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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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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Cool gig at City Tap!

We had a nice gig last night with Michael Ode sitting in on drums for the first time. David Quick singing a couple of songs in the second set as well. What a fine crowd!

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January News

It’s been five years since I decided to take the plunge and commit myself to becoming a full-time jazz organist. Here’s the story:

2009 New York City, taking care of nine-month-old baby. I was obsessed with the idea of putting down the bass and becoming an organist. I went to see Nate Shaw on organ at the Great Jones Cafe, with Matt Kane on drums and Tony Romano on guitar. This excellent trio was playing the music of John Patton, and I fell in love immediately with the sound.

January 2010- I started taking weekly lessons with Nate at his home studio. He had a chopped A100 and Motion Sound Leslie. This was an important time for me, because Nate shared a bunch of organ-specific things he had learned from Jack McDuff, and other organists. Thanks Nate!

June 2010, my family moved to Carrboro, NC and I soon met Brad Maiani and we formed our jazz trio. My playing was (and still is) ragged, but I practice hard daily and learn from every experience. I’ve never worked harder or had so much fun in my life!

Hope to see you all soon.

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Recording from Looking Glass

Brad and I both got Apogee MiC 96K to record with. In general, I will record our gigs with the mic close to the organ, and he will record with his mic close to the guitar amp. We discovered that we could mix them together as a stereo track and get a nice recording of our gigs.

Still experimenting with mic placement, but check this out: (Tyler Leak on drums)

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