Persistence is vital….

.. in this business. The daily grind of emails and phone calls and press kits and social networks is mind-numbing at times — I do have these guilt-ridden attacks when I manage to put in two or three hours of practice time and realize my computer screen is in power-saver mode from lack of use.  I’m trying to remember what I did, say, eight years ago before computers became a fixture in the modern home and I relied on a daily planner and a loose leaf notebook to keep track of my contacts, calls and gigs.

Of course, at some point you strike gold (at least a vein) — yesterday, within 30 minutes’ time, I received two wonderful gig calls. The Kimmel Center RPAC in Philly had Saturday 2/18 unbooked (!) and one of the booking agents called me regarding the re-established performances at Philadelphia International Airport. I was in the process of planning around a tentative jazz festival booking in late June when the first call came through.

Of course, the worst thing to do is sit back and get warm & fuzzy over the immediate result — I continued the email blitz that occurs weekly and perused my files for leads that had stagnated. It’s what I term ‘front office work’ and while I often wish someone would come along and relieve me of this burden (Prince Charming Syndrome?), I do prefer to know everything about what I am doing or need to do. I’d probably be looking over my manager’s shoulder every chance I had….

I am looking forward to playing the solo date at the Kimmel a week from tomorrow (2/18). I’ve been spending my evenings tweaking and twisting the balance and tones on the tracks that will most likely become the Official Bootleg CD release. I always appreciate the experience of recording the first two CDs with Otto Capobianco at Nebula Zone Studios — he led through a hands-on experience with Sound Forge and digital recording and production that would have taken years to gain on my own.

Of course, open mics in a restaurant/club setting pick up many things you never knew were there, especially talking. A constant wash of verbiage that gets accented intermittently with silverware clatters and bar-glass thumps. But the playing conquers all….. with almost three hours of music it was a luxury to have a choice of tracks and be able to nit-pick the playing (mostly my playing) and decide on the best. So, even with some ‘loose’ notes and rough spots here and there, it’s the ‘closest thing to being there’. I am reminded of the bootleg LPs of the 70s with their plain white covers and Xerox’d labels slipped behind the shrink wrap. Of course, YouTube is predominantly ‘bootleg’ recordings and has relegated the surreptitious excitement of those plain white covers to some idealized museum setting. So maybe it’s time to release an actual ‘bootleg’, a sound recording made with less-than-ideal conditions that will convey that ‘under the table’ sort of delight. Then again, maybe I’m just worked up about the music.

I should be practicing — I have new pieces to play next week.

Until the next time — and I’ll try to make it soon!

Matt

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