Friday, September 29, 2006

Playing with Arlington Houston

I played at the Downtown restaurant with Arlington Houston tonight. This was the first straight ahead jazz gig that I've had since I started practicing so much more. I didn't know most of the tunes, but thanks to my sight reading ability, and to the fact that I listened to the tunes during the day of the gig, I did a great job! I felt confident, free and very connected to the music. I feel like I was given an insight into what I'm capable of if I continue to practice at the pace I'd set. This performance was so much better than what I had been doing, and that's after only a few weeks of focused, extended practice. I can only imagine where I'd be if I kept up a 15+ hour regiment for over a year! Wow! Wish me luck....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I met Mary J. Blige!

I met Mary J. Blige! I had an extremely exhausting week. The days following Labor Day were really tough. I drove to LA and back within 48 hours, and returned home to my usually grueling teaching, rehearsing and performing schedule. I never gave myself the time to fully recuperate from the drive and have been absolutely wiped out ever since. Well, on Sunday, after having played at church and having done a long rehearsal with a Latin band, I returned home for what turned out to be a short nap. I got a phone call from a friend inviting me to join her at the Mary J. Blige concert in Mountain View, CA. She had great seats and backstage passes. Well, of course, despite my fatigue, I couldn't pass up the opportunity! And I'm glad I didn't. I had never seen Mary in concert before, and she totally impressed me. She is such an honest performer. Her voice was great, but her spirit and connection to the music and the audience even greater. She literally had no artifice about her. I know people have always spoken about how "real" she is in her music, but that fact comes through very clearly in person.

LeToya Luckett (formerly of Destiny's Child) opened the show, and definitely demonstrated that she came from that superstar group. It was difficult to hear her (the balance wasn't great), but she looked beautiful and the dance moves were hot! I was yet again inspired to resume serious dance training (ah, but for the time!). Jaheim followed LeToya and it seemed he gave a great performance based on audience reaction. I missed his entire set because I was busy backstage taking a photo with Mary.

Another fun night, and hopefully a harbinger of the spectacular expansion of my career!