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John Scofield’s Combo 66 at Blue Note December 2, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Travel, Weather.
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Two weeks after braving wintry conditions to see the Bob James Trio at Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, I returned to the legendary venue to see guitarist John Scofield‘s Combo 66 quartet.

363 nights after seeing saxophonist Dave Koz for the first time, as his 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour stopped at the Tilles Center, it was time to see John Scofield for the first time.

Skies were partly cloudy with a stiff westerly breeze on Thursday afternoon as I walked from my house to the Wantagh LIRR station. I took an earlier train than the last time: 4:27 this time. Aboard the train, an M3 railcar, I sat in the head car and could see straight ahead, a perspective I seldom see.

Once at Penn Station, I boarded an E train for West 4th Street. I arrived outside Blue Note at exactly 5:45:

Within 20 minutes, I was inside. I thought about sitting by the stage again, but opted for a seat further back and elevated. Unfortunately, I didn’t make any new friends at the table this time. A father and son, and man in his 20s kept to themselves and I was too shy to start a conversation.

John Scofield’s Combo 66 began their set a few minutes after 8:00:

John led the quartet on electric guitar:

He was backed up by Gerald Clayton, on piano for five songs:

…and organ, which I had a better view of, for three songs:

Vicente Archer on acoustic bass:

…and Bill Stewart on drums:

Bill used brushes for “I’m Sleeping In”:

There were eight songs in the quartet’s set, with all but three of them from the Combo 66 album:
1. Can’t Dance*
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

2. Hand Jive
Originally heard on: Hand Jive (1994)

3. Green Tea*
Originally heard on: A Go Go (1998)

4. Dang Swing
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

5. I’m Sleeping In
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

6. Icons of the Fair
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

7. F U Donald (Bill Stewart composition)
Originally heard on: Band Menu (Bill Stewart) (2018)
I felt like an outcast as John announced the title, an obvious shot at President Donald Trump, which received a hearty applause. The son seated next to me cheered “my man!” at the title’s sentiment. I just sighed and shook my head. The song itself was great. I thought it was better with guitar than saxophone as there was on Bill’s Band Menu. Afterward, John emphatically repeated the title and softly quipped, “now, we’d like to play a beautiful ballad for [Vice President] Mike Pence.” Even I laughed. Then, the set concluded with…

8. New Waltzo*
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

*-Gerald Clayton played organ.

It was a superb set. Not even a politically-charged song title could dampen my enjoyment. Thank you to John, Gerald, Vicente, and Bill.

Returning to Penn Station on the E train and to Wantagh on a Babylon-bound LIRR train were both uneventful. My next trip to Manhattan is slated for January 10 when I’ll once again see pianist Lisa Hilton perform.

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Bob James Trio at Blue Note November 16, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Hockey, Jazz, Music, Personal, Sports, Travel, Weather.
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A little mid-November snow wasn’t going to keep me from getting to the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village last night to see the Bob James Trio’s 8PM set. This was my first time inside Blue Note since I saw the Chick Corea Elektric Band in October 2016. It was also the first time I’d seen Bob since I saw Fourplay in December 2015, and the first time seeing him solo since May 2007 at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington.

The story begins several hours before showtime. A nor’easter was about to bring what I assumed was going to be light snow and sleet that wouldn’t accumulate much before changing to rain. I based my assumption on Wednesday’s forecast. Little did I know that forecast models now called for a longer period of moderate-to-heavy snow. A winter weather advisory was issued from 1PM to 10PM and called for 2 to 5 inches. Wantagh ended up with the max. Plus, there were the usual gusty winds a nor’easter provides. It wasn’t comparable to Sandy, but was a nuisance.

For reference, here are a few photos in the snow’s early stages, at 1:43 PM:

2:17 PM:

…and 3:14 PM:

I chose to take a later LIRR train, the 4:59, to Penn Station so I wouldn’t have to wait outside Blue Note in the elements for an hour. Indeed, my father drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station just after 4:30 in heavy snow on unplowed roads. I waited on the platform for about 20 minutes, seeking shelter by the main stairway and escalator until the train arrived. At that time, I walked closer to the head of the train and sat down in a railcar.

The Rangers were playing the Islanders at Barclays Center in Pacific Park, Brooklyn, which meant I was surrounded by fans of both teams (I’m a Rangers fan, myself) until Jamaica, a major hub, when they would change to an Atlantic Terminal train. As the train approached Jamaica, the conductor relayed bad news: due to signal problems west of Jamaica, the train could not proceed to Penn Station. Passengers bound for Penn were diverted to the E train where tickets would be cross-honored.

MTA workers directed a throng of passengers through what was now sleet to the underground subway station. I was closely followed by Jeanette, my seatmate who boarded at Rockville Centre (or maybe it was St. Albans).

We sat together for about a half hour as the E train proceeded through Queens and into Manhattan. She exited at 50th Street and I said it was nice meeting her.

After a few more stops, the train had reached West 4th Street. I walked up to West 3rd and crossed 6th Avenue, tiptoeing through snow and slush, as sleet continued to fall, until I finally arrived at Blue Note.

I checked my coat and was fortunate enough to get my old favorite seat at the table next to the stage. The claustrophobia that drove me away from that seat before Lee Ritenour’s set in August 2016 was gone. I made fast friends in my a few of my tablemates: Debbie, who went to high school with Bob’s Fourplay bandmate Nathan East, and married couple Tom and D’Lissa. My night was more enjoyable for having met and spoken with them.

The Bob James Trio began their set at 8:23; better late than never.

Bob James played piano:

Fender Rhodes:

…and both on “Night Crawler”:

Bob was joined by Michael Palazzolo on acoustic bass:

…and Billy Kilson on drums:

Billy’s “Mister Magic” solo:

The set consisted of nine songs, plus one encore:
1. Bulgogi
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bulgogi is Korean grilled beef.

2. Feel Like Making Love (Roberta Flack cover)
Originally heard on: One (1974)
Bob played Fender Rhodes throughout, just as he did on One and on Roberta’s original.

3. Night Crawler
Originally heard on: Heads (1977), Straight Up (1996), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
Bob began on Rhodes, then transitioned to piano, playing both at once along the way.

4. Shadow Dance
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)

5. Il Boccalone
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
This song was named after an Italian restaurant in, of all places, Tokyo. It was a duet for Bob and Michael.

6. Mister Magic (Grover Washington, Jr. cover)
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bob performed on Grover’s Mister Magic album, playing Rhodes on the original, but piano here, as he did on Espresso.

7. Topside
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bob started on Rhodes, then switched to piano, with a backing track playing throughout on his iPad, which required him to wear headphones.

8. Mojito Ride
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
This song also had a backing track.

9. Westchester Lady
Originally heard on: Three (1976), All Around the Town (1981), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
This song had a call and response between the trio and ended with an accelerando that led me to polka dance.

10 (Encore). Angela (Theme from Taxi)
Originally heard on: Touchdown (1978), All Around the Town (1981), The Genie (1983), Angels of Shanghai (2007), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
Bob began on Rhodes, then ended the set on piano.

After the set, I asked if there was a meet and greet afterward. In a way, yes. After saying goodbye to Debbie, Tom, and D’Lissa, I and a few others congregated outside Bob’s dressing room, where his manager Sonny Abelardo let us in one at a time. I reintroduced myself to Bob, he signed my copy of Espresso, and we posed for a picture:

Sonny called us the Vest Brothers. I liked that.

After leaving the room, I briefly commiserated with Billy Kilson about our misadventures getting to Blue Note.

Back downstairs, I claimed my coat, bundled up, and walked back to the West 4th subway station. By this time, it was raining lightly, but I had to tiptoe through and around slush to cross 6th Avenue.

40 minutes on the E train later, I was back at Jamaica:

I boarded the 11:08 train, which was a few minutes late, along with some happy Islanders fans and dejected Rangers fans, as the Isles beat the Blueshirts 7-5.

After taking this picture…:

…I boarded the train and headed for Wantagh.

I found through a couple I sat next to – they had come from a play – that service had been restored west Jamaica and I could have boarded at Penn Station without needing to take the E train all the way to Jamaica. But I didn’t want to take any chances, so it was the E train all the way.

Dad picked me up in Wantagh and took me home. At 12:05 AM, my adventure was complete. I hope the weather is better when I go see John Scofield’s Combo 66 on November 29.

Thank you to everyone I met last night. It was great to meet you, and in Bob’s case, to see you again.

2018 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming Weekend October 15, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, History, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Earlier recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017

In all the years I’ve recapped WCWP Homecoming Weekend, this is the first where I consolidate all days into one post. With Sunday photographic help from Pat Kroll, I’m recapping all three days of WCWP’s special block of programming, including coverage of the LIU Post Pioneers‘ Homecoming game against the Saint Anselm Hawks.

I left for the Abrams Communications Building, home to WCWP, at 11:00 on Friday morning. I was there within a half hour and I immediately got out my equipment. There were shows to record, including one for me to host.

Unlike the previous three years, I was not the first show of the weekend. That honor went to 1960s Post Scripts, hosted by Art Beltrone and Jay Elzweig, who were with WCWP when it began:

Art Beltrone:

Jay Elzweig:

The show was packed with interviews and had occasional music.

The first guest was William Rozea, part of C.W. Post College’s first graduating class in 1959:

Also among Art and Jay’s guests were Jarron Jewell, LIU Post’s senior library assistant for archives and special collections:

Rita Langdon, LIU Post Executive Director:

Mark Bilker, another member of the Class of 1959:

Alan and Carol Fritz from the Class of 1966:

Bernie Bernard, Class of 1972:

Dan Cox, Class of 1985, and WCWP Director of Broadcasting:

Art, a Marine Corps veteran, presented Dan with banner from Vietnam, part of the Vietnam Graffiti Project.

…and Edward Keller, a Vietnam Graffiti Project volunteer and fellow Marine:

1960s Post Scripts concluded with “Yesterday” by The Beatles, which led into my show, Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri.

As my second song played, I took a picture of Art Beltrone and Jay Elzweig:

Before he left, Art gave me a copy of Vietnam Graffiti: Messages from a Forgotten Troopship, by him and his wife Lee.

My setup in Studio 2:

I had Jeff Kroll take a picture of me at the board. He suggested I have my headphones on:

I belong to a few Discord servers and my fellow members know I’d be on. I gave them all a shout-out at one point during my show, including the servers’ proprietors: Norm Caruso a.k.a. the Gaming Historian, Game Dave, and Anna a.k.a. Circuits & Coffee. I gave Game Dave a personal shout-out after playing a Keiko Matsui song because he recommended her music over in-game music in one of his videos. I couldn’t recall which one on the air, but it was for the Famicom game A Week of Garfield (relevant portion at 7:40, unless you want to watch the whole thing):

Now that you’ve seen that video, here is my airchecks video:

If you just want the audio, click here for itClick here for the transitions, and a PDF of the playlist.

From one Mike to another: Magick Mike Hendryx (Mike Schanzer) followed me:

Pat and Jeff Kroll:

After the above picture, I packed up and got a ride back home. After a pasta dinner, I got to work editing Friday’s video and audio. I decided to wait until downtime after arriving back at Post on Saturday to edit Friday’s pictures.

Here is my Friday video, featuring plenty of 1960s Post Scripts, followed by two airchecks each from my show and Mike Hendryx’s show:

I left for LIU Post at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. Once on campus, I set up my equipment at WCWP, edited pictures on my laptop, and then headed to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium for part of the Pioneers’ game against Saint Anselm.

I spent much of the second quarter in the press box. Calling the game were Jeff Kroll and Neil Marks:

Video of the game was also streamed online with WCWP audio:

The scoreboard console:

A defensive stop:

The Pioneers’ third touchdown drive:

“Touchdown, Pioneers!”

The extra point:

That’s the end of the first half:

The Pioneers went on to win 37-6. If this was their last game against Saint Anselm, as they are heading to Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) next season (likely under a new name), they won all 15 of them. Highlights can be viewed here.

The next few pictures were taken on the way back to WCWP:

Ted David took this great picture of me:

Banners and trophies inside the Pratt Recreation Center:

Back at WCWP…:

Jett Lightning, Lew Scharfberg (standing), Ted David, Bill Mozer, Jay Elzweig:

As usual, Bernie Bernard was on after the game:

Lisa Seckler-Roode regailed Bernie with many stories from her days working for record companies and as a personal assistant to The Who guitarist Pete Townshend:

Bernie – or rather, Maura – with her fellow reverend, Fr. Michael Tesmacher, who she and I know as Mike Tes:

Mike and I have known each other since 2002 when we worked on the public access show, The Long Island Rainbow Connection.

Jeff Jensen and his son, Jackson:

Bernie and Lisa:

Ward Henry watching Bernie’s next-to-last aircheck of her show:

Bobby G. (standing) and Mike Riccio were next:

They hosted their special Homecoming countdown show:

Joining them was Jett Lightning (center):

Mike Riccio:

Bobby G.:

Jett Lightning:

Mike and Bobby:

Before I left, I had Pat Kroll take a shot of me and John Zoni, both of us with our glasses off:

John hosted the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows. He’d go on to host a music show at midnight.

Here’s the Saturday video:

After transferring photos, videos, and audio files to my computer and eating a late dinner, I went to bed early. I woke up at 5:30 AM. My second Instrumental Invasion of the weekend was scheduled to air at 6AM. When I accessed the WCWP app on my iPhone X, I heard silence (except for light static). Apparently, there was an automation glitch that kept the scheduled 2AM and 4AM pre-records from running. At 6AM, I briefly heard the start of the 4AM show, then 12 more seconds of silence, and finally my show. Here are the airchecks from the showthe transitions, and the playlist.

Bobby G. informed me on the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group that the show also aired at 2AM, which was its original slot before a change was made two weeks ahead of Homecoming. So, not only did my show air without a hitch, it aired twice! Bobby called it an “extra bonus.” Jeff Kroll added, “Yessir BONUS time!”

I listened to the entire show. I lied in bed, looking up at the ceiling for the first 45 minutes, then went to the computer to edit, which I continued to do long after the show ended.

Jay LaPrise (“la-PREE”) hosted Sunday’s first live show from 8 to 10AM. Here’s how he signed on.

I may not have been at WCWP in person on Sunday, but I was there in spirit, not just with my show, but with the show’s filename on the stream page for several hours afterward:

As the day progressed, I periodically recorded more airchecks. Here are two from Billy the Kid (Billy Houst), on from noon to 2:00.

Joe Honerkamp was at the mic from 2:00 to 4:00. Here he is with his daughter Diana:

Lew Scharfberg and Bill Mozer, with a photobombing Neil Marks:

Lew hosted from 4:00 to 6:00:

Jeff and Pat Kroll, and Lew Scharfberg:

Neil Marks’s wife Lita:

Jeff Kroll assisting Neil Marks at the board during his 6:00 to 8:00 show with Pat Kroll:

Pat and Neil during their show:

From 8:00 to 10:00, Alana hosted a special Homecoming edition of The Rockin’ Sunday Show:

Jeff Kroll had the last shift from 10:00 to midnight:

And with that, the 41st annual WCWP Homecoming Weekend is in the books. It was a weekend I won’t soon forget, nor will my fellow alumni. I’ll leave you with the kind works Ted David left on my Facebook timeline:

May I publicly acknowledge C.W. Post alum Mike Chimeri. As I mentioned on the air during Homecoming Weekend on WCWP Saturday, his Friday jazz show was worthy of any shift at the former CD 101.9 or the current Watercolors channel on SiriusXM.
Add to that his superior skills as a photographer/archivist and he’s one amazing guy. I spent some time with him Saturday at the station and then down at the football game. Just a super talented guy, pleasant company and proud to call him a friend and “fellow alum!”

Thank you very much, Ted.

Listen for me on WCWP this weekend October 9, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, Sports.
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All times are Eastern.

It’s that time of year again: Homecoming Weekend on 88.1 FM and WCWP.org. It starts Friday at noon and runs through Sunday night at midnight.

Unlike the last three years, my show is not the first of the weekend. That honor goes to one WCWP’s founding members, Art Beltrone, who will be hosting 1960s Post Scripts.

Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri follows Art’s show at 2PM. You’ll hear music from Najee, Nick Colionne, Ken Navarro, Bob James Trio, and many others.

My second Instrumental Invasion, which I pre-recorded at home on September 19, airs Sunday at 6AM. It’s the usual decades-long musical journey, a 50-year journey this year, featuring Return to Forever, David Benoit, Dave Koz, the Rippingtons (which David and Dave were once part of), and so much more. One spoiler: I recorded the show thinking it would air at 2AM, so my talk-up for “Up All Night” by Richard Elliot (“a fitting title at this hour”) lost its context.

Both shows can be heard at 88.1 FM, if you’re close enough to the signal, at WCWP.org, or on the WCWP app for iOS devices. (There is an Android app, but it isn’t working, which led Google Play to suspend it from downloading.)

In between Friday’s live show and Sunday’s pre-recorded show, I’ll be at LIU Post Homecoming on Saturday afternoon and evening. As usual, I’ll mostly be at the Abrams Communications Building, where WCWP is located, but I’ll drop by the parking lot of Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium as the Post Pioneers play the Saint Anselm Hawks. The team enters the game with a 5-0 record. It’s their last season in Division II, their last with green as a team color, and may be their last as the Pioneers. LIU President Dr. Kimberly Cline announced the “One LIU” unification last Wednesday. Starting next year, the Pioneers (or whatever they’ll be known as) will play in Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). Ironically, I wearing my LIU Post polo shirt the day of the announcement.

Following the game, during the second hour of Bernie Bernard’s show, the 2019 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame will be announced.

I hope you’ll be listening to WCWP during as much of Homecoming Weekend as you can. Jeff Kroll closes out the weekend with his 10PM show on Sunday.

Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at The Cutting Room: 2018 edition October 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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I was back at The Cutting Room on Saturday night for Chieli Minucci & Special EFX.

It was my third time at the venue and first time seeing Special EFX since the 2016 Long Beach Jazz Festival.

Like last time at The Cutting Room, I made sure to arrive early so I could get a good table. I ended up at the same table as last time.

On this night, Special EFX was made up of co-founder Chieli Minucci on guitar:

Jay Rowe on keyboards:

Jerry Brooks on bass:

Mino Cinelu on percussion:

…and Joel Rosenblatt on drums:

The set list contained nine songs and with three vignettes. Here’s the list:
1. Daybreak
Originally heard on: Global Village, 1992
2:21 PM UPDATE: Chieli posted an excerpt to Facebook (below) and Instagram:

 

2. My Girl Sunday/Miami
Originally heard on: Sweet on You (Chieli), 2000; Masterpiece, 1999

3. Chieli and Mino vignette 1 (Chieli called it “Church 1”)

4. Courageous Cats
Originally heard on: Jewels (Chieli), 1995

5. Dance on the Delta
Originally heard on: Deep as the Night, 2017

6. Chieli and Mino vignette 2

7. Rush Hour (Chieli and Jerry duet)
Originally heard on: Sweet Surrender, 2007

8. Uptown East
Originally heard on: Slice of Life, 1986

9. Speak to Me
Originally heard on: Masterpiece, 1999

10. Chieli and Mino vignette 3

11. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers (Stevie Wonder cover; based on Jeff Beck version)
Originally heard on: Renaissance (Chieli), 1996

12. Crazy Eights
Originally heard on: Genesis, 2013

Here are various shots of Chieli Minucci on acoustic guitar:

Electric guitar:

Vocalise on “Speak to Me”:

Jay Rowe:

Jerry Brooks:

Mino Cinelu:

Vocalise:

…and Joel Rosenblatt:

Mino and Chieli during their vignettes:

Chieli and Jerry on “Rush Hour”:

The finale: “Crazy Eights”:

The last note:

Before I left for Penn Station, I briefly spoke to Chieli, then to Jay Rowe and his mother Mia DiStasi, who introduced me to her friend Elaine.

Chieli and the band always put on a great show. This time was no exception. Thank you so much.

SJFS 2018 Night 2 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Softball, Travel, TV, Video.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet200920102011,20122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 1

The 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit run by keyboardist Jay Rowe on Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Nelson Rangell, Jessy J, Matt Marshak, and Paul Taylor.

Like last year, I got a limited amount of sleep in my room at the Milford Hampton Inn into Saturday morning due to nervous energy related to impending photo editing. I got 5 1/2 hours, and maybe another hour half asleep. At around 7:30, I took my laptop and its power supply to the lobby to mingle with any musicians and fellow jazz fan friends I saw. When I arrived, David Benoit, Marc Antoine, and Roberto Vally were seated at a table, so I said hello and sat one table over. When they left for the airport, I moved to a seat at an elevated table with outlets for charging. I plugged the laptop power supply into an outlet and spent the next few hours editing in that spot, occasionally getting up for hot chocolate.

There was a man that looked like film and TV archivist Ira Gallen. It turned out his name was John, and after apologizing for mistaken identity, I had a nice conversation with he and his wife Mary. My friend Mark Abrams also came in the lobby and introduced me to John Caramagna and his wife Barbara Grocki. And I briefly spoke to Kevin McCabe and Steve Lewis.

Also in the lobby, though I didn’t talk to any of them, was the Le Moyne College softball team. They were in town to complete their Northeast-10 (or NE-10) regular season against the University of New Haven. They lost the series, but ended the regular season with a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon while I was back home in Wantagh. Adelphi University, where my sister went for her master’s, is in the NE-10 and are the reigning conference champions. Le Moyne plays New Haven later today in the first round of this year’s conference championship.

Nelson Rangell and Jessy J joined me at the table for a while. We had a lengthy, interesting conversation, which included remembrance of John Patterson, who tragically, suddenly died in March. John came to SJFS in 2016 to promote the River Raisin Jazz Festival. I made a video of his promotional pitches from both nights and posted it to Facebook. I’d like to share it here.

I never met John in person, as I added him on Facebook afterward, but we had shared interests in music and politics, so I was glad to know him.

My friend Kelly was the last friend I saw in the lobby before I went back to my room. CNN was on the TV behind me and I was hearing viewpoints I didn’t want to. The secret to having and keeping most of my friends that are music fans or musicians is to avoid politics. Thankfully, Kelly is apolitical. After finishing editing Friday’s pictures in my room, I watched initial coverage of the remaining rounds of the NFL Draft. I hung out with Kelly for a half hour and then went back to my room. After watching some YouTube videos and SnapKay’s Twitch stream, 5:00 came and it was time for dinner.

My parents and I went to Mexico Tipico, where Uno used to be, on U.S. 1 right before I-95. We went there early because we thought we would have to wait. There was no wait and we were finished by 6:15. I had my favorite Mexican dish: plain chicken quesadillas without any other toppings or sides. I was back at the Hampton Inn for about five minutes, then Kelly met me in the lobby and we took the scenic route to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Part of that route was the building that’s home to The Dan Patrick Show:

The show is syndicated on radio stations nationwide and simulcast on Audience and NBCSN.

We arrived at the auditorium just before 7:00 and the doors opened at precisely 7:00.

Once inside, we went our separate ways until after the show. I set up in the orchestra pit, took a break in the lobby to buy 50/50 raffle tickets (I lost), and went back to the pit.

Once again, the show began before 8:00; eight minutes, to be exact. Kevin McCabe spoke first:

The opening act was the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jessica Shearer:

The ensemble played two songs, the second of which was “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, but in a lower key than Chuck played.

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage at around 8:10.

Jay worked the keyboards:

Dave Anderson played bass:

Trever Somerville on the drums:

Steve Scales on percussion:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on guitar:

As I said at the top, the headliners were Nelson Rangell on alto saxophone (below), flute, and whistling:

Jessy J on tenor sax:

Paul Taylor and soprano (below) and alto sax:

Matt Marshak on guitar:

…and for two songs, special guest Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

Unfortunately, that was the only solo shot I took of Marion, but there are plenty on the first night.

SET LIST
1. Rosemary’s Tune (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Live at Daniel Street (2011), Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

2. Sunny Salsa (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

3. Hot Sauce (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Hot Sauce (2011)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

4. Tequila Moon (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Tequila Moon (2008)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

5. Lifestyle (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Lifestyle (2014)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

6. Sleepwalk (Matt Marshak; Santo & Johnny cover; Larry Carlton arrangement)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (guitar)

7. Pleasure Seeker (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Pleasure Seeker (1997)
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

8. Arrival (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Countdown (2016)
Featured musician: Paul Taylor (alto sax)

9. Over the Rainbow (Nelson Rangell; Arlen/Harburg ballad from The Wizard of Oz)
Musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling), Jay Rowe (keyboard)

10. By Light (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

11. Lookin’ Back (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: New York (2016)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Marion Meadows (special guest) (soprano sax)

12. From the Start (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Matt Marshak (guitar)

13. All I Want (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

14 (Finale). Ladies’ Choice (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Ladies’ Choice (2007)
Featured musicians: Everyone (Paul played alto sax)

Rohn didn’t play on any songs featuring Matt.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Whistling:

…and on flute:

Jessy J:

Prompting the audience to clap on “Hot Sauce”:

They obliged:

Matt Marshak:

Paul Taylor on soprano sax:

Prompting the audience to wave their arms side to side on “Pleasure Seeker”:

Again, they obliged:

…and alto sax:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Pointing at Jay because it was his turn to solo on “Rosemary’s Tune”:

Wide shots, starting with Nelson and Jessy:

Rohn and Jessy:

Matt and Jessy:

Rohn and Paul:

Matt and Marion (MM and MM):

Matt and Nelson:

Jessy and Jay:

The finale: “Ladies’ Choice”:

The end:

The meet and greet began with Jessy J:

I brought my copy of Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special for her to sign. I was the first person to pledge to the album’s PledgeMusic campaign. I also told her a funny story. When I pledged to her 2015 album, My One and Only One, I foolishly typed my name for her to sign rather than a personal message. So, when that album arrived in my mailbox, she had signed my name, “Mike Chimeri,” on the cover. It was like that early episode of The Simpsons – “Lisa’s Substitute” – where Mr. Bergstrom (Dustin Hoffman under the pseudonym “Sam Etic”) left a note for Lisa which read “You are Lisa Simpson.”

Jessy, Paul Taylor, and Marion Meadows used to tour as Sax and the City. Saturday night served as a reunion, which was 2/3 immortalized below:

Marion also took a selfie.

I met and posed with Paul Taylor myself:

I was happy that Paul remembered me when he saw me. “Mike!,” he exclaimed.

When I approached Nelson Rangell, he signed an empty envelope (or so I thought while working on the post). It read:

For my buddy Mikey!
(signature) Nelly

So, you can understand why I have a big grin on my face:

Here’s the envelope Nelson signed:

Waiting at the end of the line was Matt Marshak:

I hadn’t seen Matt since his November 2015 show at Houndstooth Pub, which was the first time I used my Nikon D5500 at a show. He was at SJFS two years ago, but I didn’t meet him afterward.

I couldn’t see the expression Matt was making above. I only knew he spread out his arms, so I spread mine out.

While waiting in line, I saw my friend Jay Dobbins and his girlfriend Philomena. Jay took three of the last four pictures. Kelly took the one of me with the envelope. After saying goodbye to Jay, Philomena, Steve Lewis, and photographer Steve Cooper, Kelly and I headed back to the hotel.

I got a half hour less of sleep and began editing in the lobby at 6:00 Sunday morning. It was quiet for the first hour or so, but I did meet Mike, who was going to drive Jessy J and David to the airport. Then, Jessy and David came downstairs. They liked the pictures I had edited so far. Later in the morning, I met Diane Roth and her friend Rich. We had a fascinating conversation. It turns out that envelope Nelson signed originally contained a framed photo from last year. Diane took the photo and gave it to him as a gift. While working on these recaps, I noticed that there was another unframed print in the envelope. I scanned it to include here:

After Diane and Rich left, Mark and Phyllis Abrams said hello, John and Mary waved goodbye, the Le Moyne Dolphins congregated, Kelly dropped in, and Nelson and I spoke for a half hour.

I was finished editing by 10:55. I put my laptop away, went back to my room to get my packed suitcase and tripod, left a tip for housekeeping, said goodbye to Kelly in her room, exited the hotel, and got in the car with my parents. Despite pockets of heavy traffic on I-95 in the Bronx, and on the Grand Central and Southern State Parkways, it only took an hour and 40 minutes to get home. Along the way, I watched a couple of YouTube videos on my phone (this and this).

After a few hours of decompressing, I chose pictures for the two recaps you’ve read. It was tough to get to sleep, but I think I got six or seven hours. I drafted the recaps yesterday and published them this morning.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. And thank you to everyone I spoke to and saw perform this weekend. Until next year, so long.

SJFS 2018 Night 1 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Video, Video Games.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet200920102011,20122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 2

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars was held in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut, on Friday and Saturday nights. The concerts benefit the Milford Public Schools music department. This is a recap of Friday night with headliners Marc Antoine, David Benoit, Marion Meadows, and special guest Elan Trotman.

The sixth annual SJFS in 2008 was the first show I recapped for my blog, which was only two weeks old at the time.

My parents and I left for Milford earlier than last year, at 1:10, but we encountered the same heavy traffic. To be fair, traffic was fine until we crossed into Connecticut. The flow finally eased after exit 27 in Bridgeport. Along the way, I played Kirby Star Allies on my Nintendo Switch, the first time I played in portable mode and the only time I played it all weekend. Then, I watched new videos from a few of the YouTube channels I subscribe to, and posted a picture to Instagram:

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A view of the Throgs Neck Bridge on the Cross Island Parkway

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

I should also note that like last year, a Jay Rowe song played on the Watecolors SiriusXM channel during the drive. This year, it was the radio edit of “Rosemary’s Tune.”

It took two hours and 55 minutes to get to the Milford Hampton Inn.

As we checked in, I ran into saxophonist Jessy J, who headlined Saturday night, along with her husband David. A few minutes later, David Benoit walked in the lobby and we caught up with each other.

My room was on the south end of the first floor. After unpacking and setting up my laptop, I hung out with my friend Kelly, who chose to stay over at the hotel rather than drive from home both nights. We would see each other again after the show.

My dad recommended we eat dinner at Olive Garden on U.S. 1 in neighboring Orange. So, that’s what we did. Like last year, I had minestrone and lasagna with a couple of breadsticks.

My parents dropped me off at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in the Parsons Government Center at around 7:15. I had my ticket checked, then got into my position in the orchestra pit with a few photographers and waited for showtime.

Oddly, Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz came on stage to start the night about five minutes before 8:00.

After that came the opening acts. First was the Jonathan Law High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Phil Giampietro:

They performed “Feather Report,” a Kris Berg composition.

Second was the Jonathan Law Choir, directed by Kelly Jones:

They sang two songs: “Hlonolofatsa” (5/3 UPDATE: Thank you, Kelly.) and “Jonah’s Song.”

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage around 8:15:

Jay played keyboards:

Dave Anderson was on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

On his birthday, percussion by Steve Scales:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on electric guitar:

As noted above, the headliners were, in order of appearance, Marc Antoine on classical guitar:

David Benoit on piano:

…and occasionally on keyboard:

Jay emphasized the first syllable on “Benoit” rather than the second.

Marion Meadows on soprano saxophone:

And for the last three songs (including the encore), special guest Elan Trotman on tenor sax:

SET LIST
1. Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

2. Latin Quarter (Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Urban Gypsy (1995)
Featured musician: Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

3. Caminando (David Benoit & Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: So Nice! (2017)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

4. A Cafe Au Lait Bentley (David Benoit & Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2017)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)
I cheered when David announced this song: “Yay!” It’s my favorite song on So Nice. David told me it’s based on a line in Ashley Bell by his friend Dean Koontz. I found it here:

“Of course I don’t teach anymore. Don’t have to. That’s my café-au-lait Bentley over there. But I always tell people,” said Mrs. Hoffline-Vorshack, “I was the first to recognize your talent.”

5. Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987); “The Schroeder Variations” with “Moonlight Sonata” excerpt on Earthglow (2010)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

6. Body Rhythm (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Body Rhythm (1995)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
Marion began the song by playing through the audience.

7. Humanity (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul Traveler (2015)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo), Dave Anderson (bass solo)

8. Montuno Bay (Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Guitar Destiny (2012)
Featured musicians: Marc Antoine (classical guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

9. Every Step of the Way (David Benoit)
Originally heard on: Every Step of the Way (1988)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

10. Linus and Lucy (David Benoit; Vince Guaraldi cover)
Originally heard on: This Side Up (1985), Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! (1989)/This is America, Charlie Brown episode 6: “The Great Inventors,” Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano)

11. Soul City (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul City (2018)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Elan Trotman (special guest) (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

12 (Finale). Mas Que Nada (Marc Antoine; Jorge Ben Jor cover; Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 signature song)
Originally heard on: Cruisin’ (2001)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Dave Anderson; Roberto Vally (bass)
With the piano in the way, I didn’t realize Roberto was on bass, so I didn’t take any pictures. Instead, I’ll refer you to his website. I met him in the hotel lobby the following morning.

13 (Encore). Watermelon Man (David Benoit; Herbie Hancock cover)
Originally heard on: Right Here, Right Now (2003)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Marc Antoine, Danny Pickering (flugelhorn)

Jay didn’t play on David Benoit’s songs. Rohn didn’t play on “Latin Quarter,” “Caminando,” “A Cafe Au Lait Bentley,” “Montuno Bay,” or “Every Step of the Way.”

We’ve reached the part where I show groups of pictures by artist. We start with Marc Antoine:

David Benoit on piano:

…and keyboard:

To start “Body Rhythm,” Marion Meadows played through the audience:

Special guest Elan Trotman:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Now for shots with more than person, starting with Jay and Marc:

David and Marc:

Elan and Marion:

“Linus and Lucy”:

The finale: “Mas Que Nada”:

The encore: “Watermelon Man”:

Danny Pickering made a cameo on flugelhorn:

The end:

I wasn’t expecting an encore, but I love David’s take on “Watermelon Man,” so I was happy to hear it.

At the meet and greet in the lobby, I met and posed with Marc Antoine:

Elan Trotman and David Benoit:

…and Jay Rowe and Marion Meadows:

Kelly dropped me off at the hotel and she went to the after party. In all the years I’ve gone to SJFS, I’ve never been to an after party. I don’t like to be up too late, anyway. I usually go to sleep around 10:00 or 11:00.

Click here to read how the rest of my weekend went.

Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection videos, outlines, slideshows, and script January 17, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Video.
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Last night, I received an e-mail from YouTube that announced changes to the YouTube Partnership Program that affects my channel. One paragraph in the e-mail stood out:

Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, Mike Chimeri, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days. Accordingly, this email serves as 30 days notice that your YouTube Partner Program terms are terminated.

This completes the failed experiment that was Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection. Having been inspired by other YouTubers, I worked from May to July last year putting together eight videos while preparing for four more that I never made. The videos were watched by as many people that watched most of my other videos: ones to tens of people, not thousands or more. And I only picked up tens of subscribers. It was heartbreaking. All the work was for naught. Money was wasted on a Parrot TelePrompTer, camcorder light, and chroma key matte. I hope to find uses for those items in the future, but I think only the light will be put to use.

The videos that got the most views were live performances from Smooth Jazz for Scholars, some of which I took down when I applied for monetization in the first place. And the highest-viewed video couldn’t be monetized because of the subject matter.

This morning, I scanned PDFs of the outlines I wrote for the eight videos I posted, the four I never completed, and one scrapped introductory video. I also made slideshows of the pictures I would have used for the four videos I didn’t complete. I am sharing all of that, and one partial script, below. (NOTE: The slideshows were uploaded to WordPress rather than YouTube.)

Introductory Video outline (scrapped)

Episode 1: 6 Albums from 1981
Outline
Video

Episode 2: 1970s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 3: 8 Albums from 1992
Outline
Video

Episode 4: 2000s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 5: 9 Albums from 2000
Outline
Video

Episode 6: Albums by Sidemen
Outline
Video

Episode 7: 1980s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 8: 1990s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 9: 9 Albums from 1977 (incomplete)
Outline
Slideshow:

In addition to an outline and slideshow for the first incomplete video, I also have a partial script that I worked on one day in September.

RAMSEY LEWIS – TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD
Ramsey Lewis released two albums in 1977.
The second of the two was Tequila Mockingbird, a play on To Kill a Mockingbird, the Harper Lee novel-turned-Academy-Award-winning film.
Tequila Mockingbird continued Ramsey’s association with Earth, Wind & Fire that began with Sun Goddess a few years earlier.
EWF keyboardist Larry Dunn produced three tracks: the title track, “Skippin’,” and “That Ole Bach Magic.”
He wrote the title track himself and co-wrote “That Ole Bach Magic” with Eddie del Barrio.
I like all eight tracks on “Tequila Mockingbird,” including the ones produced by Bert deCoteaux.
But my absolute favorites, thanks to Ramsey’s solos, are the title track, “Camino el Bueno,” “Caring for You,” and “Intimacy.”
Ramsey would re-record “Intimacy” on Chance Encounter in 1982 and Taking Another Look in 2011.
He re-recorded the title track on Ivory Pyramid in 1992, his first album with GRP after two decades with Columbia.

BOB JAMES – HEADS
After putting out his first four solo albums on CTI, Bob James started his own label, Tappan Zee Records, in 1977.
His inaugural album, the second of the year, was Heads.
From One in 1974 through 12 in 1984, most of Bob’s early albums were numbered directly or indirectly.
Heads refers to the Buffalo nickel.
Nickels are 5 cents.
Ergo, Heads is Bob’s fifth album.
The album personnel is who’s who of New York City musicians of the day: Eric Gale, Steve Khan, Steve Gadd, Idris Muhammad, Gary King, Will Lee, Richard Tee, Ralph MacDonald, Hubert Laws, David Sanborn, Grover Washington, Jr., the Brecker Brothers, Michael and Randy, Jon Faddis, Eddie Daniels, and Mike Mainieri.
And that’s just the beginning.
There are six tracks on the album, but Bob only wrote two of them: the title track and “Night Crawler,” not to be confused with “Nite Crawler,” which Larry Carlton wrote for The Crusaders.
More on that later.
The other four tracks are what I consider to be the ultimate cover of Boz Scaggs’s “We’re All Alone,” “I’m in You” by Peter Frampton, Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” and a classical ballad by Henry Purcell: “One Loving Night.”
“One Loving Night” features recorder by George Marge and tenor sax by Grover Washington, Jr.

THE CRUSADERS – FREE AS THE WIND
Free as the Wind was the first Crusaders album without original member Wayne Henderson and the last album with Larry Carlton as a member.
Larry would appear as a guest on Standing Tall in 1981, which I showcased in the first episode, and The Good and Bad Times in 1986.
The rest of the Crusaders at the time were Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, Pops Popwell, and Stix Hooper.
Like Tequila Mockingbird, Free as the Wind contains eight tracks.
The title track leads it off, followed by “I Felt the Love,” which first appeared on Chain Reaction two years earlier.
After that, you have “The Way We Was,” a Pops Popwell composition with intermittent chatter, and the aforementioned unrelated “Nite Crawler,” which Larry would play on his eponymous solo album the next year.
Fifth on the album is “Feel It,” written by the entire band with a lyrical refrain by Lamont Dozier of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame, followed by the longest track – “Sweet N’ Sour,” and the shortest track – “River Rat.”
Free as the Wind closes with the Joe Sample ballad, “It Happens Everyday.”
Joe would re-record the song 20 years later on his solo album, Sample This.

PAT METHENY – WATERCOLORS
Pat Metheny Group debuted in 1978, as I shared in the second episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection.
Pat’s solo offering in 1977, Watercolors, was like the group’s beta test.
75% of the band is here: Pat Metheny on guitars, Lyle Mays on piano, and Danny Gottlieb, now of the Lieutenant Dan Band, on drums.
Playing fretless bass on Watercolors was Eberhard Weber.
This is the third album in this episode thus far with eight tracks on it.
Two of them are a suite: “Florida Greeting Song” and “Legend of the Fountain.”
The title track leads off the album, followed by a solo guitar piece called “Icefire,” “Oasis,” a duet with Eberhard and with many layers of guitar.
The middle tracks are my favorites: “Lakes,” an exercise in chord progression, and “River Quay” (“key”).
After the two-part suite, Watercolors ends with the ten-minute “Sea Song.”

WEATHER REPORT – HEAVY WEATHER
The lone Weather Report album in my collection is the commercial smash, Heavy Weather.

That was as far as I got.

Episode 10: Best Ofs with New Tracks (incomplete)
Outline
Slideshow:

Episode 11: Collaborative Albums (incomplete)
Outline
Slideshow:

Episode 12: 11 Albums from 1987 (incomplete)
Outline

And with that, Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection is officially a thing of the past. It lives on through all that I’ve shared here.

I made a mere 68 cents in ad revenue while my YouTube channel was monetized. That’s $99.32 short of the point where I’d get paid.

Now, my channel will go back to its previous purpose: blizzard timelines, aircheck videos, and WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony videos. Thank you to anyone that watched Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection. You’re in rarefied air.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: 2018 edition January 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
4 comments

Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011January 2014January 2015, January 2016

Thursday night marked my first time at Carnegie Hall since I saw comic ventriloquist Jeff Dunham 15 months ago, and my first time seeing jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in two years. (I couldn’t make last year’s show.)

As with all Carnegie shows, I was not allowed to take pictures during the performance. That means I have to compensate by describing what I saw and photographing what happened before and after. That’s not a complaint; just an explanation.

Until my dad drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station at 4:40, it was a typical Thursday for me: grocery shopping, treadmill running, and YouTube and Netflix watching.

As I waited on the platform for the 4:59 Penn Station-bound train to arrive, I took a couple of pictures, the first ones taken on my iPhone X, a generous Christmas gift.

About 50 minutes later, I was at Penn Station, where I walked to the 34th Street subway station and took an uptown E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street.

All but one of the remaining pictures in this post were taken on my Nikon D5500:

When I exited the train, I was greeted by the Ed Sullivan Theater, home to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since September 2015. (David Letterman retired that May.)

I planned on eating dinner at Lindy’s, but was walking up Broadway when I should have been on 7th. So, I missed it.

I turned east at West 56th Street, but couldn’t find a restaurant I liked. I did take pictures along the way.

I turned north up 6th Avenue and then west at West 57th.

I figured I would try the Russian Tea Room:

The staff seated me at a booth, generously moving the table so I could get in. Unfortunately, there was nothing on the menu to my liking. I apologetically relayed that to the waiter and left. I felt embarrassed, but I’m sure you, the reader, feel I shouldn’t have been. At least I can say I’ve been to the Russian Tea Room.

I passed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, where Lisa Hilton was to perform, and found a restaurant on 7th Avenue called 9Ten:

The atmosphere was great. Contemporary jazz was playing on the speakers through what I assume was Pandora. I recognized “Max-O-Man” by Fourplay, Eric Marienthal’s cover of “Work Song” by Cannonball Adderley (written by his brother Nat), “Slammin'” by Nick Colionne, and “Step On It” by Pieces of a Dream.

As I waited for my food, I took a selfie on my iPhone X:

The food was great: mozzarella sticks, Penne Bolognese, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

On my way back to Carnegie Hall, I could see Times Square to the south. The ball was still there, eleven nights after it dropped:

I walked in to the Weill Recital Hall at 7:07. I had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes until the hall doors were opened. I was the first to arrive, but within 15 minutes, the lobby was packed. I briefly heard Lisa Hilton and her band rehearsing.

A few minutes after the doors opened, my ticket was checked and I walked into the hall. As usual, my seat was front row center, though barely right-of-center.

As I waited for Lisa and the band to come out, I took a few pictures:

I should have taken a picture of the audience behind me. The turnout was big at the orchestra level where I was. They were ready for a great performance.

Lisa came on stage at 8:07, followed closely by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Luques Curtis on upright bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Most of the songs in the set list were from Lisa’s Escapism album, which she composed music for between April and July, and released on December 1. Thursday night was the first time the music of Escapism was performed live. Weill Recital Hall doesn’t have a sound system, so the instruments relied on the acoustics of the hall for amplification. I couldn’t tell. It sounded great; it always does.

1/17 UPDATE: Lisa posted a few of Justin Bettman’s pictures from the set to her Facebook page:

I’m in the center, to the left of J.D.:

Talking to the audience between songs:

The set was about an hour and contained the following songs:
1.
Hot Summer Samba
2. Meltdown (also on Sunny Day Theory, 2008; and Nuance, 2010)
3. Zero Gravity
4. Too Hot (not a cover of Kool & the Gang)
5. 29 Palms
6. Mojave Moon
7. Waterfall (from Cocktails at Eight, 2000)
8. A Spark in the Night (from Nocturnal and Day & Night, 2016)
9. So This is Love (from My Favorite Things, 2005; Sunny Day Theory, 2008; Nuance, 2010; and Day & Night, 2016)
10 (Encore). Seduction (from Seduction, 1997; Cocktails at Eight, 2000; My Favorite Things, 2005; and The New York Sessions, 2007)

J.D. didn’t play on “Meltdown” or “29 Palms.” He had a solo at the end of “Seduction,” which was otherwise performed as a trio. “Waterfall” was a solo piano piece, considering its origin on Cocktails at Eight, a solo piano album.

“Hot Summer Samba” was reminiscent of “Tequila” by The Champs. “Too Hot” was inspired by a trip to New Zealand in extreme heat. “Zero Gravity” brought to mind astronauts floating aboard a space shuttle. “Waterfall” initially had a Celtic feel, but then tensed up. Two years later, I still think “A Spark in the Night” had a Latin feel. Specifically, it reminded me of drummer John Favicchia‘s “Kukuc,” but at a slower tempo. That might be why “Spark” was my favorite song in the set.

I caught up with Lisa afterward, and then got to meet J.D. Allen and Luques Curtis. We all posed for a picture:

I put my coat and backpack on and left. I impatiently opted for the stairs over the elevator, then briskly walked north and west to the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station.

The station is adjacent to the Time Warner Center, home to CNN’s New York bureau:

As you can see, I arrived just as the downtown 1 train arrived. I boarded it and put my camera away for the night.

Thanks to Lisa, J.D., Luques, and Rudy for a great hour of music in the Weill Recital Hall. I hope to be back next year.

Smooth Jazz for Scholars 2018 dates/lineup January 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal.
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Keyboardist Jay Rowe has announced the dates and lineup for this year’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert series. The announcement came yesterday on Facebook:

Tickets for this year’s 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concerts are on sale now!! This year’s shows will be held on Friday 4/27/18 and Saturday 4/28/18. The shows will be held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Parson’s Complex 70 West River Street Milford, CT. 06460. Doors open at 7p.m. showtime is at 8 p.m. This year’s artist line-up on Friday 4/27/18 is David Benoit, Marc Antoine and Marion Meadows. The artist line-up on Saturday 4/28/18 is Paul Taylor, Nelson Rangell, Jessy J and Matt Marshak. Tickets are $40 each for 1 night and $70 for both nights. Tickets can be purchased by sending a check or money order payable to Smooth Jazz For Scholars Inc. to P.O. Box 3723 Milford, CT. 06460. The first 250 seats are reserved seating first come first served. The rest are general admission seating. For additional info call (203)874-4150 or (203)415-8878 or go to jayrowemusic.com. Thanks!!

It’s the 16th Smooth Jazz for Scholars, and the 12th I will have attended.

I’ve been dreaming of David Benoit and Jessy J performing at SJFS for years. That dream has come true. David will be there on the first night while Jessy will be there on the second night. I just saw David last month at the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour stop at the Tilles Center, but I haven’t seen Jessy since she performed at the Iridium six years ago. Jay was part of her band, as was guitarist Rohn Lawrence. I don’t know if he’ll be at either night, but it would be nice.

Matt Marshak is back for the second time in three years, the same night as Nelson Rangell. I keep envisioning him playing with Nelson on “Sonora.” Will that happen? We’ll see.

Paul Taylor hasn’t been at SJFS since 2012, one month before I transitioned to DSLR cameras.

Marc Antoine was last at SJFS in 2015, but I wasn’t there. SJFS conflicted with the WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2015 and ’16. I went straight from Milford to Tilles for the ceremony in ’15, but opted not to go in ’16. (Sorry, Joe Honerkamp.) Thankfully, the ceremony has not conflicted since. In fact, this year’s ceremony is the following Saturday, on May 5.

Friday, April 27
David Benoit
Marc Antoine
Marion Meadows

Saturday, April 28
Paul Taylor
Nelson Rangell
Jessy J
Matt Marshak

Location:
Veterans Memorial Auditorium in the Parsons Government Center
70 W. River St.
Milford, CT 06460

Tickets: $40 for one night, $70 for both 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
(203) 415-8878
or go to: jayrowemusic.com

I leave you with recaps of the first and second nights of the 15th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars.

5/7/18 UPDATE: Recaps of  this year’s shows can be seen here and here.