Paris Two Times

The view from a Lowden bridge

The view from Lowden Bridge

That’s the Paris Wine Bar…. as previously mentioned I did two consecutive nights at this wonderful jazz lounge in Philadelphia. Valentine’s Night paired me with flutist Katherine Barbato performing mostly standards and ballads (though we did sneak two Matt Richards originals into the mix). Both the wine bar and the main restaurant room were full most of the night and we did some fairly involved playing (which is always my trademark) that gained regular applause. (It’s rare on this type of date for people to put down their silverware in the midst of their meals to clap but they did.) Even our version of La Garota de Ipanema went deep (my intention, of course). Katherine had quite a following on visit during the evening. As usual, the evening ended before I played everything I wanted.

Did I  mention that I switched guitars for the very next night with my regular guitar duo partner Tony Hughes? After the classical guitar for Valentine’s I picked up my trusty old lady Lowden S27FC and turned it into a jazz guitar (which meant playing with just the EMG ACS pickup and using a pick for about half the night). While it doesn’t sound like an old archtop of any sort, it does have its own uniquely acoustic edge with that pickup (which I really love) and it blends so well with Tony’s Gibson Howard Roberts I can’t argue — and it still almost plays itself. However, about halfway through the night I began to get this strange snarl from my middle E note through the Peavey Backstage. Tony and I both figured I’d finally blown a speaker (it’s been in there since 1978 or thereabouts, whenever the amp was manufactured). On Saturday morning I plugged in and using three different guitars proceeded to hear perfectly clean tones no matter what I did — no hideous fart-outs on any note. These sort of mystery moments don’t make me comfortable with equipment — there’s no telling if/when this could show up again. I may go ahead and get a Jensen Mod and just install it — I’m so pleased with the sound of the Lab L3 with its Jensen I think it’s the way to go.

Lowden as Jazz Guitar

Lowden as Jazz Guitar

I hope George Lowden doesn’t mind my re-assigning this treasured instrument to jazz duty. It speaks volumes for this guitar’s suitability and playability. It also tells me it may be time to bring an archtop back into the arsenal (creative arsenal, that is).

Now it’s back to the front office tomorrow even though it’s President’s Day — it’s time for filing the calendar with dates (solo, duo, Group, sideman) in most of the civilized countries on the globe. I just updated the website ( and I want to put it to work.

See everyone later.



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