I had a particularly superb night with my duo partner Tony Hughes at my/our favorite Philly jazz lounge, the Paris Wine Bar. Sadly, the weather throughout the day on Saturday was miserable — a mix of snow and rain stuck to the lawns and sidewalks but didn’t slick up the roads. It did, however, keep our usual turnout home for the evening. Be that as it may, Tony and I dove in and pulled ideas and phrases out of each and every tune that kept our modest but appreciative audience in the room, enjoying our musical adventures. We were most fortunate to have Bevin working as the server in the wine bar, assuring the customers as well as the musical artists (that’s us) were always taken care of. (On Friday evenings, John handles the room and provides exemplary attention to all.) While I admit to some self-serving promotion here, this is one of the best places in the city to relax, enjoy great wine, great food, great service and great music (even if a guitar duo isn’t on the program). http://londongrill.com.
For the guitar fans, I played my trusty 70s Hagstrom Viking on the Paris WB date — it has a bit of a hum due, probably, to the age of the ground wire (which is original). Additionally, my old reliable Peavey Backstage 110, which acted as if the speaker had blown on last month’s PWB date, worked like a champ the entire night. I’m not sure why it sounded so miserable last month, but after extensive testing at home I found nothing wrong so it made the gig again with sparkling results. While I do prefer the Lab L3, the Peavey is smaller to carry and at 65 watts has ample power. I do put an ART preamp into the signal loop to warm the midrange a bit and everything works the way I like it.
This Thursday (3/21) I will perform in a solo acoustic setting at the William Jeanes Memorial Library in Lafayette Hill PA. Located literally minutes north of the Philadelphia/Montgomery county line, my performance is part of a program for the official dedication of the Karabots Learning Center which is a newly-built addition to the library. This is my first solo show in a while — I’m still tweaking the set list (one set of about 70 minutes).
I’m re-visiting older pieces from the first and second CDs (Hollow Victory, Beyond That Sign, Gente Humilde) for updated versions. I’ll mix them in with newer pieces (Bossa For George, Ballad, Ronnie’s Theme) and with my renditions of other artists’ pieces (George Harrison, Lennon & McCartney, Marley) that are not ‘covers’ as they aren’t note-for-note renditions of the originals. I am amazed that I can actually ascertain how much I’ve improved as a player since I originally recorded some of these pieces — after releasing As You Are I realized that some of my older work wasn’t as dated as I thought. I have tapped into it for my guitar/flute duo repertoire and took the next logical step to create solo renditions. In particular, Beyond That Sign has been a real challenge as I originally recorded it with four guitar tracks including fretless and I’ve finally gotten it into a manageable solo version. If you’re in the area please come by — admission is free! If you’re far, far away and don’t want to spend your tax refund entirely for plane fare (!?), we’ll be recording and, after I suffer over the files for a bit, posting videos on YouTube.
Okay, I’m going back to practicing. Thanks for checking in.