March News

We are excited to celebrate the spring re-opening of the Honeysuckle Tea House, a wonderful outdoor venue built on shipping containers, right on a farm. They serve tea, smoothies, coffee, kombucha, and many great snacks.

It’s been a while since we played at Chatham Hill Winery, and we are looking forward to visiting them at their new location in Cary.

We are playing at Faire Seafood and Steakhouse in Raleigh for their Southern Oyster Roast- really excited about that one!

Thanks to our friends who always come out to support us at Looking Glass Cafe and The Station in Carrboro! Hope to see you all again this month.

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March 23, 2015 – Another fun gig at Looking Glass Cafe

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Looking Glass Cafe – St. Patrick’s Day

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A set from Chatham Hill Winery

With Brad Maiani and Dan Davis.

I was able to record just shy of one set before my phone cut off…

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February News

big-john-pattonI’d like to start out Black History Month by telling you a little bit about John Patton, a jazz organist that I treasure.

From All-Music Guide:
“John Patton, often known as Big John Patton, was one of Blue Note’s busiest soul-jazz organists during the golden age of the Hammond B-3s. Between 1963 and 1970 Patton cooked up 11 albums’ worth of material as a leader and sat in with a dizzying procession of skilled improvisers, and his best work has since been compared with that of tragically short-lived innovator Larry Young. Patton also enjoyed a long overdue comeback during the ’90s when he collaborated with saxophonist and composer John Zorn.”

John Patton was influenced by McCoy Tyner, Larry Young, and John Coltrane with their use of quartal voicings and their modal approach to soloing. But while many of his contemporaries became increasingly free and turbulent, Patton’s playing always remained simple, clear and plainly stated.

He didn’t use many Hammond B3 tricks or effects- he was more concerned with communicating a logical musical idea than with filling a song with the swirls, trills, and squabbling usually associated with Hammond playing. He was able to voice chords in a way which made the instrument sound mellow and dark, but present.

I was initially drawn to John Patton because his compositions and playing were simple enough for me to understand. However, as I began to listen more closely his sophistication became apparent: his songs are almost always based on a syncopated bass line and often have shifting meters and odd forms. He uses a lot of call and response during the melodies, often calling for the right hand to alternate between the upper and lower manual. His melodies and solos are largely pentatonic and stay inside the key.

Two of my favorite albums of his are Let ‘em Roll and Got a Good Thing Goin’, both still in print on Blue Note. We play at least one John Patton song at each of our shows, so if you’ve been to hear us play, you probably already know a few.

I hope to see you all out at one of our February shows. Take care!

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1/27/2015 Looking Glass

With Brad Maiani on guitar and Tyler Leak on drums.

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Excerpt From a Rockin’ Night

We had Brad Maiani on guitar, Dan Davis on drums, and John Palowitch on sax. Too bad my phone stopped recording after the first few songs!

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Saxophone, Organ and Drums at Looking Glass

I had fun playing with John Palowitch on alto sax and Tyler Leak on drums. What a challenge and an inspiration!

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Another Stellar Performance From Tyler Leak.

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How Much Work Is Enough For One Day?

Today I had a whole day to myself to work on music. My usual routine is about 3.5 hours of practicing. After finishing it, I was on YouTube and stumbled upon the following video:

After hearing Keith Jarrett’s award acceptance speach, I was fired up and ready to practice again! The trouble was, I had already run myself into the ground with my intense practicing.

I sat there thinking about Keith Jarrett spending 12 hours a day sequestered with his piano, kicking butt since age 2, and I started to feel woefully inadequate.

Then it hit me: I can only give what I can give. After a certain point, it’s impossible to do any productive practicing. For me, that point is around 4 hours of intense, focused drilling. And then I’m totally useless.

Some musicians do a lot more. Stories of Coltrane practicing are legendary. I read an interview with Christian McBride where he talked about coming home from a gig and practicing all night long. At this point in my life, 4 hours is about the best I can do, and I’m happy and thankful to have that time.

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