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A day on trains and at the 118th U.S. Open June 18, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I spent 2 1/2 hours with my dad at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Saturday for the third round of the 118th U.S. Open.

It was the fifth time Shinnecock hosted the U.S. Open, and fourth since 1986. Counting this one, my dad has been there every one of the those modern four. This was my second time, having gone in 2004 when Retief Goosen won. It was his second U.S. Open victory. With my grandpa, my dad saw Raymond Floyd win in ’86, and, with his friends, saw Corey Pavin win in ’95.

Getting to and from Shinnecock Hills was an adventure. My mom dropped my dad and I off at the Wantagh Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station at around 10:45 AM. Dad bought our round trip train tickets, which required changing at the Babylon station, the end of that branch of the LIRR. We didn’t have to wait long as an eastbound train arrived while walking up the stairs to the platform. 20 minutes after boarding, we were in Babylon. We followed a few other fans that were bound for Shinnecock to another platform and boarded a Patchogue-bound train at 11:17. Just under an hour later, we were in Patchogue. Unfortunately, the Montauk train that would ultimately take us to Shinnecock wasn’t due to arrive in Patchogue until 1:17.

With an hour to spare, Dad and I walked to a nearby waterfront seafood restaurant, Harbor Crab, that he saw as we pulled into the station.

We both ordered Fish and Chips, which was delicious.

After paying the check and leaving a tip, with 15 minutes left to spare, we headed back to the LIRR station.

It took another hour to get to Shinnecock Hills, but we were finally there:

Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open two years ago when it was held at Oakmont Country Club:

A monitor showed Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, practicing before his disappointing round of 77 (+7):

I asked Dad to take a picture of me at the course map:

On the way home, I posted an edited version of the pic to Instagram:

My dad and I spent two hours or so at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the third round of this year’s U.S. Open. We spent more time traveling there round trip, though.

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

The iconic clubhouse:

2010 [British] Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay on the 13th green:

The 13th fairway:

Aaron Baddeley and Xander Schauffele:

Tyrrell Hatton’s ball in the 12th fairway:

This year’s Masters champion Patrick Reed after his second shot:

The 15th tee:

Aaron Baddeley after his tee shot:

This is what the leaderboard looked like before dry, windy conditions got the better of the players:

The 16th tee and 5th green:

Bryson DeChambeau’s tee shot:

Hideki Matsuyama’s tee shot:

In the distance on the 5th green are Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka:

It didn’t occur to me that a day later, Koepka would repeat as champion.

The 17th tee:

The 18th fairway and green:

The main leaderboard:

The grandstand:

Baddeley and Schauffele completing their rounds:

DeChambeau and Matsuyama completing theirs:

Not wanting to get home too late via multiple trains, Dad and I headed for the merchandise tent, where I bought a ticket holder:

Then, we walked back to the LIRR station, a temporary stop during the championship, and waited 15 minutes for the train back to Babylon.

I hope to be at Winged Foot in 2020:

I hope traffic and transit is better in 2026:

Dad suggested Mom pick us up in Babylon rather than wait for a train to Wantagh. She agreed. The train arrived at the temporary station 20 minutes before its scheduled departure. Since the train was full up, it left eight minutes early. Unfortunately, it ended up in Babylon ten minutes late. The railcar my dad and I were in was standing room only. We found seats, but other passengers stood in front of us until seats became available at Mastic-Shirley. Chatter and loud young girls dominated the ride, and reached a crescendo when one girl, bless her heart, had a meltdown one stop from Babylon.

In all, Dad and I spent 3 1/2 hours traveling to Shinnecock Hills, an hour and a half traveling from there to Babylon, and about 20 minutes in Mom’s SUV back home. Though we spent less time at Shinnecock, it was still a great experience, especially considering Brooks Koepka ultimately won the next day.

The New York Metro Area has two more years of local majors. Next May, the PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black Golf Course in Bethpage State Park – the first year its held in May – and, as seen earlier, the U.S. Open comes to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck in June 2020. I hope to be at both.

For now, I’ll leave you with media links. While aggregating them, I noticed that the USGA was heavily criticized for their conduct during this year’s U.S. Open, but I chose not to look at those.

U.S. Open website:
118th U.S. Open Sights and Sounds: A Look Back at a Great Week
Final Round: Highlights Down the Stretch
Brooks Koepka’s 68 in less than 3 minutes

Fox Sports:
Brooks Koepka on winning the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Brooks Koepka shoots 2-under to win the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Joe Buck and Paul Azinger wrap up the 2018 U.S. Open

Newsday (Newsday or Optimum subscription required for all links):
Fans say attending U.S. Open a treat on Father’s Day
Mark Herrmann: Repeating at U.S. Open puts Brooks Koepka in elite group
Curtis Strange welcomes Brooks Koepka into back-to-back club
Long Island crowd gives Phil Mickelson a mulligan
Brooks Koepka wins, becomes seventh player to repeat as champion
LIRR: More than 78,000 passenger trips to, from U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

Golf Channel:
Back to back: Koepka wins second U.S. Open
Repeat U.S. Open win gives Koepka credit he deserves
Best Father’s Day ever: Bob Koepka soaks in son’s victory
Koepka: ‘It is much more gratifying the second time’
Koepka’s caddie pushed him to ‘keep plugging away’
Koepka’s Father’s Day gifts … just U.S. Open trophies
U.S. Open purse payout: Koepka clears $2 million

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2018 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony May 7, 2018

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

Previous Hall of Fame ceremony recaps: 2012201320142015, 2017

As usual, I took pictures and video, the latter of which is at the bottom of the post.

The seventh annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony took place Saturday afternoon in the Goldsmith Atrium at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LIU Post. It was my first time back on campus, and in the atrium, since seeing the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour in early December.

Like last year, I arrived at Tilles a half hour before the ceremony. I immediately mingled with all that had gathered in the atrium as I set up my equipment. I noticed there was a mixer behind the platform where the interviews would take place. I went to the Abrams Communications Building, the home of WCWP, to ask Director of Broadcasting Dan Cox if he had an 1/8″ to 1/4″ cable so I could record from the mixer to my Tascam DR-03. He had a 1/8″ cable and an adapter, so I was set. When I got back to the atrium, I connected the cable and adapter to a line out jack, checked the levels, and started recording.

Shortly after 1:00, the ceremony began with an introduction by the aforementioned Dan Cox…:

…and a video narrated by Jim Cutler:

2015 inductee Jeff Kroll hosted again:

Dan Cox returned to present the first of two new awards. The WCWP Lifetime Achievement Award was given to “Grandfather Rock” Chris MacIntosh:

He shared some stories from his 37 years hosting Rock & Soul Gospel:

Back in 2016, the one year I couldn’t attend, WCWP’s sage secretary Ann Gaffney, a.k.a. Mrs. G, was posthumously inducted to the Hall of Fame. Her daughter Cathy Turner accepted on her behalf.

Cathy returned this year to present Kristina Huderski with the Ann Gaffney Student Service Award:

Kristina graduates this Friday.

2014 inductee Ted David recorded a message to the inductees from Florida:

2012 inductee Hank Neimark and 2017 inductee John LiBretto introduced Muffet Provost (“pro-VO”), then interviewed her over the phone:

Muffet was unable to attend due to impending surgery.

It was hard to make out what she was saying through the Atrium speakers, but she’s a little clearer in the video below.

2017 inductee Neil Marks introduced Pat Kroll (née Champion):

Pat read a thank you speech…:

…then reminisced with Jeff and Neil:

The obligatory view from my camcorder:

Jeff read a message from Joel Feltman:

Pat’s friend Joanne had a few words:

2015 inductee Bruce Leonard introduced Rev. John Commins:

None of us realized this at the time, but the year on the plaque is wrong. I should be ’73, not ’79. John noticed the error at his hotel afterward. Jeff Kroll promised on Facebook that John will receive a replacement plaque with the correct year.

5/28 UPDATE: John’s replacement arrived a few days ago. He took a picture which he shared in his Facebook timeline:

Jeff presented John with a CD of WCWP’s coverage of the Bar Beach (now North Hempstead Beach) Fireworks broadcast from 1987:

Jeff shipped the original cassettes to me last month and I remastered them.

A shot of John’s wife Marilyn while he shared the story of how they met:

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today at the seventh annual induction to the WCWP Hall of Fame!”:

Dan had Pat and John sign one of the posters:

Bruce, John, and Jeff posed with 2016 inductee Joe Honerkamp before he left:

John also prayed for Joe’s healing following a recent accident:

The cake:

Chris MacIntosh with his award:

Chris with Jay Mirabile:

Kristina Huderski with her award:

John LiBretto, Diane Hudson Taylor, Hank Neimark:

I had to pose with John and the CD I made for him:

My friend and hype man Jay Mirabile:

Pat Kroll and her mother Marion:

Pat and John:

The Krolls and the Commins’:

I always enjoy capturing these events and mingling with my fellow alumni. I feel deeply loved and appreciated. They’re my second family. I love you all. Congratulations to Muffet Provost, Pat Kroll, John Commins, Chris MacIntosh, and Kristina Huderski.

Here is the video:

Thanks to Dan Cox for providing the audio cable and adapter, and the introductory video. Thanks to Ted David for posting his segment to Facebook. My video was shot on a Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder with a Takstar SGC-598 shotgun mic. The audio from the mic can only be heard a few times. (A sound check in the auditorium disrupted Dan’s introduction a few minutes in, which is why there’s a jump dissolve.)

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.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
16 comments

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:

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.

Three nor’easters in twelve days March 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Photography, Travel, Weather.
1 comment so far

Three nor’easters have come through Long Island in a 12-day period. The first came back on March 2, as I wrote in my guest reading post:

While I was inside Giblyn, a nor’easter was raging outside. A mix of rain and snow fell as coastal flooding affected streets around the school, at least in the morning at high tide. I didn’t grasp how bad the storm was until riding home and then arriving home. A few small tree limbs were in the driveway while a bigger one fell in my neighbor’s backyard. Power went out twice around 3PM, based on my mother’s DVR recording of General Hospital and the time flashing on the stove clock.

The second nor’easter hit five days later – last Wednesday, March 7. Those ever-changing computer forecast models wavered back and forth from a little wet snow to a lot of wet snow, back to a little, up to a moderate amount, and back to a lot again. The deciding factor was the point when the rain would change to wet snow and how much of it would accumulate. At least the wind wasn’t as bad.

Anticipating the worst, I periodically took pictures outside my bedroom window in Wantagh.

I took the first at 12:08 PM:

2:36 PM:

4:48 PM:

7:23 PM:

The end result was “a little.” I didn’t measure how much fell, but it must have been two inches at most.

The next day at 7:13 AM:

With a strong March sun and air temperatures in the 40s, I didn’t need to shovel the driveway. But I was impatient. So, around 10AM, I shoveled what hadn’t melted, mostly what was brushed off the three SUVs.

I took this at 10:25 AM, a few minutes after I’d finished:

The last shot was taken at 2PM:

The third nor’easter clipped Long Island yesterday, March 13, the 25th anniversary of Superstorm ’93, also known as the Storm of the Century. (I detailed my experience in a March 2013 post.)

The initial forecast called for a wintry mix, but then those pesky forecast models intervened and the threat of significant wet snow loomed. As the storm approached, it became clear that Suffolk County would get more snow than Nassau, where I live. In the end, just 2.7 inches accumulated in Wantagh, according to a trained spotter for the National Weather Service. (More totals can be seen here.)

I spent the day in Freeport and took the pictures below on the way there and at my final destination.

We start at 8:12 AM before leaving the house:

On the road between 8:21 and 8:34 AM, at the intersection of Island Road and Wantagh Avenue:

Wantagh Avenue:

Park Avenue:

Old Mill Road:

Sunrise Highway from Bellmore to Freeport:

8:47 AM, looking south at a general parking lot and the side of Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church:

10:25 AM:

Noon, shortly after snow ended:

The winds picked up as the snow tapered off, but again, nothing like the first nor’easter.

3:13 PM:

When I got back home at 4:56 PM, I took a parting shot from my bedroom window:

A fourth storm is due to arrive next Tuesday, the first day of spring. If we even get it, I will dedicate a separate post to it.

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.

Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at Tilles Center December 4, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Comedy, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV.
2 comments

Saturday night, my friend Lori Downing and I saw the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of my college alma mater, LIU Post. Saxophonist Dave Koz’s friends are guitarist Peter White, horn player Rick Braun, pianist David Benoit, and singer Selina Albright, daughter of saxophonist Gerald Albright. (She plays the sax, too.) The rest of the band was made up of music director Randy Jacobs on guitar, Brian Simpson on keyboards, Nathaniel Kearney Jr. on bass, and Jay Williams on drums.

There are 149 pictures waiting below, but first, the backstory.

This was my first time at Tilles for something not involving WCWP since July 2009 when I saw John Tesh perform. It was also my first concert since Smooth Jazz for Scholars in May. Rick Braun was there for the first night.

I have been meaning to see Dave in concert for almost 11 years. My dad bought tickets to Dave’s Valentine’s Day show at Best Buy Theater in Manhattan in 2007, but an ice storm kept us from going. Four Februarys later, I had another opportunity to see Dave at the same theater with my friend, and loyal Dave Koz fan, Kelly Dacey. Unfortunately, plans came up for her and I missed out again.

For four years in a row, I saw Peter White Christmas – a spin-off of sorts of Dave’s Christmas tour featuring Peter and Rick Braun, along with saxophonist Mindi Abair – at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington. (Here’s my recap of my fourth year.)

This year, to use a cliche, Dave got the band back together to mark the 20th anniversary of his tour. The inaugural tour coincided with his first Christmas album, December Makes Me Feel This Way. With Peter, Rick, and David Benoit, whom I hadn’t seen perform since five days before Hurricane Sandy, on board, I felt compelled to finally see Dave in concert. When I noticed in early September that the tour was coming to the Tilles Center on December 2, I immediately bought two tickets, inviting my friend Lori Downing to come with me. I picked those tickets up at Tilles’s Will Call booth on October 13, following my WCWP Homecoming Weekend show.

I was anxious in the days leading up to Dave’s show, worried that something would go wrong. Thankfully, nothing did.

Until Lori picked me up around 6:30 PM, it was a typical Saturday for me. I exercised, ran on the treadmill, went grocery shopping with my friend Rob Leeds, and watched NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) conference championship games.

I guided Lori from my house to LIU Post, going the route I’ve known for 18 years of my life: the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) north, the Long Island Expressway (I-495) west, NY 106/107 north, breaking off into 107 north, Northern Boulevard (NY 25A) west, and the west entrance to LIU Post. I usually went in the east entrance to be let off at Post Hall (where the Academic Resource Center was) or WCWP, but I directed her to the other one since we were going to Tilles.

We arrived just after 7PM, but had to wait a half hour for the concert hall doors to open.

Our tickets were for row JJ, which I affectionately called the Uecker seats, a reference to an infamous Miller Lite commercial from 1984, starring Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster Bob Uecker, a spokesman for Miller beer at the time:

Our seats weren’t that high. The view of the stage was great (and less filling). It still helped to have my 55-300 mm lens for the pictures I was about to take.

The show began at 8:08 when David Benoit, offstage, announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for the evening, Dave Koz!”

“New York, make some noise!

Before you see the rest of the pictures, I present the set list:
1. Opening Medley: Winter Wonderland/Happy Holiday/The Most Wonderful Time of the Year/Angels We Have Heard On High/Sleigh Ride
Dave Koz – lead vocals on “Happy Holiday”
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

2. Let It Snow
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

3. Little Drummer Boy
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

4. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, trombone

5. The Christmas Song
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals

6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Peter White, Rick Braun – background vocals
Peter White – spoken verse
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo

7. White Christmas
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997)
Dave Koz only
Dave’s saxophone: alto

8. Together Again (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: The Dance (1999)
Dave Koz/David Benoit
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

9. Possible (Selina Albright)
Originally heard on: Conversations (2017)
Selina Albright only

10. Everything is Alright (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Around the Horn (2017)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Rick Braun – lead vocals
Randy Jacobs, Nathaniel Kearney Jr., Peter White, Dave Koz – background vocals
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo
Brian Simpson – piano, dance solo
Jay Williams – drum solo
Rick prompted the audience to sing the “hey, hey, pretty mama” line.

11. Do I Do/Promenade (Peter White)
Originally heard onGroovin’ (2016)/Promenade (1993)
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Dave’s saxophone: alto

12. The Music of Charlie Brown: Christmas is Coming*/Skating**/Christmas Time is Here***/Linus and Lucy**** (David Benoit)
David performs these songs on:
* – Remembering Christmas (1996), 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas (2005), Believe (2015) (part of “Guaraldi Medley”)
** – Remembering Christmas (1996)
*** – Christmastime (1983); Remembering Christmas (1996), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
**** – This Side Up (1985); Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1989); Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano on “Christmas Time is Here,” tenor on “Linus and Lucy”
Selina Albright – vocals on “Christmas Time is Here,” vocalese on “Linus and Lucy”

INTERMISSION

13. Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

14. Silent Night
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright, end verse vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

15. Feliz Navidad
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave Koz, Rick Braun – background vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

16. Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: alto
In a year where Lori and I went to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, and 50 years since “What a Wonderful World” was recorded, this song warmed our hearts.

17. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

18. The Hanukkah Song/Eight Candles (A Song for Hanukkah) (Dave Koz)
“Eight Candles” originally heard onDecember Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave Koz/Peter White/Rick Braun
Dave Koz – lead vocal on “The Hanukkah Song”
Peter White – accordion on “Eight Candles”
Rick Braun – trombone on “Eight Candles”
Dave’s saxophone on “Eight Candles”: soprano

19. Every Step of the Way/Kei’s Song Redux/Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard onEvery Step of the Way (1988)/Conversation (2012)/Freedom at Midnight (1987)
Dave’s saxophone on “Freedom at Midnight”: tenor

20. Bueno Funk (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Glow, 2001
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Jay Williams – drum solo
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

21. Grazing in the Grass (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Shake It Up (with Boney James) (2000); Sessions, Volume 1 (2006)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Mid-song vocal medley: Groovin’/Just My Imagination/Shotgun/Soulful Strut (instrumental)
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

22. You Make Me Smile (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: Lucky Man (1993)
Nathaniel Kearney Jr. – bass solo
Rick Braun – trombone
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

23 (Encore). Celebrate Me Home
Part of “The Home Medley” on 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave Koz, Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, Peter White – background vocals
Everyone, even the audience, joined in on vocals at the end
Dave’s saxophone: alto

Now, the rest of the pictures. We start with Dave Koz on tenor sax:

Soprano sax:

And alto sax:

Peter White:

Peter played accordion on “Eight Candles”:

Rick Braun:

I never knew Rick played trombone until Saturday night:

Marching back and forth during the “Eight Candles” refrain:

David Benoit:

The “Linus and Lucy” solo, complete with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree:

Selina Albright:

Randy Jacobs:

Brian Simpson:

Nathaniel Kearney Jr.:

Jay Williams’ “Bueno Funk” solo:

On to wide shots, starting with the opening medley:

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

“Together Again”:

“Everything is Alright”:

…which featured a dance solo by Brian Simpson, accompanied by drummer Jay Williams:

“Promenade”:

“Linus and Lucy”:

“Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley)”:

“Silent Night”:

“Feliz Navidad”:

“Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley)”:

“Eight Candles”:

“Freedom at Midnight”:

“Bueno Funk” began in the audience:

The James Bond routine:

After Selina put the sunglasses on, Peter played a wolf whistle riff, which made me chuckle.

“Grazing in the Grass”:

“You Make Me Smile”: