Hello Dear Friends!
I welcome your visit from your topsy-turvey world to mine. I bet you have some stories to tell, don’t you?
I have spent the majority of the pandemic learning about things I never cared to know about (Zoom, OBS, Adobe Premier, Frame Rates, Epidemiology etc) and also about some things I really have wanted to delve into for a while (Drums, Logic and Distance Learning). So far my GPA is about a 3.0, which I will gladly take. I have also spent an inordinate amount of time speculating about the nature of human beings in all of their amazingness and horribleness, and wondering where it all is leading and what, if anything, I can do to make it better microscopically and macroscopically. I could go on and on, but we’ll have to save that for when we are in the same room together. I fear that in the context of the internet, “nuanced discussions” is an oxymoron.
So - I will stick to the highlights.
Biggies are the release of Brad Walker’s latest record The Dockside Sessions which I am credited as guitarist and co-producer I think. What a cool project - Brad brings it to everything he does, and this one was a home run for sure, with hot shots on both sides of the control room window.
We are still working on Extended’s next record that they recorded in June and I produced. This is going to be the best sounding modern jazz piano trio record ever released in New Orleans in my humble opinion (although I might have to dig out my Mickael Pellera CD’s to make sure that is true). These cats really took the time to dig deep into their tunes, record them with fantastic detail and color, and follow through with excellent mixing and mastering. I am truly excited for the WORLD to hear it.
In October I helped Ed Petersen with his new big band prohect with a stellar ensemble of mainly NOJO alums and his magnificient arrangements. Mostly my main job was to press the big button on the console at Explanade Studio after every takeand say “That was incredible!” I am really looking forward to hearing that one when it’s finished.
And coming up in December, I am producing a new record of Mahmoud Chouki’s music, performed with piano genius Oscar Rossignoli. Mahmoud commands a world of strings from his native Morocco and beyond. It will be a blast to capture these two for now and the ages.
On the performing side, I have been doing a fair amount of streaming content, mainly with Cindy Scott. I particularly enjoyed her Second Sunday series, because we actually got to interact live with some wonderful musicians through the web. Unfortunately, we have had a couple of glitchy internet issues which took some of the joy out of a couple of them (choppy video but the sound is still great). If you want to watch, I highly recommend the September and October editions. We’ve also done concerts for the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Jazz Museum, the Northampton Jazz Society, The Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville, Jocelyn Medina’s Jazz Vocal Series and more. On top of that, we have been producing and sourcing the music for the Community Church Unitarian Universalist New Orlean.
One particularly nice livestream I got to do was with the New Orleans Catahoulas for the Fridays From the Funky Uncle. The series has raised over $100,000 for gig workers in New Orleans, the production values are high, and I always feel blessed playing with the Catahoulas because what they do is deeply real New Orleans music. Check it out when you get a chance.
On the UNO side of things - my students have been amazing, practicing intensely, dealing with all of the uncertainty, and creating some truly amazing music. I produced two streams featuring their work, both of them are up on the UNO School of the Arts Facebook page if you want to check them out (one is from November 11 and the other is from April 29). Although none of us ever wanted to do this thing that way, for me I have found a lot of positives in the experience. In many ways, I think that the distance learning has some very obvious positives that I now find myself speculating about how to bring back into the classroom.
So - that is my report! I am wishing for you all the best that I can. I know there has been so much personal loss in all of this for many of you, and my heart and love goes out to you. I am looking forward to seeing your faces without masks in the not-too-distant future, and hugging you and hearing music through the air and not the wires.
Thanks to the people that keep me sounding good with their fine products: Mesa Boogie, D’Addario Strings, Bryan Galloup Guitars and Robert Keeley Effects.
That’s all for now. Hope I get to see many of you soon and get to make some music for you.
ps: I started an email list thing a while ago, the big plan being
to send out my news and my gig list about once a month. So far I’ve
sent out exactly one mailing! I swear I will get it together eventually.
So, if you want to take the chance that one day you might get something, click these words
If, at some point, you become terminally swamped by electronic correspondences
(which at the rate I’m going could never happen!), you can un-sign
up too, the convenient and automatic disconnect link comes with every email!
Also, you have the option of letting me know where you are, so I won’t bother
you with gig notices for stuff nowhere near you.