Saturday, July 30, 2011

Update - recording and guitar building

It has been a while since I blogged.  What I thought was going to be a period of relative ease and rest since last I wrote has turned out to be very busy.  This is a typical theme for me.  I have a hard time relaxing.

On July 20 I played a great gig with Len Aruliah's Sextet at Goldie's Pizza downtown.  The band is Len on soprano and alto saxes, Colin Maskell on tenor,  Lorne Kellett on piano, Joe Poole on drums, and Brent Gubbels on drums.  What a great group of guys musically and personally.  We had a completely full house with lots of my students, many of Len's friends and also a bunch of mathematician friends invited along by Len's brother, Dhavide. There was a massive applied math conference just down the road at Canada Place. What a treat to play for a packed house and such an attentive and hip audience. Goldie's is a nice room to play, with a baby grand that is kept in good shape by my pianist friend Bruno Hubert.  The pizza was pretty good too.   After the gig we found ourselves at the Congee Noodle house until 2 in the morning - not too many options at the time of day on a rainy Wednesday in Vancouver.  The Congee featured a huge menu with some interesting and unique menu items including "Bible Tripe" and "Silverfish Omlette".  I tried neither, though Colin and Joe each ate a huge meal of very colourful chinese food.  I can't even think about eating things like that at that time in the morning, but it was a great 'musicians life' moment.

The gig went so well we decided we needed to record the music so we set up a session for July 25.  The recording took place at the Birch Theatre at Capilano University and I hauled all of my recording gear plus some rental stuff and engineered the session as well as playing guitar. We recorded 2 takes each of 7 different tunes which is an amazing amount of music to play in a 4-hour session, especially given the challenging nature of Len's music.  I think Len was very pleased to get the band documented as he has been working very hard on new tunes and really beautiful arrangements.  Everything went very well indeed.

I left the recording gear set up and the next day played and engineered a session with bass trombonist, Brad Muirhead and Stan Taylor on drums.  I play bass in this band.  The music was very different from  the day before -very open and wild - but that session also turned out really well.  Since then, I've been finishing my latest electric guitar commission and trying to get it done before we go to Alberta on Thursday.  Maybe then I can rest.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rest at Last!

After nearly three weeks of intense activity playing, rehearsing and teaching almost every day I finally have a chance to slow down and get some rest.  The Vancouver Jazz Festival gigs were great and the weather cooperated. Hearing Atomic play on the final day of the fest was a highlight for me.  Immediately following that I had a fantastic week running the South Delta Jazz Workshop followed by two days in the studio with Len Aruliah, Rob Kohler, Stan Taylor, and Ed Orgill.  Ed and Rob have headed back Stateside now and so I have my basement office back to do a little blog posting.  It is sad to see everyone go home, but also good to have a little more space in the house I must admit.  The Workshop this year was really successful and both of my kids participated for the first time as students.  Some cool family jams were had at the old homestead as well.  More pictures to follow as they come in from various sources.....

Some students at SDJF jam session at Petra's Cafe

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!
This is a great country and I feel very privileged to live in it.  We have our problems to be sure, but I have yet to go anywhere where I'd rather be.    I've been talking to lots of musicians from around the world this week and so many of them have said how they would like to find a way to come and live here.  Jazz fest time always reminds me of what an amazing scene we have here in terms of the depth and quality of creative musicians.  I have felt in the last few days a profound sense of gratitude for the life I have and where and how I get to live it.

I've just finished three very cool gigs in the Jazz Festival.  The weather cooperated very well for all three and the music was great.   Lots of friends and musicians showed up for every gig. Thanks to Stan, Brad, Len, and Rob for the great music. Pictures coming soon.
South Delta Jazz Festival and Jazz Workshop is coming up next week. I'll be updating the blog with news from that event as it happens.
.Projection of North America with Canada in green