jump to navigation

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.

Advertisements

January 4 blizzard, January 5 aftermath January 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
2 comments

There had been a few brushes with snow in the last days of fall and the first days of winter, but the first major storm barreled through Long Island yesterday.

The initial forecast didn’t call for more than a few inches, but as I expected, the accumulation prediction went up as the storm approached. Nassau County also ended up in the blizzard conditions that were originally supposed to stay in Suffolk, particularly central and eastern Suffolk.

My plan was to wait for the snow to end before shoveling it. Until then, I periodically took pictures outside my bedroom window.

I took the first picture at 8:25 AM, about two hours after I woke up:

9:41 AM:

11:52 AM:

2:07 PM:

4:06 PM:

An hour later, the last snowflake had fallen from the sky, but snow continued to blow off roofs, trees, and cars as winds gusted above 40 mph.

6:38 PM, before shoveling:

After shoveling the front porch, I stuck an 18-inch ruler into an area with flat accumulation; no drifts. I measured 13 inches of snow on the ground.

8:06 PM, after giving up shoveling until morning:

I felt guilty for giving up so soon, but I just didn’t have the stamina to go on. I went inside, watched The Big Bang Theory, played a couple of games on my Nintendo 3DS, and went to sleep.

I figure I got eight hours of sleep and was half-asleep thinking of shoveling for an hour. Finally, around 7AM, I bundled up and finished what I started. My dad had to leave for work, so he came out to help. My mom followed after that, but she wasn’t out for long. Dad went inside to get ready for work, then he came back out to drive there. I finished on my own for 45 minutes.

I took this picture at 9:18 AM, after grabbing my camera to shoot outside:

…where the rest of the pictures were:

There will be more winter storms this season, and I’ll post about them afterward. Until the next one.

2017 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming, 2018 Hall of Fame Announcement October 16, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Weather.
8 comments

Earlier recaps: 2008, 2009, WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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, along with other photos and audio from the three hours that followed my show, click here.

I didn’t arrive at LIU Post until 1:20 on Saturday afternoon, but I was already there in the form of voiceovers I recorded for Pete Bellotti’s WCWP Homecoming Weekend show prior to the Post Pioneers’ Homecoming game against the Southern Connecticut State Owls. As with my show yesterday, my VO garnered rave reviews from my fellow alumni when I arrived at the Abrams Communications Building. Pete Bellotti led the praise followed by John Commins, Bill Mozer, and Jay Mirabile, who ran the board during Pete’s show.

My segments, along with any references Pete and Jay made to me, can be heard here:

The “smooth jazz”/”Weather Channel music” bed they played was “Shakin’ the Shack” by Dave Koz on Lucky Man (1993), his second album.

After putting down my equipment and posing for two pictures, which you’ll see later, I made my way to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium to take some pictures.

Skies were partly to mostly cloudy while the air was warm, especially when the sun peaked through, and humid.

As you can see, the press box is vacant:

I didn’t realize that there was a new press box. That’s where Jeff Kroll and Neil Marks called the game. Joel Feltman was the field reporter.

Shortly after I left the field, the Pioneers scored a touchdown. With the extra point, they led Southern 21-7.

On the way back, I stopped in the campus bookstore in Hillwood Commons and bought an LIU Post polo shirt, which I changed into at WCWP.

Bill Mozer wrote a familiar phrase on the whiteboard in Studio 3:

The next two pictures were taken before the field trip and shirt purchase, starting with Pete Bellotti:

Next, Jay Mirabile:

I had Bill Mozer take a picture of me in my new shirt:

Then, I took one of him:

John Zoni was the studio update reporter for the Homecoming game:

He provided those updates at halftime:

The Pioneers would go on to win 52-35. The Owls got within a touchdown twice, but Post hung on.

As always, Bernie Bernard, who earned her doctorate in theology the week before, followed the game:

As you can see, Grandfather Rock Chris MacIntosh dropped by:

For 36 years and counting, Chris has hosted Rock N Soul Gospel on WCWP.

At 5:00, the WCWP Alumni Barbecue began, and the 2018 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame were announced by Ted David.

Before the announcement, he posed with Chris:

The 2018 inductees are Muffet Provost, John Commins, and Pat Kroll (née Champion). Chris MacIntosh will receive the inaugural WCWP Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be for those that have worked at the station, but did not attend LIU Post.

Scenes from the announcement:

Ted David requested I take pictures of the inductees outside.

We started with John Commins and Pat Kroll:

John and Pat with Ted (a 2014 inductee):

John, Pat, and Chris MacIntosh:

John, Dr. Bernie Bernard (2013 inductee), Chris, Pat:

Then, Ted suggested I get in a few shots, starting with John:

John, me, Pat and Jeff Kroll:

The station transmitter:

Bobby Guthenberg, a.k.a. Bobby G., suggested I take a few pictures of John Commins and Bruce and Tamara Leonard, who had shows at 10PM and midnight, respectively. I took these in Studio 1:

John also asked for a picture with his wife Marilyn:

The WCWP sign in Studio 2:

Later in Bernie’s show, she interviewed May Pang, former secretary to John Lennon and Yoko Ono:

May will be appearing at the Heritage Trust Building on November 10 for An Evening with May Pang: Loving John Lennon. More information can be found here.

A shot from Bernie’s last aircheck, which featured (from right to left) Mike Riccio, Bobby G., and Alan Seltzer:

Prior to the picture, she interviewed WCWP alumna Fran Fried, whose appearance on Jeopardy! airs tomorrow.

Bernie then gave way to the aforementioned Mike and Bobby:

They interviewed me during their third aircheck. Here’s a vidcap:

After this, I edited photos, airchecks, video, and this post all on my laptop in Studio 3. I edited more yesterday. Conversation abound behind me and I soaked it all in. I also listened on the boombox as Mike and Bobby G.’s show continued in Studio 2.

Watch the finished video, with three airchecks each from Bernie’s and Mike and Bobby’s shows, below:

The middle aircheck from Bernie’s show is the Hall of Fame announcement. The video was monetized by Universal Music Group because of the beginning of “Pinball Wizard” during Mike and Bobby’s first aircheck. Thanks to UMG for not making me remove the song.

I always enjoy catching up with my fellow alumni and meeting new people, like Joan Yonke, the Director of Employee and Alumni Engagement at LIU Post. She told me that she saw my recap of last year’s Homecoming recap when she was researching the position, which she began in July.

Congratulations to Chris MacIntosh on his WCWP Lifetime Achievement Award, and to 2018 WCWP Hall of Fame inductees Muffet Provost, John Commins, and Pat Champion Kroll.

Until next year, I’ll leave you with airchecks from my pre-recorded Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri that aired at 4AM yesterday, preceded by the end of Bruce and Tamara Leonard’s live! midnight to 4AM show:

I recorded the show on September 21, but put the songs and liners in my Adobe Audition multitrack session the day before.

Here are the transitions between songs:

And the playlist.

The 40th anniversary Homecoming Weekend concluded with Jeff Kroll at midnight last night. Here’s how he signed off:

My experience at Day 1 of 2017 New York Comic Con October 6, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Previous New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 2, 2014 Day 1

Yesterday, I was at the first day of the 2017 New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in the Midtown West section of Manhattan. It was my third trip to NYCC.

I almost didn’t go this year. When I planned on buying a badge (ticket) in June, I learned that fan verification was required. Unfortunately, fan verification was closed. Luckily, last month, I learned on the website that verification was open again. So, I immediately got verified and bought a badge for Day 1.

I woke up at 6:20 yesterday morning. I looked out my window and saw a picturesque sky. I took a couple of shots of it, without and with flash:

After that, I put my camera in my backpack, where it stayed for a few hours.

In between, my mother drove me to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station at 8:40. Nine minutes later, I was on a train bound for Penn Station.

50 minutes later, I exited Penn and walked to the Javits Center. Those that had a badge, including me, were directed to the green entrance via West 39th Street, five blocks north of where I’d been walking.

I made my way down to Level 1 to meet five voice actors and get professional photo ops with four of them.

First up was Tara Strong:

As you can see, I wore my Northern Trust golf tournament shirt. I got it back on August 27, after walking Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury to see the final round.

After Tara, it was on to Rob Paulsen:

Rob is a throat cancer survivor (knock on wood), having battled it last year.

Tress MacNeille:

Jim Cummings:

And finally, Jess Harnell:

When I noticed Jess had his sunglasses on, I put my glasses on:

In all, I spent about four hours in five lines. It was a thrill to meet and chat with them all. I won’t get into the details of our brief conversations, but they were all very nice. Jess even gave me a hug.

I also enjoyed chatting with fellow fans – like Kelly, Sierra, Dave, and a few others whose names I didn’t get – while waiting in line. There was even a woman ahead of me on the Jess Harnell line who was not only dressed as one of his characters – Cedric from Sofia the First – but her name is Jess Warner! Her first name was the same as his, and her last name was the same as his Animaniacs character Wakko Warner. More on that below.

Afterward, I headed to the Epic Photo Ops area for a pair of professional photo ops. Since I had just met the actors at their autograph tables, there was a familiarity in the booth. It was like visiting old friends.

Jim Cummings suggested we “look intrepid”:

I love the outcome.

The second photo op was with Rob, Tress, and Jess, the stars of Animaniacs:

They were the Warner siblings: Yakko, voiced by Rob, Wakko, by Jess (as I noticed before), and Dot, by Tress.

All that remained was to walk the show floor on Level 3. But first, a few shots taken in the lobby on Level 2 after entering around 10:15:

The show floor:

I mostly focused on the video game developers section, as you’ll see below.

The next six pictures were taken in the morning:

I took this in the afternoon:

It was a fun day, but I was ready to head home. I left satisfied.

I walked south on 11th Avenue until I reached West 34th Street, where I alternated between walking and running, hoping to make the 4:12 train back to Wantagh. I did, with time to spare.

Thank you to Tara Strong, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell. As I said, it was a pleasure to meet and chat with you all.

I’ll conclude this post with a picture of my program and badge:

10:25 PM UPDATE: While searching in vain on YouTube for video of the I Know That Voice: The Series panel that took place at 5:30, shortly after I got home, I found this interview of Jim Cummings:

10/7 UPDATE: The only video I could find of the aforementioned panel was this:

The video stops before the Q&A portion.

My day at the final round of The Northern Trust August 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
1 comment so far

Previous event recaps: 2012 (The Barclays), 2016 (The Barclays)

For the second year in a row, a Long Island golf course hosted the PGA Tour event now known as The Northern Trust, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs. Last year, which was the last year as The Barclays, the event was held at Bethpage Black Golf Course. This year, The Northern Trust was about 12 miles west at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury. Glen Oaks is adjacent to SUNY Old Westbury and not too far from NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) or LIU Post, my alma mater. In fact, as you’ll see near the end of this post, I wore my WCWP shirt that you’ve seen in previous posts. As for the other two colleges, I went to day camp at them for a few childhood summers. In 1989 and ’91, main camp activities were at NYIT while swimming was at SUNY Old Westbury. In 1990, activities were exclusive to Old Westbury.

My father Bill and I attended the final round of The Northern Trust, which began 50 years ago as the Westchester Classic, on Sunday. Jordan Spieth (-12) and Dustin Johnson (-9) were the last group of the day. Would Spieth hold on? Could D.J. catch him? Or would it be someone else?

Dad and I left for general parking at Nassau Coliseum at around 11:30. Once we arrived, we boarded a shuttle bus. On board, a welcome video looped on TV screens. The shuttle arrived at Glen Oaks Club just before 12:30. Weather conditions were excellent: partly sunny skies with warm, dry air and a cool breeze.

I would have loved to bring my Nikon D5500, but only smartphones on silent were allowed for photography. Thus, the pictures in this recap were taken on my iPhone 6 and edited afterward in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. Since the phone lacks an optical zoom, I preserved the original resolution rather than shrink the pictures, as I usually do on this site. In most cases, you’ll have to zoom in to see the far-away players.

With that out of the way, let’s begin:

From here, pictures aren’t entirely in chronological order. Until we get to the 18th green, pictures are in order of the hole where they were taken.

The practice green:

The 1st hole:

LaGuardia Airport is close to the course, so there were plenty of low-flying planes in their final approach:

The 2nd hole:

Henrik Stenson and Martin Laird:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Paul Casey and defending champion Patrick Reed:

Dottie Pepper and Peter Kostis of CBS Sports walking ahead of…

Jordan Spieth…

…and Dustin Johnson:

Robert Streb and Scott Brown on the 4th hole:

Stenson and Laird at the 5th hole:

The 6th green:

The 7th hole:

The 8th hole:

Jason Day and C.T. Pan:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

The 9th hole:

The 10th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

The 11th hole:

Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffmann:

A jib passing the 12th hole:

Dad and I followed Robert Streb and Scott Brown from here to the 17th:

There was a horse stable next to the 13th hole:

It’s rare that I hear horses neighing and sputtering in real time.

The 13th hole:

The 14th hole:

The 15th hole:

The 16th hole:

The 17th hole:

The 18th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

I spent the last two hours of the tournament at this spot by the 18th green:

I had to endure a few men behind me, who I assume were in their 20s, not necessarily following etiquette (that’s all I’ll say), but it was worth it.

The TV tower where Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo called the action:

The Northern Trust is the last tournament of the year for CBS. The remainder of the FedExCup playoffs are on NBC.

After Lingmerth and Louis Ooie (as voice actor Jeff Bennett calls him) finished their round, the next pair to play 18 was Robert Streb and Scott Brown:

Followed by Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Vegas shot a 65 to finish at -9.

Then, Patrick Cantlay and Russell Henley:

Justin Thomas, who won the PGA Championship two weeks earlier, and Chez Reavie:

Justin Rose and Jason Dufner:

Keegan Bradley and Kevin Chappell:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

Rahm finished tied for third with Jhonny Vegas at -9.

Paul Casey and Patrick Reed:

And finally, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson:

Jordan and Dustin came to 18 tied at -13. Johnson’s tee shot landed in the rough and his second shot was short of the green. He would end up with a long par putt. Spieth, meanwhile, had a long birdie putt.

Spieth missed his birdie putt:

That meant D.J. could force a playoff if he parred…

…and he did!

The camera didn’t focus properly, but you get the idea.

Here’s how the putt looked on TV.

Spieth made his par putt to ensure the playoff:

The playoff:

Johnson hit a massive tee shot that landed within 95 yards of the hole. Here’s how it looked on TV. (6:42 PM UPDATE: The shot was shown in last night’s episode of Feherty when guest Darius Rucker listed D.J. as one of his three favorite golfers of all time. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods were the other two.)

D.J.’s approach shot landed near the hole:

The shot looked like this on CBS.

Spieth missed a long birdie putt to extend the playoff:

But Johnson made his birdie putt and won The Northern Trust:

The winning putt can be seen at the end of these extended highlights.

Dottie Pepper interviewed Dustin afterward:

Here’s the interview.

Our last two times at The Barclays, Dad and I stuck around to watch the off-air trophy presentation. This year, after a playoff, we were eager to head home, which, after buying a hat and shirt in the shop, we did.

Three FedExCup playoff tournaments remain. Can Dustin, Jordan, or anyone else in the top 100 win it all? We’ll know by the evening of September 24. (9/24 UPDATE: Someone else: Justin Thomas.)

On the way to the shuttle bus, Dad took this picture of me:

We got home at exactly 8:00. It was an exciting eight hours. What a finish! Our next golf trip will be next June for the third round of the U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills.

I’ll leave you with a few news stories on the final round (subscription required for Newsday/News 12 links):
AP (via PGATour.com)
Newsday
Newsday column by Mark Herrmann, who also wrote the story in the above link
News 12 Long Island

I can be seen in the background in one clip from News 12’s video. Here’s a high-resolution screenshot from my TV:

And here’s a closer look:

3:29 PM UPDATE: I just learned I was actually in the background during CBS’s telecast, not in News 12 B-roll. Here is a vidcap:

8/31 UPDATE: Inside the Ropes segments of this week’s Inside the PGA Tour:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Final Round

SJFS 2017 Night 1 recap May 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jay Rowe:

Rohn Lawrence:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

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

Now, the on-stage shots:

Tenor sax on “Notorious”:

Nick Colionne:

Vocals on “When You Love Somebody”:

Working through the audience on “Morning Call”:

Spotting my camera:

Striking a pose:

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

Jason Grant was on drums for Nick’s songs:

Jeff Kashiwa:

Rick Braun on flugelhorn for “Notorious”:

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

He did:

Muted trumpet for “My Funny Valentine”:

Regular trumpet for “Everything is Alright”:

Rick also sang “My Funny Valentine”:

…and “Everything is Alright”:

Rohn backed him up:

And so did Jay!

Will and Rohn:

Jeff and Rohn:

Rick and Will:

Rick and Rohn:

Will and Jeff:

The finale: “Grazin’ in the Grass”:

Jay had some closing remarks as the song wound down:

The last note:

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

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

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

Reading that now brings a smile to my face.

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

March 14 winter storm pictures March 15, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
add a comment

It was a quiet 29 days following last month’s blizzard. Despite that, I kept snow shovels on the front porch just in case there was at least one more storm before spring. As it turns out, there were two. The first storm, which came through last Friday, delivered a few inches of wet snow which barely accumulated on pavement. I only had to shovel one strip of the driveway where wet snow did accumulate and wouldn’t melt in the warm March sun.

The second storm was to come yesterday and it was expected to be a massive blizzard that would drop a foot or more of snow amid strong gusty winds. As impact approached, the forecast track shifted west. Sleet was expected to mix with the snow, limiting accumulation to a foot at most. Some computer models were expecting a change to rain, which would limit snowfall even more. That’s what ended up happening.

I woke up at around 7AM to the sound of sleet pelting my east-facing window. The changeover had happened after only a few inches of snow accumulated. In the next hour, sleet began to mix with, and change to, rain. The rain turned the snowfall to slush, but didn’t wash it away. That’s where I came in. I went outside just before 9:00 and shoveled the driveway except for its edge in case snow plows came through again. I wouldn’t want my work to be undone in that area.

It was grueling. Shoveling a few inches of slush is much tougher than shoveling a foot of powdery snow. Plus, in spite of gloves, my fingers were cold. After an hour of laborious shoveling, they were numb and my outer layers of clothes were soaked. Running warm water on my fingers when I got back inside turned the numbness into painful prickling for several seconds. It wore off after a minute.

Luckily, the rain never changed back to snow and the snow plows didn’t return. So, I shoveled the edge of the driveway around 3:30 while temperatures were still above freezing. There was a brief snow shower early in the evening, but it merely coated a few spots.

No winter storm post would be complete without a photographic timeline. We start at 8:17 AM:

10:14 AM, after shoveling:

1:33 PM:

3:53 PM, after additional shoveling:

February 9 blizzard pictures February 10, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Health, Personal, Photography, Video, Weather.
1 comment so far

This is my 400th post!

After the January 7 snowstorm, I was prepared for a bombardment of similar storms, or even blizzards. But outside of light snow the following Saturday and last Tuesday, the rest of January was relatively quiet. The only heavy precipitation to affect Wantagh was rain. There was the potential for a snowstorm on Super Bowl Sunday, but it never materialized. Relieved, I let my guard down. Last Friday, I told my friend Rob that I didn’t expect anymore big storms the rest of the season.

I was wrong.

On Monday, I learned that there was another storm on the horizon, and this one would not miss us. And as usual, the forecast for yesterday’s storm, ironically on the heels of unseasonably warm conditions on Wednesday, worsened as it approached. 6 inches of snow was the max in Monday’s forecast, rising to 10 inches, and then 14. Also, the winter storm warning was upgraded to a blizzard warning because the wind forecast increased. (Coincidentally, there was a blizzard four years ago yesterday.)

As snow fell yesterday, I went about my daily routine inside, including running on the treadmill for the first time in two years. At around 12:30, it seemed like the snow was about to end, but the radar filled up with more snow while I was on the treadmill. Snow didn’t end until around 4:00. 20 minutes later, my sister Lauren and I shoveled the driveway.

I brought an 18-inch ruler outside with me to measure snow in the middle of the driveway. I was surprised to only measure 8 inches of snow. Assuming that wasn’t the resulting of drifting, we were lucky. Nearby North Massapequa received a foot. Shoveling took about an hour. Thank you, Lauren, for your help.

This brings us to a photographic timeline that begins early in the blizzard and ends after shoveling:

8:28 AM:
mc20917001a

10:19 AM:
mc20917005a

12:12 PM:
mc20917009a

mc20917010a

2:03 PM:
mc20917013a

4:02 PM:
mc20917017a

5:47 PM, after over an hour of shoveling:
mc20917035a

mc20917036-1a

mc20917037a

mc20917040a

mc20917041a

mc20917042a

mc20917043a

mc20917044-1-2a

mc20917045a

mc20917046a

mc20917047a

mc20917048a

5:57 PM:
mc20917049a

mc20917050a

mc20917051a

And here’s a video timeline:

Light snow with less than an inch of accumulation is forecast for tonight and rain is expected on Sunday. High temperatures will be above freezing every day for the next week. That should speed up the melting process.

I’ve learned my lesson: I’m not declaring in the middle of the season that we’ve had our last snow of the season. In fact, I expect at least two more snowstorms before spring. After they strike, I’ll post about them here.

January 7 snowstorm & January 8 aftermath pictures January 10, 2017

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

The first significant snowfall of the season came on Saturday when Wantagh received about 9 inches of snow. The initial forecast that I saw on Thursday called for a third of that, but as with most winter storms, the forecast track moved closer and closer with each run. I was prepared for up to a foot, but we were a few inches short. This is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to forecasting winter storms and snow accumulation. Either the forecast starts high and goes down or it starts low and goes up and up and up. That’s what happened here, and I doubt it will be the last time that happens this season.

Nonetheless, I felt I needed to photograph the storm and its aftermath for posterity. Below is a photographic timeline from the latter half of the storm to the day after:

January 7, 3:35 PM:
mc10717001a

3:36 PM:
mc10717002a

mc10717003a

mc10717005a

3:45 PM:
mc10717007a

9:09 PM, after shoveling:
mc10717010-1a

Snow was tapering off, but still accumulating. I chose to shovel anyway and shovel new accumulation in the morning.

mc10717012a

January 8, 11:04 AM, after additional shoveling:
mc10817001-1a

mc10817002a

mc10817003a

11:08 AM:
mc10817005a

11:13 AM:
mc10817008-1a

mc10817010a

mc10817012a

2:05 PM, after my mother shoveled what was underneath her car and my father’s car:
mc10817013a

mc10817015a

mc10817017a

As I type, milder temperatures are forecast for the next few days with rain coming tonight into tomorrow; perfect melting weather. Until the next snowstorm…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since I would be on my own at the Iridium, birthday dinner and ice cream cake with my family was moved up to Wednesday night. My parents, sister, and I ate dinner at Margarita’s Cafe, a Mexican restaurant in North Wantagh:
mc111616001a

Ice cream cake was waiting back at home:
mc111616002a

We usually get Carvel cakes, but this one was from Friendly’s. It tasted just as good.

mc111616003a

mc111616005a

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

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

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

mc111716002a

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

mc111716003a

I was first in line.

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

While waiting for the set to start, I took a picture of the monitor as this upcoming event image was on screen:
mc111716004a

8:30 arrived and the show began. The image below was posted to Acoustic Alchemy’s Facebook page a few minutes in:

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

Acoustic Alchemy was made up of Miles Gilderdale on electric guitar:
mc111716010a

mc111716041a

mc111716042a

mc111716044a

…and acoustic guitar:
mc111716011a

mc111716012a

“The Detroit Shuffle” vocal medley:
mc111716013a

Filling in for Greg Carmichael was Nate Najar – a native of St. Petersburg, Florida – on acoustic guitar:
mc111716005a

mc111716032a

mc111716033a

mc111716034a

mc111716035a

Rounding out the band was Gary Grainger – out of Baltimore, Maryland – on bass:
mc111716009a

Vocalizing on “One for Shorty”:
mc111716023a

mc111716024a

mc111716025a

Gary’s brother Greg on drums:
mc111716008a

mc111716020a

mc111716036a

mc111716037a

mc111716038a

mc111716039a

mc111716040a

…and Fred White on keyboards:
mc111716026a

mc111716027a

mc111716029a

mc111716030a

mc111716031a

There were ten songs on the set list:
1. Homecoming
Originally heard on: Reference Point, 1990; Arcanum, 1996; Live in London, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are wide shots, starting with Miles’s high notes on “The Detroit Shuffle”:
mc111716015a

mc111716016a

mc111716018a

The finale – “Kidstuff”:
mc111716043a

mc111716045a

mc111716046a

The last note:
mc111716048a

“Thanks so much, guys!”:
mc111716050a

mc111716054a

mc111716056a

mc111716059a

There was a meet-and-greet after the show. I let Fred White know on Facebook, in the days leading up to Thursday, that I was coming, so he was happy to see me. The feeling was mutual. It was also nice to see Gary Grainger, who I first discovered through his appearances – and Greg’s, as well – on many Ken Navarro albums. I had a female audience member take our picture:
mc111716060a

My camera’s lens focused on the wall rather than us, which happened in a few attempts at a picture the night before at Margarita’s. Since time was short, I didn’t have that audience member take us again. I told Fred, “I’ll get it in editing.”

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

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