Sunday, August 28, 2016

Toy Con NJ 5!

Had a great time this weekend at Toy Con NJ 5 in Parsippany, NJ. Found lots of cool treasures:


Some silver/bronze age gems that I found for $3 each!

I picked up a few cool T-Shirts from Brooke's Nook (below is an example of what she had on the rack) for $10 apiece:


Brooke was a very cool vendor and had some very unusual items for sale.  I bought this figurine made out of clay, because it kept looking at me:



It reminded me of Dobby from Harry Potter, but the ears are raised. It is made out of clay and is an interesting piece.  Either way, calm and pensive. A thoughtful gargoyle for my cave.

I even met the cool folks from Comic Trips who handed out their nifty road sign logo, some buttons and a sticker:


Both Paul and Kat were extremely nice and friendly and spent a few minutes talking about their web show. I recommend their channel +Comic Trips.  It will get you out there having fun at all the shops and cons that are in your area.

Lastly, this one fellow was selling this beautiful framed collection of Hanna Barbera Fantastic Four series cells, which were custom framed. It was a steal at $600 but it wasn't in the budget this time. May next time:



Overall, it was a great time. So many great vendors and tables. I had a blast and so did everyone else there. Remember to support your local cons and get out there and have fun.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Four The Love

This one was recorded live in a single take, no overdubs. I am actually playing a synth lead patch from the Excellent Yamaha VL70m with Patchman Turbo installed.  It's pretty mellow jazzy stuff, and the lead was a bit muted, but it turned out OK. Some good things here and there.

If The Coal's Wet




Here is yet another instrumental in the Jazzisoulifunkitronic style.  Done overdubbing saxes in the back doing the callback with a trombone lead.  Get on the good foot!

In Her City

Here is another soulful performed with the ReKeStRa Quartet.  I used the excellent Dynasample Xpression unit for the horn sounds.  Turned out pretty nice IMO.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sahara's Mile

Above is a version of an old song we did with some significant rearrangement. I did the horn lines at the beginning and the sax lead part, as well as added a few other tracks to fill out the arrangement. I think it sounds pretty good for a four piece ensemble.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Musical Influences

Every musician has their own musical influences - early encounters with other artists that influenced their own course and approach to music.

I started out as a trumpet player, so one of my very first influences was the great Maynard Ferguson.  It was my brother who actually turned me on to Maynard.  My brother was a sax/clarinet player and two years older than me, so of course he was in on all the cool stuff!  So one day he tells me about this album called "Conquistador" that had this really great trumpet player.  I was like "cool" let's check it out, so we went off to the record store. Yes, I said "record" store - and used our saved cash to buy "Conquistador"  - and after listening, I was completely blown away by Maynard's' chops and range and this began my long journey into jazz and big band. I saw Maynard live a few times when he came through town and he never disappointed:



Influences have a chain effect. So while I was getting into Maynard, I started checking out all his other songs, such as Give It One, and Chameleon (which lead me to Herbie Hancock later, but that's another story) and started listening to other instrumentalists, such as Bill Chase, and predominately horn bands such as Brick, Tower of Power and Chicago, of course the incredible Earth Wind and Fire! This opened me up to Rock, Soul, Fusion and so many styles. I have always loved all types of music as a result, but I seemed to really love jazz, Blues, Funk and soul the most. Somewhere along the chain, I eventually stumbled across the great Grover Washington Jr. Probably the most soulful sax player of all time, I found myself drawn to his very fluid style, which was very jazzy and bluesy, but also funky! Grover somehow seamlessly blended my favorite genres together. His album Winelight remains one of my favorite albums of all time and I think over the years I collected most of Grover's earlier recordings. Mr. Magic remains the musician's "national anthem" and I have played it countless times in numerous bands:

 

 All of these early influences lead to many other great musicians - too many to list in a blog post. But I always like to visit my early influences as a reminder of where and how I started out in my musical journey. Influences are what shape us and help lead us down that path. So I owe a great debt to the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Grover Washington Jr. and many others. Both Maynard and Grover are sadly gone now, but if I could go back in time, I would love to tell them "Thanks".

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Art of Slap Bass

Master musician and perhaps one of the greatest bass players in the history of the world, Marcus Miller absolutely slaps the crap out of Jaco's Teen Town.  Amazing stuff really.  This guy is fantastic live. Catch him if you are lucky enough to find him coming through your area.