Wow! I can’t believe over a year has passed since my last post to this blog. It’s time for a resolution: Write one blog post per month in 2011. Re-capping the last year seems like a good place to start:
2010 saw a number of new and exciting opportunities for saxophone playing in and out of New York. There was a mini tour with the Ben Geyer Sextet marking the release of that group’s first studio album, “The Narrative”. In August I “went the distance” with Jackie Draper’s brand of hilarious, artful, and moving Cabaret. Speaking of Jackie’s show, we have a special encore performance of “Go the Distance” coming up this Sunday, January 23rd, 5pm at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. In October I found one of those uniquely New York bands with two weekly gigs playing the music of the swing era and Frank Sinatra – the one and only Stan Rubin Orchestra with whom I subbed numerous times in the 2nd alto chair. A brass band took shape late in 2010, rehearsing sporadically, pulling inspiration from sources as disparate as Dave Douglas, Gill Scott, and Haitian folk song, and came together to book a gig in late January at the Parkside Lounge, Monday, January 24th (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Most notably the year closed with a truly broadening experience. I spent a week in Orlando, Florida visiting my girlfriend’s family for the holidays and was exposed to a new musical setting that I hadn’t yet found in New York: the smooth jazz and R&B jam session. What an eye opener! Of course, I have had the pleasure of listening to and playing with Norman Edwards’ killing cover band, the Sliq Soul Brothers, who play some seriously hip renditions of pop, funk, and R&B covers. But it was really refreshing to hear these guys in Orlando throwing down on that same kind of material in a jam session context and making some real music out of it.
This one alto player, Dayve Stewart, really blew me away. Not only is he one of the most original voices that I’ve heard recently on the saxophone, he absolutely killed on the EWI, using it with a vocoder for spectacular effect. Which brings me to yet another hope for the new year: start shedding my pop and smooth jazz. It really is an entirely different thing from what I’m used to playing, and hopefully it will open up some new doors for playing music.
While I’m sure there is more that I haven’t covered of my musical escapades in the last year, I had better sign off and save some material for my next monthly post, coming up not too far off, in February. Thanks for reading, and I hope to be playing for you sometime soon!