294:  Friday night I played at a nice little restaurant near 8 Mile and Livernois called 1917 American Bistro.  Jellick hired me for the gig to play with Brandon and Greg, who played drums and percussion respectively.  Nice vibe, and nice music.

295:  Last night I played a really fun Trad gig at the Elks Lounge in Mt. Clemens.  It’s been a long time since I played that kind of music, and it was really refreshing.  The band was killer, and I think people had a good time, although I would have like to see a few more folks dancing.  This gig reinforced my belief that there’s nothing more important than groove, and that early jazz is one of the hardest styles to reproduce accurately.  The band leader, Ron, did open my eyes to a few stock combo packs that are pretty accurately arranged.  Definitely gave me food for thought for the combos for next year.

296:  Today is Sunday, and Jenine is throwing a baby shower for our friend Alta Dantzler.  My performance today will consist of imitating a disappearing magician upstairs while my house is being babified.

This is not going to be a long post.  Not Facebook worthy, not Twitter worthy, barely even writing worthy.

EXCEPT, I’d like to document a fun Percussion Faculty concert we had last night. It featured African drumming from Mark Stone and Paul Schauert, Sam Jeysigam on Murdungum, Dan Maslanka on vibes and marimba, and Sean Dobbins on drumset.  It was one of the most varied programs I’ve played in a while.

This was an Arts After Work series, and despite a light audience, the music was successful.  In the future, we have to be sure not to schedule concerts that conflict with Basketball games.

 

Alarm Will Sound is my band.  To know that I’ll have a good musical experience on every gig not only makes me look forward to it, but also inspires me to play the best I possibly can.  Everyone in the group is kick-ass in some way or another, and when everything really comes together, there’s no better feeling in the world.  Although AWS has been the most steady band I’ve been in in the past decade, it’s not the only one that has made me feel this way in my life.

They have been few and far between, though.  One really special band I’ll always be proud to have been a part of was Beyondo, formed by my old roommate Eric Biondo.  Eric took the band to the Banff Workshop in  May of 2000, which was one of the best experiences of my life.  Some of the people I met and worked with during that time have gone on to have really awesome careers.  There were too many awesome times at Java’s in Rochester to mention here, but trust me when I tell you the shows were always packed and always unpredictable.  Eric, if you read this, you gotta get that original band together again someday.

I’m discussing this because I feel this way about the Northern Lights Trio with Mike Jellick and Jesse Kramer.  It’s extremely liberating to play with these guys and I’m honored to be asked to play with them.  I’m hoping it turns into a long-standing collaboration.  We had a great time as usual last night.

My recommendation for those of you studying music, and jazz especially, is to seek out this kind of musical camaraderie.  You’re not really playing music until you’ve felt a special connection with a group.  When the music makes you smile, you’ll know you’re doing something right.

Also, thanks to Mark Johnson for the record!