidential election
  • “Oh! Bomb! Ah!”
  • Questions: “Dear Achmed…” – by my count, 19 questions – Favorite breakfast cereal: “Life” – Hugh Jorgen (huge organ): “I can’t believe you fell for that!” – Legs fell off, then arms, then ribcage

After one last joke, that was it. Since it was over, I resumed photography. There was one last bit of business for Jeff: a crowd selfie with his wife Audrey.

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Here’s how that selfie looked:

As you can see, balcony members weren’t in the picture, but I don’t mind.

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In all, Jeff was on stage for 2 hours and 13 minutes, leaving the stage at 10:29.

I took a selfie of my own a few minutes later:
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Then, I made my way down the stairs, through the lobby, and out the door. Merchandise was available in the lobby:
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Rather than walk back to West 53rd Street to take the E train again, I walked to 59th Street-Columbus Circle station.

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I took the 1 train back to Penn Station:
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I would have taken the 11:08 LIRR train to Wantagh, but there happened to be an 11:01 express train that didn’t make local stops until Wantagh. So, I boarded that one. There were some passengers that didn’t realize it was an express and had to change at Jamaica for the later, entirely-local train. It only took 43 minutes to get to Wantagh! Now that’s what I call express! I wouldn’t have arrived until 20 minutes later had I taken 11:08 train.

Thus ended my six-hour adventure. Jeff was hilarious, as always. I wish the show was available on video so I could watch it again and again. My notes and memories will have to do until then.

While I slept, Jeff was live on Facebook as his YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers!

Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to fans like me for getting the channel to a million and beyond.