Dan McKinnon sings

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Instrument abbreviations
(as) - alto sax
(b) - bass
(d) - drums
(f) - flute
(fgh) - flugelhorn
(g) - guitar
(h) - harmonica
(mel) - melodica
(o) - organ
(perc) - percussion
(p) - piano
(ss) - soprano sax
(tb) - trombone
(tr) - trumpet
(ts) - tenor sax
(v) - vocals
(vln) - violin

Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Hey everybody, happy Tuesday! (or whatever day you see this :)

Wow, Pro Tools has a steep learning curve! Most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing. At one point recently it took me a half hour to get my tracks to play through my headphones. I realize confessing this does not cast me in a very favorable light, but if you are a novice at this or anything, maybe it will help you not to feel so alone.

I suppose it is not the best to be too transparent with some things. On the other hand, sometimes being so may help someone else to have more hope. I just finished another YT video, and this was one of the fastest to produce yet. I read where Miles Davis, in a very prolific period, did three albums in something like four days. Yes, he was creative, but he also owed his recording company that many albums and wanted to get out of his contract as quickly as possible so he could sign with a different record label he felt would be more in his interests.

I did an instrumental version of "Have a Little Talk with Jesus" about four years ago. The video I just posted is the same song with an added vocal.

If you watch the new version, you may notice that I recorded the guitar solo "live" during the vocal take. This more reflects a live performance. Which brings me to a topic I hope to cover in this blog that I've been thinking about lately—the night and day difference between public performance and recording in a studio.

One can go even further in the direction of live performance by including the jam session, which often erases the notion of rehearsal / practice. I have had the most incredible musical experiences at jam sessions. On the other end of the spectrum, recording, just the other day I heard of a well-known studio musician, a piano player, who was working with an incredibly famous artist and they did about 167 takes of the song. The session player got so frustrated with the artist that he asked him, "Do you want me to do the same thing on all the takes and try to get it perfect, or do you want each take to be something different?"

Further, I heard that when Ariana Grande does a song in the studio, they do over a hundred takes, and then use the best small sections of all those takes to create one super track! (They have the technology to do that.) Doesn't seem quite fair to regular blue-collar vocalists. Seems like there's something a bit dishonest about the studio. (A dishonesty that I've benefited from, to be frank.)

At any rate, the preceding paragraphs are a teaser for an upcoming blog post about the spectrum in music with the jam session at one end and many-take studio recording at the other.

Monday, February 8, 2021
I waited an eternity to retire. I have time now to follow some interests and passions. But my life is not all easy. There are some terrific artistic and technical challenges in making music, and it is a constant push to meet them. On the other hand, there is inspiration, and grace and gifts from God as resources. And just to have some time is not the end of the struggle. I watch tv and movies a lot. There is some amazing stuff out there. Last night, though, I managed to not settle for mediocre fare and explore some things on YouTube. Here also, there is some questionable stuff, but there is also material that is quite interesting.

Last night I studied about Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame, and that led me to the mutual admiration—and outright competition—that developed between Wilson and Paul McCartney. Both artists were inspired, challenged, and even provoked by one another to make great music. It was nothing less than Ford vs. Ferrari.

What especially resonated with me were several clips of Paul talking about his experience of listening to "Pet Sounds," Wilson's revolutionary, symphonic album that came out in 1966 (around the time of the Beatles' "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver"). A number of reviewers feel that "Pet Sounds" was the greatest American album of all time.

And in my much diminished way, so much so that it is hardly worth noting, McCartney touches on something that I can relate to. A friend, Thomas, remarked on YouTube that with my last song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," that it grabbed his heart. McCartney said of Wilson's "Pet Sounds," I found myself driving in my car with tears streaming down my face [listening to "Pet Sounds"]. It wasn’t really the words or the music, just something so deep in the song that touched me."

I mentioned in a previous entry in this blog regarding my rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" that a couple times in rehearsing it I broke down crying. I was by myself. I couldn't explain this. So if this song that is very humbly crafted and full of technical deficiencies moves you, let's attribute it to God and how He has given us a great gift in the language of music, and uses weak, broken, fragile vessels in His generosity. I so desire that my humble musical efforts, and whatever I do, points toward Him.

Saturday, February 6, 2021
For the last period of time I've been thinking about, playing, and even preparing to record "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

I was practicing "The Christmas Song," and noticed that two songs begin identically—a jump from the first note (tonic) up an octave to the same note. I recorded and posted "The Christmas Song" (actually two versions), and because it was no longer Christmas season, began dinkin' around with "Somewhere."

In the last week I seemed to get the go-ahead from the Boss and a key (the original, e-flat), even though it was at the upper verge of my range. Whatever.

I am changing the way I record songs (see posts below). At any rate, one has to make all kinds of decisions about how to go forward. "Will there be drums?" is one of the first big questions I often ask myself at the start of a project. I could literally write a book—or at least a longish short story—on this subject alone. It continually blows my mind that as long as I've been dinkin' around with music (which has also involved some serious study and exertion at times), there are some really basic things that I've missed. I confess that I have greatly undervalued drummers, for example. (That is putting it in a way that gives some grace to me.) I am sorry, drummers! I really am. (Even now I'm just learning about the relation between the bass line and the kick drum; some people learn this when they're teenagers.)

I read somewhere that "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" may be the most listened to song ever written. I came from a pretty strict religious (what would be the right word here?) "something". It was about 20 or 30 years ago in the midst of this that "Somewhere" entered my world. It sure seems like a spiritual song.

When a song becomes extremely popular (and some do), I believe that it touches some fundamental human issue. In this case, a kind of knowing that this present world falls far short of a yearning each of us has inside us for something better, even a sense that we were created for something better and grander and nobler than what we presently call life on planet Earth.

And isn't music crazy? It is just not formulaic. It moves in realms beyond logical and predictive ways, a really crazy, powerful language God has given us.

Now comes the time for me to be vulnerable. If you've read this far, congratulations (if you like this sort of thing).

Two times as I was rehearsing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (rehearsing by myself), when I got to the bridge, I broke down and could not continue. Isn't that weird? It's also a little scary.

I read up on the song. It was written by Harold Arlen. He and a lyricist, Yip Harburg, wrote it for "The Wizard of Oz." Later Arlen's wife got a brain tumor and was institutionalized for seven years. Then she died. After that, wikipedia says, "He lost interest in life." My eyes moisten when I read those five words. It is scary to me as I realize that I am also losing interest in life. It is a result of all the hard knocks and pain. I mean things that just floor you. Sometimes through people close to you.

I yearn for the next life. Jesus is the door to that. It is not a religious life. It is a loving life.

And I did record it: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Sunday, January 24, 2021
We went to church this morning and worshiped Jesus. There's nothing like it. He is the spirit of the living God. Sherry and Tim Muchira make a powerful worship duo.

My wife and I came home and ate our Sunday dinner. The Bucs beat the Packers. Not sure Aaron Rodgers will be able to get another SB ring. And at this point it looks like Kansas City will win over the Bills. I was pullin' for the Bills.

One thing I've learned: No matter how beautiful a Christmas song, it has a short shelf life. Who wants to listen to Vince Guaraldi's and Lee Mendelson's "Christmas Time Is Here" in February? July? September?

I learned "The Christmas Song" this year and uploaded it (vox with guitar, bass, drums) to YouTube. I worked out another version, a chord-melody solo on my guitar and recorded it recently, before I forget everything in the Christmas-drought months ahead. If I'm still around and playing next Christmas season, it will be easier to pick it up than to learn the song from scratch, but sheesh. All that work to play the song for a couple months at most. Here is the new chord-melody version: The Christmas Song by Mel Torme and Robert Wells.

Monday, January 18, 2021
Much has happened since I last updated this blog. Our national troubles, after so much turmoil through the summer and fall with disease and political and racial unrest, have only gotten worse with the storming of the Capitol in Washington D.C.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. I lie there and my mind starts going, pondering and imagining many things. Occasionally I muster the strength to get out of bed and pray. I have a blanket handy and wrap that around me so I don't have to deal with the cold.

On such a night, the song "Sweet Hour of Prayer" came to me from my past. I sang it to God. It stuck with me the following day and I've been working on it for some time.

After working with a Zoom H4N mini recorder for almost ten years in posting my music videos on YouTube, I was ready for a change. The H4N is only about 8 inches by 4 inches, and 2 inches thick. Though a powerful and valuable tool for recording despite its size, I was ready for something easier to use and with more features. With the H4N, many aspects of recording are like "shooting in the dark" regarding features, resources, settings, and knowing what's going on while recording. With the advent of the use of computers in recording, along with tech gear that continues to get cheaper and cheaper, there is no reason not to upgrade to better recording tools. The use of a graphical interface for recording and mixing makes things much more manageable. (There are also a lot of complexities that come with digital recording, but that's what YouTube is for!)

I bought a relatively inexpensive audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett) to put between my voice and instruments and my computer. It came with free recording software. Influenced by Graham Cochrane, a freelance recording and mix engineer, who records free recording advice through videos on YouTube, I learned much about recording oneself at home. This is my first digital recording using a digital audio workspace, also known as a DAW (Pro Tools First, that came free with the audio interface).

It was a lot of work getting up to this speed, which is still just beginning. I'm a novice with training wheels. But in the long run I will have more control over my recording and can get a better product, I believe.

Here it is: Sweet Hour of Prayer

Thursday, December 24, 2020
I decided to do a version of "Christmas Time Is Here." I contacted my friend Darian Asplund, a musical prodigy, and offered to give him some dough in exchange for accompaniment tracks. Over the course of a week, the project developed into 10 tracks, with four of them drum tracks contributed by Robert Seager, a cohort of Darian's. I was so thankful for Robert's contribution and know that his tracks helped make this track sound great.

You can read below in previous entries how I warmed up to the song, first because of an experience I had with the song in the 1990s, and more recently first with Lauren Daigle (her version on YouTube), and then with Michael W Smith and Vince Gill (their version on YouTube).

I can't say enough about Darian's and Robert's tracks. I have worked with Darian a number of times. On one gig he played only piano. On another he played bass, piano, sax, and flute. He seems equally at home with any instrument. I was especially astounded by his piano on this current project. If I had heard the piano part without knowing who played it, I would have guessed one of the premier Pacific Northwest players like Darren Clendenin. The advantage he has in playing several instruments on a project is that there are no clashes in fills and complementary playing together, enabling the instruments to work as a unit, like an orchestra.

Monday, December 21, 2020
I was fascinated by some more music. Christmas music. I heard Michael Bublé and Lauren Daigle sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" individually. Since hearing this song years ago, I always like the lyric, "From now on, our troubles will be out of sight" and "From now on, our troubles will be miles away..."

What is this thing about trouble coming into our lives? It happens to everybody. "Into each life, a little rain must fall." Despite our hopes, it doesn't take long for trouble to find us.

I used to go to Eastside Foursquare Church in Kirkland, which had so many great musicians and other artists associated with it through the years. Gary Verrill (p), Michael Peterson (v, g), Don Lanphere (ts), Jonathon Pugh (tr), Matt Simmons (v, ts, g), Byron Prather (v, g), and on and on. In the 1990s I got a CD from a musician at church and took it home. I recall putting the CD on and looking out the window, seeing snow on the ground set against a grey, lowering sky. Christmas was approaching quickly with all its frenetic activity, but for a time that moody day there remained a stillness. In this context I heard for the first time "Christmas Time Is Here." I felt God's peace and presence, a gentle, sweet, simple feeling of the spirit of Christmas that had little to do with my usual thoughts, perceptions, and responsibilities.

It wasn't until this year I discovered the song was written by Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson. They wrote it in 1965 for the first animated Peanuts Christmas special. I was already familiar with Guaraldi's great jazz work before his untimely death at a relatively early age.

I listened to the song on YouTube, vocals and instrumentals. Then one day on a lark amidst the strangling Covid constraints, my wife and I began to drive, not knowing where we were going, following our noses. We found ourselves in Snohomish. We went into a bakery to order hot tea and pastries. A jazz rendition of "Christmas Time Is Here" came on. It seemed like more of a sign than coincidence to hear that song at that time. We sat outside under a tent (no inside dining) with our hot tea and muffins.

I listened to Lauren Daigle do this song, and then noticed it was also on a CD by Michael W Smith that featured his duets with various artists. My wife asked, "Do you know what the "W" in Michael W Smith stands for? *Whitaker!*

I listened to the song. Because we happened to be listening to the song on an inexpensive player, I thought Smith did the vocals and his featured artist on that track, Vince Gill, did the guitar break. Later by accident I heard the song on YouTube on my computer with the good speakers. It was a whole 'nother thing!

Smith and Gill trade vocals and then sing together. Gill finishes that section by singing an octave above where he and Smith just sang together. Then a great guitar break, and more vocals to finish the song. So glad I found this a second time.

I have a remarkably high opinion of these musicians (Daigle, Smith, and Gill). For more info on Gill, I recommend listening to this interview in which he describes the times he was really stretched as a musician / singer. "How Vince Gill was in Over His Head - Talking about Sting & Brian Wilson". (I've skipped ahead in the video to the part where he talks about Brian Wilson, but feel free to watch the whole thing :) If you're interested, do a search on "Surf's Up Radio City Music Hall Vince Gill David Crosby" on YouTube and hear the song that stretched him so much.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
A while back I finally got the courage and time to study and learn some guitar luthier things. During this Covid time I find a measure of peace watching a good luthier practice his craft, and there are a number of them on YouTube (for example twoodfrd).

I committed to intonating my guitar and watched a number of videos until I understood the logic of the procedure, which is not that rocket science-y after all. Previously I thought it was not something that could be changed with any degree of accuracy or improvement. This negativity had been building for some years, especially in light of a certain guitar I used to play.

When I first considered a musical "comeback," which in my case was humble, playing publicly in some manner (I thought about retirement centers as a way of hopefully giving seniors joy and improving as a musician and performer), I decided the guitar sound I liked best was that of a nylon-string guitar. This came about pretty much by just one cut from Eliane Elias's album I Thought about You, There Will Never Be Another You, which featured Oscar Castro-Neves (since deceased) on guitar (and a kick butt trumpet solo by Arturo Sandoval, as well as really good singing and piano by Ms. Elias, not to mention the bass playing :).

I won't dwell on the one-to-two years' struggle I had trying to make this guitar (Taylor nylon-string with piezo pickups) work in public performance. All the subtleties of the nylon-string guitar were lost trying to be heard on the bandstand even at a level equal to the other instruments, let alone when soloing. And the feedback problems were horrific. I gave it a good shot, but by the end of two years I gave up, discouraged. (I did however buy an Ibanez steel-string electric hollow-body, which it turned out had its own feedback issues, though less than the nylon.)

Aside from the issues just mentioned, there was also a pretty big intonation problem with the nylon-string guitar, which I believe is well known. I like to play octaves (ala Wes Montgomery) and the further I went up the neck—ascending or descending the neck is more likely with octaves because of the physics involved—the more dissonant this problem became. Steel-string acoustics and even electric guitars (as well as fretted basses) can have intonation problems as well. People told me that a guitar is never fully in tune, and cannot be. I used my energy to study theory, ear-training, and develop a repertoire, as well as get experience performing (and getting gigs and opportunities to play, like jam sessions), and leave guitar setup to the pros.

But recently I did intonate my guitar. (The biggest issue I had were that some of the saddles would bind when I tried to adjust them, risking stripping the flats of the screw heads; I ended up having to take the bridge off to get enough leverage on it to avoid this stripping.) Just last night I took the bridge off again and lubricated all the saddle nuts and bolts, which helped a lot.

The results of all this work were worth it. I have more confidence that wherever I play on the neck it will be in tune (considering I hit the right note :)

Live and learn.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
I discovered a remarkable musician, Valentina Lisitsa. Here she is playing Mozart's Concerto in D Minor. Aside from her playing, I am struck by her artistic disposition. She and her husband had a struggle getting her recognized, but today she is a true YouTube star with 50,000,000 views. (Something about watching her as a sensitive artist, her exquisite playing, and the music itself--Mozart died at age 35 and was a true prodigy--makes me emotional; tears come to my eyes as I watch this.)

Monday, December 7, 2020
Inspired by the content of the previous entry, I worked up a version of The Christmas Song and posted it.

Friday, December 4, 2020
It happened again. Got a song caught in my head. As I go to the YouTube landing page, behold, like everyone else in the world, I am offered many, many videos to watch courtesy of YT's algorithm that accesses the songs and artists I've viewed in the past.

I saw a picture of Nat King Cole and the words "The Christmas Song" underneath. One hears it so much this time of year, but I am seldom given the opportunity to watch him as he sings. Something new happened as I watched, a new appreciation of the man and the song.

When that one was over, I saw a picture of Judy Garland and Mel Tormé and a bunch of people around a piano and clicked that. I sat with my mouth open hearing two great musicians sing the same song, and I remembered as they talked that Tormé wrote the song, along with Bob Wells. In the video he played piano very well, sang lead and harmony with Ms. Garland, and kept things lively.

I also found this story.

"The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" or, as it was originally subtitled, "Merry Christmas to You") is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by musician, composer, and vocalist Mel Tormé (aka The Velvet Fog), and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to "stay cool by thinking cool," the most-performed (according to BMI) Christmas song was born.

"I saw a spiral pad on his piano with four lines written in pencil," Tormé recalled. "They started, 'Chestnuts roasting…, Jack Frost nipping…, Yuletide carols…, Folks dressed up like Eskimos.' Bob (Wells, co-writer) didn’t think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics."

I've heard and read about Tormé in the past and marveled at his talent and ability. (I also remember that he detested his nickname "The Velvet Fog," which I believe was coined by a disc jockey.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
I put a new video on YouTube (YT) a week or so ago. It's a solo guitar chord melody arrangement of "Alfie."

(Invariably, after I work up a song and post it on YT, I get better at performing it, and then wonder if I should record a new one, post it, and take the first one down.)

For the story behind my guitar playing these days, please see my FB page (the new post with a picture of my hand in a black cast).

I posted a comment on Leland Sklar's YT video about his playing with the contemporary Christian band the 2nd Chapter of Acts. Leland Sklar is one of the best pop electric bass players of all time. (that video on YT is here, and I've skipped ahead to where he begins talking about 2nd Chapter of Acts) My comment, if you want to read it without jumping around: "I listen to some of your vids, interested in your bass playing and the stories. Some of your featured artists I do not know or listen to much, but this one…

You are a great artist. God has given you a love for people and animals, a gentle spirit, a remarkable life, imagination, artistic abilities, a love of music, and skill in laying down inventive groundwork for much remarkable music. You are also humble. (I loved your story in this vid about when they gave you room to stretch out and you commented, “What were they thinking?”)

This video took me on a journey into some of my stories and memories. Thank you for posting it. Our pastor was an especial friend of this family and brought them to our church on a number of occasions to perform. Each one was a special person. The life they transfused into the music, their creativity and technical abilities, never eclipsed the content of their songs: Jesus. Matthew Ward is a true freak in every good sense of the word, musically, creatively, and technically. His song “Love” brings tears nearly every time I hear it: https://youtu.be/z9J5qZdMfM4

Friday, October 30, 2020
Hi Everybody!!

I suffered temporary insanity and played a couple of standards I recorded and put on YT. It is crazy that one can do a pretty creative cover of a song and get a copyright hit on YT. Sure, it's intellectual property. I understand that. But how does one get a copyright hit for How Great Thou Art? That's a hymn that's been sung around the world for a long time. Maybe millions if not billions of times? And the person or persons who wrote the song, are they even alive now? Whatever. Anyhoo, I didn't put the names of the songs in the titles to avoid the copyright hits. I was curious to see if they got me anyway. So far so good.
1) Unnamed Standard - Jeopardy Challenge     
2) Name that Standard

Saturday, September 19, 2020
I remember in the early tech days, maybe 2003 or 2005 (which is actually more like the Middle Ages of technology), when desktop applications were still the big thing, though they got a lot of help from the Intermet--I know, it's misspelled for comic effect, people! Anyhoo, I had a website and actually hosted it from my home, paying a huge price for a static IP. I wasn't getting many hits, so contracted with an outfit named "I Need Hits." They were supposed to increase your hit count by marketing or whatever (which in retrospect did seem a little vague). Sure enough the hits on my site went up. But I was sophisticated enough to track the IPs from where these extra hits came from, and guess what... They were all coming from a server controlled by I Need Hits. IOW, it was fraud. (I guess they did increase my hits at that, just not my views by real people.) The web hosting company I have now supplies hit counts, but I don't know if it's legit. If it is, I get about 2 or 3 hits per day. So maybe in a month there are a few people who actually listen or read a little on my site? I can dream can't I?

But in case anyone is listening, I'll continue to share my random thoughts. Since my painful experiences during the Covid months, I've stopped studying jazz (guitar and voice) pretty much, but my energy and focus and passion for music (much more limited than in times past due to age) has transferred to Christian music. Last night however, I watched a video that I think is quite good, whether one is trying to learn jazz, or any kind of music, or any subject, really.

The teacher's name is Denis Chang. I know the middle part especially is pretty technical, but I encourage you to stick with it. He has a lot of experience teaching and his main point is that really each musician, or student in any field, is self-taught, and that one only advances when they take an individual approach, and take initiative, to be honest with themselves, explore, observe closely (which in music involves listening), and work on things that help them improve. This link is a YouTube video.

And as long as I'm preaching, I'll add this. Listening is a lost art, whether that's music, conversations, the Bible, the Lord. God's way is not impossible. He said His yoke is easy, and His burden light (as hard to believe as that is at times).

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
For about three weeks, even while working on my last cover, "God Will Make a Way" (composed by Don Moen), the song "What Can I Do" came strongly to me and was in my mind for weeks. As is my wont, I "reverse engineered" the song in Sibelius by ear, listening to a number of versions, including a tutorial by one of the composers (Paul Baloche). But because I can't hear chords as well as basslines, I settled on chords primarily by the bassline. (I noticed an error in the tutorial tablature and reported it on the YT tutorial page :)

I came up with my own arrangement and played bass (which was really the most fun part of the project for me), guitar chords, voice, and a guitar solo.

Here it is on YT.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Been forever since I posted.

I figured out God Will Make a Way by ear, took a drum track from Band in a Box, played a bassline to it with my cheap Guitar Center bass, and then sang and played guitar accompaniment. For the second chorus I played a guitar solo. It was a lot of work, but fun. I like the song and believe in it.

I'm working on another song. I'll post it when I'm done, God willing. There are some chord issues. I'm figuring out the bassline now. If you're a bass player, I suggest you throw your sheet music away and stop playing 1s and 5s (though I do on some (most) of my YT tracks, as a novice player :). The bass is the most important instrument.

I listened to Stevie Winwood play a gospel hymn named Now the Green Blade Riseth about Christ coming back from the dead. (Listen to the bass and imagine the song without it.) I'm out.

Monday, July 20, 2020
This is my blog and I can say what I want. Why not? Few if any read it, and no one has yet contacted me challenging (or even discussing) anything I've written here. waaa!

Music is a group effort, a team sport. For sure.

But if I had to choose, I believe the bass (bass player) is the most important part of any jazz band, and is absolutely essential to almost all other kinds of music. I doubt jazz would exist as we know it without the bass. I used to have a huge bias toward standup bass, but in the last few years have really come to appreciate the electric bass (guitar, so called). All one has to do is listen to an evening of someone like Tim Carey, or any of a number of other prodigious dedicated electric bass players, to get my point.

Although Dean Schmidt plays upright, I know him as more of an electric bass player. He really shines! Certainly one of the best I've heard.

And if you spend any time on YouTube, and like to play with backing tracks, you can't go wrong with MrSunnybass. A great player!

BTW, I posted a new video, Alfie, the Bacharach composition. It was his favorite of all the songs he composed. Dionne Warwick covered it as an afterthought to fill space on her album--after 42 others had already covered it--but hers was the most popular version. (I think I did my research right :)

Alfie. I've liked (loved?) this song from my youth. The film? Not so much. Never seen it, apparently about a womanizer, which behavior I don't condone. I believe this is a Christian song, per the lyrics pertaining to heaven and kindness, and Alfie being a kind of stand-in for God, a sympathetic ear, as the singer ruminates the basics of life.

Saturday, June 27, 2020
Yesterday I finally got an opportunity to finish Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, after a long week of doing various things not related to music. God gave me space yesterday to finally record this song after working on it several weeks.

The recording process is literally a trip. Often while recording a take of singing or soloing, I think it sucks. So I do another. And then another. Until I get worn out and yet agitated. Later, after I settle for a take and move on to the next thing needed in finishing the recording, it seems it's ok, better than I thought, or even worse than I thought during the recording. It seems there is no predicting this before listening to the take.

I have been reading things about or by Carol Kay the bassist. She is becoming quite popular on YouTube, though the bulk of her prolific work she accomplished decades ago. She said that when she started getting session work, she was shunned by performing jazz musicians, whom she had finally been accepted and welcomed by. She also talks about the random but artsy and even serendipitous ways things can happen on a recording session.

I can really relate to this. With my most recent recording mentioned above, I did the guitar solo maybe four or five times, having to wait several minutes each take for the right place to come in during the recording. All this seemed to take years.

They were all unsatisfactory. Because of my recording technique, I overwrite the previous take with a subsequent one. I was getting tired, and still hadn't mixed the backing track I would sing to. All that was ahead of me. I decided to do one more guitar solo take and stick with it no matter what, which I did. Later during mixing for the backing track, I realized I had meant to do two guitar solo choruses, but had only done one and a half (instead of two A-B choruses, I did the first A-B and stopped soloing after the first A of the second chorus). So while recording the singing, I filled in that blank space with whistling, and ended the song with a vocal chorus. I never would have whistled if not for ending my solo too soon. But now maybe that will be something I do more of.

This reminds me of Trish Hatley (not that I'm comparing myself with this great singer). She is a really good improvisational jazz whistler. But she needed some oomph as she wasn't confident enough to pursue it during a performance. It was an elderly friend whose enthusiasm for her jazz whistling (and she considered it an obligation to honor this friend's request) that she whistled some choruses on her album. It was for him. Without the request, I would never have enjoyed her whistling, which is legitimate jazz art.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
I love stories. It's probably a bad habit to do right before bed, but I go to YouTube and they have quite a number of suggestions of what I can watch. There are a lot of fairly obscure people who post things on YT, and I click and watch a number of them, especially if they have to do with music. I saw a video of a guy who figured out the bass line on Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman," and he performed it on his bass. It was awesome, and I began to follow the meandering and fascinating story of the song.

Creating a memorable bass line on a pop song determines whether it will be a hit or not. It is part science, part imagination, a lot of creativity, and a whole lot of mystery. Basically if you hire someone whose track record is good, they will come up with something that influences the arrangement of the whole song, and could make a ton of money. Several decades ago, that person was Carol Kay. It's her bass line, created on the fly at a recording session, that helped propel "Wichita Lineman" into the big time (along with Jimmy Webb's songwriting and Campbell's voice, guitar, and appeal). Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" ranked "Wichita Lineman" at number 195.

I believe that at least some of the time, popularity equals great art, that common people resonate with something in a song or painting so simply and directly that it can't help but become well known and iconic.

Jimmy Webb wrote the song. Here's what he says about it:

"I wanted it to be about an ordinary fellow. Billy Joel came pretty close one time when he said 'Wichita Lineman' is 'a simple song about an ordinary man thinking extraordinary thoughts.' That got to me; it actually brought tears to my eyes. I had never really told anybody how close to the truth that was.

"What I was really trying to say was, you can see someone working in construction or working in a field, a migrant worker or a truck driver, and you may think you know what's going on inside him, but you don't. You can't assume that just because someone's in a menial job that they don't have dreams... or extraordinary concepts going around in their head, like 'I need you more than want you; and I want you for all time.' You can't assume that a man isn't a poet. And that's really what the song is about."

Campbell filled in what might have been a third verse with a guitar solo, one now considered iconic. He still can recall playing it on a DanElectro six-string bass guitar belonging to legendary L.A. bass player and Wrecking Crew member Carol Kaye. It remains Glen's favorite of all his songs. And he played it on an electric bass.

Sunday, June 14, 2020
I spent a lot of my life pursuing things other than music. But I've also spent a lot of time studying and practicing music, especially in my youth and even more so since retiring in 2013.

If I had just a few words to pass on to players of any age, but especially to young players, I would recommend that they focus more on learning by ear rather than with their eyes. Spend a lot of time just listening. Then listen and analyze. Notate and use your voice and / or instrument to play with and experiment and really absorb it.

Some of the best musical experiences I've had is being somewhere and missing or not hearing the melody of a song, and just listening to the chord changes, with the bass line. Sometimes these sound so intriguing and I know I've heard and / or played the song before, and then it comes to me. This makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere. I did this with Stella by Starlight not long ago. For some players the songs would be instantly recognizable just by the changes, but for me it is a big deal.

My current process is to work on a new song for however long by ear until I have all or quite a bit of it. With some songs this can turn into drudgery, but I plug away at it. With some I listen to a song umpteen times just for the bass. (I have a hard time figuring out chords, too many notes sounding at once I guess.) As I work bar by bar, I notate in Sibelius, which allows one to play back the bars one notates.

When I've worked quite a bit on a song, and have it pretty well figured out, I reward myself by looking at the sheet music or a chord chart of the song. Over the last few years, it is surprising and very satisfying to see that this work pays off, that I'm getting better. My ears are better and more reliable than I think. As this happens, one begins to trust one's ears.

I recommend a movie named Hearing Is Believing. It details the story of a young musical prodigy named Rachel Flowers who cannot see. Everything she learns, she learns by ear, including complex classical pieces, jazz, and experimental music. She is also a composer. Additionally, she is a multi-instrumentalist. She learns to play instruments very quickly at a performance level. Although her main instrument is piano, she also excels at flute, guitar, and bass. She even sings well. She also is invited by music stars to perform with them, for example Keith Emerson, Taylor Eigsti, Dweezil Zappa, Arturo Sandoval, and others.

I am in a whole new world now. I just figured out a song using only the melody. Rather than listen to other people do it, I chose chords that sounded best to me. Then, even though I knew the chords I wanted to use, rather than just play the 1s and 5s for the bass based on a mental analysis of the music, I figured out bass lines that just sounded good and melodic--complementary to the melody.

I am working on my patience also. Rather than rush to get something recorded, I experiment more, and try to take my time. Recently I worked about three weeks figuring out and scoring a version of a song I liked, getting all the various parts by ear: bass, chords, electric guitar. Then I created a backing track from all that to sing to. One afternoon after I had uploaded the song to YouTube, I just sat down and played guitar only while I sang. I did this for several days, and one day on a whim recorded and videoed it. I put it on YouTube and I liked it so much better than the previous one, which took hours and hours, that I took the first one down. I really believe, however, that all that first work was not in vain, and contributed to my performance on the second version. (This is one of my principles, and is from Proverbs in the Bible, which says, "There is profit in all labor." Nothing is wasted.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
For the last week I've been playing around with my looper. This afternoon I created a redo of my last YT video. I hope the Lord can use it.

Sunday, June 7, 2020
I knew there was a Black Lives Matter rally and march in Mukilteo this afternoon. I prayed about whether to go. Donna went with me. I believe it was God's will for my life to go.

There may have been almost a thousand people marching. Many were people of color. It was simply an effort for change against racism. It was not incendiary or destructive.

One of the placards I remember was "All lives don't matter if black lives don't matter"

When we first got there and I was feeling tentative I noticed that the 20s-something man walking in front of me had on a black sweatshirt. On the back it said, "Jesus. People. Church." I took it as a sign from above.

The reason I went to the march today was the hope that by this older white man going, maybe it would by God’s grace make for a safer and better future for my black friends and their children.

Friday, June 5, 2020
I am much attracted to the Psalms these days, and I have discovered The Message translation of them, by Eugene Peterson. Bono of U2 is also a big fan of The Message and Eugene Peterson (here is a YouTube link). (I may have more to say about this in future blog entries; the previous link is just a teaser :)

Here is the Psalm translated by Peterson that spoke most clearly to me: http://biblegateway.com

Friday, June 5, 2020
I have been praying for our country, the people that is. We are reeling from disease of our bodies, minds, and spirits. Almost as many Americans died in the Civil War (over 600,000) as all other wars in which Americans fought combined. Despite all that bloody death, conflicts between the races continue. We are terribly divided. African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, Filipinos, South Sea Islanders, Middle Easterners, Caucasians, and others make up this land.

We can't make it without God. For me and my house, God has a son named Jesus. I see in the church examples of unity and division.

For the last several months, I've been trying to do music that more directly speaks of God. Yet yesterday I began to play "I've Got Rhythm" out of the blue. What gives?

Jazz is an African American music. Yet anyone can play it who wants to (barring copyright considerations).

Gospel is primarily African American-influenced music, born of pain and slavery. And it's music for all tribes and tongues according to the Bible. There is even country gospel, and African American country singers. It's hard to make formulas and generalizations. One just has to go with the Spirit.

I was playing with my looper for the first time in forever. Normally in a jazz song, the chording and bass line is slightly different in the first and last choruses than the middle jam choruses. It's probably best not to do that live because if the loop takes too long to make, the audience might get antsy. (One could prerecord a multi-chorus loop with differing choruses, though.)

Loopers are a trip. I'm getting better at using it. There are advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that one can sound like a band even though playing by oneself. The main disadvantage is that one can sound like a band even though playing by oneself. As one comedy duo member said to the other, "Did you see what I did there?" :)

I got that line (or was reminded of it) from watching Holey Moley last night. (It is quite a bit like Wipeout.) I really did not want Frat Boy to win. He won over an Asian woman and a black man. Frat Boy reminded me of bullies in high school. But apparently he was the best golfer on that particular night. (What are you going to do?)

So we took a break from the news and watched regular tv last night. I really liked Young Sheldon. And To Tell the Truth (hosted by Anthony Anderson, with help from his mother) was just incredible. Amanda Seales guessed the right person each time. What I find amazing is that quite often the imposters fool almost everyone, and at times everyone. (That's really scary.) Sometimes I watch shows like Dateline or 60 Minutes where there is someone whose real (wicked) self is hidden, and they pass themselves off as harmless and lovable. It is fascinating but horrible, and I usually regret watching these. It is just so creepy that we are fooled by some people. I have been fooled by hidden people. Years ago my roommate and I let a guy stay with us and he stole my roommate's car. Another time when I lived alone I let a minister stay with me and he stole my car. What a drag. God blessed me to get it back, but it was also broken. A minister of the gospel yet.

My wife isn't like that. She is a gem. I love her.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
This is a website and blog about music, but I find the different facets of my life overlap and affect one another. Today was in some respects a hard day; I had a number of things I had to do that I didn't want to, and the things I wanted to do I didn’t really get to so far. But I’ve always liked to write, so now I've arrived at those better things.

I read and heard the fascinating story by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel about the writing / composing of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Simon had been listening to gospel music at the time, especially the Swan Silvertones. Although the beginnings of the song were fairly straightforward and quick, it was months of labor before the song was released.

I am starting down a songwriting path. Songwriting is a wonder, and that yours truly is on this journey is surprising.

My previous attempts at songwriting, at least before my last one a couple weeks ago, Song of Assents, seemed to teach me that I had no natural talent for it. But in my case that doesn’t seem to matter; I just pray asking God to give me things. And wait. (It feels like cheating, but this is the same way I made it through college. :) With the song just mentioned, I woke with the central motif in my head one morning, and went immediately to my guitar (or was it the small electric keyboard by my bed?) and captured it before it was gone forever. From there I wrote it in Sibelius and figured out chords. Anyway, there is a lot more I can say, but the song went through many iterations and changes before its final form. All this took weeks.

On the suggestion of a friend, my wife and I watched We Are Together (Thina Simunye) (2006, imdb rating 7.7). This documentary details the story of several siblings of one family and other orphans in the Agape orphanage in South Africa, and how their singing opens doors for them internationally. (This movie can be viewed for free on Amazon Prime.) Their joy in singing is set against the intense suffering they endure as the children of parents who succumbed to AIDS. Spoiler alert: They record with Zwai Bala, the South African pop singer, along the way. So I was introduced to Bala and some of his story. In 1988, at age 13, Bala became the first black member of the then-segregated Drakensberg Boys' Choir School, singing only in English and Africaans. He said he very nearly quit because of how mean the white boys were to him, but his father talked him into sticking it out, which his father said would open doors for other black children. Today half the members of that choir are black.

Saturday, May 30, 2020
I listened to a number of songs I let YouTube play in succession for me that had a common theme: Dallas Holm. Thus I heard a number of his songs I haven't heard before. What a talent and man of God. I also heard a young man named Connor Simpson sing a praise song by the Imperials I used to like and occasionally sing, Praise the Lord.

I like Dallas Jenkins, the director of The Chosen on YouTube (and available on other streaming outlets). I think he walks with the Lord, and is a real pro. This is his time, and he's doing what the Lord created him to do. He has an aphorism (or saying) before they begin a task or start shooting that came about over time, but started from an umpire from his baseball days: "Here we play". He may say it multiple times during a day. Here is a link to his routine on a day of shooting. (this was just posted today and already has almost 5000 views)

I just made up a pithy saying from my experience. "Listen to your ears." I realize it is kind of silly, but maybe that helps make the point. I constructed this by feel because of the truth and my many musical and other listening experiences. (Jenkins trusts his camera guy with the visuals, but monitors the dialogue closely for authenticity, humor, and humanness; that is impressive and important in my opinion, and revelatory, that he thinks the sound is ultimately more important in a movie, which is all about the visuals for most people.) My aphorism was engendered today because of Connor Simpson. If one goes by sight with Connor, one might turn the video off before he even begins to sing, thus missing the great genius and talent he has.

Friday, May 29, 2020
I get songs in my head and I have to work on them to get them out. That's the way it works with me.

I have known about Dallas Holm's A Broken Heart for two or three decades, but it slipped from mind for some time. Holm is a Christian singer and guitar player who made it big in the early Jesus People days in the 1970s and following decades. He has a pretty high voice for a big man. He is a talented singer and guitarist. But his real gift is songwriting.

I attended predominantly African American churches for about seven years after I first got saved in 1979. The musicians in our church and the African American churches we often visited and fellowshipped with were just phenomenal and unknown by white Christianity. For every black Christian singer, man or woman, who makes it in mainstream contemporary Christian music (CeCe and BeBe Winans, Mandisa, Tauren Wells are examples who have made it in the predominantly white market; Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Hezekiah Walker, and others in the predominantly black market) there are probably multiple equally talented African American musicians who are never heard of outside their relatively small spheres of influence.

Dallas Holm was one of just a few white songwriters whose songs were sung in the black churches, especially I Will Rise Again.

These days I gravitate more and more toward the human side of Jesus, and relationships over religion, as portrayed in the series The Chosen on YouTube. Here is a link to a cast roundtable in which they speak on this emphasis.

This song is right there. Instead of an angry and mechanical savior grudgingly fulfilling a necessary obligation for people he didn't much care for, we have a vulnerable and tender man whose love drove him to the cross, and whose heart broke from the weight of everyone's sin and failure.

Not sure what else to say about my version of this song, except that I really like and relate to it. It focuses on Jesus, trying to know and appreciate just what it was that he did for us.

I was disappointed with the final product, especially because I worked pretty hard on it. I figured the song out by ear. I broke down the melody, chords, and each instrument and notated them in Sibelius. Then I created a track for each instrument so I could control volume when I mixed it. Then I created several more instrument tracks with Band in a Box. In all I think I had seven tracks that I created that I then mixed in Audacity. (I probably should have simply practiced my singing more instead of doing all that.) And I should clarify here that unlike some of my videos, I did not play all the instruments, but rather used Sibelius's and Band in a Box's capability of creating .wav files from music I had programmed.

Thursday, May 14, 2020
I've been working on an original song—somewhat in conjunction with our church's arts community group—for a couple weeks that I finally posted on YT today. It sure went through a lot of iterations. At first it sounded like an old-fashioned hymn. Then I made two versions, one with a swing beat, and the other with a bossa nova one. In the end I settled on a rock beat. I first got the melody, and figured out chords to that. I wrote some lyrics in the beginning, but the final lyrics didn't come until the song was almost finished, with melody and chords already done. They were pretty different from the first lyrics. Because the song lyrics remind me of a Psalm, I call it Song of Assents after the Psalms convention "Song of Ascents".

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
I went through a tough time a couple months ago.

During the start of the Covid-19 onslaught in March, I got sick with symptoms like the disease, unlike I could ever remember having: persistent sore throat at the back of my throat under my nasal passages, cough with no phlegm whatsoever, which is very different from colds, coughs, and flus I've had in the past.

After five suffering days, I called my doctor's office and was immediately transferred to a woman who listened to my symptoms and advised me to have a Covid-19 test the same day. She set it up just an hour from the time I called.

Outside at a tent in the parking lot of my health provider, a woman wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) put a swab way up my nose for a sample. I didn't get out of my car. As I drove out, she gave me a CDC document that instructed me how to live until the test results came back, which could take up to five business days (a week after I had the test because the weekend isn't business days). My lifestyle was very constrained. I could only leave our house if my condition worsened to go to the hospital. Stay in one room, use a bathroom not used by anyone else. I was to keep the door closed. I had to wear a mask when I came out of my room. I was not to eat with others or use the same dishes or utensils.

I got the test results back on Saturday, three days after the test. It was negative. But my symptoms continued. (I talked to my sister, a retired nurse practitioner who went back to work to fight Covid in her community, and she didn’t seem so sure that I was free and clear; a doctor who worked with her had tested negative and was even then in intensive care with the disease.) Nevertheless, I was very relieved and thanked God.

Much of my stress came from the fear that I might have infected others. I'd taken risks before getting sick in gathering with others, especially regarding listening to live music (see below), which had become my lifestyle. The thought that I might pass the disease on to others was as frightening and condemning as having the disease myself. I am over 65, as is my wife, and a number of our friends are this age or almost this age, which means that we are particularly at risk.

I have not listened to much jazz since that time. My focus has changed instead to spiritual music. I am a Christian. You can read about my conversion at age 28 on the About page of this website.

Friday, April 3, 2020
My wife and I have been staying at home during the coronavirus per our city's mayor and our state's governor. Our prayers are with the many people who are hurting with the disease and because of it. We have been praying.

I created a couple new videos and put them on YouTube. I also reposted on Facebook a video of an instrumental Christian song, The Steadfast Love of the Lord. I originally created that video about five years ago.

Saturday, February 22, 2020
Entre Mundos at Hotel Sorrento. Adriana Giordano, Eric Verlinde, Dean Schmidt, Jeff Busch, and unknown percussionist. Music was without parallel, mostly Brazilian in Portuguese.

It is a wonderful experience to hear music of this caliber. Four musicians playing together, and yet each a virtuoso. (It is also a little discouraging because I can't help but compare them to where I'm at, and I am just nowhere near their abilities.)

Saturday, February 8, 2020
The most noteworthy band I've heard in some time was the Jazz Misfits with Janet Mudge (vocalist) at Egans. Frontline is alto, trumpet, and trombone. What a sound. Great bassist and drummer, and piano most inventive I've heard in a while. Janet added a lot on her vocals. Great arrangements. A gem of a night of music.

Monday, December 16, 2019
Before recent surgery on my hand, which I considered and prayed about for a year, God kindly gave me some opportunities to play my guitar publicly at the Anchor Tavern in Everett sitting in with the Tim Koss band, and at jam sessions in Redmond and Seattle. Pain in my fretting hand over the last two years greatly curtailed my guitar and bass playing. An injection of cortisone into my left thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) joint helped, but future use of my left hand needed something more aggressive, not just for guitar playing but general use of my hand.

One of the mysteries of this ailment was that of all the musicians I know, none have this problem. I felt alone and without guidance until I found this website: Acoustic Guitar Forum thread about hand surgery

In the meantime I have been singing with choirs and performing vocally at my usual haunts. From time to time I create videos I post on YouTube. This link leads to my channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Dtruthseek

My musical sense has continued to develop and it is encouraging that God is opening new things to my understanding and abilities. Just today I discovered this gem: Tony Bennett and Bonnie Raitt, I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues I especially like the arrangement and instrumental accompanists, but Tony and Bonnie really bring it!.

My most recent endeavors have been a reposting of some Christmas songs I created a year ago. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and I'll Be Home for Christmas

Friday, October 18, 2019
We took a road trip to Southern California. The most intense musical experiences were a couple open mics, one in Morro Bay and the other in Paso Robles.

We took maybe 9 CDs with us, from Christian contemporary to jazz. By far the most popular, played all the way through maybe nine times, was Paul Green's Creativity. I feel like these songs are good enough to be played on any jazz station anywhere in the world. I am surprised they are not. We had a great day driving up Highway 1 from Cambria to Monterey with Paul and his cohorts as our soundtrack, notably Danny Kolke, Eric Verlinde, Nate Parker, John Hansen, David Marriott, Dave Peterson, and others. That was a great memory. Spectacular scenery, great jazz, and not without the feeling of artsy freedom that drew visionaries to this area near Big Sur, CA, from as far back as the 1920s—Edward Weston, Richard Brautigan, Emile Norman, Jack Kerouac, Ansel Adams, Henry Miller, and others.

I played a gig at Port Gardner Bay Winery with Darian Asplund on piano and sax and Steve Kim on bass. It had its high points, for example I sang publicly for the first time my composition You Is Me. I published this song on YouTube two years ago.

I've played and sung at jam sessions. And this website isn't just about me. I want to highlight others that I hear. I am perpetually on the music scene listening.

Yesterday I heard several notable performances, a duo named BEC (@BecLynnMusic) and an open mic at Port Gardner Bay Winery. Lynda Schultz sang Besame Mucho with a guitarist (so wish this could have been recorded).

Also very impressed with the singer Leah Stillwell. She is a great singer and performer, but her poetry and message are noteworthy.

The Snoqualmie Valley Gospel Choir has started up again with original music by Danny Kolke.

Monday, September 9, 2019
Today I'll mention two subjects that are 800-pound gorillas in the room that are really there, but no one wants to acknowledge them.

The first is the tension that sometimes occurs when instrumentalists play with singers. Maybe I'll deal with that one another day. Or maybe I'll chicken out, which is the wiser move.

The other is the dynamics and issues of two (or even more) chording instruments on the stand at the same time. There can be wars, and so much playing going on that the music sounds muddy to the point that it is hindered rhythmically and artistically. I have especially heard of tension between guitar players and piano players. It really depends on who they are, as some players have not only made it work, but optimized and almost trademarked the resulting stellar sound dynamic.

Some pianists who make it big prefer guitar accompaniment and interplay. Gene Harris and Ron Eschete, Gene Harris and Jim Mullen, Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass (along with, at other times, Peterson pairing up with Herb Ellis or Barney Kessel). Here is an example of the latter).

There are also some famous organ, guitar, drums (OGD) trios. In this case the organist plays the bass as well as the higher register chords, fills, and solo work. Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery is probably the most well-known of this trio configuration, though there are many others.

What got me thinking about this was a cut I heard on KNKX this morning, Nat King Cole singing Embraceable You. Cole's trios nearly always included a guitarist (instead of a drummer). Of Irving Ashby, Oscar Moore, and John Collins, all who played guitar in trio settings with Cole, I know least about and have heard least of John Collins, but I believe he is the guitarist on this cut I mentioned earlier in this blog entry. Their interplay is great. Cole really gives him a lot of leeway. For me the guitar makes this track.

Thursday, September 5, 2019 (first entry)
I'm thankful to God for the musical freedom I have. I can follow my muse. On my way to the Royal Room the other night I heard Miles Davis' On Green Dolphin Street. I was fascinated by the bass line. I loved it. It's a song I don't do and have wanted to analyze for a long time. In the old days I would have looked at the music. These days I don't look at the music until I've listened to a song a bunch of times, maybe learned some or even all of the bassline, and tried to figure out the chords. My ear is better than it was, but wow, sometimes it's discouraging. When I spend time with a song like this, it means so much more to me, and I bond with it. So now I can almost play the whole bassline on my electric bass (that I bought from Guitar Center new for $150 :)

Another song I've been listening to and trying to learn is Body & Soul. I love the basslines I hear on various versions. It is an unusual chord progression in my experience (though maybe not for other musicians). I listened to Chet Baker sing it. I listened to mostly tenor players play it, Scott Hamilton, Dexter Gordon, and others. So far I like Sonny Stitt's version the best. Man, there was a player.

Thursday, September 5, 2019 (second entry)
It took me a couple days of hard work to prime and then paint a room in our house. While I worked I played YouTube with its autoplay feature on, so it figured out additional songs to play one after another in the same genre at which I started. So I was exposed to artists I normally wouldn't have listened to.

For some time I got in an instrumental loop. I listened to trumpet players mostly. I like Freddie Hubbard and think he was a great artist. I also got in a Scott Hamilton loop. He is one who at a certain point decided to stick with the swing players like Ben Webster and did not venture further into bop, the cool, and more freeform exploration. Although there is no comparison of him and me musically, I traveled a similar path. I tried to play blues first, couldn't do it (although I did manage somehow to play with good musicians here and there). Then I tried to play bop. It was more of trying to be a hipster than liking or understanding the music. I read Charlie Parker's biography, and I think Miles Davis's, and their drug addiction and alienating behavior toward others undercut my estimation of them, though of course their musicality is unparalleled. I was failing at the technique and musical know-how to play bop. Then I let a really stellar bop sax player stay with me because he didn't have anywhere to go. He was addicted to heroin. He disappeared one day with my Gibson ES175 and my Ampeg amp. I was ripe for something else.

I go an audition to play with a swing band and got the gig, though shared it with another guitarist. We each played half the gigs. I loved playing with these guys, though their ears were just so much better than mine, and they played so musically / lyrically: phrasing, soul, knowing what to play and what not to.

At a certain point I had an epiphany. Bop grew out of a cadre of musicians who were so solid on the fundamentals and were pushing boundaries. And here was me, a novice, not-very-good musician with big holes in my fundamentals trying to play this advanced music. I had another epiphany not so many years ago, like two. It happened one night when a band tried to play Boplicity. I don't think the piano player knew the song and was reading. And I think people generally feel that bop is played super fast. It was a disaster and I think one of the players, the guy who called the song and knew what it should sound like, told the piano in front of everyone to "lay out." The next time I heard the song from the era, I was astounded at its lyricism. Same with other songs like My Little Suede Shoes, and even the faster ones like Ornithology.

Anyway, back to the painting project. Some of these performances literally blew my mind, and a couple brought tears. I got into a Tony Bennett duo loop with him singing with all kinds of pop singers (one at a time) including Marc Antony, Queen Latifah, Diana Krall, and quite a few others including Latino and country singers. Then I got in an Andrea Bocelli loop where he sang with one other performer at a time, singers or musicians. Oh man there was some good stuff. Pretty impressed with Chris Botti, Heather Headley. I just love to listen to Andrea Bocelli. There is an understated sweetness there that is just powerful.

Sunday September 1, 2019
This day I heard the last installment of school jazz bands playing for Sea Jazz on the Edmonds waterfront. The group was Mountlake Terrace High School jazz quartet, and they were very good. Piano, drums, bass, trumpet. Later that evening I heard a double concert at the Royal Room, 2 piano trios. The first was Shawn Schlogel, then Jonas Myers. Playing with Shawn were Drew Baddeley (b) and Max Wood(d). With Jonas were Ryan Donnelly (b) and William Mapp (d). These sets included originals, reworkings of pop tunes, and covers. Really, really impressive, and a good size crowd paying the cover charge. The audience was there to listen, and the bands did not disappoint.

Saturday August 31, 2019
The Cottage, Bothell - open mic

I sang Bye, Bye Blackbird and Besame Mucho for a mostly non-jazz audience. We heard some good music of the folk and singer/songwriter genre.

Saturday August 31, 2019
Random note:

Two of my favorite tenor players, among many I admire, are Zoot Sims and Scott Hamilton. There is just so much good music on YouTube. In the old days one would have to have a lot of vinyl records to keep abreast of the players, or go to a lot of jam sessions.

Friday August 30, 2019
SoulFood Coffee, Redmond - twice monthly jazz jam session

House band:
John Roth (b)
Rob Lowe (g)
Mark Jelsing (d)

People sitting in:
Adam Chmag (ts)
Another saxophone player whose name I didn't catch, as well as two guitar players, a piano player, three vocalists including me, and a djembe player.

This was the kind of jam session I wish happened more often. Really fun. The tenors were on fire. I sang Bye Bye Blackbird and Watch What Happens. The last song of the night was Donna Lee, and I got to sing two vocal choruses at the breakneck speed. The tenor players were just awesome. Adam and his friend are players to watch.

Sunday August 18, 2019
Inside Out - Sunday jazz at the Anchor Tavern in Everett

House band:
Tim Koss (b)
Brent Jensen (as)
Dave Peterson (g)
Mark Jelsing (d)

People sitting in:
Scot Bachler (as)
2 saxophone students of Brent Jensen, alto and tenor
Frank Kohl (g)
John Roth (b)
me (v)

Wow. To have Jensen and Bachler on the stand at the same time is amazing. Two of the greatest alto players in the Pacific NW. Peterson fantastic as usual. Mark was in the zone. Really great jazz music this afternoon. John Roth sat in for a set and really played well.

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Newport Jazz, Tony Bennett concert, 2002

Tony Bennett (v)
Lee Musiker (p)
Clayton Cameron (d)
Paul Langosch (b)
Gray Sargent (g)
Antonia Bennett (v) - (Bennett's daughter)

We have a smart tv and are able to pull up anything on YouTube. These musicians could put on a great show with no vocalists. Add Mr. Bennett and his daughter Antonia and it was a great night of music, with literally something for everyone: virtuoso jazz instrumentalists, swinging vocalists, and storytelling of the first order.

Wednesdays from 5-7pm and Sundays from 1-3pm, through September 1
Port of Edmonds, on the waterfront behind Anthony's Home Port

Several times I've attended these free jazz concerts. The Edmonds School District musicians' ages range from middle school to high school. There are some very good players indeed. Highly recommended. I agreed with one listener that the concerts are a great way for developing young players to get performing experience, and the audience benefits also, with no cover charge. Sponsored by Port of Edmonds, Anthony's, and School of Rock.

Friday, August 2, 2019
Donna and I drove out to a jazz capitol of the NW, North Bend, WA, and the new venue of pianist extraordinaire, Danny Kolke. I'm not sure his new venue has a name yet, but it is operational. His former club, Boxley's, attained national ranking as a jazz venue. For the last several years, Wildflower Winery has hosted all manner of jazz concerts and jams, almost all facilitated by Kolke. But he has his own club now located at 228 North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045. (Wildflower Winery also moved and coincidentally relocated right next door.) For more information about the jazz scene in general and the North Bend venue in particular, see the JazzClubsNW website (http://www.jazzclubsnw.org/).

For Friday's performance, the following musicians played:

Will Crandell (d) (leader of this gig)
Danny Kolke (p)
Stanley Ruvinov (b)

It was a very good decision to make the drive to North Bend to hear this trio. The audience was near capacity for the cozy room and was there to listen. A great night of spectacular jazz from the two young virtuosos on their respective instruments, and Danny Kolke, who just seems to be getting better and better. I have never heard him play like this, though for some time I've appreciated his virtuosity. He is technically brilliant, and almost for the first time I heard the Gene Harris influence in his playing clearly.

Will Crandell is among the best drummers I've heard, despite his young age. He is a timekeeper, which helps the other players, but is also at once creative and authoritative, when the music requests. He does all the logistical things a good drummer needs to do to keep order and clarity, but he paradoxically does this in unpredictable ways. His creativity is not distracting and helps the music. He is, as another drummer once told me about himself, a musician who happens to play drums.

Stanley Ruvinov is going to make a name for himself in music. The child of professional musicians, he is at 23 already a virtuoso on standup bass. He recently graduated from the jazz studies program at Michigan State University.

Saturday, July 27, 2019
Some thoughts today...

I started this blog as a record of my musical journey, emphasizing physical activities such as when I played / sang or listened to live music at various venues. I'd like to expand it to include thoughts and feelings. Along this line, I already posted some advice resulting from what I'd learned about playing an instrument while accompanying a singer, ways to keep from playing notes that clash. (Unfortunately, that got accidentally deleted due to a temporary lapse in my computing skills. Gosh darn it.)

Today's musings I'm sure had something to do with a couple experiences I had yesterday, one a conversation with a musician in which we recounted times we'd heard phenomenal musicians with very few people in the audience, like less than ten. The other experience was listening to a tremendous house band play at a poorly attended jam session. I also saw that the bass player and drummer were in sync and carrying the band and soloists, and no one seemed to realize this, let alone appreciate it. I saw the rhythm section as humble, unrecognized servants, without whom the rest of the performance wouldn't have happened, those in the limelight unable to connect with the audience.

I'm also stunned by the realizations and revelations I have these days. It's as though I've just begun to value what is valuable in music. As though my ears have been asleep and are now just hearing what has been there all along, but was silent because of my mindset, which was obscuring things and keeping me from absorbing the truths in the music. I wasn't "hearing it."

These two experiences help me to see that ultimately I cannot base my music on the feedback of an audience, or acclaim, honor, popularity or financial reward. Those are all more than nice. But I've got to follow my muse, whether that leads to success or obscurity. This sounds idealistic and even foolish probably.

Friday, July 26, 2019
SoulFood Coffee, Redmond, WA

House band:
Rob Lowe (g)
Dan Oliver (p)
Mark Jelson (d)
Chris James (b)

This is a twice-monthly jam session. There were three singers who sat in including me. A singer named Chris Taylor was unbelievably good. He is among the best scat singers I've heard. A piano player named (I believe) George Mason sat in on piano. He's among the best I've heard. All these players were superb. I really liked the bass player, Chris James. Tasteful, he and Mark, along with either Dan or the other piano player, kept a solid groove.

The band played really well. The rhythm section was tight and understated. Rob Lowe is a great guitarist, and Dan Oliver a very good piano player.

Friday, July 26, 2019
Senior living community

I sing a set for the people of this community to celebrate all the birthdays in July. I had a pianist accompany me.

Wendesday, July 24, 2019
Egans Ballard Jam House

Alex Olsen (p)
Dan O'Brien (b)
Will Lone (d)
Special guest Darian Asplund (ts)

Vocal showcase featuring Dan McKinnon (that's me :) and Ann Brittain
This was what I'd prepared for. Ann followed my set and did a wonderful job. A few years ago it would have been hard for me to envision this day, especially appearing as a singer without my guitar. I have yet to view the video. But it was a milestone in my humble musical world.

Sunday, July 21, 2019
I went to two music venues and heard very good, world-class jazz at each.

1) Anchor Tavern Everett, WA
The Anchor has jazz some Sundays of each month, usually the 3rd and 4th. Every 3rd Sunday from 5-8 pm, standup bassist Tim Koss leads his band Inside Out. Typically the first set is played by the house band. Singers and musicians sit in during the second set. This day, the band was made up of the following players:
Tim (b)
Dave Peterson (g)
Steve Reinke (ts)
Ken French (d)

Dave and Steve were in their element, as was the rhythm section of Tim and Ken. Dave is a musical genius. Steve is such a great, but unrecognized sax player. I wish he had more gigs so he could develop his ideas and I could hear him play more. The band's rendition of Cantaloupe Island should have been recorded, and given airplay, it was that good.

During the second set, Linda Schulz (of the duo Mack and Schulz), Karen, and I sat in to sing, and Frank Kohl sat in on guitar. Frank is a very good player whose new CD will be released soon.

2) Angry Beaver Tavern Seattle (Greenwood)
Cole Shuster (g)
Greg Feingold (b)
Max Holmberg (d)
Scotty Bemis (p)

Wow, I've heard these guys before, but just wow. Scotty not only kept up with this fast company, but was an equal, and at-times a leader. His solos were superb. In my opinion, Cole Shuster is one of the best. I'd rather listen to him than Pat Martino. Shuster played fast, long runs on the standard Sunny reminiscent of Martino, but he is also musically inventive and unpredictable. I told Cole at the break that they were playing as well as anything I'd heard at Jazz Alley, and it's true. But I didn't have to pay $50 to get in. In fact there was no cover at either of the venues I went to this day.

Monday, July 15, 2019
Saturday through today I worked on my rendition of Jobim's Meditation. I recorded all the files Saturday, but in mixing and editing them, realized that I did not have an orienting marker to tie the vocal with the instruments. I was so happy with the cuts, and yet couldn't tie them together. It was very discouraging and I let the whole project go for two days. Today I had enough steam to try again, but it wasn't until the third try that I felt the tracks were acceptable. So I mixed and edited them and uploaded the video to YouTube.

I don't know what I would do without YT. It is so hard to get live gigs, and even when one does, no guarantee of connecting with one's audience. My YT vids are getting some hits and it is an encouragement.

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Egan's Ballard Jam House

Chip Parker Quartet
Parker (v)
Reuel Lubag (p)
Jeff Johnston (b)
Robert Rushing (d)

Went to hear the smooth, experienced crooner. He's a pro. Great accompaniment. Leave it to Reuel to consistently make the accompaniment and his solos inventive and musical. Johnston is a master, as is Rushing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
I apologize for those looking for my article on making sure one's accompaniment doesn't clash with the singer's notes. I accidentally deleted it and don't have a backup. Dang!

Sunday, July 7, 2019
Jazz Vespers

Jake Bergevin Quartet
Bergevin (tr) (fgh) (v)
Dan Taylor (p)
Tim Carey (b)
Milo Petersen (d)

A great performance. Bergevin is more than a double threat on voice and brass, he is a composer, arranger, front man, and music educator. Side persons spectacular.

I especially liked his rendition of Insensatez by Jobim. He sang Stan Getz's sax solo.

New development last week
I committed to a gig at Egans in Ballard for July 24th at 7 pm. This is to make up for the performance that was canceled February 17th due to snow. I am one of the featured singers in a two-person vocal showcase, backed by a stellar band. The other singer is Ann Brittain.

For more information, see details on the Calendar page of this website.

June 22, 2019
For our anniversary, Donna and I traveled to Conway, WA, near Mt. Vernon. We attended a dinner concert at a venue named the Conway Muse. The group was Trish, Hans, and Phil, joined by special guest John Anderson on tenor sax.

I don't have time and enough words to express how great and satisfying this experience was for me musically. Trish Hatley is really two people on the bandstand, a virtuoso percussionist and a stellar singer. Hans Brehmer sings and plays piano, both spectacularly. Phil Demaree sings and plays bass, both incredibly. John Anderson is among the best tenor players I've heard. (He also sang a special number.)

June 8, 2019
I've kept up with my choir rehearsing with the Snoqualmie Valley Community Gospel Choir. Our first performance is as follows:

Sunday, June 9th - 6PM
Cascade Covenant Church
13225 436th Ave SE, North Bend, WA 98045

Danny Kolke and Kelly Eisenhour lead this choir. Several musicians are also involved, Reuel Lubag, Ryan Donnelly, and others.

Thursday, May 2, 2019
I realized today that in describing my experience at the stellar jam session at North City Bistro yesterday, I'd forgotten to document a performance by a special person and friend, Elaine Bono.

Elaine sang her version of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" in such a heartfelt way, so awesomely, so artistically. She hit all her notes. It was just so well done and appreciated. She is a great singer who knows how to tell a story.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
North City Bistro monthly first Wednesday Jam with Darin Clendenin
House band: Darin (p), Clipper Anderson (b), Mark Ivester (d), with Alex Dugdale (ts), Brian Hartman (ts), Gabe (ts), and John Paynich (h) sitting in on some songs, vocal and instrumental

Highlights of the evening for me (and these were really too numerous to name) were David Arteaga singing "Moody's Mood for Love," Christie Lindell singing "Feeling Good," and the instrumentalists who sat in. Of special note was a male singer with seeing disability I did not catch the name of. He sang "This Masquerade," a song written by Leon Russell and popularized by Karen Carpenter, George Benson, and others. He was spectacular in a number of ways, pitch, timing, phrasing, passion. A true jazz improvisor, he traded phrases with Alex Dugdale, who also played spectacularly. This was a one-of-a-kind happening that brought the house down, as they say. The audience was so enthusiastic that it demanded this singer come back and sing another song (which was "You'd Be So Nice to come Home To"). I have never seen this happen at North City Bistro, that a singer is brought back for an encore. There are many singers on the list to perform, so this is a highly unusual event, brought about by this singer’s virtuosity.

Friday, April 26, 2019
SoulFood CoffeeHouse, Redmond, WA
Jazz jam

This is a two or three times per month jam session. The pivotal figure here is John Roth, the bass player. He is a great player and music educator who encourages players of all abilities and experience to sit in and play and grow.

The other mainstay of the band this night was the drummer, Mark Jelson. He is often a fixture in the band Inside Out that plays frequently at the Anchor Tavern in Everett at their jazz Sundays. Mark is a great and solid player who is fun to play with.

There were a number of jammers including Tada (g), a piano player, four sax players, and a young singer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Egan's Two-Singer Showcase with Vocal Jam following
Yuki Aoki (v)
Jennifer Mellish (v)
Randy Cole emcee
House band: Jeremy Bacon (p), Farko Dosumov (b), Mark Ivester (d)

Ms. Aoki performed first. She is growing as a jazz vocalist and tried challenging material, especially her scatting on "Chega de Saudade." She did a fine set.

Jennifer Mellish is one of the leading jazz vocalists on the Seattle scene now after working much of her life to attain her present level of virtuosity and calm stage presence. The two performances contrasted the fiery newcomer (Aoki) with the seasoned veteran (Mellish) just coming into her prime. Both singers sang duets with Randy Cole, each in her set. The audience and I really enjoyed these songs.

For me the night was as much about the band as the singers, however (as it often is with me). Jeremy Bacon instantly comes up with brilliant, syncopated, technically advanced accompaniment, and Mark Ivester is certainly one of the best jazz drummers around. But the night was especially about Farko Dosumov. His playing and virtuosity are overwhelming and indescribable. You just have to experience him. I have heard him before, but it has been some time, and he has grown into a true monster (this is an old-school jazz term, and is a very good thing and high compliment). I have never heard him accompany others like this. Several times he would add a fill or riff at just the right time to help the singer out. What a wonder! His solos are brilliant. I would guess that he is an ear player, possibly one of the most pure I've ever heard.

The vocal jam followed, with many singers doing one song each. I did "Lullaby of Birdland."

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Rehearsed with the Snoqualmie Valley Gospel Choir under the leadership of Kelly Eisenhour and Danny Kolke. This is a lot of fun. I am a poor sight reader so put the songs in Sibelius so I can generate audio files that I listen to as I look at the parts. I am singing tenor in this choir, even though I can't technically reach the high notes of the tenor range. This was the most encouraging rehearsal so far regarding the number of people who came, the learning of the material, and singing together. Ms. Eisenhour adds a lot of flavor to Mr. Kolke's innovative and lively gospel arrangements of the songs, many of which are hymns, but not all; there are also some originals written by Kolke.

Saturday, April 20, 2019
I went to hear David (pronounced Daveed, with accent on second syllable) Arteaga at Egans. His band this night, which was billed as the Paul Miranda Trio, included Andy Roben (p), Bren Plummer (b), Paul Miranda (d).

I considered going to several places to hear music this night, but chose to hear David. I know him from the many jam sessions we've seen each at through the years, including Shuga's, the Paragon, North City Bistro, and Egan's vocal jam nights.

David has it going on at so many levels, lyricism, rhythm, and choice of material--he does the songs he likes. He also relates so well with his listeners, very engaging, kind-hearted, and respectful. Yet he also shares from his heart about hardships he and his family have faced, some connected to his Latino heritage.

Carry on, David. You are a great jazz singer, musician and showman.

Saturday, April 13, 2019
Port Gardner Bay Winery, Everett, WA
Tim Koss Trio
Tim Koss (b)
Brent Jensen (as)
Jamie Findlay (g)

Had a chance to hear these great players not far away for no cover. Unbelievable. These guys are among the best jazz players in the Pacific NW, US, and world.

They let me sit in on "Fly Me to the Moon," for which I was very grateful. These players are so much more advanced than I, but they say that one improves by playing with musicians who are better than them :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Egan's Vocal Jam
House band: Hans Brehmer (p), Michael Barnett (b), Conor Apperson (d)

As usual, the house band tore it up. This night guitarist David Owens sat in with them for the showcase sets.

Michael Barnett continues to be one of the best bassists on the planet. You can read his impressive bio on his website. If a band is playing somewhere, I may go just because he's one of the players.

Hans Brehmer is a spectacular pianist. He invests this gift in those he accompanies, making them sound better than they would if he were not there.

Conor Apperson provided the pulse for the evening's music. His fills are great, and he kept up with the fast company that was the house band.

I sang "Fly Me to the Moon" and "But Not for Me."

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Vox Outside the Box (vocal jam)
Wildflower Wine Shop
Facilitated by Kelly Eisenhour (and she sings, too!)
House band: Danny Kolke (p), Michael Glynn (b), Max Holmberg (d)

This was a fun night. Lots of singers participating. Ms. Eisenhour leads the way. What a singer. Danny and the guys play a set from 6-7. Then at 7:30 the jammers sit in. This night we each had a turn, there was a break, and for those who wanted another shot, could do another tune.

Ms. Eisenhour finished out the night with a smokin' "There Will Never Be Another You," piano, bass, and vocal. It was just awesome. She got free and scatted like a sax. Danny and Michael were right with her. The whole evening, which was awesome anyway, with great singing by Denita, Nancy, and others, would have been worth the drive just to hear that one song.

I sang "Shadow of Your Smile."

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
North City Bistro monthly first Wednesday Jam with Darin Clendenin

House band: Darin (p), Clipper Anderson (b), Mark Ivester (d)

What a night. Certainly these house band members are among the best jazz musicians in the world, and even more importantly, they are so supportive of the people who perform at the jam. This is priceless. They are friendly, humble, easy to get along with, responsive to the vocalists and jammers, versatile and skilled.

There were possibly more vocalists than I've ever experienced at this venue. Maybe 20 altogether. All but three were female.

The heavy hitters were present, among them Nancy Erickson, Leah Natale, Jeanie Mishler (as usual performing with Charlie Hiestand on piano), Leah Stillwell. (I call them heavy hitters because they regularly perform with their own combos around the Pacific Northwest.) Also present were Stephanie Porter and Elaine Skeffington, but neither sang this night.

Inspired by last Wednesday's vocal jam at Egan's (by Brian Flanagan, who not only sang with his guitar, but also scatted as he played the corresponding notes on his axe), I brought my guitar and played it on my rendition of "Besame Mucho."

Of special note was Lanita D. singing "Georgia on My Mind." She sings with her band the New Rhythmatics at various places around the Sound. She is the singing waitress at these jams, as she also works at the North City Bistro. (What a benefit to the establishment, which specializes in live music, to have this resource on hand. She also happens to be a really good vocalist.)

Saturday, March 30, 2019
I played my own gig at the Scotsman Bistro in Mukilteo. Ted Enderle (b), Will Lone (d), me (v) (g).

For the last month I've been working toward this gig we did at the Scotsman. It was just so much work on so many levels. Getting the gig, interfacing with the club owners, Marvella, George, and Carli, hiring the band, setting up (had to use my own PA), promoting, getting the charts in my keys for the band. Donna brought one of the musicians to the gig, as he does not have a car (but it was well worth it). And frankly, I had to be prepared to play solo, in case the musicians did not show up for one reason or another. (And I was prepared for this eventuality.)

Man, a person could sure get spoiled playing with these musicians. I had wanted to concentrate on my singing on the first chorus, putting the emphasis on that, and not worrying about comping. Ted handled this so well. And he admirably carried half of the soloing burden. What a great player. I hope to work with him again.

And Will Lone certainly deserves his own paragraph. What a great and creative drummer. He adds so much pizzazz to each tune, finding just the right feel and groove.

I want to thank Donna my wife for making this gig possible, helping at every opportunity. And a shout out to my friends who came out and supported me: Kim and Bob, Debbie and Everett, Brian and Mary, Jon and Jane, Diane.

Beginning with the first tune, things went so well. What a great thing to have a gig, and get to do song after song, without having to yield the stage to the next jammer after a couple songs. One can get warmed up, and into a groove. All the work was worth it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Egan's Ballard Jam House
Showcase (7pm) & vocal jam (9pm)
House band: Karin Kajita (p), Michael Barnett (b), Frank Clayton (d). Hosted by Joanne Klein

Showcase singers: Rich Hinrichsen and Candace McCutcheon

Wow, the showcase singers were just awesome! Both were tremendous and unbelievable (though their styles were different). Rich seems ready for Las Vegas, he is so pitch perfect and clear, and is a great showman. Candace is a passionate diva. Ms. Kajita is truly one of the best piano players I've ever heard, and her accompaniment with Rich, especially on a tango with classical overtones, though very challenging technically, she played perfectly and with fire. Her other tunes with Rich, as with Candace, were spectacular. A sympathetic accompanist, versatile, technically brilliant.

Candace sang so well, with conviction, and passion, and technically sound. Michael Barnett is just such a solid and versatile bass player, but one who plays with passion and creativity. Mr. Clayton, who is also a capable bassist, plays the drums well. He has a gentle touch that adds to the music and does not compete with other players.

I was so happy with the music, and so glad Donna and I went. After the showcase, the vocal jam began.

When it was my turn, I sang an uptempo version of "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." (Afterward, and I couldn't specify what was lacking in the performance, I just did not feel satisfied with it. Win some lose some.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Went to choir rehearsal with Donna. It was much different than our first time two weeks ago. Fewer people, and much clearer as to what was asked of each of the parts, soprano through bass. We got some glimpses of what the music could sound like, and it sounded great. It was exhilarating singing with these folks, under the leadership of Kelly Eisenhour and Danny Kolke.

Saturday, March 23, 2019
We went to hear the Restless Vocal Band at the Scotsman Bistro in Mukilteo. They are exclusively a capella. Some members make the sound of instruments, but all sounds one hears are created by human vocal chords. It was impressive. There are six members of the band, a woman and five men. They sure filled the restaurant with pleasing sounds.

Friday, March 22, 2019
I sang and played guitar for the memory-care residents of Harbour Pointe Senior Living for an hour today, using backing tracks. Two of the residents, a man and a woman, seemed to especially appreciate it.

I received an invite to come down and hear the Savage / Carlson Duo at the Fairmount Olympic Hotel. Ken Carlson sent me a text. I showed up with my guitar :) Someone in the audience requested "Girl from Ipanema," and Trish Savage, knowing I sing that one, asked me to come up and do it. Ken played guitar, Trish did percussion and sang backup, and I sang and played bass. Really fun. I sat in on an additional song that Trish sang (very well), "Night and Day," playing bass.

Sunday, March 17, 2019
Wildflower Wine Shop vocal jam night hosted by Kelly Eisenhour

House band: Danny Kolke (p), Ryan Donnelly (b), Greg Williamson (d)

Musicians sitting in: Reuel Lubag (p), James Kolke (b), Zach (d), Danny Kolke (d)

Singers sitting in: Amy Kramer-Hawks (two-time Kobe female vocal finalist), Jan, David (also piano player), Danny Kolke (did duo with David on All of Me that featured incredible scat singing from both) -- I hope I haven't forgotten to mention anyone in these credits

Not sure I've ever seen this venue so full. Donna and I had a dinner in honor of St. Paddy's (and a favorite of my departed Dad), corned beef and cabbage (with potatoes). Additionally, Danny and the house band played an at-times poignant and beautiful, at-times swinging-like-mad version of "Danny Boy."

This was a fun night. Ms. Eisenhour is an outstanding vocalist. Ryan Donnelly is a monster bass player who has fun on the stand. Reuel Lubag is a virtuoso, sounding at times like Thelonious Monk, as well as his own inventive self :) The youngsters of the evening, but tremendous players, James on bass and his friend Zach on drums, played like veteran musicians, instantly capturing the right feel of the music they were asked to play on the spot.

I sang "Exactly Like You" and "How High the Moon / Ornithology"

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Showcase and vocal jam at Egans. Showcase singers: Kathleen Donnelly and Leah Stillwell.
Band: Hans Brehmer (p), Drew Baddeley (b), Ed Littlefield (d). Hosted by Carol LaMahr. Good singing.

Vocal jam: (House band same as showcase, also hosted by Carol.) I sang an uptempo version of "That's All." Fun. Really great band.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Donna and I went to a rehearsal of the gospel choir that Kelly Eisenhour and Danny Kolke co-direct. Now there's a musical team for ya. Wow. Mr. Kolke composed an original worship song, and he arranges others. Ms. Eisenhour is a music educator and well known singer in the US. Mr. Kolke played piano (along with Reuel Lubag and Ms. Eisenhour) and Ms. Eisenhour really, really worked with us singers. She is a great and patient (and relentless) teacher who pours herself into her teaching with passion. This was fun. My wife Donna and I sang in the choir. We are Christians and it was cool to sing music that is the opposite of stodgy church music.

Sunday, March 10, 2019
Went to Wildflower Wine Shop for (instrumental) jam session.

House band: Danny Kolke (p), Michael Glynn (b), Greg Williamson (d).

I didn't sing for a change and only played guitar. "There Will Never Be Another You," "Like Someone in Love," "Manha de Carnival." People sat in, two trumpets, a trombone, bass player, piano player.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
North City Bistro, Seattle, WA

House band: Darrin Clendenin (p), Clipper Anderson (b), Max Woods (d).

Another fun vocal jam night. What a band. Real organic and sparse, quiet feel to the music, and the vocalists were very good, without exception. I sang a Chet Baker arrangement of Autumn Leaves that had extra pedal bars at the end of each chorus. I tried this arrangement at a jam session with pretty good players and it went south. This band played the chart beautifully and really swung. This may be the best band I've ever heard. They are flexible, versatile, creative, instantly catch nuances, fully support each singer and their style. They could have given a great concert without any vocalists :)

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Wildflower Wine Shop, North Bend, WA (no cover)

House band: Danny Kolke (p), Michael Glynn (b), Greg Williamson (d).

The house band played a set, and then it was open for jammers. There were two vocalists (I was one), and one trombone player. I did "Meditation" and "Speak Low" on my first pass. Followed later with "But Not for Me."

Saturday, March 2, 2019
Westside Pizza, Kingston, WA (no cover)

House band: Mark Lewis (ts) (f) (v) (perc), Overton Berry (p) (v), Clipper Anderson (b).

Donna and I parked our car in Edmonds and walked onto the ferry. We did the free jigsaw puzzles on the ferry on the way over, and walked to Westside Pizza about a block from the ferry terminal.

There were maybe a hundred people packed into the little pizza place. It was a very musical night, gentle, wholesome, holistic. Listening and appreciative crowd. There was good musical chemistry between the players. Mark is irrepressible, and a great ear player. The personality of Mark was on display, and the people loved him. Several standing ovations, some of it for Overton who is well loved, and Clipper also, the consummate professional. It was quite a remarkable evening. The cost of the ferry over was $4.25 apiece, and we love to take the ferry. Our food cost $20 for good food. I have had less musically satisfying nights at Jazz Alley (not that I go there very often) for 4 times the cost, without even eating dinner.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
A major reason I like to go to the Owl 'n Thistle on Tuesday nights is to hang out with the great staff, Madison, Adon, and Jay. Another big reason is to hear the guest musicians in the house band of the evening, playing along with Eric and Jose, who are usually there.

House band: Rick Mandyke (ts), Thomas Marriott (t), Michael Glynn (b), Jose Martinez (d), Eric Verlinde (p).

I've been hearing about Rick Mandyke for some time. A legend. How he was a real player as far back as the 1980s. He's performed and recorded with jazz greats Mark Murphy, Billy Hart and others, and was awarded "Best NW Instrumentalist" in the 1999 Earshot Jazz Awards. Because of health issues, he had to give up sax for years, and switched to piano. But this night he was playing sax very, very mind-blowingly.

(I did not perform this night.)

Monday, February 25, 2019
Whisky West jam, West Seattle.

With various bandmembers and people sitting in, I performed "Exactly Like You," "Corcovado," and "Shadow of Your Smile."

Friday, February 22, 2019
Soulfood Coffee jam, Redmond, WA. House band: John Roth (b), Rob Lowe (g), (piano player and drummer were good players, but I did not catch their names). I sang How High the Moon and Girl from Ipanema.

First time for me at this venue. Great players. Lots of people sitting in including a ten-year-old girl who sang "Summertime." I love jam sessions that are open to and encourage young people. I believe the bass player John keeps this jam going to help people grow as musicians, and is especially open to younger players.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Jeff Ferguson Triangular Jazztet at Whiskey West. My second night sitting in at this venue this week. (Their humus plate is still awesome.)

House band: Orrin Sand (p), Jeff Ferguson (d), Michael Grimes (b), Brian Flanigan (g).

Brian and the band let me sit in on several numbers: "Chitlins con Carne," "Up from the Skies" (Jimi Hendrix), "Song for My Father." What a great band. They like to play and keep things loose and jam-oriented. They like to experiment. For their last tune they did a long, symphonic, rock-opera type rendition of the second side of the Beatle's White Album, with Brian playing lead. It was really good.

I had a really good time playing with these guys, the most I've had for some time. Kind, humble musicians who enjoy music.

Monday, February 18, 2019
Monday night open jam at Whiskey West in West Seattle. Mike (g), Linda (p), Dave (b), Pavel (d), plus guests sitting in for 1-3 tunes apiece.

I called "Chitlins con Carne," "Besame Mucho," and "Blue Bossa" when it was my turns. Lots of jammers. Marjie Peterson sings and is one of the main facilitators. Met a singer named Philmore. Last song everyone gets to play; tonight it was "Bye, Bye Blackbird." (I felt best about my solo on this than any other song that night.)

Sunday, February 17, 2019
Wildflower Wine Shop, North Bend. House band: Reuel Lubag (p), Michael Glynn (b), Greg Williamson (d).

A fun night of vocal and instrumental jazz. Great, supportive house band. Greg Shrader sat in on trombone and vocals, and his friend on piano. Nancy and Denita sang. I sang "That's All" and one specially for the great dancers Erika and Raymond, a cha-cha version of "Days of Wine and Roses."

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Open mic night, Port Gardner Bay Winery.

I took my looper for accompaniment and did the same songs as last week. I was happy with my set, all things considered. Performing is quite a thing; so many variables, and one has to adjust instantly to challenges and changing dynamics. Port Gardner has a sound man (Chris, who is also a performer), so that is huge; having a sound person not only takes much pressure off, but is a boost. Thank you, Chris.

Friday, February 8, 2019
Nikki Schilling (v) (p) canceled due to inclement weather, so Mack & Schultz played at Port Gardner Bay Winery. They let me jam with them a bit. Fun. The owner Chris came up and sang a little also. Fun way to spend a snowy evening. Linda (Shultz) is a vocalist, and Dan (Mack) is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Port Gardner Bay Winery open mic night. My weekly Bible study was canceled, so I showed up. Many talented people, though the ranks were smaller because of the snow. I sang "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," "Besame Mucho," and "Lullaby of Birdland." People were supportive of me as usual.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
We ventured out into the fallen snow and drove to Shoreline for the monthly jam at North City Bistro. The house band this night was Darin Clendenin (p), Mark Ivester (d), and Paul Gabrielson (b), who was sitting in for Clipper Anderson.

What a great night of music. So many talented people! I could listen to this band for hours. Darin is one of the best in the business, and among many talents is so sympathetic, creative, and supportive as an accompanist.

Paul Gabrielson is a giant. Truly one of the best bass players on the planet. Creative, solid, and versatile. Plays organic lines and swings like mad. His work on the last song of the evening, Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" (an organic work of art that happened in front of us) was brilliant.

I especially want to recognize Mark Ivester. Man, the dude can just play! What an excellent, excellent musician. And a heck of a nice guy. So blessed to live in a place where I can hear him play live.

Joan Penny (v) showed up with John Anderson (ts). She's a great songstress and show person who will play at the Bistro with John on Feb. 15. John is a fellow who can blow. Wow.

Karin Kajita sat in on a number of songs including my vocal of "How High the Moon / Ornithology." (John played sax on it, which was a huge plus and got the fire burnin'.) Karin Kajita is a brilliant pianist who should be getting so much more visibility, respect, and honor. She is simply a great musician.

I need nights like this. This is what music can be, a wonderful sharing experience where each person has a part to play in the symphony playing art created in the moment that surprises the player as much as the audience.

Sunday through Wednesday, February 3-6, 2019
We are socked in by snow. Although Donna's car is all-wheel drive (a 2003 Subaru) and we can get out for essentials, it is drastically changing our routines.

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday February 2-4, 2019
Over the last three days I worked up "Road Song" by Wes Montgomery, an instrumental. Frankly, it was an ordeal. I did several takes Saturday and was not happy with the results. Nevertheless, on Sunday I published one to YT. But I was so unhappy with it that I took it down. Somehow, with Donna's encouragement and prayer, I persevered again today. I came up with a rendition that I am a lot happier with and published it. I generally make my videos short and sweet, as people's attention spans seem to be shortening. But I had a long backing track and didn't want to chop it up. I was able to stretch out a lot more in my soloing. I got into it more than I usually do.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Paragon, Queen Anne Hill. House band: Zeppy (d), Dave DesRochers (as) (v), Tim Kennedy (p), Osama Affifi (b). (Geoff Harper sitting in on bass during jam) Zeppy and Dave are there every week, but other members of the rhythm section change weekly.

The place was packed with patrons, musicians, and singers (not that singers are not musicians :)

Someone mentioned that it was like old home week, and I had had the same thought and even that phrase in my head a few minutes before. This is a popular jam session with singers because the house bands are so versatile, musical, and supportive.

Some of those sitting in were the following, just to name a few: Will Lone (d), Yuriko (v), Nancy Byers (v), Joanne Klein (v), David Arteaga (v), Darian Asplundh (as) (f), Ben (vln), Carol LaMahr (v), Jim Wulff (v), Beth Wulff (p).

A special treat was that Evan and Shirley showed up and sat with Donna and me. For years they picked the talent for and ran the Jazz Vespers series at the First Baptist Church on Capitol Hill. (If you click the link and see the calendar, just look at the talent next month (Jake Bergevin) and who they've hosted in the last year!) They are all about the music and often venture out to hear some. This night they had a double-header and had just come from the jam session at Grumpy D’s in Ballard. Donna and I hear lots of live music and are like a junior version of them.

Osama Affifi is a monster and holds entire bands together. Tim Kennedy and Geoff Harper are just unreal musicians; they got into some great grooves like "I've Got You Under My Skin" with David Arteaga singing and Zeppy doing a fantastic job on drums.

Tuesday, January 29, 2018
Owl 'n Thistle weekly performance and jam session hosted by Jose Martinez and Eric Verlinde. House band: Eric (p) (v), Jose Martinez (d), Nic Lefebvre (b), LeAnna Simmons (v), Thomas Marriott sitting in (t).

Really good house band. Ms. Simmons is a great vocalist, singing, scatting, staying right with the fast company that is the Owl house band. She has a musical and pleasing voice, and sang standards.

Lots of good music with various one sitting in, including Darian Asplundh (t), Lennon Aldort (p), Mark (b). I sang "Watch What Happens" as a tribute to the passing of Michel Legrand, with Eric on piano, Darian Asplundh on standup bass, Jose Martinez on drums, and Jeremy Shaskus on tenor.

Monday, January 28, 2019
Monday night open jam at Whiskey West in West Seattle. Mike (g), Linda (p), Dave (b), Pavel (d), plus guests sitting in for 1-3 tunes apiece.

My first time at this jam. Some jams have few or no singers. This one had four or five. I sang and played guitar on "Besame Mucho" and "Wave." Sang "Shadow of Your Smile."

Sunday, January 27, 2019
On a lark went out to Wildflower Wine Shop in North Bend. (I wish there were rapid transit from Seattle as this club could be packed every night.) Heard a bit of Danny Kolke's trio, which was excellent as usual. They did an up-tempo version of That's All that was smokin'. Mr. Kolke (p), Greg Williamson (d), Ryan Donnelly (b).

During the jam that followed the house band set, several players sat in: fluegelhorn, trombone / piano. Mr. Kolke's son, though quite young, is a talented multi-instrumentalist on trombone and standup bass who can hold his own on either.This was fun and helpful for me as a singer. I got to solo on some of the tunes scat singing, which I am just learning: "I Got Rhythm," "Nica's Dream," and "On the Sunny Side of the Street."

Saturday, January 26, 2019
Donna and I trekked down to Egans to hear the Overton Berry Ensemble, featuring Bernie Jacobs.

Bernie (f) (as) (ts) (v), Overton Berry (p), Jeff Davies (b) (v), D'Vonne Lewis (d).

Mr. Berry is a lyrical and creative person. Jeff Davies is great bass player and vocalist. He really shined on I've Got a Room with a View of the Blues. D'Vonne Lewis is one of the best drummers in the country, and regularly gets awards from such organizations as Earshot Jazz.

For me the evening was about Bernie Jacobs though. I consider him one of the greatest living jazzmen. He is the best male scat singer I've heard, and his vocals on standards and ballads is superb. He does jazz yodeling, has a great ear, and improvises spontaneously and at times humorously, quoting phrases from other songs. He vocalizes as he plays flute, and btw is a monster on flute. His sax playing is also great. But he is more than a quadruple threat. He relates to audiences well. And the thing about Bernie is that he never does something musically in anything even approaching a trite or standard way. Energetic, creative, often subtly playful are adjectives that describe him in concert. I truly hope that he performs as much as he wants to, and gets compensated for his gifting and skill. If you have the opportunity, go hear him!

The OB Ensemble performed two shows Saturday night. Both were sold out. Ted of Egans mentioned that over the last decade Egans has hosted 4000 shows, of which Overton Berry has led about 40. I heard one man say that he’s been an Overton Berry fan for 45 years.

Friday, January 25, 2019
Went to Bhu-Ping Thai restaurant to hear Nikki Schilling (p) (v) and Jeff Davies (b) (v). Wow. Both accomplished vocalists and instrumentalists. They have some arrangements, which seem to be a foreign concept to my singing, at least the non-YT efforts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Egan's vocal jam with Jeremy Bacon (p), Dean Schmidt (b), and Robert Rushing (d). Man, what an outstanding band. I sang Speak Low.

Friday, January 18, 2019
Donna and I went to one of our favorite haunts for free music on weekends—Third Place Commons. We've heard some really good bands and players there over the years; last night was no exception, the Island Jazz Quintet from Vashon Island.

Personnel: Maggie Laird (v) (mel), Richard Person (tr), Michael Gotz (p); Steve Kim (b), Todd Zimberg (d).

Wow, these guys are really good. Danceable, straight-ahead jazz. Very lyrical, non-frenetic. A mature, holistic sound.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
The Seattle music scene would be much impoverished without Eric Verlinde. Jose Martinez also gets credit for making it a more friendly and networked environment. For something like 11 or 12 years Eric and Jose have been running the weekly jam sessions at the Owl 'n Thistle on Post Avenue near the Seattle waterfront. Eric (p) and Jose (d) are usually in the house band that plays the first set. They bring in guest musicians to fill out the house band. The set or sets that follow are populated by jammers who sit in.

Over the years I've heard the best music I've heard in my life there. Last night was one of those nights. The house band was Eric and Jose, Ryan Donnelly (b), Cole Shuster (g), and Taylor Zickefoose (v). It was Ms. Zickefoose's night. She is not only a great singer, but an awesome musician and scat singer, using her voice like an instrument.

Eric is like the big brother to all musicians and singers. He has an ability to relate to people, musician and audience member, gifted and not so much, in a personable and friendly way.

Last night in talking to Eric, I found out that the video captured during the jam sessions is available on the the Owl 'n Thistle FB page.

Thursday, December 27, 2018
We ventured down to Port Gardner Bay Winery for the Thursday night open mic. Open mics are not part of my usual operations, and haven't done one of these for a while, though I'm not a stranger to them. :)

There are not usually accompanists so it's a solo deal. One hugely different aspect was the amount of time each performer gets, up to 10-15 minutes, enough for three songs. And this particular open mic has a sound man, Chris, which is huge. He was so kind and helpful in setting the performers up.

I heard a lot of good music. I did "Sunny" and "The Days of Wine and Roses," and tried to sit down, but my newfound fans insisted I do another. (I don't think this has ever happened to me before.) Most jam sessions I go to it's 'one and done' or at most two songs. I told them they would be responsible for swelling my head, but even this did not deter them. So I sang "Corcovado."

Should add that 'John' did "The Shadow of Your Smile" quite wonderfully, accompanying his vocal styling with guitar. I was surprised at his choice of song as it is one of my favorites and in my repertoire, and was also gratified with how well he did it. Thanks, John.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Drove to the Whiskey West in West Seattle to hear Jeff Ferguson's Triangular Jazztet. Jeff (d), Orrin Sand (p), Jim Paul (ts), Brian Flanagan (g), Steve Kim (b).

This band sounds good. Ferguson and Kim provide a good rhythmic/harmonic foundation with Sand's tasteful, understated piano adding the icing.

They let me sit in for "Watch What Happens."

The hummus plate was right on and reasonably priced, and the unapologetic jazz music very good.

Saturday, December 22, 2018
Haven't gone out to hear music this week due to other happenings, unless one counts going to the new Mary Poppins movie starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manual Miranda. Blunt has stellar performances as a tough cop in "Sicario," a warrior in the futuristic "Edge of Tomorrow," a protective parent in "A Quiet Place." Now a singer and dancer in Mary Poppins. Is there anything she can't do? As excellent as she is, in my mind she was upstaged musically by the unbelievable Mr. Miranda, and I suppose the children in the movie as well. It is family friendly, and kids would probably like it. The traditional elements are updated with bicycle moto-cross, hip-hop dancing, and lots and lots of action. But for me it is so much random, surface action that the musical and dramatic gold comes with some overhead, and it's not cheap to get a ticket. But for parents with the dough it's a safe way for kids to get some culture.

Christmas season lasts only a month or so a year, and I regret that some Christmas songs can really only be done during that period. Other seasonal songs—and there are a lot of them—one can get away with performing yearlong, like ‘Summertime,' ‘Autumn Leaves,' and a number of others. This year I threw together a couple I've learned from the past, just to get a record of them before they disappear from my consciousness for another 11 months: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and I'll Be Home for Christmas.

I love the lyrics to these songs. The former speaks of a special time when we are released from trouble and can meet with friends and family as in times past. The latter is very poignant to me, rekindling images of my youth in the country outside Dayton, Ohio, among the snow-covered cornfields, with a frozen creek where people played and skated. In that setting and in our home at the time, I think of my parents, both of whom are gone now, and my sisters and friends, my life then. To see them again! Would I not be more generous with my love now that I can't be with them anymore?

I especially feel the words, "You can count on me" in I'll Be Home, an empty promise as it turns out, through no fault of the speaker, and maybe not so empty, considering that we still have hopes and memories.

Sunday, December 16, 2018
Inside Out band at the Anchor Pub, Everett, WA. Tim Koss, leader, (b), Dave Peterson (g), Mark Jelsing (d), Steve Reincke (ts). With musical guests.

I sang How High the Moon, with an Ornithology head unison duet with Brent Jensen. I also sang Speak Low.

Decided to go down to the Musicquarium to Brian Nova's weekly jam session. Brian out of town so session was hosted by Butch Harrison (v) (tr) (p), Dan O’Brien (b), and Brian Kirk (d).

I sang Pennies from Heaven with Shahan K on bass.

The highlight of the evening was Mr. Harrison singing and playing trumpet on The Christmas Song, accompanied by Shahan K on piano (a virtuoso performance), Dan O'Brien, and John Hanson on drums (an excellent rhythm and feel supplied by him).

Was sorry to hear that this was the last time this jam session will operate after several years of weekly performances.

Saturday, December 15, 2018
Donna and I took the ferry to Kingston (we worked jigsaw puzzles on the way over and back :)

Mark Lewis and friends. Westside Pizza. Mark with a Hammond B-3 player and fretless electric bass player.

We enjoyed Mark's flair and love of jazz.

Friday, December 14, 2018
Hotel Sorrento. Kate Voss (Sundae + Mr. Goessl)

Wanted to hear this duo for a long time since seeing them on tv on Band in Seattle. Enjoyed this performance by Kate Voss and her husband, a longtime duo with extensive touring and performance experience. Ms. Voss's singing is full, narrative, and understated, resulting in a pleasing, winsome effect that draws the listener into their world. In addition to singing, Ms. Voss plays keyboard on melodica, a small, portable, lung-powered instrument that sounds like an accordion. Beyond the hip and campy use of the melodica lies her real keyboarding virtuosity, which is musical and brilliant. Occasionally she delivers song or personal information between tunes, or a short joke, which were often corny but clean and funny. On some songs Ms. Voss keeps time with percussion instruments. She is a quadruple threat on vocals, as a keyboard soloist, percussionist, and front person.

Mr. Goessl is a stellar musician who fully supports his singing partner with bass runs amidst his strong guitar chording accompaniment. He uses a looper so can solo with single-string lines, and support Ms. Voss's keyboard soloing as well as add another layer of fills. Certainly one of the finest guitarists in the Pacific Northwest, if not the States.

The key ingredient among many strong facets of their music is their arrangements, which are tight and fluid. They told me on a break that they will be touring in the US for eight months in 2019.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Egan's Ballard Jam House
Showcase (7pm) & vocal jam (9pm)
House band: Darin Clendenin (p), Dan O'Brien (b), Robert Rushing (d). Hosted by Carol LaMahr

About every other Wednesday, Egan's has a vocal night. The evening comprises two parts: Starting at 7, two vocalists, one at a time, are featured with the house band. Each gets one set. Starting at 9, the vocal jam commences, in which each vocalist who wants to sing with the band puts her/his name on a list. The emcee calls and introduces each performer in turn.

On this night, the showcase vocalists were Chip Parker and Penelope Donado. Each was spectacular in his/her way. Very different from each other, but each very good and worthwhile to hear. Parker is more of a crooner who does some familiar and some more obscure jazz standards. Donado specializes in ethnic songs, mainly Spanish and Brazilian, that have a freshness. She sings them in the original languages.

I love to sit and hear these house bands. I can listen for hours and my interest does not flag. These musicians between them probably have a hundred years of world-class jazz experience. Playing for both the showcase and jam, they work hard for over four hours, plus setup and teardown. They are extremely talented, versatile, flexible, multi-tasking players serving the music and the performers. I respect them highly.

I sang "The Shadow of Your Smile." No recording was made of this live version this night, but my YT version is here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Owl n' Thistle weekly Tuesday jazz jam hosted by Eric Verlinde. House band (varies by week, but usually includes Eric and Jose): Eric Verlinde (p), Phil Sparks (b), Thomas Mariott (tr), Jose Martinez (d).

Wow, what a band! These players are among the heavyweights of the Pacific Northwest jazz scene. Clarity and solidness in Phil Sparks' playing establish fluid groundwork that allows the other players to flourish, and his solos are creative and artful. Marriott's oft-understated but pure tone is holistic and healing. What can be said about Verlinde's work? Just listen and hear for yourself! Martinez is an artist on the drums.

Sunday, Dec 9, 2018
Musicquarium. House band is usually "the three Brians" of Brian Nova (g), Dan O'Brien (b), and Brian Kirk (d). Because Nova was touring and Brian Kirk was absent, Butch Harrison (v, tr, p) fronted the band, with Dan O'Brien (b), and Jamael Nance (d).

Harrison is a "triple threat" (I prefer 'triple blessing' :) on vocals, keyboards, and trumpet/flugelhorn. Man can the dude sing. He also accompanies, as do the other house band members, those who want to 'sit in' during the band's second and third sets, unless another instrumentalist is temporarily sitting in for them.

Dan O'Brien is an A-list, first-call musician who is a fixture on the Pacific Northwest jazz scene. He is a great bass player. Jamael Nance is a great drummer.

I sang "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," accompanied by John Hanson (d), Shahan K (b), and Harrison (p). Then I did "East of the Sun" with Shahan K (p), Lamar Lofton (b), and Jamael Nance (d).

Saturday, Dec 8, 2018
Amici Bistro, Mukilteo. House band: Overton Berry (p, v), Jeff Davies (b), Elaine Skeffington (v) sitting in.

An opportunity to hear two of the greats of the Northwest jazz scene up-close and personal, Berry and Davies. I love the musicality of Mr. Berry's approach.

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018
North City Bistro monthly jam session, first Wednesday of the month. House band: Darin Clendenin (p), Mark Ivester (d), Clipper Anderson (b).

Well attended, and a lot of talent as usual. I especially liked Clipper Anderson's vocal rendition of "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)."

I stretched myself musically and sang publicly for the first time "Fragile" by Sting. (No pressure!) Here is an excerpt from Donna's phone.

Sunday, December 2, 2018
Jazz Vespers at First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill, Seattle (different artists every first Sunday of the month, excluding summer).

Sarah B Rose (v), Dylan Hayes (p), Chris Symer (b), and Xavier Lecouturier (d). Sarah is a poet, songwriter, and world-class jazz singer. Symer, Hayes, and Lecouturier are world-class, A-list jazz players.

An evening of great music. For some original songs, Sarah played piano herself. She also had a singing friend from Cornish join her on a song, and the friend then sang a solo, Tenderly. (sorry did not catch her name, which was not on the program) The event was well attended, and like other Jazz Vespers concerts, there was no cover. The acoustics in the old church are good, and there is no ambient noise from patrons talking, glasses clinking, wait staff. People come to listen.

Saturday, December 1, 2018
Donna and I went to The Cottage in Bothell to hear Brent Jensen (as, ss) and Jamie Findlay (g). It was just stellar. (Unbelievably, no cover!)

These are two of the greatest jazz players on the planet. Findlay did the work of a whole rhythm section, keeping time, playing bass lines and chords. When he soloed, Jensen played bass-like and piano-like fills in regular meter. I was pretty blown away. It is more sweet than bitter to hear them, the bitter being a realization that they dwell on an advanced musical planet that I will not attain in this lifetime. I especially liked their version of Manha de Carnival. Findlay plays fingerstyle guitar and is a master craftsman with a lot of soul. Man, Jensen can blow! He can really get it!

Friday, November 30, 2018
We felt to go to Egan's Ballard Jam House again. The staff there, Ted, Heather, and Suzanne, are friendly and hard-working, and they showcase the best musicians in the area. On any given night when they are open, customers can hear very good music at a reasonable price.

Chuck Deardorf (b), an instructor at Cornish College of the Arts, led the Cornish Advanced Jazz Ensemble in a one-set musical program. (Unbelievably, there was no cover charge; this is the type of performance that I find valuable.) The group features Rebekah Lovitt (v), Rob Marquis (g), Nicholas Brannen, (p), and Eli Luce-Baraceros (d). These were very good players led by a heavyweight of the current and past jazz scene in the US. Mr. Deardorf mentioned before the band played The Peacocks, a composition by pianist Jimmy Rowles, that he had played with the composer, who has since passed away.

I especially liked the vocalist, Ms. Lovitt. Her solos were melodic and haunting, and her unison work with the stellar guitarist Marquis is on the advance guard of musical art. The piano player Nick was creative and seemed to be a kind of glue for the group. The drumming of Mr. Luce-Baraceros was light, authoritative, energetic, and musical, surprising in such a young musician. Mr. Deardorf has an orienting effect on the group, in a clarifying, melodic way, and his leadership of these young, promising musicians is at once gentle, friendly, clear, and mentoring.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
My wife and I went to Tula's Jazz Club in Seattle to support our friend Zach, who drums for the UW Jazz Orchestra. The group he plays with opened for the pH Factor Big Band. Both bands are directed by Paul Harshman. In an NFL analogy, the UW group is like the practice squad for pH, the pro team. The UW Jazz Orchestra played awesomely, Zach's drumming being a major factor.

I don't think I've heard a better big band than pH Factor. Regarding Mat Montgomery's composition about rain, wow. Several times during the four-movement piece, I actually accepted rainfall in my life, and even at times saw beauty in it! The excellence of the players, technical proficiency, and all the other dynamics combined with Mr. Montgomery's creativity, advanced abilities, and flair, many things working together. Mostly, however, I praise Montgomery's creativity and artistic vision.

There were phenomenal soloists, among them a man sitting in on alto sax whose name I did not catch unfortunately. What a player. (Did he fly in from LA or something?) But really of all the formidable players that night, the two who impressed me most were Ed Littlefield on drums and the woman on alto (I believe it was alto), the sister of the piano player. She was deep and solid!

November 24, 2018
Went to hear Diana Page sing at Wildflower Wine Shoppe. House band was Darin Clendenin (p), Nate Parker (b), Greg Williamson (d). She has it all, audience connection, technical proficiency, storytelling. May be destined for the big leagues.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Egan's Ballard Jam House vocal jam. Karin Kajita (p), Kevin McCarthy (b), Steve Yusen (d). I sang Manha de Carnival.

Saturday, November 10, 2018
About a year ago as I was crossing the street to get the mail, I suddenly remembered the song "People Make the World Go Round." I like the song a lot and decided to work it up.

This turned into a monumental task. It wasn't long before I realized the time signature changes a number of times. As I broke the song down in Sibelius scoring software, it was impossible for me to figure out. I "happened"--quotation marks because there seemed to be something providential in it--to come across the "primary key" on the web after searching, a simple code for the number of beats in each bar in the form of 4,4,3,4,4,4,4,3,4,4,4,4,6,4,4 and so on. As I listened to the bass line and learned how to change time signatures every several bars in Sibelius, it began to come together. It was a great (and difficult, for me) exercise in transcription.

Anyway, it is far short of the rich instrumentation of the Stylistics. I called them the "Mozarts of Motown" as a compliment on YouTube, but maybe that would offend someone, I don't know. This song about city life, and how we see God's goodness displayed through people, done with such feel and style, and technique, well, it is a wonder. It is my way humble tribute to these great musicians, and to a time in my youth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
North City Bistro Darin Clendenin jam session. Robert Rushing (d) and Michael Glynn (b) subbing for Mark Ivester and Clipper Anderson.

Sparsely attended unlike last month. No instrumentalists this time, all singers. I sang I've Got Rhythm. Hard to know how it went. My scatting on the bridge lacks delineation.

David Arteaga (pronounced 'Daveed' with accent on second syllable) absolutely killed it on Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You." David has it all: stage presence, presentation, relationship with audience and musicians, technique and technical ability, humility, strong rhythmic foundation. I've never heard him scat like that. Every time I hear him he's better. If he keeps going like this somebody's gonna pick him up, big time.

Sunday, November 4, 2018
Went to Jazz Vespers at First Baptist Church on Capitol Hill. Evan and Shirley have been running these concerts for 16 years. It is a win-win scenario. The acoustics in the old church are very good, and the supportive audiences come only to listen. These concerts are free. They offer the musicians an audience who pays attention, and the church pays them money as well.

The headliner was Jovino Santos Neto (p), several times a Grammy-nominated musician and composer. The band played his compositions, for the most part I believe. Ben Thomas (vibes), Chuck Deardorf (b), Jeff Busch (percussion), Mark Ivester (d).

It is hard to listen to a full concert and not recognize one song (because they were Mr. Neto's originals). I find other things to be interested in, the obvious virtuosity of the performers, their skill on their instruments, the joyous and light essence of the Brazilian music, the creativity of the composer (Neto) and of the soloists. Mr. Neto and Mr. Thomas carried the melody and / or counterpoint on most songs, but the other musicians were core contributors as well. When I hear music this spectacular, I concede that it is far advanced to what I do, and wonder what I have in common with these great musicians, all of whom are world class, and have devoted their lives to music.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
I used the backing track of "How Insensitive" by MrSunnybass to record this standup bass / guitar duo and posted it to YT. (backing track used with permission)

Thursday, October 25, 2018
In an impromptu way, I recorded All the Things You Are for solo guitar and put it on YT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Went to Egans with my wife Donna. The evening is divided into two parts, a two-person vocal showcase, and after a break, a vocal jam in which the house band accompanies each singer who comes for one song. For the showcase, one singer performs a set, and the other follows. (In this case it was Yuriko Aoki and Delilah Beaucoup.) Aoki is more straight-ahead jazz, Beaucoup an entertainer and cabaret singer. (I relate more to the former, though Beaucoup can sing and I enjoyed the French language songs.) House band: Marina Albero (p), Ryan Donnelly (b), Jeff Busch (d), Jesse Sullivan (g). Vocal jam had many good singers taking advantage of an opportunity to play with a spectacular house band. I sang Agua de Beber (Jobim).

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Yesterday and today I've been thinking about the song Triste by A.C. Jobim. I like Frank Sinatra's version. Here's mine. On my version, except for the vamp at the end of the song, there is no chording instrument. (This is unusual for my music, though I hear it more and more at public jazz venues.)

Friday, October 12, 2018
As I think back over the music I heard during the summer today, two concerts stick out. The first was Bernie Jacobs (as) (ts) (f) (v), Phil Sparks (b), Bill Anschell (p), and Greg Williamson (d) at the Wildflower Wine Shop, North Bend, WA. I have a very high opinion of all these musicians, and especially Bernie.

The second was Susan Pascal (vibes), Chuck Deardorf (b), Pete Christlieb (ts), Bill Anschell (p), and Jeff 'Bongo' Busch (d) at the North City Jazz Walk. The theme for this second concert was "Remembering Stan Getz." I especially liked their rendition of Pennies from Heaven, apparently a favorite of Mr. Getz. (I am a stone Getz fan.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
We heard Kelley Johnson (v) and her husband John Hanson (p) at North City Bistro. Wow, they made great music together as a duo. I really liked a number of songs, but as I am a fool for bossa nova, Desafinado was high on the list. (Not many people sing this nowadays in my experience.) I took a vocal jazz survey class from Kelley in 2017 through Jazz Night School. Great singer, great teacher. Learned a lot, which is saying something, from a guy who knows everything already. Coincidentally, Kelley had also heard Total Experience Gospel Choir's last concert the previous Sunday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Attended jam session at Owl 'n Thistle. House band: Elna Jordan (v), Eric Verlinde (p), Nick (b), D'Vonne Lewis (d).

Sunday, October 7, 2018
Attended final performance of Total Experience Gospel Choir at old Moore Theater, 800-1000 people in attendance. Pastor Patrinell Wright led this choir for 45 years. Calvin West danced before the Lord and the people there. Very good.

Thursday, October 4, 2018
Heard Marina Christopher's trio at Vitos. Marina (b) (v), Jeremy Bacon (p), Chris (d), Steve Ryals (sitting in) (ts) (v).

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Jam session, North City Bistro. House band: Darin Clendenin (p), Clipper Anderson (b), Mark Ivester (d). I sang Speak Low, with Karin Kajita sitting in on piano. Musicians spectacular. Alex Dugdale sat in on Green Dolphin Street.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Jam session, Owl 'n Thistle. House band: Eric Verlinde (p), Paul Gabrielson (b), Milo Peterson (d). I sang Wave as the last song of the night, with Eric, Clipper Anderson, and Mr. Peterson.

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Heard Frank Clayton (b) and Frank Seeberger (g) at Osteria la Spiga.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Went to Egans vocal jam. Ed Weber (p), Ted Enderle (b), Robert Rushing (d). I sang On a Clear Day.