Work is surrounding me. That is generally a very good thing. I function best when I am busy. Here are some things that are coming up.
- Susan Koch’s new feature doc about AIDS in Washington DC
- A series theme for a news (duh) show produced by the Newseum. Paul Sparrow is the producer. It is very slick.
- A promotional video for Bono’s “One” foundation. Produced by Susan Koch and Neil Barret. But NOT shot by him. The footage came from students using flip cams. FYI – filmmaking is generally best left to filmmakers. Just because the technology exists for everyone… that doesn’t make everyone a filmmaker. This is not an elite sort of thing to feel. I am rightfully proud of the field I work in.
- I am also looking forward to The Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic playing The Far Tortoogas on October 11th and 18th. I love their conductor, Ulysses James. What a cool guy. A man truly dedicated to the discovery of new good music. He should get a medal for the work he does.
But the really fun thing has been buying a CD called “Oliver Nelson: Fantabulous.” It was originally issued in 1964 on the ARGO label. Recorded in Chicago with some famous players, (Grady Tate is on Drums and Phil Woods is on Alto.) butt mostly players I don’t know. It is an entirely cool and groovy large band – swinging so hard it makes me laugh out loud. I got this while buying a classic – Oliver Nelson’s “Blues and The Abstract Truth.” As always Amazon popped up a little ad that said “if you like this … then you will like this too…” Man were they right! I love this record.
Only two things to report this morning:
- It is beautiful outside. And I plan on staying indoors all day to write music. “Where is the justice,” I ask you?
- I am busy arranging a mash-up of Sonny and Cher’s “The Beat Goes On” with Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder.” If I was ever looking for a solid ticket to eternal jazz damnation, this is it.
On Friday I got to hear a Washington DC original. Chuck Brown, The Godfather of Go-go. I have heard Chuck play pretty many times now, although not enough to keep up with all the call and response singing that goes on among the real hardcore fans. One thing that always surprises me is how deep his jazz roots go. Also how good a guitarist he is. He was playing a PRS rather than the Gibson 335 that I associate with him on Friday. The show was an outdoor show at the Ronald Reagan building. I know, I know… anyone who has ever been near that building can attest to what a soul-killing architectural nightmare it is. It is truly the worst of the bureaucratic DC cityscape. But Chuck’s music is more powerful than any bland building vibe. He was great. He always is. And had the crowd dancing right away. His band was spot on. Brad Clemmens and Greg Boyer on Trumpet and trombone were wonderful. I don’t know his drummer’s name – or the conga player (indispensable to the go-go beat), but they were as solid as it gets.
Here is something I love about him: One of his standards is his special go-go version of “Moody’s Mood.” It is worth looking at the lineage of this song. “Moody’s Mood” comes from a tenor sax solo the great James Moody took over the changes of “I’m In the Mood For Love” on a recording he made in the ’50’s. (That cut was still called “I’m in the Mood For Love”) That solo was transcribed by one of the great jazz vocalists of all time, King Pleasure, who put words to it and sang it on his own record – calling it “Moody’s Mood.” That was probably in the early sixties???? Here – 50 years later Chuck Brown has the crowd dancing and singing along to “There I go, there I go, there I go again… Pretty Baby you are the soul that rocks my control.” All of his regular fans, many of whom have been listening to him steadily for 40 years, know all those lyrics by heart. I’m not sure I have point here, other than Chuck Brown more than deserves his status as DC legend. And perhaps that I am comforted by how deep his roots go into the jazz heart of Washington DC.
Redskins just lost to Detroit.
The Dick Kaufmann concert at the Atlas theater was a huge success. Dick sang well and the audience LOVED it. Some thoughts on this:
- The Atlas is foolish to let Scott Burgess go as their house sound guy. He is talented, knows their system and gear. If they start letting independent sound guys in without any supervision, that place will quickly go downhill.
- The Atlas also in in need of a house production person. How ridiculous it was to be looking for an hour(!) to find someone with a key to the loading dock. Just infuriating. That theater has the potential of becoming a wonderful performing venue – or being another DC organizational casualty. We will know soon enough.
- I love playing with great players. Chaise Lounge was Dick’s band with a few additional players – all of them great. (Tom Williams – trumpet, Bob Spates – violin, Dan Hovey – guitar) Life feels so good in such solid company. Playing music is like playing tennis for some people. When you are playing with great players, your own playing gets better. Oh and, BTW, I enjoyed being at the piano for this show.
- The importance of hanging out after the gig is not to be underestimated. We all went to the bar next to the theater and had a few drinks after the show. The bar was the H Street Country Club. I had heard that they were going to put a 9 hole indoor putt-putt golf course in here – where is it? Such a great idea.
- The importance of a well dressed band: Looking sharp has become a mission with Chaise Lounge.