It's been nearly 4 months since the start of the new year, and I've been utterly unable to get myself to blog on a regular basis. I've been enjoying a lovely 2010 so far, and I'd love to share my adventures with you. I'm so far behind at this point, I feel like just giving a short synopsis:
Nate Watts, legendary bassist primarily known for his work with Stevie Wonder, was honored by Samson/Hartke, and Nate asked me to perform in the band with him that night. He also asked me to perform something classical for him. Of course I was honored! I got to work a few weeks before the concert, practicing a few virtuoso piano works: Two pieces from Schumann's (Davidsbündlertänze: Balladenmäßig and Zart und Singend) and Rachmaninoff's Etude #5 in Eb minor from the Études Tableaux. It felt soooo good to have that kind of challenging piano music in my hands again. I've got to start putting in more practice time CONSISTENTLY! I'm quite good at the occasional 3-5 hour practice day, but on a regular basis? Sigh... no where near...
At NAMM, I practiced my pieces upstairs in the piano room, mostly on Fazioli pianos (I'm a fan). At one point, I sat down and played, completely oblivious to the fact that Paolo Fazioliand Herbie Hancockwere standing less than 7 feet away from me (which someone pointed out after I'd finished playing). Yikes! Mr. Hancock left the room shortly after I played (I didn't get to speak to him), but Mr. Fazioli came over and I had the chance to meet him.
Nate's concert included several amazing musicians, with whom I had the honor to perform:
Paul Jackson, Jr., Ray Parker, Jr., Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Brian Culberton, Darryl Phinnessee, Freddie Washington, many of the members of Stevie Wonder's band, with whom I adore playing, and several others. Over the course of the 2 days I was there, I got a chance to finally sit in with my very talented friend, Matt Cusson, and hung out with several different friends. It was a good trip!
The week after NAMM, I attended the Grand Opening of the Nate WattsPiedmont Piano Store. Owner, Jim Callahan, invited Paolo Fazioli to give a demonstration of his pianos, and I had the chance to speak with and play for him again. After hearing me play, he paid me an enormous compliment and offered me great encouragement for continuing my pursuit of mastery of classical virtuoso piano works. I'm getting there! I had the chance to meet Jonathan Cainand Taylor Eigstithat week.
Keep Music Rockin' Foundation
I gave a lecture at a local high school, teaching the students a couple of Stevie Wonder tunes, and had a great time! The students are really talented and their enthusiasm was infectious.
I was invited to a recording session at Skywalker Ranch, and fell in love...with the ranch!!! Wow! It's just beautiful. Mr. Lucas happened to sit down at the table behind me during lunch. But of course, NO ONE told me that information until after we'd left. DRAT!! I coulda got a picture! lol
My sister celebrated a BIG birthday (I won't say which) by coming to my gig at Marcello's. A huge group of people joined in and it was merriment all around!
I played for a couple of rounds and for the grand finale of the Jazz Search West Competition. The talent was impressive, and I had fun playing with drummerJeff Marrs, bassistGeoff Brennan, and host Kyle Blase
Over the last few months, I've had a bunch of great gigs, fun recording sessions, writing sessions, new writing collaborations yielding dozens of new songs, have been playing and singing more than ever, and feel my musicianship growing. Given the fact that most of my time is consumed with practicing, writing and performing (oh yeah, and teaching!), blogging has become a challenge. I will try to do better, even if it means writing a mere sentence or two. In closing, I've included random photos from my various performances. Enjoy! HAPPY SPRING!!