Daily Tarheel Article


Proud to be featured in this overview of Carrboro Music Festival bands:

Of the 170 local bands around the Carrboro Music Festival this weekend, four stood out.

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October News

We have some nice gigs happening. Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse, The Honeysuckle Tea House, Double Barley Brewing, and our regular gigs at West End Wine Bar and Looking Glass Cafe. Also look for us at The Station on our new night- the last Sunday of the month.

I’ll be laying low in mid-October because I’m playing bass for the NC Theater production of A Chorus Line. Look for singer Abby Davis to be subbing for the trio at the Wine Bar on a few nights.

Thanks for coming out to our gigs and supporting us!

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Good article


This is a pretty cool article about figuring out what you want to do with your life. I thought it was interesting how he says that you need to figure out what kind of sacrifices and struggles you are willing to tolerate. I think it is especially true for music, where you have to work so hard for so little reward.

Also really liked the part about “Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing.” This is so true in music, and every jazz musician must go through this. We all remember the first time we played in public in front of people- it is terrifying. Then after years and years of gigging, you learn to take the embarrassing moments and learn from them.

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Nice article in Northwest Horizons

Cool interview with pictures:


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September News

In September we will be playing at West End Wine Bar, Looking Glass Cafe, Rio Grande Grill and Cantina, The Station, The Blue Note Grill, The City Tap.

Can’t wait to play at this year’s Carrboro Music Festival! I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Also looking forward to playing at Grove Winery’s 10th Anniversary Party.

See you all soon!

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August News

August 6 begins a Wednesday night residency at Rio Grande Grill and Cantina in Greensboro, NC. If all goes well, we will be there through October, or until it gets too cold to play music out on the patio.

We are so happy to switch things up a bit and play every Tuesday at the Looking Glass Cafe in Carrboro! It’s been so nice to play music in this friendly, award-winning Carrboro institution, and owner Carolyn has certainly made us feel welcome.

I’m also playing at the Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill for the first time with two of my oldest musical colleagues, Tim Smith and Dan Davis. I’ve known both of these guys for 20 years, and it’s guaranteed to be a blast!

I’ll also seize this opportunity to thank Kelly Gorsche from the West End Wine Bar for our continuing Thursday and Friday night gigs. These regular, consistent gigs have been essential in our growing together as musicians and in building a local reputation. Thanks again, Kelly!

Looking forward to having guests Ben Palmer on guitar and Dave Finucane on saxophone to help me out while Brad Maiani travels for a few days.

See you soon.

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There have been several occasions over the past 5 years where my friends who I consider to be piano virtuosi have recommended that I practice Hanon.

In 2009, I was getting serious about switching from the bass to the organ. I asked for advice from my friend Jesse Gelber, jazz pianist and lecturer at Rutgers. His response was simply, “For musical ideas, develop your own ideas and practice them. For technique, use Hanon.”

A couple years later, my friend Allison Leyton-Brown surprised me by mailing me photocopies of the first 10 exercises from Hanon book 1. I saved them in my practice folder, but didn’t get around to playing through them.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I asked Scott MacKenzie what he would recommend for keyboard technique, and he told me to do Hanon. Finally I got the hint into my thick skull: time to practice Hanon!

I spent some time Googling peoples advice on practicing Hanon, and opinions ranged the spectrum from Hanon being pointless to Hanon being essential. A couple of interesting posts I read said that teachers at Juilliard required students to perform Hanon in lessons. Another post said that Herbie Hancock practiced Hanon transposed to every key, and that was part of the reason why he has such great jazz technique. Some even suggested that it was pure laziness not to use Hanon daily.

So I’ve been practicing book 1 for about a week now, about 15 minutes a day. My fingers feel amazingly strong and nimble!

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Ben Palmer Innovates Again

Ben Palmer has developed a new technique for playing electric bass upright in a chair. Also very important: Hat must match bass.


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A Slap On The Wrist

Sometimes as I practice I will realize that I’m allowing myself to become a bit sloppy. Maybe I’m practicing a scale or arpeggio at full speed and one of my fingers is brushing against a neighboring key, causing it to sound. Perhaps I continue to play wrong notes and a passage repeatedly, because my mind is wandering or I was concentrating on some other problem.

Steve Anderson once told me that if you mess up something that you ought not to be missing, just slap yourself on the wrist! Just this simple action can keep sloppy playing from becoming a habit.

This morning I was practicing sight reading from my old Methodist hymnal. At one point, I had to trade feet in the pedal part and hit a low Ab with my left foot. Over and over, I would hit Gb or Bb instead.

Then I slapped my left thigh pretty hard. It didn’t hurt or anything, but it was a physical reminder that I needed to wake up, turn on my brain, and stop messing up that simple note!

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Keeping An Organized Calendar

Bandleaders will almost always hire those side musicians who are organized and dependable- the ones who remember their gigs and always show up on time. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to explain to a client why a member of your band is running late. The whole band looks unprofessional, and gigs are tough enough to come by without that type of unnecessary drama.

The number one rule of gigging should be to write everything down immediately. If someone calls you to do a gig, don’t trust yourself to remember to write it down later. Do it right away.

Another great thing to do is to keep your schedule on a cloud-based application such as Google Calendar. For one thing, your calendar will be accessible from any computer or smart phone, and it will be safe even if your phone gets lost or broken. Another reason is that you can share your calendar with bandmates and they will be able to tell at a glance whether you are available to do a gig.

The last thing I’d like to mention is that you should always write down gigs that haven’t been confirmed. If someone calls to ask if you are available for a date, but the gig isn’t definite, write it in your calendar with a question mark next to it. Busy bandleaders have a tendency to forget to call you back an confirm gigs. If you have it written in your calendar, you can call back later to ask if it is confirmed. You can also check with the bandleader first if someone else wants to hire you for the same date. Either way, you end up looking like a prince.

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