More Crazy Weeks…

OK, well I have a lot to talk about tonight it seems. So much has been going on! Umm, let’s go with the most recent first. If any of you have been paying attention to my gig schedule, you’ll know that I was in Seaside, OR over the weekend. That ended up being quite the party! Well, it just so happened that friday was my girlfriend’s birthday, and I wasn’t about to leave her home all alone while I went skipping about from plane to plane only to end up on the Oregon coast to do something I LOVE! It only seemed right to bring her along, so naturally I did.

The festival in Seaside will now be known throughout the land as Jazz for the Significant Others! This was Denise’s first time doing the whole-package festival where you get on an airplane, fly to a distant major airport, hop in a cramped van with the band, and drive for 2 hours to the playing-spot du weekend. What a first time it was! The flying part was fine, of course, as my lady is definitely well-traveled throughout the country and then some. However, when we arrived in Portland, we looked around for band members so we could get a jump on that long 2-hour van ride. Well, in the process, we ended up running into the drummer, who brought his wife along, since she has family up that way. Ok, that makes things a little less roomy. The drummer is on the phone with the driver and is finding out that the bass player didn’t bring his stick bass, but instead his full-size upright. That should knock out a whole row, cozier still. Finally the van arrives at the curb to pick us up, and it seems that the bass player, in addition to bringing his bass, has also brought his girlfriend. So much for bass players loving their instrument more than women! Well, let’s just say we all experienced 2 hours of pure bliss! All in all, we had a great time, except when I told everyone that it was Denise’s birthday. She was having a blast up until that point. Boy did I get it….. no worries though, I managed to charm her out of being mad at me.

The festival itself was fantastic as always! The crowds were pretty darned good considering the economy. I’d like to say a personal thank you to all the amazing volunteers up in the musician’s hospitality area. They work their a$$es off making sure that we are all fat and happy the whole weekend long. I also got to see some of my students from jazz camp, particularly ones who have long since aged out. One is now 23 and the other a whopping 27 I believe. It’s really strange seeing them grow up like that, but it’s so great to see them all still interested in the music like never before!

Dave gave me a lot of solo features this time around, which was kind of surprising, but I think it had mostly to do with an overall air of laziness throughout the band. You see, we’re all a little out of shape since we haven’t done a festival since November! I don’t know why they assume that I’m the least out of shape AND in the least need of a break. Oh well, it sure sells recordings that’s for sure, I managed to use my earnings from the very first set to take my girl out to dinner for her birthday! Thanks all you rabid fans! You made Denise’s birthday very special this year! While I certainly enjoy getting to play my own stuff once in awhile, I never actually know what it’s going to be. Dave usually springs these things on me when I least expect them, and so the best I can do is usually to just watch and see what the hands do. This weekend, particularly, I had some real winners. I hadn’t played “Angel Eyes” in forever, and that came out, as did a lot of creative tempo changes and innovative craziness throughout the weekend. Another highlight was listening to Karen sing a new song and flubbing up the words, which I can totally say because later on she did another new tune that she nailed, and I flubbed up something fierce! Usually by the end of a festival I’m ready to go home, but with Denise there, I didn’t want to leave! However, all good things must come to an end.

Aside from the festival, though, we’ve been really hot on getting into owning a house. So most of my time has been devoted to research and development in that lately. That’s why I haven’t been blogging so much lately. Instead of spending time twittering and managing my site, I’ve been surfing the web and looking at houses in the area. We’ve found one we like, but we’re still waiting around to hear on financing. However, that certainly doesn’t keep the developer from wanting to move forward with details. I’ll tell you all about the house as soon as we find out if we can do it for sure, but for now all I can say is that the latest in the development has been picking out floors and window coverings and all kinds of other options that will go into place provided everything is a go. I can’t tell you how many appliance deals there are going on right now. I certainly hope it all works out, or this is going to amount to a lot of wasted energy. I wish I could say more, but at the moment I can’t. Don’t worry, it’ll all come out here regardless of what happens! Anyway, that’s all for now. Be sure to stay on my twitter for the most frequent updates. And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE! Bye everyone!

Crazy week…

This has been completely insane!! Last Thursday, I headed up to Sacramento to take part in the Trad Youth Band Festival. I was a workshop clinician, working with various middle school and college groups after they finished performing. The festival took place at Sac State, my old alma mater (barf)… anyway, it was a great time. The kids just keep playing better and better, and the college students are thankfully no longer “too hip” to play traditional jazz.

I worked alongside Bob Draga and Ron Jones, who if you don’t mind my saying, definitely exercised every bit of their seniority by leaving most of the muscle up to me. That’s ok, I’m sure that I enjoy working with kids much more than they ever will anyway. Thursday night was a concert in Rocklin, that I did with Bob Draga. It was fun, albeit a tad shaky. That’s what no rehearsal will get you. However, I still managed to find a few creative ideas that I hadn’t before. Draga playe great as always, polished and with great tone. The audience sure got a deal that night when purchasing my CDs; the sellers sold them for 3/4 the price that I was originally asking… It’s ok though, everybody has to have a deal sometime.

I spent most of friday at home, hanging out with my sister. She’s so fun to hang with! She is one of very few people that can make me laugh big out-loud belly laughs. Not even Draga can do that! That night, it was back to work… well it’s more fun than work… Pizza parlor jam session for the kids! I haven’t done that in years! It’s soooo much fun! Got to see a lot of people from camp who are playing great! Chloe Feoranzo absolutely stole the show though! She is a dynamo on the clarinet and saxophone. Check her out HERE. She was a delight to hang out with all weekend, and what’s better, she’s from San Diego! Guess I’ll have to start thinking about putting a group together.

Saturday, of course was the festival… and at the end of the day, they announced next year’s guest artist! ME!! I was so surprised! But I was much more surprised to hear the audience’s wild approval. They went absolutely crazy! I was blushing I was so embarrassed and grateful!

Sunday, I got to play at the Dante Club, almost nonstop… but I was late for the first set. I was trying to spend a little bit of time with my family, so much so that I didn’t get out of the house on time. They were very forgiving, thanks to Rich O’Day who covered for me, and very well I might add! Some of the highlights of the day were watching as Justin Au lead us all through an entire set on stage, (he is so professional) and, of course, any chance I got to hear Chloe (she is so creative). She reminds me so much of myself, only a lot more together musically. She will go far! I also got to play with drummer, Tim Metz, who I haven’t played with since our TNT days back in 1991! That was a real treat. Seems like a billion years have gone by. I also saw some other TNT buddies at the Dante Club, Greg Sabin and Pat Skiffington! We all went to camp together way back, and it was great to catch up!

All in all it has been a crazy week. But today is a big day for me as well. Some of you may know that I was hired by Disneyland as a sub pianist back in September. Well, with the economy crunch going right now, no one is subbing out much. There aren’t very many gigs out there. Well, tonight I’m auditioning for a new opening in Frontierland. If I get it, I may be a full or half-time cast member. Either way it would be better than not getting calls. The audition is open to piano and guitar players, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I think I may have an advantage in that I already work for the company. I go today to accept my fate. This audition is going to shape me for a good long while if I get the spot. I’m excited and nervous. I’m going to perform “You Are My Sunshine”. I hope it goes well….. I won’t be sad if I don’t get it. Auditions happen all the time. I’m just looking forward to the experience! Considering I never had to audition to BECOME a cast member, this is probably a great thing to do. Wish me luck everyone, and I’ll let you all know how it turns out! I may be playing country style piano at the ranch in two months….. one never knows, do one? You can follow my twitter to see how things are going as they happen. See you all on the other side!

I’m 31!!!

Yup, Here I am, easing into my 30s! Pretty unbelievable if you ask me, since I still feel like I’m about those digits in reverse order, or 13. It’s interesting how one can get older without feeling it. So many people I know always say things like, “It sucks getting old”, and “Don’t ever do it!”  I can’t imagine getting any younger, but I keep wondering, “when am I going to feel older?”

I want to thank everyone for their kind birthday wishes! I talked to both my mom and my grandma on the phone, Denise made me a killer salmon dinner, and got me a 7-pound chocolate cake! I must have had 30 Facebook notifications! So thank you to everyone!

The Super Bowl was underwhelming as usual, even the commercials didn’t grab me. The Doritos commercials were ok. Although, I thought the game was going to be more of a slaughter than it was. The fourth quarter was definitely fun to watch. But overall….. ho hum… Oh by the way, I’m 31!!!!!!! So who even cares about a glorified high school football game anyway?

Did anyone see the Boss during halftime? He looked better than I think I’ve ever seen him… the music was still pretty lame and campy, but he sure put on a great show! Guess he doesn’t feel as old as he looks either!

Went to Disneyland yesterday and had a total blast! The fireworks actually showed that night, and were not cancelled due to high winds. That’s a first in probably the last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone… The park was not too crowded, and the kids behaved themselves, also a first… 😉   well… all except for me, but that’s a given! We did a lot of things we don’t normally do, like riding Disney’s most dangerous ride ever created, the Cartoon Spin. I guess it’s claimed more lives and injuries than any other. Somehow, though, I felt totally safe… much safer than riding that ferris wheel of DEATH!! That, my friends, is SCARY!!

So this weekend has been wonderful, as have so many in the past months. I’m looking forward to heading up to Sacramento on Thursday to work with jazz kids! Always fun! Hope to see a lot of you there! Bye for now!