Jeff Dunham at Carnegie Hall October 22, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
Tags: Achmed, Bubba J, Carnegie Hall, Jeff Dunham, Peanut, Walter
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(10/23 NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Jeff’s show ran “about 70 minutes.” I have corrected that to read “2 hours and 13 minutes.”)
I was in Manhattan for the second night in a row yesterday. Thursday, I was down in Greenwich Village to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Yesterday, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Pictures weren’t allowed during the show, which was part of Jeff’s Perfectly Unbalanced Tour, but I took my plenty before and after. I had to use my iPhone 6 because mobile devices were all that were allowed.
This was my fourth time at Carnegie Hall, but the first time in the Stern Auditorium. My previous three trips were to see pianist Lisa Hilton in the intimate Weill Recital Hall.
Jeff Dunham and his crew made their way to Carnegie at around 4:30. Jeff posted live video of the walk to Facebook:
About an hour after that streaming video, I left the house for the Wantagh LIRR station. It was the last day of a warm and humid air mass. Nonetheless, like Thursday night, I wore my green spring squall jacket in case of rain. There was nary a drop; only fog and mist when I returned six hours later. There had been rain earlier in the day, but while I waited for the 5:59 train for Penn Station, Wantagh was in between rain bands. The band to the east must have been intense because there were impressive cumulonimbus clouds:
Low cumulus clouds set in starting in Queens, appearing dark against the setting sun.
There were New York Islanders fans on the train through Jamaica. They changed there for the Atlantic Terminal train to Barclays Center where the Islanders went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.
The train arrived at Penn Station at 6:55. From there, I took the E train to West 53rd Street and walked four blocks to Carnegie Hall.
Once there, the crowd had to wait until 7:30 for the Stern Auditorium doors to open. After getting a bottle of water, I got to my balcony seat. Trivia, social media posts, and pictures were shown on the monitor:
There was a welcome announcement at 8:03 following by three intro videos at 8:06. Since they’re from Jeff’s YouTube channel, I’ve included them below:
After an auto-tune montage, the show officially began at 8:16. The voice of Achmed the Dead Terrorist announced Jeff and he walked on stage. I looked at him on the monitor most of the time since I was so high up.
I took ten pages of notes in a 7 x 5 notebook. Below are some of those notes. I’ll try not to give too much away.
Jeff’s opening act:
- Informal election vote: Hillary – cheers, Donald – more cheers
- Why he’s a ventriloquist
- Family – daughters, Audrey, twin boys
- How Jeff and Audrey found out they were having twins, Jack and James
- The twins’ birth
- Changing diapers in NICU
- Baby pictures – meme photo (“I CAME OUT OF YOUR WHAT???”), then actual photos: their first birthday, Jeff holding them like dumbbells, at Disneyland
- Left stage, came back
- Videotaping show to include message to sons when they’re older
After the opening act, it was time to open the boxes and bring out the characters. Walter came first:
- “Oh, shut the hell up! (mocking laugh)”
- Joke about New Jersey
- How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “Uber.”
- Joke about auditorium appearance
- Sick of election garbage – doesn’t like either candidate – like going in for colonoscopy
- Cut to a video:
- Plug for Jeff’s YouTube channel – about to reach one million subscribers
- Another video:
- “You know, folks tell me that I should run for president”
- Life after death
- “If Trump becomes president, José’ll be out of the show” (a reference to José Jalapeño on a Stick)
- Being an older parent
- “Say good night, Walter.” “Thanks, everybody!”
Before bringing out the next character, Jeff announced that his next special will be taped in Dublin, Ireland, in May for Netflix. It will debut in August. The theme will be family. Jeff found out he is of Irish descent. To that end, a new character he tried out at Carnegie Hall was an Irish baby he was trying to get adopted:
- Big head
- Adult voice with brogue
- Influenced by the other characters (“I keel you” from Achmed)
- Much smarter than apparent age
- Cursing (from Peanut)
- Mother gave him up for adoption
- Vaccination/shots – “Gin, rum, vodka”
- Can’t walk, but can pub crawl
- “All the drunks just think I’m a leprechaun”
- “And that’s the new baby!”
- “I’m doin’ pretty good!”
- “…watchin’ NASCAR and drinkin’ beer”
- Running for president
- “Press the flesh”
- Debate/da bait, defense/da fence, Syria/Siri
- Fracking: “Me and the wife are down to once a month”
- “Say good night, Bubba J”
- “Dat’s goooooooooood!”
- (singing): “New York…..”
- “Two infants at your age, how the hell did that happen?!”
- Running gags (toward Jeff, into mic): “’cause you’re old”, “’cause you’re an asshole”, “’cause I’m an asshole”
- Porn riff (“chicka-chicka-wow-wow”) – baby-related dirty talk
- Caffeine zaniness – “It’s great!”, “Yes!”
- Coffee enema
- Lost a shoe – “No, dude, I found one”
- Peanut fell off and his mouth was stuck open – after a few minutes of incoherent speech (“ahhole”), Jeff closed it
- Spoke to two men in the front row
- Hearing aid joke (pretending to cut out)
Achmed the Dead Terrorist:
- “Most beloved terrorist throughout the world”
- Achmed’s origin story – tried out Dead Osama a year after 9/11, six blocks from Ground Zero – crowd loved act – retooled as Achmed starting in Spark of Insanity
- “Greetings, American infidels!”
- Usama Bin Laden is “dead dead”
- “Do you know me, infidels?!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you (2x)”
- “It’s not funny!”
- “Silence! I keel you!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you”
- Achmed’s many kids: “…and Steve”
- Life story: “Once upon a time, (boom!). The end.”
- Presidential election
- “Oh! Bomb! Ah!”
- Questions: “Dear Achmed…” – by my count, 19 questions – Favorite breakfast cereal: “Life” – Hugh Jorgen (huge organ): “I can’t believe you fell for that!” – Legs fell off, then arms, then ribcage
After one last joke, that was it. Since it was over, I resumed photography. There was one last bit of business for Jeff: a crowd selfie with his wife Audrey.
Here’s how that selfie looked:
As you can see, balcony members weren’t in the picture, but I don’t mind.
In all, Jeff was on stage for 2 hours and 13 minutes, leaving the stage at 10:29.
Rather than walk back to West 53rd Street to take the E train again, I walked to 59th Street-Columbus Circle station.
I would have taken the 11:08 LIRR train to Wantagh, but there happened to be an 11:01 express train that didn’t make local stops until Wantagh. So, I boarded that one. There were some passengers that didn’t realize it was an express and had to change at Jamaica for the later, entirely-local train. It only took 43 minutes to get to Wantagh! Now that’s what I call express! I wouldn’t have arrived until 20 minutes later had I taken 11:08 train.
Thus ended my six-hour adventure. Jeff was hilarious, as always. I wish the show was available on video so I could watch it again and again. My notes and memories will have to do until then.
While I slept, Jeff was live on Facebook as his YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers!
Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to fans like me for getting the channel to a million and beyond.
Chick Corea Elektric Band at Blue Note October 21, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel.
After a month away from the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, I returned last night to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. It was the first of two shows in two nights. Tonight, I’m going to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham in the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Pictures aren’t allowed, so that recap will be all words. (10/22 UPDATE: The recap of that show is now up. I was allowed to take pictures before and after, but I was still quite descriptive. Jeff’s YouTube videos and social media posts are also included in the recap.)
After the seating issue when I went to see Lee Ritenour in August, I opted for a seat further from the stage last night. It was still cramped, but my table seat was against the wall, which meant I was free to get up to take pictures without getting in anyone’s way. It was quite a workout, in addition to the 7.6 miles I ran in the afternoon. I was seated across from Phil, an avid Chick Corea fan from Vancouver, and his wife Kim. They made the time before the show worthwhile.
Now, the backstory: Pianist, keyboardist, and composer Chick Corea turned 75 back in June. In honor of this milestone, Blue Note arranged a two-month celebration/residency, which began Wednesday night with the first of five nights of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. The residency ends with Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu (Orchestra, I assume) from December 8 through 12. That show will combine half of Return to Forever, Chick and drummer Lenny White, along with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin on guitar. Victor Wooten will round out that band on bass.
The Elektric Band featured its definitive lineup, first heard on Light Years, the band’s second album, in 1987.
Eric Marienthal was on alto sax:
Frank Gambale on guitar:
John Patitucci on bass:
…and Dave Weckl on drums:
The 8:00 set consisted of six songs with extended solos. The songs were:
1. Trance Dance
Originally heard on: Eye of the Beholder, 1988
2. C.T.A. (Miles Davis cover)
Originally heard on: Paint the World, 1993
3. Jocelyn – The Commander
Originally heard on: To the Stars, 2004
4. Beneath the Mask
Originally heard on: Beneath the Mask, 1991
5. Silver Temple
Originally heard on: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, 1986
6 (Encore). Got a Match?
Originally heard on: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, 1986
I had a longer conversation with saxophonist Eric Marienthal, whom I’ve seen perform many times: with the Rippingtons in 2005, David Benoit in 2006, at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in 2008, solo in 2011, and with the Jeff Lorber Fusion in 2014, my first time at the Blue Note.
I interviewed both Eric and John on The Mike Chimeri Show over a decade ago. All interviews can be heard here. (Out of self-consciousness, I haven’t listened since editing them for air.)
The Chick Corea Elektric Band put on a thrilling show last night. If you’d like to see them and get the same thrill I did, they play at 8:00 and 10:30 tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday night.
I’ll be seeing Chick again on December 9 for Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu. Here is Chick’s residency schedule before then:
- October 26-30: For Miles
- November 2-6: Three Quartets, the Leprechaun Band
- November 9-10: Experiments in Electronica
- November 11-13: Flamenco Heart
- November 16-17: Chick Corea Big Band
- November 18-20: The Piano Duets
- November 22-23: Chick Corea & Gary Burton
- November 25-27: Origin II
- November 30-December 4: The Music of Return to Forever – Acoustic
- December 7: Chick Corea with John McLaughlin
As I noted at the top of this post, Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu runs from December 8 to 12 and marks the end of Chick’s 75th Birthday Celebration.
2016 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming, 2017 Hall of Fame Announcement October 10, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Football, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Weather.
Later in this recap, I share airchecks from my pre-recorded Homecoming Weekend show that aired early yesterday morning. To see and hear my live show on Friday, click here.
After kicking off Homecoming Weekend on Friday, I returned to the campus of LIU Post for Homecoming itself.
On my way to campus, I put on WCWP, whose signal wasn’t entirely clear at first, and listened to the Post Pioneers‘ Homecoming game against the Saint Anselm Hawks. The game had begun moments earlier and it was already 14-0! As my mother turned toward the Abrams Communications Building, where WCWP is located, the Pioneers scored their third touchdown to go ahead 21-0.
When I made my way from WCWP to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium, all part of my Homecoming Day routine, it was 35-14 with a minute to go in the first half.
Skies were cloudy and the air was mild and humid. There was spotty drizzle, but not enough to scare me away. (My camera isn’t weatherproof.)
The Pioneers would go on to rout the Hawks 63-20 (thanks to a missed extra point) and improved their record to 6-0.
The spotty drizzle intensified to a light rain shower, so I had to put my camera under my jacket for the rest of the walk back. Except for walks to and from Hillwood Commons for snacks from the vending machine, I didn’t leave WCWP until my dad picked me up an hour into Mike Riccio and Bobby G.’s radio show. More on that later.
Jay is my biggest champion, always propping me up on Facebook, complimenting me and my talents.
The 2017 inductees are Neil Marks, John LiBretto, and John March.
Jay resurrected “The Hootenanny” in a show that aired at 4AM yesterday following my show.
Bill Mozer, who had his camcorder and 4-channel portable recorder set up in Studio 2, also spoke briefly. I was diagonal from Bill’s setup and shot the pictures you’re seeing here from the same spot.
He invited his daughter Alexa, a student at LIU Post, to join him at the mic.
Wolf is enthusiastic and affable, and it was a pleasure to meet him. Jett agreed.
As you see, Jay Elzweig stopped by the studio before he left for the night.
When I got home, I edited pictures, selected which to post here and Facebook, and began mixing camcorder video with my recording from the FM tuner and studio board. All the while, I listened to the rest of Mike and Bobby’s show, and Bruce Leonard and John Commins after them. Here’s the final cut of the video, which I rendered and posted to YouTube yesterday afternoon:
Thus ended a busy day at LIU Post. It’s always great to catch up with alumni I know and meet alumni for the first time. It’s also great to hear the various shows throughout Homecoming Weekend. “I’m listening to the very end,” I wrote in the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group during Jeff Kroll’s 10PM show last night. “You sound great, Jeff.”
Here’s how Jeff signed off just before midnight:
Until next year, I’ll leave you with airchecks from the prerecorded Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri that aired at 2AM yesterday:
…and the playlist.
As I noted last week, I recorded the show from home. It sounded great on the web stream, which I was awake to listen to.
2016 WCWP Homecoming Weekend, first few hours October 7, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Video.
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For the second year in a row, I was the leadoff hitter, so to speak, for the WCWP Homecoming Weekend. Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri kicked things off at noon today.
I left the house just before 9:00 and took the Hicksville-Wantagh Community Shuttle to Hicksville LIRR Station. Once I got there, I had to wait a half hour for the n20H to arrive. I was at LIU Post by 10:15.
Jeff and his wife Pat were in the building during my show, as were Bruce Leonard and Magick Mike Hendryx, whose show followed mine.
Overall, I had a great show. There were a few mistakes and flubs, but that always happens in a live broadcast. Here’s how I looked and sounded during airchecks:
And here’s how the transitions between songs sounded:
Now that you’ve heard the airchecks, and seen their video equivalent, here’s the playlist.
I’ll be back at LIU Post and WCWP tomorrow for Homecoming and the announcement of the 2017 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame.
15 years in radio; two shows on WCWP next weekend October 3, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Education, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Sports.
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Wednesday marks 15 years since my first radio show on Webradio WCWP, now known as MyWCWP. The maiden voyage of The Mike Chimeri Show, a contemporary jazz instrumentals show (naturally), embarked at 7PM on Friday, October 5, 2001. The first song I played was “Mountain Dance” by Dave Grusin.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think of recording the show for posterity, which I’ve done for all but one show since, but I did save the playlist:
88 shows followed, plus another 95 after 10 months at WGBB.
I miss the days of having a weekly show, which I haven’t had since Evening Jazz on 88.1 WCWP in 2010, but I’m proud to have a show each Homecoming Weekend. Like last year, however, I will have two shows on Homecoming Weekend, and at the same times. The shows will bear the name Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri.
The first show kicks off the weekend, live on Friday, October 7, at noon Eastern. I pre-recorded the second show two weeks ago from home and it will air early Sunday, October 9, at 2AM Eastern.
The live show will consist of all but three songs from albums released this year. The other three songs are from last year. Among the artists you’ll hear are Chuck Loeb, Yellowjackets, Richard Elliot, and Gerald Albright.
The pre-recorded show is a 50-year music journey, running from 1966 through 2016. Expect to hear Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Chet Atkins, David Benoit, Acoustic Alchemy, and plenty more.
Both shows can be heard locally on 88.1 FM, and worldwide at WCWP.org and on the TuneIn app.
In between, I can be found at LIU Post on Homecoming Day itself – Saturday, October 8. I’ll mostly be at the Abrams Communications Building, home of WCWP, but I plan on dropping by the Pioneers’ football game against Saint Anselm College, their 2014 Homecoming opponent.
Later in the afternoon, the 2017 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame will be announced. I always look forward to the announcement, and then the ceremony itself each spring.
I hope you’ll be listening to WCWP all Homecoming Weekend long. I’m honored to get the ball rolling again this year. Jeff Kroll wraps the weekend up at 10PM on October 9.
Two days at The Barclays August 30, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Internet, Media, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the third and final round of The Barclays, the first event of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Playoffs. This year, as in 2012, the host venue was Bethpage Black, the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Bethpage/Farmingdale.
One day after acquiring tickets to the second round of the PGA Championship, my dad Bill ordered tickets for the third round of The Barclays. About a week before we were to go, Dad won complimentary tickets to the final round. Our weekend was set.
This was the tournament’s 50th year. It began in 1967 as the Westchester Classic. This was also the last year it was sponsored by Barclays. Starting next year, when the tournament will be at nearby Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, it will be known as The Northern Trust. As a result, the tournament that was called the Northern Trust Open, held in February at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, will become the Genesis Open.
For the third round on Saturday, Dad and I left the house at 11:30 and drove to Nassau Coliseum for general parking. From there, a shuttle bus drove us to Bethpage Black.
All pictures both days were taken on my iPhone 6.
Those pairings were:
Jim Herman and Jhonattan Vegas
Ricky Barnes and J.B. Holmes
Martin Laird and Harold Varner III
Jason Day and Adam Hadwin
Jordan Spieth and Sean O’Hair
Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore
Patrick Reed (36-hole leader) and Emiliano Grillo
We stood in the sun at first, then moved to the shade (seen above). We watched Barber and Kokrak, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell, and then the seven pairings I listed earlier. As the leader and challengers approached, we saw Billy Kratzert, Dottie Pepper, and Peter Kostis from CBS Sports. Also passing by were course reporters from PGA Tour Radio, NHK (Japan), and Sky Sports.
After Reed and Grillo, Dad and I walked back toward the clubhouse.
We stopped at the crosswalk by the 17th tee as Jason Day and Adam Hadwin teed off.
We stopped in the shop to buy a shirt, then took the shuttle back to Nassau Coliseum.
Rickie Fowler (-9) took the lead from Patrick Reed (-8) going into the final round. Here are highlights of the third round, which concluded while we were in transit.
For the final round on Sunday, Dad and I left for the Coliseum at noon. The shuttle we took arrived at Bethpage Black before 1:00.
At the range were Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Kevin Streelman, Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo, and Rickie Fowler.
Then, we walked toward the 18th green.
Our plan was to sit in the grandstand above the green until play concluded, but that didn’t pan out. I’m glad it didn’t.
The four pairings:
Kevin Streelman and Gary Woodland
Emiliano Grillo and Justin Thomas
Adam Scott and Martin Laird
Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed
After a brief stop in the Mastercard Club, Dad and I walked to the concession area by the 14th hole. On the way there, we passed Brandt Snedeker and Brian Harman as they made their way to the 17th tee. People were high fiving Sneds, and I tried to get in on the action, but he didn’t see my hand. Oh, well.
As you can see, the hole was moved.
We watched the last 14 pairings come through. In addition to the four I listed earlier, there were also:
Brian Stuard and Jim Furyk
Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy
Brendan Steele and Chez Reavie
Sean O’Hair and Charl Schwartzel
Ricky Barnes and Jordan Spieth
Jason Dufner and Blayne Barber
Ryan Moore and Kevin Kisner
Jason Kokrak and Ryan Palmer
Dustin Johnson and Jamie Lovemark
Jason Day and Tony Finau
Occasionally, photographers and TV cameramen set up in front of us. On a personal note, my dad’s friend joined us at the green for a little while.
Day parred 13, but made a 71-foot putt for birdie at 15.
When Fowler and Reed came to the green, volunteers strictly enforced the no-camera-or-phone policy. I put my iPhone back in its holster and didn’t touch it until they holed out. By this time, Fowler had faltered and Reed regained the lead. That lead would grow to three shots, but he won by one (-9).
Dad and I made another stop at the concessions by 14. While there, we ran into my friend Mike and his wife Laurie.
As we approached the 18th tee, we ran into Mike and Laurie again. After Reed and Fowler teed off, we walked adjacent to fairway.
We walked closer to the green for the trophy presentation (not televised), which came after Reed signed his scorecard.
Reed’s win, the fifth of his career, earned him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
I expect to do as the sign said and return next year at Glen Oaks for The Northern Trust.
I will update this post after the Tour Championship with the FedExCup Champion. Until then, I leave you with post-tournament links:
Final round highlights
Patrick Reed news conference
Shots of the week
Final round photo gallery
Associated Press story
Helen Ross: Teamwork leads to success
Winner’s Bag: Patrick Reed, The Barclays
9/25 UPDATE: Rory McIlory won.
Lee Ritenour at the Blue Note August 20, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel.
Tags: Smooth Jazz Magazine
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:
Dave Grusin was on piano, except on the first song:
Otherwise, Giorgi Mikadze played the keyboards:
Giorgi was a 2014 grand prize winner of Lee’s annual Six String Theory competition.
Tom Kennedy on acoustic and electric bass:
Wes is two weeks older than my cousin Steve.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
A day at the 2016 PGA Championship July 30, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Golf, Health, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
I spent my Friday with my father Bill at the second round of the PGA Championship, held this year at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The championship was held two weeks earlier this year because of the Olympics. This is a photo recap of our day. Regular cameras weren’t allowed, so all pictures were taken on my iPhone 6.
A few months ago, I listened to the Audible version of Love That Boy, a book by National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier. (I ended up buying the book and then buying a copy for my dad for Father’s Day.) It’s mainly about his relationship with his son Tyler, before and after he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 12, about five years before I learned I had it. After the diagnosis, Ron began taking Tyler on trips to presidential museums and to meet a few living presidents, whom Ron covered while a reporter. My dad and I have also taken trips since my diagnosis: to golf tournaments, especially major championships. He used to go to golf tournaments with his friends and father, my grandpa Carmen. In particular, he attended the 1986 and 1995 U.S. Open Championships at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. Since 2002, when the U.S. Open was first held at the Bethpage Black Course in Bethpage State Park, we have been to six majors and a handful of regular tournaments. The majors we’ve been to, counting the one that’s the subject of this post, are:
2002 U.S. Open, 3rd Round – Bethpage Black Course
2004 U.S. Open, Final Round – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
2005 PGA Championship, Final Round – Baltusrol Golf Club
2006 U.S. Open, Final Round – Winged Foot Golf Club
2009 U.S. Open, 3rd/Final Round – Bethpage Black Course
2016 PGA Championship, 2nd Round – Baltursol Golf Club
In 2005 and 2009, play was suspended due to thunderstorms (PGA) and darkness (U.S. Open). I watched the rest of those two majors on TV the following day. In 2009, I also went to the course twice before the first round; once with my mother Lisa and once alone. Here’s how that went.
Dad and I didn’t plan on going to this year’s PGA Championship, even though it was in the tri-state area, but earlier this month, my uncle Jim gave us two grounds tickets to the second round. We would be going, after all.
Rain was in the forecast for Thursday night and yesterday, which I thought would mean no trip or a wasted trip. But play was only delayed 45 minutes and the rain subsided shortly before we left Wantagh around 10AM. General parking was about a half hour away from Baltusrol at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey. We arrived there a little after noon.
Shuttles traveled to and from the park and Baltusrol around the clock.
We got to the grounds just before 1PM.
We watched Soomin Lee, Joost Luiten, and William McGirt finish their second round starting at 16.
Phil won the last time we were at Baltusrol in 2005.
In his second round, he recovered from a triple bogey at the 1st to shot an even par 70, making the cut at +1.
He went on to shoot a 68 after starting at the 10th tee. At -3 for the championship, he was six shots back of Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb (-9) after two rounds.
Gaffney reached the green and was able to save par, but he shot a 74 (+4) in the first round and 73 (+3) in this second, missing the cut by five shots.
From there, we watched two groups that started at the 10th:
1) Omar Uresti, Greg Chalmers (who had an autism awareness patch on his bag), Ross Fisher
2) David Muttitt, Smylie Kaufman, Zac Blair
Here, we watched a few groups:
1) J.B. Holmes, Brian Stuard, Hideki Matsuyama
2) Matt Dobyns, Tyrell Hatton, Harris English
3) Ernie Els (whose son is autistic), Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson
We left the grandstand before Jimmy Walker’s group reached the 9th green.
He did make the cut and was five shots back (-4).
Since it was rush hour, the shuttle ride back to Oak Ridge Park took about 40 minutes. From there, Dad and I drove home, listening to the coverage of the rest of the second round on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio. Heading up the coverage was the voice of the New York Giants, who play a half hour away at MetLife Stadium, Bob Papa. We arrived back at the house at about 8:30.
It was a memorable day at the PGA Championship. Thank you, Uncle Jim, for the tickets.
I will update this post after the final round.
7/31, 7:30 PM UPDATE: The rains came yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and suspended play until this (Sunday) morning. Jimmy Walker briefly trailed in the third round this morning, but regained the lead heading into the final round this afternoon. Moments ago, Walker held off defending PGA Champion Jason Day, and his own nerves, to win the 2016 PGA Championship. He won wire-to-wire, leading or tied for the lead after every round. Day showed class by congratulating Walker on the 18th green.
I’m glad to have been part of the tournament as a second round spectator.
7/31, 8:41 PM UPDATE: Post-championship links:
PGA/CBS Sports: Walker’s winning par putt
PGA/CBS Sports: Wanamaker Trophy presentation and interview
Nick Menta, Golf Channel: Walker bests Day by one to win PGA Championship
Kyle Porter & Robby Kalland, CBS Sports: PGA Championship 2016 leaderboard, highlights: Breaking down a wild ending
8/1 UPDATE: More links:
Matt Stypulkoski, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker continues trend of first-time major winners
Steve Politi, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker’s PGA Championship victory is a win for grinders everywhere
Hank Gola, The Star-Ledger: Is it still Jimmy Walker’s day if he had been paired with Jason Day?
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Walker holds off Day for first major
Tara Sullivan, The Record: Walker’s wire-to-wire act was dynamite (a reference to “dynomite!,” the catchphrase of J.J. Evans on Good Times, portrayed by namesake Jimmie Walker)
Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine: Jimmy Walker Edges Jason Day, Wins 2016 PGA Championship
Art Stricklin, Golf Magazine: Party Awaits Jimmy Walker at His Home Club in Texas
8/2 UPDATE: Even more links:
PGA: Full Sunday Highlights
PGA: Full Tournament Highlights
PGA: Jimmy Walker’s Full PGA Champion Press Conference
PGA: Top 10 Shots of the 2016 PGA Championship (#9 spoiler: I saw John Senden on the practice green after he completed his second round.)
Dharma 2.0 recap June 25, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Media, Music, Personal.
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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.
1. Apocalypso (Dave Weckl cover)
2. Spies (Coldplay cover)
4. Sing a Song of Song (Kenny Garrett cover)
5. In My Place (Coldplay cover)
SJFS 2016 Night 2 recap May 4, 2016Posted by Mike C. in Football, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV.
Day 2 of my weekend in Milford, Connecticut, began at sunrise. I went right to sleep when I returned to the hotel the night before. So, the first thing I did when I woke up was move the pictures I shot from my camera to my laptop. After that, I took the elevator down to the lobby and helped myself to breakfast. The day progressed from there. To pass the time, I watched episodes of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show while editing Friday’s Smooth Jazz for Scholars pictures. When the latter rounds of the NFL Draft were televised, I had that on with the TV muted as I continued to listen to (when editing) and watch (when not) the Chat Show.
If such a thing existed, I would have teleported from my room to the Tilles Center Atrium for this year’s WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony. Instead, this recap by 2014 inductee Frank D’Elia will have to do. Jeff Kroll, inducted last year, informed me that next year’s ceremony will probably be earlier in the year, eliminating a conflict with Smooth Jazz for Scholars.
Eventually, 5:15 came and it was time for dinner. My girlfriend and I ate at the Olive Garden in nearby Orange. It was the first time I had been to any location other than the one in East Massapequa. Since I ate waffles and muffins at breakfast, I avoided those delicious breadsticks, limiting myself to minestrone, lasagna, and a creme de menthe candy when the check came.
My girlfriend improvised on her alto saxophone again while we waited in the parking lot adjacent to the Parsons Complex Veterans Memorial Auditorium. This time, she even played in front of audience members waiting on the auditorium steps. They loved it.
In the auditorium lobby, I met Jay Rowe‘s mother, Mia DiStasi, as I preordered Jay’s upcoming album, Smooth Ride.
There were plenty of people like me that also attended Friday’s show.
Once again, John Patterson, president and CEO of the Monroe County (Michigan) Convention and Tourism Bureau, promoted the River Raisin Jazz Festival:
After two songs from West Shore Middle School students Friday night, Saturday night saw two songs by the East Shore Middle School Jazz Band:
They played “Blues at Frog Bottom” and “Peter Gunn.”
After chairs were removed from the stage, Jay Rowe and his band came out.
Chieli Minucci (“key-ELLIE min-OO-chee”) on electric guitar:
Nelson Rangell on alto sax…:
Nick Colionne on electric guitar:
1. East Coast West Coast (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Red Hot and Smooth (2006)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
2. Goin’ All Out (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Goin’ All Out (2008)
Featured musicians: Eric Darius (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
3. If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys cover) (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Just Getting Started (2006)
Featured musicians: Eric Darius (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
Eric worked his way through the audience in the middle of the song.
4. Uptown East (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Slice of Life (Special EFX) (1986)
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)
5. Dance on the Delta (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Upcoming Special EFX album
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci (acoustic guitar), Nelson Rangell (flute, alto sax)
6. From Here (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Red (2015)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax, whistling), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)
7. Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me) (The Brothers Johnson cover) (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Nelson Rangell (1990)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (piccolo), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
8. Buckle Up (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: The Journey (2016)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (electric guitar), Nelson Rangell (alto sax)
9. Rainy Night in Georgia (Brook Benton cover) (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: It’s My Turn (1994), Keepin’ It Cool (2006)
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne (vocals, electric guitar), Eric Darius (alto sax)
10. Night on the Town (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Night on the Town (2004)
Featured musicians: Eric Darius (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
11. Ballerina (Chieli Minucci)
Originally heard on: Just Like Magic (Special EFX) (1990)
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci (electric guitar)
12. The Road Ahead (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Destiny (1995)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (electric guitar)
13 (Finale). James Brown tribute
Featured musicians: Everyone, led by Nick Colionne (vocals)
Nick went into the audience twice for his “Whatta ‘Bout You?” routine.
I always love when Nelson joins Steve Scales on percussion.
After a “yeah!” response, Nick imitated James’s incoherence in a questioning tone, eliciting more “yeah!” responses.
And away we went.
That was it for night 2.
What a wild night and a fantastic weekend.
My girlfriend drove me to Bridgeport Station at around noon on Sunday and my journey home began. Until next year, Milford.