After a thankfully slow fall and winter season (lots of quality home time), I am beginning to get busier again. I have a renewed and revitalized musical energy and am excited for the rest of the year. I also have been reflecting on my colleagues and friends who I appreciate so much.
I am still teaching at Cuesta College, and it is such an honor to be among such an amazing (and cool) faculty. It was as a student there that I made the decision that I would like to be a music educator by watching and learning from Warren Balfour and the other faculty at that time. I never thought I would actually end up teaching there! It has been a joy and a great learning experience for me, and I am thankful to have the opportunity. We will be playing the opening set at the 1st SLO jazz festival next month, and getting together with the faculty is a great hang and a great, challenging musical experience.
Paul Irving, trumpeter and businessman of Zongo All Stars, is truly amazing. He has put in countless hours arranging performances, promoting, and more importantly, making the whole experience fun for both the band and our fans. He never fails for creative ideas for us. We have a CD in the can, ready to be mixed, and will be appearing at Junefest on June 1st in Los Osos. I will be playing a jazz trio set with Larry Arone and Darrell Voss, then John Lee's Cayucos Steel Band, and one of my favorite groups, Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca, an Afro/Salsa band. Check them out!
I am still playing every three weeks at Seaventure hotel in Pismo on Wednesdays from 6-9. The crew includes my good friends Larry Arone or Bob Harway on piano, Jake Odell on guitar, Karl Welz on sax, and Darrell Voss or Daryl Vandruff on drums. I am always challenged with these guys, and am lucky to have them on the gig. I have learned so much from playing with Bob!
This Sunday I will be accompanying Pete Christlieb at Charlie Shoemake's Famous Jazz Artists series at D'Anbino's in Paso Robles. He was the tenor sax player forever with the Tonight Show band, played on Tom Waits' early records, and did an album with Warne Marsh that was produced by Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagan etc. Wild! I am lucky to get these opportunities to try to hang with these guys and am honored that Charlie Shoemake sometimes brings me in to do it. I have learned a ton from his left hand, too (piano reharms!).
Lastly, I have met so many wonderful people through playing music. I can't begin to express my gratitude to all the people who make it a priority to support live music on the Central Coast. I think that the music scene here is the strongest it has ever been, with lots of really good musicians and bands. We can only do it with the support of listeners, and it is happening. Thank you to everyone who has come out to see the projects I am involved in.
See you soon! I will be updating my calendar soon, but I better get some sleep.