Category Archives: Music

SlimDevices Goes To Logitech

Om says SlimDevices has been sold to Logitech. I currently have 3 of their Squeezboxes around my house and love them, I syncronize the audio so no matter what room I’m in the music is the same. Logitech is another one of my favorite companies, or at least one of the ones I give all my money to. I’m a mouse and keyboard junkie, trying new ones whenever there’s a good upgrade. I’ve been bouncing between Microsoft and Logitech, but the new Revolution series mouse with the frictionless scroll has got me hooked, laptop and desktop version. Two companies I like getting together. 🙂

Dotson Gig Tonight

Well the last gig got canned due to torrential rain, and now this Monday I’m feeling a bit under the weather. That’s life! Here are the details again, try to make it out if you can:

Tonight at 7:30 PM I’ll be performing with the Dennis Dotson big band on lead alto. Our entire program is going to be exclusively music from the highly talented composer and pianist Joe LoCascio, who will also be playing with us. It is the first night of what they’re calling JazzFest 2003 and there are more details, including directions and a map, at JazzHouston. They say they’re charging for tickets but I don’t think they have in the past so I’m not sure about that. I’ve been looking forward to this gig and I think it’s going to be great, so if you’d like to hear some exciting jazz tonight, try to check it out.

By the way, welcome to December. It’s by far my favorite month of the year and I’m going to savor every minute of it. December is the month I look forward to when trudging through all the other months. Lot’s of exciting things planned this month, from HPUG to WordPress to even something with the elusive Mike. And that’s just the volunteer stuff.

Update: Thanks to all who came out. Having people you love in the audience makes performing a whole difference experience. 🙂

Dennis Dotson Big Band Gig

Tonight at 7:30 PM I’ll be performing with the Dennis Dotson big band on lead alto. Our entire program is going to be exclusively music from the highly talented composer and pianist Joe LoCascio, who will also be playing with us. It is the first night of what they’re calling JazzFest 2003 and there are more details, including directions and a map, at JazzHouston. They say they’re charging for tickets but I don’t think they have in the past so I’m not sure about that. I’ve been looking forward to this gig and I think it’s going to be great, so if you’d like to hear some exciting jazz tonight, try to check it out.

The gig has been cancelled due to rain! Sorry to any who were planning on going. It will most likely be rescheduled and I’ll post an update when it is.

Two Great Shows

Radiohead was really exciting. The Chronicle has a review, but like most stories there it’s painful to read and I doubt that link will last as long as this entry is on my front page. Our seats were on the lawn and we were a bit to the left and back. We had a good clear view of the stage but couldn’t see too many details, though certainly everything came through. I would have liked te been closer to see how some of the effects were done, but maybe next time. They went through old and new songs, starting with some of the latest ones from Hail to the Thief and moving forward. There were a few flubs, such as Yorke skipping a section on 2 + 2 = 5 one or two other minor things that I doubt too many people noticed. My only complaint would be that with several songs they would end with a solo usually from the guitarist on the right (I can’t think of his name at the moment) but you could tell it was the end of the song and the energy was dying around him as he was trying to build up his solo. It would of been nice if they took a cue from jazz and went from a solo back into the melody or some sort of chorus to end the tune and keep the energy up.

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at Jone’s Hall last night was one of those musical experiences that will stay indelibly burned in my memory for a long time. I had been looking for tickets and the day before my uncle called asking if I’d like to go with him, row B right in the center. Close enough to hear the musician’s sounds and not just the amplification, I was blown away. Every soloist and every piece was top-notch. The highlight of the evening, besides of course Houston native and HSPVA grad Andre Hayward’s music, was Eric Lewis’ piano. I have never heard of this man before, nor can I find anything on the web. Throughout the concert whenever Wynton introduced him he prefaced his name with what sounded like “Top Professor” which I’m sure means something, but I’m not sure what. Lewis’ solo on A Love Supreme’s Resolution was so intense and captivating that I was completely taken away by it in a way that music effects you only a few times in your life. The personnel of the group was different in several regards from the program, but that’s to be expected with the dynamics of a touring group and the fact that the programs are printed months before. If you have a chance to check out the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, do so. Highly recommended.

Kemah Jazz 2003

As I may have told some of you already, I’m performing in the Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival again this year. This year I’m performing with a different (and honestly much better) group than I did in previous years. So on Sunday from 2:10–3:00 I’ll be on the Kemah stage, jazzin’ it up. An interesting note about this performance is that I’m going to be making my public debut on flute. So if you can make it down come and say hi to me before or after the gig and we’ll chat.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the other performances as well this weekend probably the closest thing to a good schedule online is at JazzHouston. I have some pictures from last night’s performance forthcoming. All of the music was fantastic, and I really mean that. One of the non-music highlights of the night for me (besides the beautiful sky and good pizza) was Dennis Dotson saying my name from the stage as part of troubleshooting some amplicification problems. It’s the little things. 🙂

If you need any more information, feel free to contact me. Don’t be shy, no one else is: several days ago I got a call on my cell phone from a number I didn’t recognize. I said hello and an unfamilar voice asked me if I had this year’s schedule for the festival. Apparently from a search engine she came across last year’s schedule and assumed I was the authority to contact, on my phone nonetheless, for this year’s. I directed her to a website or two that would have more current information than mine. It was certainly an interesting experience, but now I’m faced with problems of transparency. I want it to be as easy as possible for my readers to get in contact with me, except when I don’t. We’ll see how this works out. Of course it never would have been a problem in the first place if the festival had a decent website or the schedule available in a non-graphic form. What if a blind person wants to go and can only get to the schedule through the web? I guess they’re out of luck. The festival organizers are very open to suggestions though, and I’m sure if this issue is brought to their attention they’ll address it, it just probably hasn’t occurred to them.

Elissa Is So…

Elissa made me a really cool mix CD, so cool I feel like I have to share the track list.

  1. Explosion — Dilute
  2. Paper Bag — Fiona Apple
  3. Kaini Industries — Boards of Canada
  4. Easy — Emiliana Torrini
  5. Why You’d Want to Live Here — Death Cab for Cutie
  6. Your Bleedin’ Heart — Reggie & the Full Effect
  7. In the Morning of the Magician… — The Flaming Lips
  8. Reunited — Funkstorung featuring Wu Tang
  9. Highschool Lover — AIR
  10. Is It Wicked Not to Care? — Belle & Sebastian
  11. Merge — Lamb
  12. You Got Me — Roots featuring Erykah Badu
  13. Labour of Love — Frente
  14. Playboys — Mono
  15. Felt Mountain — Goldfrapp

Hot Jazz Tonight

The word on the street is that tonight at 7:30 PM at the Pasta Co. on Woodway (map) there will be some burning big band jazz with yours truly and my good friend Rene in the alto section, and the lovely Sarah Williams screaming with the trumpets. Last week was a blast and this week should be even better. I need to get a list of all the amazing people in the band together, because everyone is so talented they deserve individual mention. Come check it out and say hi to me if you do.

Update: Thanks to Josh, Elissa, Jesse, Eddie, Emily’s parents Denise and Bob, my parents, my cousins Norma and Megan, Kelly Dean, and everyone else for coming out.

In The Last Episode…

A lot has happened since the last time I posted, it’s been a series of very long days.

Tuesday I went into work early to finish up some of the cabling (which is still going on) when mid-afternoon I got a call from John Greiner asking if I could play lead alto with a big band that night. He said they needed another alto too so of course I called Rene and we were all set for that night. I left work a little early to try and get a head start on traffic because I had to pick up my horn and stand from my house (Southwest), pick up Rene (Northeast), and go to the gig (Northwest). It was going to be a squeeze but Sarah offered to give Rene a ride and that made things so much easier.

The gig was a blast! It was the first ever performance of this group, which is basically a rehearsal band of musicians from around town. It had some funny parts (most of us were sight-reading) but it’s a great group and the good news is we’re going to be performing every Tuesday from 7:30–9:30 at the Pasta Co. on Woodway. Come check it out next week!

Yesterday was pretty crazy because the gateway/firewall/mail server here at work crashed pretty badly, to the point where I had spent so much time trying to fix bizarre problems that it became apparent that it would be faster just to set a new machine up. I was also surprised to find out that the machine was only a 166mhz Pentium with a mere 40mb of RAM! Before I saw the box itself I just assumed it was some sort of nice machine because it ran so well. Linux rocks! Anyway we set up a new one with some more modern hardware and I dropped Red Hat on it (something was wrong with our Slackware CDs) and then I spent the rest of the evening becoming intimately familiar with iptables. After that I drove all the way down to Sugarland to help some people out with some computer stuff and setting up a wireless network, and that went very well and it was a pleasant change of pace to have everything work the first time! Since it wasn’t enough having been working or driving for 16 hours that day, Josh called and we went to House of Pies, of course.

Today we’re getting three new T-1s installed!

Leaving (for) Las Vegas

At an ungodly hour Saturday morning I will be leaving hot Houston for very hot Las Vegas.

Why? Why does anyone go to Vegas? To play of course. I will be performing twice with a local union band for the American Federation of Musicians’ conference. I think the music is going to be pretty good so I’ll try to get a recording of it up on the site sometime (if I get one).

I’m looking forward to this a lot and I’m going to try not to get into too much trouble while I’m there. Wish me luck and if you’d like anything while I’m there get me an email quick.

I’m not sure if I’ll have any sort of internet access while I’m gone, so email responses may be even further delayed than normal. Updates probably won’t happen but I do plan to take a lot of pictures, so look for that when I get back. (Or when I find good WiFi.)

Speaking of pictures, Photo has had its very first guest photographer, Elissa, whose photos are interspersed with photos from Tuesday (with Julie!). My plan is to eventually have them all in chronological order, but that’s proving to be quite a pain, so for now things are a little bouncy.

Author, Designer, Troublemaker, Person, Musician

If you’re having a lazy Sunday I would highly recommend you go check out the two songs Derek has posted. I have to admit that before I clicked on the first one, my expectations were low. Not as any sort of statement on the musicianship of other web music I’ve heard before, but just that I am not a big fan of a genre sometimes described as urban acoustic pop, or guitar/vocal folk music. But something about Derek’s music really struck me, especially the lyrics on the first one. Enjoy.

Spirit Refill

I had a very artistic night, which I can only describe as spiritually refilling. It started at the first of two senior recitals of the night. It was by Joe Santa Maria and it was really great. The selection of tunes was very diverse (Beatrice was beautiful) and his tone sounded great. Directly following was Kyle Wilson’s recital which was just as excellent. He did a lot of technically challenging songs (Last Rites of Rock ’n Roll, Snake Charmer, What Goes Around) but played them with soul. Both will be online as soon as I get them and maybe it’ll motivate me to finally do something with, which I haven’t touched in about a year now. (While it’s visually lacking, there’s some pretty neat stuff going on behind the scenes. All the song lists and extra files are generated dynamically from the filesystem, reading the metadata from the ID3 tags.)

The reception immediately followed, but I had promised Elissa-who-is-not-linked that I would check her art performance at the Contemporary Arts Museum. So I rushed over there and got there just in time to catch hers. It would be extremely difficult to describe, but it involved a wooden chair, a black dress, panty hose, and Elissa cutting her hair. We talked about it earlier and Elissa didn’t know how long it was going to be, she was just would cut it however long felt right. For a few excruciating seconds she paused before making the first cut, and I really thought she wasn’t going to do it, and I don’t think I could have. (And I don’t even have that much hair!) I didn’t have any idea what performance art was going in, but now I think I have a better sense of it. There were no words, but something about the situation and the way in which the action was carried out really spoke to me and affected me emotionally, just like a good piece of art. It’s something that has to be experienced, because it loses everything in the description.

The joint reception for the recitals was at Molina’s, a great Mexican restaurant. The food hit the spot and I got to socialize with a number of folks I hadn’t seen in a while, some as long as two years. Kyle, along with Chase Jordan and Marcos Varella whose recitals I attended earlier this week and were great, are going to be attending the New School, all on generous scholarships. Joe is going to join Rene at Berklee College of Music. So many great players are coming out of HSPVA, I think it’ll just be a few years before the jazz record scene starts to take notice.

After the reception I just couldn’t go home, perhaps because of the paper due tomorrow, so I headed over to the Rivendell to hear the Stan Killian Trio with Clayton Dyess and Maggie Grebowicz. Met some nice people and heard some swinging music, plus there was no cover, so it was a very enjoyable performance and I stayed to the very end. Definitely going to check them out again.

Once I got home I did what anyone would do after such an inspiring night: practice!

It’s Over

The best part about that gig was seeing the mayor of Houston, a decidedly unhip looking guy, singing along with the Temptations. (From his table, thankfully.) It was a very fun performance, but really too loud for the room and it seemed a tad long, though the audience seemed to love every minute of it.

Afterward I headed to Cezanne’s to check out the last set of David’s gig with pianist Andy Langham, Anthony Sapp on bass, and Joe Ferrira on drums. Andy and David are both amazing, and when they play together it’s something that affects you deeply. Hung around for a bit after the gig was over and chatted, met some new friends and some old acquaintances.

Finally the night wouldn’t be complete without some 24-hour Mexican food, so that’s how everything ended. Now I’m looking at the clock and I just realized that I have a rehearsal at 10 tomorrow morning. I better go catch some sleep while I can.

(There have been some good comments lately, check it out.)

Let the Good Times Roll

Just got in from is one of the longest and latest rehearsals I’ve ever been in. Look at the timestamp. I would like to take this brief oppurtunity before I collapse from exhaustion to advise you of some upcoming performances.

Tomorrow (Friday) at 8 I’m going to be playing at the Intercontinental Hotel for the National Conference of Black Mayors. I was up at the hotel tonight and, man, those guys know how to party; the gig should be a lot of fun. The music is Mo-Town, complete with singing and dancing and me in the back tooting my sax. It’s impossible not to nod your head and tap your foot. Technically it’s a private gig but if you wanted to crash the party I’m don’t know if anyone would notice since there are just so many people there. Plus I’ll be wearing a tux.

This coming Monday and Wednesday are more casual gigs with the downbeat at 7:30 PM on the Kemah Boardwalk. The music is big band to the bones, and should be interesting. In between sets I’ll be doing a smaller combo that will do some straight-ahead jazz. If you’re in the area come check it out. Now if only I had time for the two papers and a test I have on Monday.

Pages That Groove

I know I’m too tired when I visit a page with terrible graphics and cheesy MIDI music playing in the background and think, “this is sort of nice.” To be completely honest, whatever the music is it’s mesmerizing, and quite relaxing. Maybe PhotoMatt could use some good relaxing background music… (Or maybe just video game music.)