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Lee Ritenour at the Blue Note August 20, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel.
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2 comments

Another month, another concert at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village. Friday night, I saw guitarist Lee Ritenour with special guest Dave Grusin.

My recap of the Spyro Gyra show I saw at Blue Note in May caught the attention of Art Jackson of Smooth Jazz Magazine. Art asked to put most of it in the July/August issue and I eagerly agreed. He also asked if there were any shows I’d like to attend as a photographer on behalf of the magazine. I told him I was interested in seeing Lee Ritenour the week he was at Blue Note. Like Earl Klugh last month, I had never seen him – or Dave Grusin, for that matter – live. However, I interviewed him twice for The Mike Chimeri Show on Webradio WCWP (now MyWCWP) a decade ago.

I had in mind Friday night at 8:00. Art came through.

I arrived outside at 5:00. I was second in line this time, behind a jazz concert regular named Celeste. We had a great conversation and time flew by. Before we knew it, it was 6:00 and we went in.

I sat in my usual spot right by the stage, but I wasn’t there for long. I felt cramped and closed in. So, I asked for a different table and the staff was very accommodating. Not many shots below were taken at the table. I mostly walked adjacent to the stage in brief spurts to avoid getting in the audience’s way.

Lee Ritenour was on guitar:
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Dave Grusin was on piano, except on the first song:
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…and briefly on keyboard:
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Otherwise, Giorgi Mikadze played the keyboards:
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Giorgi was a 2014 grand prize winner of Lee’s annual Six String Theory competition.

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Tom Kennedy on acoustic and electric bass:
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…and Lee’s son Wes – named after the late guitarist Wes Montgomery – on drums:
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Wes is two weeks older than my cousin Steve.

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Here was the 8:00 set on Friday night:
1. The Village
Originally heard on: Rhythm Sessions, 2012

2. Waltz for Carmen
Originally heard on: Stolen Moments, 1990; A Twist of Rit, 2015

3. Punta del Soul
Originally heard on: Migration (Dave Grusin), 1989; Rhythm Sessions, 2012

4. Stone Flower (Antonio Carlos Jobim cover)
Originally heard on: A Twist of Jobim, 1997

5. Wes Bound
Originally heard on: Wes Bound, 1993; Alive in L.A., 1997

6. Pearl
Originally heard on: A Twist of Rit, 2015

7. (Dave Grusin song I didn’t recognize; unidentified by Lee)

8. A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That
Originally heard on: First Course, 1976; Rio, 1979; A Twist of Rit, 2015

9 (Finale). Wild Rice
Originally heard on: First Course, 1976; A Twist of Rit, 2015

A few wide shots from my table:
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Lee introduced the band one last time at the end:
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This was the first Blue Note show I’ve been to with a meet-and-greet. I brought a copy of Lee’s 1998 album, This is Love, the first album of his I ever bought. Rit’s House, The Very Best of Lee Ritenour, and Overtime would follow. Then, I gradually filled my collection with every other album in his discography. After A Twist of Rit came out last summer, I completed the collection to date with First Course, Gentle Thoughts, and The Captain’s Journey. The title track from that last album came up in my iPod’s shuffle during my run earlier in the day.

I introduced myself, Lee signed the album, and he told me that his son Wes was on the cover. I never knew that was him. Before leaving the line, we posed for a picture.
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Before gathering my belongings and taking the subway and LIRR back home, I ran into Wes downstairs. I complimented his performance and showed him the CD. Then, we posed with it. The picture took several tries, as the patron I lent the camera to initially shot above the CD, but Wes was patient.
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I wished him luck with the second set, packed up, and headed for home.

Thank you to Lee, Wes, Dave, Giorgi, Tom, and the Blue Note staff for another great night at the legendary venue.

If you’d like to see Lee and the band perform, you have two more nights to do so.

An afternoon at the Fire Island Lighthouse July 16, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in History, Jazz, Military, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
3 comments

Two weeks ago, Lori Downing, a co-worker of my mother and sister, invited me to visit the Fire Island Lighthouse. Her father, Bill Laghezza, is among its volunteers. I agreed, not knowing what to expect.

Lori’s original plan for yesterday – a hot and humid day, even by the ocean – was to pick me up at 10:30. That became 11:30. We took the Wantagh Parkway to Ocean Parkway, planning on getting on the Robert Moses Causeway, proceeding to Robert Moses State Park, and walking to the lighthouse. We knew there would be a Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride until 1:00, but we thought it stopped at the State Boat Channel Bridge. It actually ended on the Ocean Parkway, which meant eastbound traffic was diverted back west at the finish line. So, we had to reverse course, taking the Ocean Parkway west, Wantagh Parkway north to Exit W4E, the Southern State Parkway east to Exit 40, then take the Robert Moses Causeway south to the park. By this time, the Soldier Ride was over.

Lori and I parked in Field 5 and walked the path to the Fire Island Lighthouse. I brought my Nikon D5500 and snapped away. Below is our photographic journey. Enjoy.

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The lighthouse’s 15th Annual Benefit Art Show was in its third-to-last day. Here are the exhibits:
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Time to climb to the top:
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It was tougher than using a stairmaster.

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The view from the top deck:
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It was jarring at first being up so high, but I adjusted.

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Lori took my picture:
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Then, Bill joined us and I took a picture of him and Lori:
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Here are a couple of videos I shot while on the top deck while Bill was with us.

“C.I.” is Central Islip.

Time to head back down:
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It was easier going down than it was going up.

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All visitors that climb to the top and come back down get a certificate of accomplishment. Another lighthouse volunteer, Angela, took my picture after filling out my certificate:
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Angela and I had a brief conversation about Earl Klugh and I told her about the show I went to a few nights earlier.

One last piece of business: signing the guest log:
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As a privacy precaution, I blurred out last names, locations, e-mail addresses, and the file location of the log.

I’m so glad I decided to join Lori on her trip to the lighthouse. As I wrote in the guest log, it was worth waiting in traffic to get there. I will never forget the sights, the sounds, or the volunteers I met.

Earl Klugh at the Blue Note July 13, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
4 comments

It took many years, but last night, I finally saw guitarist Earl Klugh (“clue”) perform live. It’s been 40 years since he made his solo debut with a pair of albums, Earl Klugh and Living Inside Your Love. Most of his early albums were released on Blue Note Records, and the show I saw was at the infamous Blue Note jazz club in Greenwich Village. It was my fourth time at the Blue Note, and won’t be the last.

The show I saw was the first of 12 over six nights. As usual, I opted for the 8:00 show over the 10:30 show.

My sister drove to the Wantagh LIRR station at 3:45 for the 4:02 train to Penn Station. As fate would have it, the 3:27 train was running a half hour late. So, I boarded that train a few minutes earlier than the train I planned on taking.

Just before 5:00, I arrived at Penn and proceeded to the 34th Street subway station for the downtown A train to West Fourth Street. Just like my previous trip to Blue Note for Spyro Gyra, I was so early that I was the first in line outside the club. After 5:30, a line began to form behind me. At exactly 6:00, the door opened and I was let in. I chose my center stage table seat and ordered dinner. A father and daughter from Japan sat to my left, which made me wish I spoke enough Japanese to carry a conversation. I was rewarded a half hour later when a man from Ottawa, in town for his daughter’s dance competition, took the seat across from mine. We had a nice, prolonged conversation. It was great.

The show I was about to see was even greater.

Earl Klugh, as he has throughout his 40-year career, played acoustic guitar:
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David Lee was on keyboards:
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Tom Braxton played alto sax (seen below), soprano sax, and flute:
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Al Turner, the Bass Burner, on electric bass:
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…and Ron Otis on drums:
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There were also two special guests, as you’ll see in the set list below:
1. Brazilian Stomp
Originally heard on: Collaboration (with George Benson), 1987

2. Midnight in San Juan
Originally heard on: Midnight in San Juan, 1991

3. Last Song
Originally heard on: The Journey, 1997

4. Across the Sand
Originally heard on: Move, 1994

5. Cabo Frio
Originally heard on: Finger Paintings, 1977

6. Wishful Thinking
Originally heard on: Wishful Thinking, 1984
Special guest: Barry Eastmond, keyboard

7. Vonetta
Originally heard on: Earl Klugh, 1976

8. Living Inside Your Love
Originally heard on: Living Inside Your Love, 1976

9. Dr. Macumba
Originally heard on: Finger Paintings, 1977

10 (Encore). Twinkle
Originally heard on: Crazy for You, 1981
Special guest: Michael Lington, alto sax

Here are various shots of each musician, including the special guests, starting with Earl Klugh:
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David Lee in emcee mode:
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…and at the keys:
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Hearing him on the Kurzweil synthesizer reminded me of Bill Heller, who also uses that model:
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David was quite the character. I loved his antics.

Tom Braxton on alto sax:
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…on soprano sax:
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…and on flute:
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Al Turner:
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Ron Otis:
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Barry Eastmond appeared on “Wishful Thinking,” just as he did on the original in 1984:
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Michael Lington joined the band for the encore, “Twinkle”:
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Wide shots:
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The last note:
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With that, the 8:00 set was complete.

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I complimented Al Turner and Michael Lington as they left the stage, and let Earl know that this was my first time seeing him live. “Really?” Yes, and I hope it isn’t the last time. I spoke to Tom Braxton before the show, but didn’t have a chance to talk to him again afterward.

I got a picture with Al before I left:
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If you’d like to see Earl and the band at Blue Note, you have five more nights to do so. Come on down to the Village and see them play. You won’t be disappointed. I was enthralled. Thank you to Earl, David, Tom, Al, Ron, Barry, and Michael.

Dharma 2.0 recap June 25, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal.
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A new era began last night at Suite 1828 in Merrick. Drummer John Favicchia upgraded his band from Dharma All Stars to Dharma 2.0.

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The set now features mainstream covers while retaining Dharma classics, as you’ll notice in the set list.

I was last at the Suite last January for Dharma 1.0. I had planned on returning two months later, but came down with bronchitis and had to stay home. I felt redeemed last night.

I sat in a chair in front of the stage. Behind me, a packed house gathered. We were all in for a wild set.

Dharma 2.0 is led by John Fav on drums:
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Tim Regusis on keyboard:
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Benny Reid on tenor sax:
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…and alto sax:
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Brandon Dove on guitar:
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…and Thomas Velsor on bass:
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SET LIST
1.
Apocalypso (Dave Weckl cover)
2. Spies (Coldplay cover)
3. Coincidence
4. Sing a Song of Song (Kenny Garrett cover)
5. In My Place (Coldplay cover)
6. Kukuc

Here are various shots of each band member, starting with John Favicchia:
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Tim Regusis:
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Benny Reid:
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Brandon Dove:
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Thomas Velsor:
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Wide shots:
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The last note of the set:
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Until the next show, I’ll leave you with a pair of group pictures taken by me…
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…and mutual friend Jeff Krasner:
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Spyro Gyra at the Blue Note May 28, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Basketball, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel.
3 comments

I was back at Blue Note on Thursday night to see Spyro Gyra‘s 8:00 show. This is a recurring expression in these recaps, but it was Spyro Gyra’s third night of a six-night engagement at the famous jazz club in Greenwich Village. It was also the first time I’d seen the band in nearly three years. This was the first time seeing them on land since June 2007 at the YMCA Boulton Center in Bay Shore.

My original plan on Thursday afternoon was to take the 4:27 westbound train from LIRR’s Wantagh Station (currently in the first phase of renovations) to Penn Station. But I was bored at home, so I left the house an hour and a half early. I walked 20 minutes to the train station and boarded the 3:09 train. I use a backpack, so I must have looked like a high school student to some fellow adults I passed. (Wantagh High School lets out at 2:19.) Wantagh Elementary School had a fire drill as I walked past it on Beech Street. I was glad to hear it was a whooping siren and buzzer instead of a ding-ding-ding bell. That’s why I dreaded fire drills as a kid. I don’t like surprises and I like those big bells even less.

The train ride was longer than scheduled due to a delay at Jamaica, but I still got to Penn Station within an hour of boarding. My girlfriend took Metro-North and the S and 1 trains, and we met at Penn 15 minutes after I arrived. We then took the A train to West Fourth Street. We walked up the stairs at West Third and killed time by watching basketball games at the West Fourth Street Courts. At 5:20, we decided walk up the block to Blue Note and wait for the doors to open. There was no line at first, but about 15 minutes, a line began to form.

Shortly after 6:00, the doors opened and my girlfriend and I chose our usual table at center stage. Our seats were the last before the stage.

Through dinner and dessert, 8:00 came, Spyro Gyra walked on stage, and the show began.

As he has been for all 40 years, Jay Beckenstein was on saxophone. He mostly played alto:
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…but was briefly on soprano:
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Tom Schuman, also with the band for all 40 years, played keyboards:
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Julio Fernandez, with the band for 29 of the last 31 years, was on guitar:
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Scott Ambush, in his 25th year, was on bass:
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…and newcomer Lionel Cordew on drums:
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Each night’s shows were at 8:00 and 10:30. Here is the set list from Thursday’s 8:00 show:
1. Catching the Sun
Originally heard on: Catching the Sun, 1980

2. Stolen Moments (Oliver Nelson cover)

3. Havana Moonlight
Originally heard on: Got the Magic, 1999

4. Morning Dance
Originally heard on: Morning Dance, 1979; Access All Areas, 1984; Road Scholars, 1998

5. Cape Town Love
Originally heard on: Original Cinema, 2003

6. Harbor Nights
Originally heard on: Incognito, 1982; Access All Areas, 1984

7. Good to Go-Go
Originally heard on: Good to Go-Go, 2007

8. Funkyard Dog
Originally heard on: Good to Go-Go, 2007

We’ve reached the part of the recap with various shots of each musician. We start with Jay Beckenstein:
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Playing alto and soprano simultaneously on “Funkyard Dog”:
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Tom Schuman:
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Julio Fernandez:
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Julio’s vocal intro to “Havana Moonlight”:
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Julio was born in Havana.

Scott Ambush:
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Lionel Cordew’s drum solo before “Funkyard Dog”:
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Scott and Tom:
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Julio and Lionel:
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Scott, Jay, and Tom:
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My girlfriend and I had a wonderful time. We couldn’t have asked for a better show. I can only imagine what the 10:30 crowd saw.

Spyro Gyra are still at Blue Note tonight and tomorrow night. So, if you haven’t seen them yet and you’re free either night, come on down to the Village and see them live.

SJFS 2016 Night 1 recap May 4, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel.
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 2

Ten years ago tomorrow, May 5, I met keyboardist Jay Rowe following a Special EFX concert at the since-defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington. A friendship was born. (We posed for a picture that can be seen here.) About seven months later, he invited me to his annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert the following April in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut. I agreed to go. Last Friday, I made my tenth annual pilgrimage to Milford for the 14th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars. This was the fourth year with two shows, and the third in which I went to both shows.

The journey began Friday morning in a cold wind on the platform at the Wantagh LIRR station. I took a westbound train to Penn Station. My next stop was Penn’s Amtrak terminal. I waited an hour, which included a quick nosh at Tim Horton’s, then boarded the Vermonter on track 8E. I was in coach, which resembled the commuter trains I’m used to riding. About 70 minutes later, I exited the train at Bridgeport. My girlfriend was waiting for me.

I met her on Facebook six years ago. She first discovered me four years before that through this website because of an interview I did with Brian Simpson at WCWP. (You can find that interview here.) She noticed me in the audience at the 2009 SJFS, but didn’t approach me. When we connected on Facebook, I assumed she was a fan of my stint as host of Evening Jazz, a WCWP format at the time. We shared a love of music, both for listening and playing. I’m a piano man, she was a sax woman.

We checked in at Hampton Inn in Milford around 2PM. After a few hours of settling in, we went out to dinner and dessert at Friendly’s. From there, we drove to the site of Smooth Jazz for Scholars: the Parsons Complex Veterans Memorial Auditorium. We were early, so we waited in the parking lot for a half hour.

While we waited, my girlfriend improvised on her alto saxophone to backing tracks on her MP3 player.

Shortly after 8:00, show #1 began with an introduction by Kevin McCabe:
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Next to speak was John Patterson, president and CEO of the Monroe County (Michigan) Convention and Tourism Bureau:
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John was promoting another annual jazz event: the River Raisin Jazz Festival.

Then, it was time to showcase Milford music students. First to perform were students from West Shore Middle School, who sang “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley…:
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…and “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran:
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From there, it was on to the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, who performed Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon”:
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The students then gave way to Jay Rowe and his band.

Jay was on keyboards:
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Steve Scales played percussion:
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Trever Somerville on drums:
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…and Dave Anderson on bass:
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The stars of night 1 were Matt Marshak on electric guitar:
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The aforementioned Brian Simpson, who was briefly on keyboard…:
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…but mostly on keytar:
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Peter White on acoustic guitar:
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Marion Meadows on soprano saxophone:
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…and with Jay’s band on seven songs, including the finale, Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on electric guitar:
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SET LIST
1. Red Hot and Smooth (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot and Smooth (2006)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

2. Cadillac Kid (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Colors of Me (2012)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (electric guitar)

3. Teddy P (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Urban Folktales (2011)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (electric guitar)

4. Just What You Need (Brian Simpson)*
Originally heard on: Just What You Need (2013)
Featured musicians: Brian Simpson (keyboard, keytar), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

5. Saturday Cool (Brian Simpson)*
Originally heard on: It’s All Good (2005)
Featured musicians: Brian Simpson (keytar), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

6. Promenade/Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (The Spinners cover) (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Promenade (1993), Reflections (1994)
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar), Marion Meadows (soprano sax)

7. In Rainbows (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Smile (2014)
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar), Marion Meadows (soprano sax)

8. What Cha Gonna Do? (Brian Simpson)*
Originally heard on: Above the Clouds (2007)
Featured musicians: Brian Simpson (keyboard, keytar), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

9. Lifestyle (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Lifestyle (2014)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (electric guitar)

10. Bueno Funk (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Glow (2001)
Featured musicians: Peter White (acoustic guitar), Marion Meadows (soprano sax)

11. Treasures (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: In Deep (2002)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

12. Humanity (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul Traveler (2015)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)

13 (Finale). Kiss (Prince cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone

*-Jay was not on stage during this song.

Now for various shots of each musician, starting with Jay Rowe:
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Matt Marshak:
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Brian Simpson:
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Peter White:
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Leading the audience on “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”:
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The audience followed:
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Marion Meadows:
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Rohn Lawrence:
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Steve Scales:
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Trever Somerville:
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Dave Anderson:
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Next, two shots, starting with Rohn and Brian:
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Rohn and Marion:
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Peter and Marion:
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The finale: “Kiss”:
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The last note:
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Night 1 was complete:
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Before heading back to the hotel, my girlfriend and I caught up with Brian Simpson and I spoke with Peter White.

Click here to see how the second night went.

Yellowjackets at Birdland April 25, 2016

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

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

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

So, let’s introduce the band:

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

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

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

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

4. Golden State
Originally heard on: Cohearence, 2016

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

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

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

*-Bob played EWI

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

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

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

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

January 23 blizzard pictures & video January 25, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Technology, Video, Weather.
3 comments

Last Monday, I hinted at the end of my Lisa Hilton post that there could be significant snowfall by the end of the week. And there was.

Whereas the first major storm of last winter was initially supposed to bring up to three feet of snow, then brought half that, this year’s appeared to be destined for six inches at most. But by Thursday night, the forecast began trending toward the worst case scenario. Strong winds were also in play, which brought the flooding fear to waterfront residents and the downed trees and power outages fear to me, an inland resident.

Luckily, the wind wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There were a few big gusts in the morning, but that was it.

Below is a photographic timeline of Saturday’s blizzard from eight hours after snow began through a few hours before it ended.

8:11 AM:
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9:50 AM:
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Every few hours, I shoveled the front porch to keep the snow from piling up. I chose to wait until after snow had ended to shovel the rest of the driveway.

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1:18 PM:
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4:14 PM:
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6:28 PM:
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9:26 PM, on my iPhone:
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9:31 PM:
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I tried to go to sleep around 11:30, but I was too eager to shovel. So, with snow still coming down, albeit lightly, I began to shovel the driveway. I made it to the center, the widest part, before giving up.

According to the National Weather Service, 25.1 inches of snow fell in Wantagh, but I measured a few inches less in my driveway.

When I woke up yesterday morning, at around 10:30 AM, I took some pictures:
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Then, it was time to shovel. It took three long hours, with a few short breaks mixed in. But with help from my mom, the task was nearly complete. All that remained, following a shower, was to shovel snow that had been under my dad’s car at the edge of the driveway. That took ten minutes.

These pictures were taken at around 3PM, after that last bit of shoveling:
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I usually shovel the sidewalk up to the property line, but there was so much snow that I didn’t bother.

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Over the next few days, daytime high temperatures are forecast to be above freezing, perfect for melting. Good.

There are snow showers in the forecast for Thursday night into Friday with little accumulation expected. I hope that forecast stands.

I’ll leave you with the video timeline shot on my Panasonic HC-V770 and iPhone 6 (with an Otterbox Defender case):

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: 2016 edition January 18, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather.
5 comments

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

The second show I’ve attended in 2016 – the first was the Jeff Lorber Fusion, ten nights earlier – continued an annual tradition: Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Yesterday’s performance marked her third year in Weill and I’ve been in the audience every time.

Like last year, I got a ride to the Wantagh LIRR station at around noon. Once there, I bought a round trip off peak ticket and waited for the 12:18 train to Penn Station. The ride wasn’t as quiet as last year in either direction, but I didn’t mind.

When I got to Penn, I took the 1 train to 59th Street-Columbus Circle. I walked two blocks south and one block east to get to Carnegie Hall, taking pictures along the way:
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It was a 2:00 show:
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My seat was front row center again. I had the row all to myself. You’d think people would buy front row seats if they’re available, but not in this case.

I grabbed a few shots of the stage, and ceiling, before showtime:
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Lisa Hilton and the band were fashionably late, starting at 2:03. Lisa played piano with Ben Williams on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. Except where noted by an asterisk*, J.D. Allen and Ingrid Jensen rounded out the band on tenor saxophone and trumpet, respectively.

1/27 UPDATE: Here’s a shot from further back in the audience during the show:
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I’m to Ingrid’s left (screen right).

All but the last two songs in the set were from Lisa’s new album, Nocturnal, which comes out this Friday. Copies were on sale in the lobby and I bought one before entering the hall. Here is the set list:
1. Nocturnal (also on Horizons, 2015)
2. A Spark in the Night
3. Whirlwind
4. Seduction (also on Seduction, 1997; Cocktails at Eight, 2000; My Favorite Things, 2005; and The New York Sessions, 2007)
5. Willow Weep for Me (written by Ann Ronell)
Midnight Sonata:
6. Part I: Symphony of Blues
7. Part II: Desire (also on In the Mood for Jazz, 2003)
8. Part III: Midnight Stars
9. Twilight
10. An August Remembered (rewritten from “August 1999,” which was composed for Cocktails at Eight in 2000)
11. The Sky and the Ocean (from Horizons, 2015)
12. Stepping Into Paradise (from Getaway, 2013)

“A Spark in the Night” and “Midnight Stars” had a Latin feel to them. “Midnight Stars,” in particular, sounded like a bullfighter song at one point. “Nocturnal,” “Seduction,” and “Twilight” sounded as good as they did last year. “Whirlwind” was a whirlwind. I loved it. I remember August 1999: Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs achieved the 3,000th hits of their eventual Hall of Fame careers, I had two weeks of diagnostic vocational evaluation at Abilities, Inc., in Albertson, and I spent an afternoon at Splish Splash water park in Riverhead. I thought of all that as I listened to “An August Remembered.” Unlike on the Nocturnal album version, which was a solo performance, the band accompanied Lisa.

I caught up with Lisa after the show and we posed for this picture:
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I was caught off guard when I looked out the window and saw snow falling. And it was accumulating. But the end result was merely a coating. As I type, there may be more significant snowfall at the end of the week.

“See you next year,” I said to Lisa after we said our goodbyes. Year 3 at Carnegie Hall was a success. Thanks to Lisa, Ben, Rudy, J.D., and Ingrid.

The Jeff Lorber Fusion at Birdland January 11, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
4 comments

My first show of 2016 was the Jeff Lorber Fusion at Birdland Jazz Club. I had last seen Jeff at the Blue Note in June 2014. This was my first time back at Birdland since I saw Yellowjackets on November 17, 2006, my 25th birthday. Coincidentally, Yellowjackets were also celebrating 25 years at the time. I plan on seeing them at Birdland this April.

The Jeff Lorber Fusion were in the middle of a five-night engagement at Birdland when my girlfriend and I went to see them on Thursday night.

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Jeff Lorber was on keyboard:
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…piano…:
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…and both simultaneously:
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Jimmy Haslip played bass:
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Andy Snitzer was on tenor saxophone:
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…but played soprano saxophone on “Chinese Medicinal Herbs” and “Up On This”:
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Lionel Cordew rounded out the band on drums:
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Each night had shows at 8:30 and 11:00. Here is the set list for Thursday’s 8:30 show:

1. Chinese Medicinal Herbs
Originally heard on: “The Jeff Lorber Fusion,” 1977; “Now is the Time,” 2010

2. He Had a Hat
Originally heard on: “He Had a Hat,” 2007

3. Get Up
Originally heard on: “Step It Up,” 2015

4. Hacienda
Originally heard on: “Hacienda,” 2013

5. Rain Dance
Originally heard on: “Water Sign,” 1979; “Now is the Time,” 2010

6. Montserrat
Originally heard on: “Galaxy,” 2012

7. Up On This
Originally heard on: “Step It Up,” 2015

8. Anthem for a New America/Tune 88
Originally heard on: “He Had a Hat,” 2007/”Water Sign,” 1979; “Flipside,” 2005

Photographically, I figured out how to shoot great pictures in low light without raising the ISO too high. The trick was to shoot in shutter-priority mode rather than aperture-priority mode. Once I found a good shutter speed, 1/30 second, I was ready to go.

With that in mind, here are various shots of each band member, starting with Jeff Lorber:
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Jimmy Haslip:
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Andy Snitzer on tenor sax:
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…and soprano sax:
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Lionel Cordew’s “Get Up” drum solo:
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A few wide shots:
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The end of “Tune 88”:
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After my girlfriend chatted with Andy and Jeff. Then, we headed for home. It was another great night of music for us. Thank you, Jeff, Jimmy, Andy, and Lionel.

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