I know I've not been posting much lately. I promise you that I've been REALLY super, DUPER busy with musical projects and jobs. In fact, GOOD NEWS: Hear it Local has asked me to blog regularly for them, which is super exciting. So, stay tuned.
One of the fun projects I've been part of is a podcast with my friend Juan Raigosa who used to be a KUSF (R.I.P.) DJ. (Juan had me on his show semi-regularly at the end of 2010 to hang out before the station got derailed).
Juan sets up a mini recording studio in his bedroom and I wheel in some of the amazing people of our music community to play music (live and recorded), chat and just tell us about what's happening.
We're thinking of changing the name, but for now it's called Just Push Play.
Just a note that the voting is up for Jonathan Mann's song-a-day project for the month of June. Everyone had a great time and I commend everyone involved for taking part in an incredibly ambitious project. I had a great time popping by and working on it with everyone.
There are a total of 30 tracks, one for each day of June, and only ten of them will appear on the album. YOU GUYS can vote on which ten songs.
Click HERE to listen and vote for the songs where I appear!
With baby faced Wynton Marsalis backstage at Davies Hall
This last weekend was one of those crazy weekends where I was so overbooked with stuff, I finally had to go home and take a nap.
Friday I recorded another song with Jonathan Mann, the song-a-day guy, called "One of These Mornings". It came out pretty darn good considering that one of the computers totally crashed. I got to overdub all sorts of fun Doo-Wap vocals. I also love that the more Jews there are in a room, the more likely Jesus is bound to be referred to as small club entertainer...
And Jonathan, why do all the songs I record end up having super-creepy videos of you staring into the camera? I swear readers, they're not all like that. Jonathan isn't creepy, well not too creepy... okay maybe he's kind of creepy...
Here are some behind the scenes... including some funny faces at :45... and one by Miss Sarah Dabby at 1:38.
Friday night I went to see Angelique Kidjo and Youssou N'Dour presented by SFJAZZ at the exquisite Paramount Theater in Oakland. I saw Angelique perform last year at Stern Grove, and she likes to invite folks to come dance with her on stage. So we did. It was pretty excellent. She's a tiny person with a huge personality. She acts tough and full of attitude, but really, she seems like a sweetheart who likes to boogie. And boogie she does.
The Paramount Oakland marquee, I love this place. It's an art deco fantasy.
The ceiling of the Paramount Theater
Youssou was fabulous as well, but I almost felt like his band was so polished that it lacked some of the excitement that I felt with Angelique, but that could have also been due to how freaking tired I was by the time his band went on.
Saturday I rehearsed with The Backorders for our upcoming show covering the entire Kinks album Muswell Hillbillies on July 14th at the Starry Plough in Berkeley. I sing lead vocals on a song about booze and one about tea. Haha! This is "Alcohol", I'm going to sing it sort of like this lady...
Sunday was the first show of the 2011 Stern Grove Festival, and what an amazing season it is! We saw Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings with Ben l'Oncle Soul, both were phenomenal. l'Oncle is a French Soul Singer and busts out Ray Charles and Otis Redding vocal deliveries with no problem. He had these incredible dancers/backup singers with him. Stern Grove is a LARGE stage, and I've heard reports that there were ten thousand people there. And l'Oncle rivaled the Dap-Kings for sure, but I still love me some Sharon Jones, that little lady is FIERCE. And at 55, she's still getting down like no one's business.
Between her and Angelique, who is 50, these women give any performer 30 years younger than them a run for their money. They are amazing!
Check out this performance of Ben l'Oncle Soul's cover of The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army":
(Tip: if you are driving to Stern Grove, park just north of the park and enter on Wawona and 23rd. I got to the park ten minutes before the music started and I parked two blocks away on Ulloa, entered right there in the back and walked right in down the hill. I couldn't believe how little of a hassle it was. And even if you aren't driving to Stern Grove, it's still a much easier place to enter the park than 19th.)
Sunday evening, I headed on down to Davies Symphony Hall for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The show was incredible. My favorite piece, hands down, was Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" performed in its original "chamber" (my quotations) arrangement: rhythm section (bass, piano, drums) a single clarinet, trumpet and trombone. It was subtle and gorgeous.
My friend knows the drummer, so she got us backstage to say hello, and then we hung out with them for drinks and shot the breeze. Everyone was super nice and I always love listening to folks who spend too much time together banter, this was no exception. It was really cute.
Another tip: If you ever want to buy Mr. Marsalis a drink, he likes high-end Scotch from the bottom of the bottle, so it's really thick with sentiment.
Oh, and Pomplamoose left their East Coast tour today, and that's been a bundle of work. But they've got four shows starting Tuesday night, Brooklyn and Boston are already sold out. They're playing at the Kennedy Center with OK Go for the Millennium Stage's 14th Anniversary, (which we'll be able to stream live) and there's a new single out today called "River Shiver". Things are happening, and it's really exciting.