Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last night I met a bunch of friends over at the Yoshi's in San Francisco to attend Edgardo Cambón's CD release concert. it was a fantastic concert, very well rehearsed, great songs, great band and great energy. Edgardo was in fine form as a band leader and performer and he was glowing with pride and fervor for the music he was presenting. He also included tango dancers, flamenco dancers and bomba dancers in the concert which added a really nice different element to the music. And to top it all off, the attendance was phenomenal. To be able to pack Yoshi's on a Tuesday night--for both the early and late shows-- is a huge accomplishment and one to be very proud of. So my congratulations all around goes out to Edgardo for such a successful evening and a fantastic new CD.

I have been busy getting my musical life organized. I wonder if I'll ever really get organized!! :) But I am trying to get grants written for the Sephardic Music Experience CD recording project as well as organize various trips that are coming up. The day after the election I'll be flying out to New York to visit with my son for a few days. I'm so excited to see him and to see where he is now living. He's been living in Brooklyn since June of '07 and this will be the first time I am able to go and visit him. It will be so much fun to see him in his new element and also to be in NYC again. I love that city and its energy. I'm also hoping to meet up with some musicians while there, make some new connections and possibly new contacts for places to perform. I would really love the opportunity to do an east coast tour next year sometime, and if all goes well, it will happen. I can't imagine playing on the east coast and not doing something in New York. That would be sad!!

I'm also getting ready for this Sunday's concert at the Little Fox in Redwood City (4pm). The Hearing Voices concert produced by BeasWa productions. It should be a really fun and eclectic kind of concert, filled with a variety of different styles of music. So if you're anything like me and love to hear many different sounds in one sitting, this is the concert for you!! I will have some different players with me that day which I find really exciting. When I play with new people I always find some new treasures within the music that I hadn't found before. Melecio Magdaluyo will be playing the piano--yes the piano!!, Sam Bevan on bass and David Flores on drums. We had a rehearsal the other day to prepare for the concert and I'm excited! These guys are all such consummate pros that I know that the concert is going to be amazing!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jazz Vespers

Jazz Vespers is a concert series put on by Ed Klitsch here in the Bay Area. The idea was started in New York so musicians could play for musicians in a more sacred environment on Sundays. A time to reflect with jazz music. The services happen from 5-6pm--when musicians are finally waking from their weekend haze :) --and the format is really nice. The pastor, usually in a non-denominational church, says a few words of greeting and the musical group plays a song. The concert/service continues in this manner with the pastor sharing ideas with words and the band sharing ideas with music, back and forth, creating a celebratory aura within the confines of the church. It's really quite a nice way to present music and ideas. My group, Murray, Peter and Paul, performed last Sunday at Jazz@Peace in Danville and will again perform this coming Sunday at Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco. I really look forward to these concerts. They give us a chance to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Another really cool concert series I am a part of is through BeasWa Productions. Wendy Waller and Matt Beasley have been producing jazz style concerts at the Little Fox in Redwood City for almost two years now. It's not easy putting these shows together and uniting the group of talented musicians they do, but somehow they pull it off and it is always quite a stellar program of music. I am honored to be a part of their next concert, Hearing Voices. There are three "acts" performing on Sunday, November 2 (4pm): my latin jazz ensemble, Wendy Waller and Her Fine Band, a mix of jazz, creole and folk music, and the Clockwork Singers, an a capella group of four singers. It is an eclectic mix of music and musicians and should prove to be an engaging afternoon of a variety of sounds.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The concert was an amazing success! We had a fantastic turn out of people, it was a completely gorgeous day in Golden Gate Park and performing outside in a beautiful setting was just icing on the cake. The only problem was that there was so much going on in that area that parking was practically impossible. I had a few people e-mail after the fact to tell me that they had driven to San Francisco specifically to see the Sephardic concert only to have to turn around because there was no parking within miles of the park. That's a bummer and that's what makes me most crazy about SF--parking! It's such an amazing city but not if you're driving a car!

The music itself was very well received. There are certainly some wrinkles to iron out but overall the body of work is fantastic and I'm really excited about this project. I'm also really proud of myself and the other musicians involved with how well the music was performed. We pulled it off! Two rehearsals, all new music and a lot of dedication and hard work. It's a beautiful thing working with these musicians and seeing my ideas come to fruition in such a spectacular way. It's also a huge relief that we were able to present this music as well as we did. :)

So now the big push will be to see if I can get funding to record a Sephardic CD. I am selling sampler CDs at my live shows that will help to fund the recording, but I will definitely need to find larger sources of money to be able to record this CD. I'm hoping there are still grants out there that will be willing to help support a project like this. I'm pretty confident there are and I intend to find them so we can get this music recorded and out into the world. I think it deserves a wider audience. The big message I received at the concert on Sunday was that there is definitely an interest in this music and people were asking for a CD with only Sephardic music. And the journey continues....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Sephardic Music Experience

This day has finally arrived. The day that we premiere The Sephardic Music Experience. We had two rehearsals this week and everything has come together amazingly well. I am so impressed at how seriously everyone has taken this music, how dedicated they have all been to learning it and how much they bring to the table when playing it. At some point during the first rehearsal I just sat back and listened to the body of work we were bringing to life. I thought to myself, "I couldn't have chosen a better team of musicians to make this happen." Everyone has risen to the occasion and together they sound phenomenal. I am truly blessed to work with such talented and NICE musicians.

So today we will perform this music for the first time in front of a live audience. At 2:30 pm in the Barbro Osher Cafe at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park my newly formed 7 piece band will present what I feel to be a truly spectacular repertoire of Sephardic music. I am really hoping that more than just Jews and friends come to this event. The music has been arranged to encompass a world music sound, ranging from flamenco, to afro-peruvian, afro-cuban and even a little reggae thrown in! How about a little samba with your Sephardic music? :) We cover the world and it seems to work really well! I can't wait to get a sense of how the general public will respond to the music. of course it is sung predominantly in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) so there will be explanations and translations given so people can truly experience the richness of the music and the stories they tell. Can you tell I'm excited? So much so that sleep has eluded me for the past few nights. No matter, the music and adrenaline will drive me throughout the day.

Ray Vega is in town today to perform with the Latin Giants of Jazz. Now this would be very exciting for me if his concert weren't happening at the same time mine was!! Now I won't be able to see him perform. If only I could split myself in two for the day! I'm hoping that we can at least meet for dinner after our respective concerts. He leaves back to Vermont tonight so there is a very small window of opportunity. He is such a good human being. Not only talented as a musician but as a friend. He has been one of my greatest supporters since I began this latest leg of my journey and I am grateful to him for that.

It's going to be an amazing day filled with surprises, adventure and best of all, music. It just can't get any better than that!